This week, Corey's sister and her husband are visiting from Pittsburgh. Since his sister (Lindy) is an emerging novelist, we thought she would enjoy contributing a post to our blog, reflecting on the visit so far.So...

Lindy writes:

“Last flight,” Brett said as he collapsed into the red vinyl seat.

“Yes,” I sighed, and sank into my own, reaching for my seatbelt. My wet seatbelt. Then dampness in the seat started to soak into my pants.

“Brett,” I hissed, springing to a crouch and feeling my pants. “I think the last passenger peed in my seat!”

“Really?” He had to feel for himself. “That’s gross,” he said, never offering to trade seats.

I grabbed the magazines, sealed in a Ziploc bag, from the seat back in front of me, shoved them on the wet spot, and sat on them. I buckled my seat belt, touching it as little as possible, and waited for the flight to be over. After all, an hour and a half flight after 36 hours of travel, in the same pair of underwear, was hardly a drop in the bucket.

Not every moment of this trip has been pleasant, but that hasn’t stopped me from loving each and every experience. In a country so different from my own, everything is new and I want to soak in all I can.

The first insect we saw, when we landed in the airport, was not a cockroach, fly, or mosquito as some in the U.S. may guess. It was a dragonfly.

In the short time I’ve spent here, I’ve seen more dragonflies than I ever have before. Swarms of them, drifting with glittering wings on humid sea breezes and on the cooler mountain air over rice paddies. Their jewel bright bodies as vibrant and organic as the saris on the women stooped below them.

The dragonfly is said to symbolize courage, strength, happiness, swiftness, and pure water. Others believe it’s evil—helping serpents and a representation of the devil. Swedish folklore even states that the devil uses dragonflies to weigh people’s souls. In a country with such breathtaking beauty, such a depth of emotion and spirituality in the culture, yet such heartbreaking poverty and pollution, I don’t think I could find a much better symbol of my experience here.

The people laugh at me and then ask to take a picture with me. My pulse speeds as I stand at the open train door, watching the land fall away into a gorge below me, speeding on a bridge over a river. Gorgeous mountain vistas, every view worthy of a picture, and fellow passengers cheering into the dark echoes of tunnels. When I return to my seat, I’m expected to throw the trash from my snack out the window. We enter a magnificently carved temple and though we are not Hindus, they bless us and mark our foreheads like one of their own. We stand in the surf watching gigantic waves crash toward the shore, the water rushing in so fast and far, all our pants are soaked. Sweating and stinking, in a high mountain overlook onto the azure sea, a family asks us to share their picnic lunch of rice and curry with them. I bend down and look an old woman in the eyes, buying a handful of whole, fresh turmeric from her for pennies, and she marvels at the color of my skin, sweeping her hands up her arms and over her face.

Yes, I’ve seen rats, eaten in restaurants with cockroaches on the walls, used a squat toilet, thrown my trash on the ground into the already festering piles, eaten with my hands, drank out of reused glasses, and stepped in cow poop on the street. Does it bother me?


Because India, her people and her places, have resonated in my heart. I will remember this trip forever. I am so thankful that Corey and Gina decided to live here and that we’ve gotten to visit. They’ve helped make this an experience of a lifetime.

I want to remember it all—the good and the bad—every moment.

I will remember dragonflies.