Sunday, January 14, 2018

Traveling to INDIA, and Staying Well

 Las Vegas to Seattle to Dubai to Chennai...


I stepped off of the airplane and headed down the corridor. Instead of heading straight towards immigration, I followed the signs directing me to the women's bathrooms.  

When I opened the stall, I was stunned for a moment as I processed everything...
(see picture below)

1) I would need to bring my carry-on and purse into the tiny space with me.
2) "How sanitary is this place?"  I would ask and answer myself instantly.
3) No toilet paper.  (Thank goodness for a leftover napkin I still had in my purse from purchasing food the day prior)
4) "Would it be possible for me to squat, without touching my hands on the floor without peeing all over my pants and shoes?" Valid concern. 

5) I gave myself a big pep talk.  "You can do this!" There was no getting out or around this situation.  I needed to use this bathroom asap and had no idea when the next opportunity, to relieve myself would be. 

Squatting like a champ I almost manage it without a problem, but I had underestimated the slickness of the surface my shoes were on.  My left leg slipped out from underneath me and instinctively my left arm responded in a flash.  Thank goodness for my left hands selfless sacrifice, it was able to support my body so that the only contact that happened was my left hand.  A 4 letter word quickly leaped off my lips.  Fortunately it was said quiet enough, and was in English so I hoped that nobody was offended.

My hand needed to be quarantined at that point.  Oh the horror!  

Surprisingly I managed to finish the job, use the napkin from my purse that was fortunately still in my RIGHT hand vs. being in my (needing to be quarantined) left. I proceeded like a champ and used the faucet of water and the bucket to "flush".  

I did the one handed, pull my pants back up, shimmy.  

Mission accomplished.  Job done, and my pants and shoes were still dry.  

Finagling my way out of the bathroom with my luggage, I headed to the bathroom sink and mirror.  Thank goodness they had hand soap. I scrubbed, washed, rinsed, dried my hands (with the focus of a surgeon), and then took out an essential oil blend to put on my hands to kill any lingering problem whether from the fall or from the water I had used to wash my hands with. 

Introducing the original "Squatty Potty".  My Squatty Potty at home, that lifted my legs up when sitting on the 'throne', was definitely not the real deal. 

Here it is... 

Exiting the bathroom I followed the signs back to immigration.

 Once past immigration, I exit the airport.  I was told in advance, by the couple who sat next to me, that the smell is a bit overwhelming at first.  I was warned that the congestion, smells, humidity, closeness of so many people interacting together, takes a little getting used to.  

Exiting the airport, in my obviously american Eddie Bauer shoes, pants, shirt, and puffed light winter coat, I definitely looked like a foreigner. The sunlight blinded me for a few seconds.  Everything seemed to be playing in slow motion as my eyes adjusted to the light.  Seas and seas of black hair, and dark chocolate faces seemed to surround all sides. Tall, short, medium, they stacked against each other lining both sides of the lines that separated them from the people exiting the airport.  I suddenly felt like a celebrity walking down the red carpet as if there were paparazzi on all sides.  The smiles, the shouts, the honking of horns from vehicles in the distance, the revving motors of vehicles, it all seemed so surreal.  A smile escaped my attempting to be 'serious' face.  What a warm welcome. It felt like I had just finished a marathon and cheering fans were on both sides.  I tried not to make eye contact with any of those white eyes that were staring at me.  I scanned the canvas of black and brown for some indication of my name. 


There was my name printed in large bold black lettering on white paper.  I nod my head in response to him pointing to me.  "Yes, I'm Steffanie".  He motions for me to keep walking until I make it to the end of the throngs of people as he goes behind everything and resurfaces just as I am exiting the lines that separate the travelers from the natives.  An occasional brightly colored dress, would be seem occasionally.  "The jewels of this place were definitely the women,"  I thought.  They were so beautiful but definitely outnumbered. I was seeing firsthand what I had read online weeks earlier.  The population of men outnumbered the women significantly.  

As we drove out of the parking lot, a few men waved in response to my asking if I can take their picture. 

The smells

I was told to brace myself.  As I took the below video, the warm air blew gently into my face while I was filming.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  Trash was everywhere.  Fires lit piles of garbage in so many places.  The cows. Who did they belong to? I wondered how the sewage drained.   I attempted to carry on a conversation with the driver, but unfortunately we did not understand each other.  I focused back on filming and taking in all of the incredible sights.  I had seen pictures of all of this but nothing compares to experiencing it in person.  The humidity, the blaring of the sun, the mixture of smoke and sewage and garbage in the air...Then without warning, a smell smacked me so hard in the face/eyes/nostrils that I jumped back into the car and stopped the video because of the startle.  Holy cow! THAT was probably the type of smell that had sent my new friend immediately back into her hotel to give herself a pep talk in order to exit the hotel again and continue her tour of the city.  I couldn't recall a prior time in my life when a particular smell had cut my breathe like that immediately.

We were soon greeted by the security man, who worked for the Dr. whose name was on all of my VISA documents who was requesting I come to India.   I looked at the name on the house as I entered.  There was her name on a golden plaque.  I was so excited to meet her!  My luggage was brought to the 2nd floor and I was shown my room, the kitchen area that would be shared with another couple, and my private bathroom.  

Once in my apartment, I realized my throat was starting to burn a little.  It reminded me of years ago when my family and I had to evacuate our home.  The fires were too close, and we were starting to get nauseas from the inhalation of smoke and so we had to leave for a few days.  This smell was a constant in Tamil Nadu.   I prayed that I would not have any issues with the air pollution affecting my health.  I opened the window to see what my view would be like.  I smiled when I saw the laundry hanging.  It reminded me of my beloved Mexico and the people at the clinic who had saved my life 3 years prior.  

Knowing all the germs that I must have on my body and clothing, from traveling for 2 days, I stripped down and entered what I was told was my private bathroom.  Onguard foaming hand wash was applied to my entire body and face.  The essential oils used to cleanse felt like warming pin pricks all over my body.  I imagined all of the bad being killed by the good.  I breathed in the scent of wild orange, clove bud, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary - how grateful I was for my essential oils. My instinct was to scratch the surface of my skin with my nails, but knowing that puncturing through my skin would make me vulnerable to bacteria entering my blood stream, I opted for cleansing my skin with the skin brushes I had brought - super thankful for the last minute tip from the prior Dance Master who had been in India for 6 months prior to my arrival. I followed up with another body wash and an extra dose of cleanser to my face and hands as well.

I hadn't been instructed on how to use the shower yet, and so I didn't know the heating unit switch was in a conjoining room. It was a nice cold shower, but I loved the experience as it reminded me of my Mamita in Chile.  She would always shake her head in disbelief at us crazy american girls who showered with hot water.  She had beautiful tight youthful skin for her age.  She told us she "always used cold water".  Not by choice, but there I was taking my nice cold shower - hoping for the beautiful skin Mamita Carmen still had now 20+ years later than that time, when I was in Chile as a missionary. 

Once in my room, I made sure to setup my wattage converter, surge protector (I was told power surges happen several times a day) and my diffuser.  I chose the OnGuard blend to diffuse into the air.  A calmness flooded over me as I knew it would help to remove all impurities from the air - even the polution that would come into my room through the window from the smoke and the smell of garbage. 

  Working with 300 kids K-12 grade, directing the Life Dance Troupe every day during the week, and leading individual and group dance and movement therapy exercises/classes at a different leprosy colonies each week... I needed to have energy and I needed cellular support, and reduced inflammation - especially with Non-HIV B-Cell AIDS - a result of undiagnosed Lyme disease for 18 years. With an immunosuppressive illness...this was my lifeline.  

I came prepared.  I smiled when I opened up my once Stella and Dot Jewelry bag, to see my treasures.  Jasmine, Neroli and Rose were some of my favorite essential oils.  So rare. So pure.  Just seeing those oils made my happy.   Taking the rose essential oil out, I applied it to the back of my neck and rubbed that beautiful, uplifting essential oil into my skin.  "Thank you, God, for these beautiful gifts," I whispered.  

 The flashlight/lantern made it with me - just in time.  I love it.  The prior Dance Master, (the amazing Susie) gave me this tip last minute.  She said her hand held lantern had saved her many times due to the random power outages citywide.  I thought of the picture my friend Shaun had posted of the gigantic scorpion they had seen and of his counsel to be "aware of your surroundings at all times".  Grateful was an understatement.  I had packed two to of these flashlight/lanterns to be safe.  

Inside this backpack (below) are the items I was told I needed to have for the group "dance movement jams" that happen at the end of the day at the various leprosy colonies, and items I would need to check and double check to make sure I was on top of things as far as preventing illness goes.  Inside this travel bag is my wireless speaker, my flashlight, tissue (gotta bring your own TP), Onguard Hand Spray, Onguard beadlet lozenges, and it will fit my stainless steel water bottle that has lemon and peppermint essential oils added to the water.

Refreshing and cleansing to have nice purified water with lemon essential oil and peppermint in it. 

 During my flight, there was a woman who kept coughing right next to me.  It was a tad unnerving.  Every few hours, and sometimes every 20-30 minutes, I would pop a couple more essential oil beadlets into my mouth and even rubbed some of the essential oils from bursted beadles onto the back of my neck and into my throat.  I would use the spray on the palms of my hands and then rub my hands together, cup them over my nose and mouth and breathe in deeply.  Again,  I would think, "Thank you, dear God, for these beautiful gifts that can cross the blood/brain barrier, as well as the cell membrane." No matter what I came into contact with, I prayed that all of the life-saving essential oils would prevent, protect, or eliminate anything I would come into contact with. 

According to my Dr.,  my immune system is "pretty much non-existent". Yes. The products I use are my life-line. I do not want to stay living in a bubble out of fear of what I may come in contact with, and so instead of letting the reality and fear of whatever else I might be exposed to, stop me from going forward with the invitation to India, I brought essential oils, and I brought the ResultsRNA products.

For 20+ years I was always trying to "build my immune system".  At they help to educate why that doesn't work.  It is non HIV B Cell AIDS that we (the neurological chronic lyme warriors) are dealing with.  As being such, I am doing my best to create my immunity through the essential oils, and Results RNA products in addition to eating a KETO (primarily vegetarian) diet. 

I pray that I will be able to adhere to this same diet which has me feeling pretty amazing these days thanks to my amazing coach, Ron Williams.  I'll need to create another blog post that details my food choices these days. When I cheat it is usually with berries or a grapefruit. 

As I was cleaning the dishes tonight, I was told about how they never use the water to drink and make sure dishes are completely dry before they use them.  I pulled this out of my bag. YES!  How grateful I am that I brought it!  Time to sanitize dishes and my bathroom etc. 

Here's to health, and wellness and an "ounce or two of prevention". 

With much love, 


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