Dalavais adjusting to new home in small-town Kansas

Though new to Hillsboro, Jayakar and Julia Dalavai are no strangers to experiencing different cultures. The Dalavais, originally from Hyderabad, India, have been living in the Hillsboro community since June and are accepting the challenge of living in a small town. ?I enjoy it,? Jayakar said. ?Hillsboro is a good place.? Julia agreed. ?The people are quite friendly,? she said. ?I feel at home here.? Life in the United States is nothing new for Jayakar, who has been living in the States for the better part of 36 years. Jayakar first came to the United States in 1975 with his late wife, Jaya, and settled in Topeka. ?I started working for the railroad and she had a job in the hospital there,? Jayakar said. While in Topeka, Jayakar worked on his master?s degree in business administration through Emporia State Univer?sity while working for Burling?ton Northern Santa Fe Railway. In 1993, work transferred the Dalavais and their three children to Fort Worth, Texas. During that time, Jayakar?s job with the California Automobile Association required him to commute back and forth from California for about four years. After Jaya?s death from cancer in 2004, Jayakar returned to Hyderabad to pursue his doctorate from Osmania University. While in school, Jayakar met Julia. ?Jay?s niece and my sister had a talk and brought us together,? Julia said. Prior to their June 2007 wedding, Julia had been working for the Christian Broadcasting Network affiliate in Hyderabad. Julia worked for CBN for three years and received a commendation from the company?s founder, Pat Robertson. The Dalavais moved stateside in July 2009. Though it was a return trip for Jayakar, it was Julia?s first time in the country. Transitioning to life in the United States went smoothly, according to Julia. ?We already had a lot of friends here,? she said. Her experiences traveling throughout her home country also helped the adjustment to life in America. ?I traveled around (India) while working with Campus Crusade for Christ,? Julia said. ?All of India does not speak the same language,? she added. The Dalavais had their first taste of Hillsboro earlier this year when Jayakar taught a class during Tabor?s interterm session in January. ?Lawrence Ressler gave me the opportunity to teach during interterm,? Jayakar said about Ressler, who was then vice president of academic affairs at the college. Jayakar made the connection with Tabor when a group of students and faculty from the school were in India on an interterm trip in January 2008. After a good experience in January, the Dalavais returned to Texas. Not long after returning to Dallas, Jayakar received a call from Tabor. ?(Business Department chair) Norm Hope called and asked if I would come and teach,? Jayakar said. ?After much prayer, we felt a strong calling to come back to Hillsboro and Tabor.? Jayakar, who has a strong Mennonite background, has enjoyed working in the community so far. ?College life keeps me busy,? he said. ?The students are great, and it is a diverse learning experience.? The transition to life in Hillsboro has been an overall good experience, but has not been without a few difficulties. ?(Dallas/Ft. Worth) is where the children, grandchildren and friends are,? Jayakar said. Technology and visits to Texas every two months help bridge the distance, he said. For Julia, most of her family is still in India. This, too, is made easier through technology. ?I talk to my family every day,? she said. Aside from missing family, the main struggle has been the drive it takes to do any shopping. ?In Dallas, everything was within walking distance,? Julia said. ?Here we have to go to Wichita for any big shopping trips.? These small trials don?t detract from the positives about living in the community, though. ?These things don?t matter,? Julia said with a smile. ?We?re very happy here.?

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