I’ve blogged about my own personal stories and interactions with others but I haven’t talked about the people that I brought with me. They all served a very important role in this whole possibilities project. We started this trip as friends and came out as soul mates.
NATE CHAN: This was one of Nate’s first forays into the depths of a foreign country and he’s always had a heart to tell stories visually through film. When I first asked Nate to join us on this trip it wasn’t a hard sell, he was quick to say, “Sure! Why not, I have the time and this seems like a good experience for me.” This pretty much sums up his own life, simplicity. He lives with the mindset that if I wanted to move to another country in a heart beat, I can just pack up my one suitcase and go. (This guy is currently at SXSW shooting some famous rockstars with Yours Truly)
• tote bags: everywhere we went, he kept on saying, oh I love this bag. He also lives in the Mission and everyone in the Mission carries tote bags.
• kids: wherever we went he’d always have an eye for the kids and tell us what he saw through their lens. After one of our dinners we had a ton of leftovers and we decided to bring it back for someone that was homeless. Nate prayed and asked God for the right person to give the goods too and his heart went to the kids that lived down the street from us. He was utterly touched by how joyful they were by such a simple gift of our leftovers. I think that experience has left an indelible mark on Nate.
• well-made goods: we talked endlessly about all these Indie made products that had a cult following and how everything Nate buys something, in a couple of months, it ends up in Urban Outfitters
• Chinese-Indian food: Nate and I seem to have the same taste in food. We always ended up ordering the same dish! He was most concerned about the level of spiciness but he was the most adventurous of us all!
• lipbalm: I don’t know how many times we went searching for lipbalm for Nate on this trip. Everywhere we went, there was no lipbalm and poor Nate kept on asking for it. We even offered some of our own lipstick for his use.
• wandering: yes, in a large city like Kolkata, we were always asking the question “Where’s Nate?”
CALVINA NGUYEN: I don’t have to say much for her talent because her photos speak for themselves. She’s really caught the whole essence of our trip and I get compliments all the time from her amazing ability to document our whole process. I am so utterly indebted to her not just as a photographer, but as a friend. She’s championed our cause and been such a cheerleader for us during this whole process. She’s talked me through tears of struggle and has been excited with me throughout this whole journey. I love this lady.
• mango lassi : we were extremely cautious wherever we went to eat or drink. Every meal, Cal wanted to try a mango lassi, we warned her about “milk products” and anything that involved ice.
She was good and decided to wait until we got home to try one! She decided NOT to heed our caution and ventured to try one. Ask her if she experienced Delhi Belly after that one.
• tea: did I tell you we spent close to an hour in a supermarket looking for the right milk tea? Cal needed to know every single detail about this tea..”was it organic? is it loose? is it roasted? is it..?”
• making her own EVERYTHING: I’ve learned from this gal that she uses apple cider vinegar to wash her hair, she makes her own deodorant and that she can turns dirt into wine … well, I kid about the last one.
• wandering: her and Nate wander together…we worried a bit for them especially in Kolkata. We teased that if we left them at any spot, they’d be clueless. But her wandering also got us to discover some cool places that we would’ve never thought to go!
ELTON LIN: I don’t have many opportunities to boast about the love of my life. I won’t get too gushy. But having him by my side has made me more confident in what I’m doing and knowing that he’s my partner through this thick and thin makes the world of a difference.
• chips and ramen: yes, I knew this about him BEFORE the trip, but at every convenience store we stopped at he had to check out the ramen and chips, and since it was in India, everything was curry flavored. We’ve learned to bring our own Shin cups for the next trip.
• toilet paper: I don’t know how many times we’ve run out of toilet paper and he’s had to go and replenish it.
• bottled water: the first day we were there we were desperately searching for bottle water. We walked high and low for a supermarket and FINALLY Elton found one after an hour. Upon our arrival back to our room, we asked the front desk where he purchased water and he pointed to a small store across the street. Hilarity.
• dogs that look like Pumpkin: my brother-in-law has a dog named Pumpkin that looks alot like the dogs in India. Every time we saw a dog like Pumpkin, Elton wanted to either pet it or feed it. Upon my stern warning of getting rabies, he conceded to not pet them. Yes, the strict wife I am.
• his wife (ok I had to slot this one in..but it’s a good story): one of the days during training I was feeling rather light-headed and tired. It was probably a culmination of travel and little sleep. As I was getting up to stand I grabbed his arm to steady myself and he helped me gain my balance to walk outside for some fresh air. He also sat with me and brought me some water. It was such a simple act, but what was even more interesting was that the ladies that we were training were in awe. They noticed that my husband took care of me. They said that no husband they’ve seen here in India does that for their wife. The wife ALWAYS serves the husband no matter what. I feel blessed to have him.
We set out on this journey with the question, “Is this dream even possible?” So far all arrows have been pointing us in the direction of “Yes”. Just seeing the success of our friends has given me hope that we CAN do something worthwhile, we CAN change the system and we CAN do it together. Thank you friends for supporting us! This is just the beginning of so many more possibilites to come.