Sunday, May 22, 2011

Family history...

Sheffield is beautiful.  I wasn't sure what it would look like outside of London.  We took a train there on Sunday morning and upon arriving at the train station, looked around for my aunt - we call her Meenu Bua.  We were surprised to hear a deep, male voice behind us, "Moni and Matthew?" and we turned to see a young Indian guy.  It didn't occur to us that we might meet any other family members but here stood my cousin Christopher.  As a student at a university outside of London, Chris often takes the train to visit Meenu Bua.  We enjoyed meeting him and learning more about the British culture.

Meenu Bua drove the three of us around the Sheffield area on a tour before heading to a pub for a traditional English meal of Yorkshire pudding (my mother in law would have been proud).  Matthew and I both loved how peaceful this part of the world is.  There were green rolling hills all around us with many flowering trees and fields of sheep and horses.  We continued our tour and visited a little village where they serve traditional pudding.  For those of you that don't know (I didn't), it's not the type of pudding we think of in the US.  It's more like a pie served with whipped cream and cream on the side.

After the tour, Meenu Bua took us to her home.  As soon as you walk in the door, you feel immediately comfortable.  Meenu Bua is the type of person that makes you feel at rest and natural.  I had caught a cold in London and it was so nice to be at her home to rest for a few days.  Much of our time there was spent, as my dad would say, "examining the inside of my eyelids".  During the day, Meenu Bua went to work and Matthew would go on walks exploring the town and countryside, and I slept and rested.

I hope I don't embarass her by sharing this, but I was so blessed and encouraged to get to know Meenu Bua better.  She is a doctor and a woman of great strength.  I was amazed that she would go to work all day (and sometimes all night if she was on call) and then come home and cook dinner, work around the house, and stay up late with us and then rise early and head back to work the next day.  To give you an day she performed nine surgeries at work then came home and spent the evening teaching me how to make a cake from scratch and how to cook Indian food!  Every night we would have tea in the evening and then have a late dinner and sit and talk and talk.  We enjoyed hearing her talk about work, church, our family history, and life in general.

My first cake from scratch - notice the edible glitter :)

After our few days with Meenu Bua, I was sad to leave her.  She took great care of us and is a wonderful person to be around.  She is also blessing our journey by helping us to add Spain to our itinerary!  Traveling to Spain was not part of our original plan but she offered that we stay in a house that she has there.  We are so excited to add this to our trip as it is a place that we have always wanted to go.  Thank you Meenu Bua for blessing us in so many ways!

Here are some pics of beautiful Sheffield...

On Thursday, we took the train to Manchester to spend the day with a close family friend of ours, Shako Aunty, before boarding the evening train to Edinburgh, Scotland.  My grandmother, Beulah, was a principle at a school in India, and Shako Aunty was one of her students.  She was close with both my grandparents on my mother's side and even knew my father's side of the family well.  Shako Aunty met my mother when she was almost 2 and my father when he was 3 years old.  We enjoyed cuisine at a French restaurant with her family and throughout the day, Matthew and I were captivated as she told us many stories of our family history that we had never heard before. 

That evening, we took a train across the country into Edinburgh, Scotland where Matthew lived for a year as a study abroad student.  You can look forward to Matthew's writing in the next post to share about our time in Edinburgh.

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