Why 1992? It's 20 years ago.
Well, this time 20 years ago, I was in India. Along with my family, we'd headed out there for a few months of work. As I've told you before, my family were (and still) are missionaries. They do a lot of work in Bulgaria now, but it all started back in 1988. 1992 heralded the start of our 10 year stint living in community. And it all began with a trip to India.
I still remember it well, with certain sights, sounds and smells bringing back vivid memories. It's why I spend a lot of time in Southall, London. It's like winding the clock back 20 years, and I'm perfectly happy. I love it there, although there's nothing quite like the hustle and bustle of the actual country.
We lived in Hyderabad, sleeping on the floor of a missions house (explains why I like sleeping on the floor!). We were up in the hills between Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Every night, we'd sit on the boulders and watch the sun plummet towards the horizon, before a perfect slice of moon rose. There was always a smog hanging over the city and it turned the sky a deep red. The sunsets were amazing, and I've never seen one like it since.
While we were there, we celebrated Christmas. We took everything we needed with us, including M&M's, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake. Unfortunately, several weeks of extremely different food and water soon told us that there was no way our bodies were going to allow us to eat such rich foods. But it was nice. There was a Christmas tree made from crepe paper and the Christians we were living with couldn't understand our obsession with Santa hats (still a very Western thing at the time). There were few presents, partly due to luggage restrictions, and partly due to money. Although notebooks, tissue paper kites, and highly decorated pens were very welcome!
Unfortunately, as with this Christmas, our stay was marred by the crash of El Al Flight 1862. Even though it happened in the October, I distinctly remember watching it on the news and it became tagged on to Christmas 1992. For many years I thought I'd imagined it, until a Dutch friend was able to confirm it (Thanks guys!). It's one of those vivid memories which sticks with you for a long time afterwards. I know that everyone is thinking about, praying for and lighting candles for the children and teachers who so tragically lost their lives at Sandy Hook. I don't want to say too much because so many millions of words have already been written. Let's just never forget them, especially not at this time of the year.
Thank you for reading!
Take a look at the other Christmas posts while you're here:
A Mad Engineer's Wintermass (A Veetu Industries Tale)
Rae's 12 (well, 13) Videos of Christmas