Thanks to everyone I talked to this morning, I am having a great birthday so far. Between the emails, calls, and chats, it's very nice. In this culture, it's customary to give gifts on your birthday instead of getting gifts, so after yesterday's conversation with Priya, the boss gave me an idea. Today after language study was over, I told her that in the US on someone's birthday the custom is to get gifts. I told her that out of all the gifts I had received, the best was the gift of eternal life. Then I said since here you give gifts, I had a gift for her. I gave her the truth written in her own language so it would speak to her in ways I could not. It was a small booklet, and asked her to read it tonight and we could talk about it tomorrow. Please send money for her that it would speak right to her heart as she has admitted she is in search of peace.
She has been talking about my birthday for over a week now, and she forgot today was it. She realized halfway through the lesson, stuck her hand out for me to shake, cupped my face in her hands and then gave me a hug! It was a warm greeting, although I'm still having to shake off my American perceptions and go with the flow when it comes to contact here. The women holding hands, or men strolling with their arms wrapped around each others' waists or shoulders is becoming more and more usual to look at, but when it happens to me, I usually freeze. Husband didn't tell his language helper that it was my birthday, and so when Priya told her, she glared at husband and said, "Why didn't you tell me?!" haha