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  • Writer's pictureAmber Vanderburg

Life is a Highway

I come from the state of Oklahoma. The place that is known for high pollen levels, ever-changing weather, and a near required flu shot. The land that cultivates a runny nose in even the most Ron Swanson of folk. As a native Okie, I have built a fairly strong immunity to most allergies and sinuses attacks.

You can imagine my amazement that in this paradise weather, with palm trees and chai tea galore, that sickness has all but consumed this month. Fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat, and headaches have been all too common. But through the sneezes and coughs, I’ve been able to continue to see our football program grow.

Our new location that started last month has about 75 consistent players and we plan to have over 100 in the upcoming weeks which is very exciting! In another location, I started coaching my first Indian girls team who are filled with spunk and are hilarious to be around. Our teams have learned many valuable life lessons this month as opportunity has provided many teaching moments about teamwork, sportsmanship, respect, perseverance, and leadership. Team fundamentals has been this month’s focus and it has really been great to see these learning moments shape the dynamic of our player interaction and team.

This month was also full of Indian celebrations. We celebrated Indian Independence Day on the fifteenth with Indian flags and balloons and the works. Honestly, no one typically does much for Independence Day but I insisted on being obnoxiously patriotic with many decorations and food. I definitely celebrated independence American style.

We also celebrated raksha bandhan, which is brother-sister day with many traditions. Ryesh, my Indian brother, was the person with who I celebrated. I read him a sibling poem, we fed each other Lindt chocolate, and I tied rakhi bands on his wrist. It was very special to be included in this tradition with my Indian brother.

I’ve had the opportunity to join my new friends in everyday fun as well. We went to the movie theater which was an awesome experience. The movies are in a variety of languages, all complete with subtitles, all are edited/cut for family audiences which makes films like Suicide Squad an interesting watch, and all films have an intermission. We also have been to go see some bands which made me again realize the universality of music. I go to the gym everyday where they offer legit classes like Bolly Aerobics (Indian Zumba) and martial arts. Everyday my relationships and community are growing as I continue to become Indian.

We got a new coach/roommate from London and I have been assigned as his tour guide since I am now basically Indian. I gave him an Amber Vanderburg Tour of Bangalore which was quite the success and brought me back to my AVTOT days.

Oh, and yes this is the beginning of American football season and yes, I have figured out how to cheer on my Sooners from abroad. Sooner born, sooner bred…

I am very thankful for this past month and look forward to the exciting things to come. Prayers for a complete health, continued opportunity for learning moments with my teams, and chances to build quality relationships with people are appreciated. As always, thank you all for your continued love and support, it really means a lot as the Lord leads me in this extraordinary journey.

Until next time, boomer!

Amber Vanderburg

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