Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas In India

     We had been in India almost three weeks when Christmas arrived. Planning ahead, we packed all the decorations we would bring from "home" in our luggage so they were sure to arrive before Christmas. Our air shipment arrived from the US on Tuesday, December 21 and it was like an early Christmas (number one) for all of us. We couldn't remember what was in the air shipment and when we received word of its arrival I chose not to look at the inventory until after we could feel the surprise of opening the boxes. So that day was our first India Christmas. We had purchased bedding and blankets, shower curtains and drapes to decorate our new home before we left the US. When all of this arrived in our air shipment, we opened and inventoried everything and we began to decorate our house to look a little more like "our" home.
     On Christmas Eve we were invited to a new friend's home for the evening. We had great fun meeting new people, kids all playing, eating traditional Christmas food like turkey, ham, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cookies and desserts. We played a white elephant game around the Christmas tree and Santa even came in for a visit. It all felt like Christmas and we walked home saying that was fun and we were all tired. On our way home we even had a tuk-tuk driver yell "Merry Christmas!" to us as we crossed a busy street.
     Christmas day arrived almost a half day before it arrived for our family in the US, and Santa came to India first! Christmas morning arrived really early in our house because the kids just couldn't stay asleep. The three of them traditionally sleep in the same room on Christmas Eve, true to tradition the all piled into kid one's room and attempted to sleep for the night. At 5AM they crept into our room to announce the evidence that Santa had arrived and then we were up for the day. Santa found the kids in India and Grandma and Grandpa W's gifts were there too. (number two) The kids were feeling like Mom and Dad re-gifted when they opened the Fodor's tour book of India we have had from before our move. Seeing it was book marked to the page with our itinerary for Monday, December 27 we would take a ride to Agra and tour the Taj Mahal. (A whole post will be made for this soon-number three)
     We walked to church that morning and the walk reminded me we were in India, far away from our family and our home of ten plus year. No sooner than I started to feel that longing and a car drove by and the passengers greeted us with a loud "Merry Christmas!" and I felt this too will feel like our home when it comes time to leave.
     New traditions will come about, new friends will be made and still new gifts will arrive! Because on Wednesday, December 29 we had four packages arrive. Some was an order I placed but the box from Grandma and Grandpa D arrived with gifts for everyone. We all shouted with delight to find all the gluten free packages of goodies in the box for the family. Kid three opened his own package, a set of books from the cousin book exchange and we all had Christmas number four at our house. I am not sure we will get all the way to twelve days of Christmas but we will keep you posted.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sunday afternoon Drive

Last Sunday after church we were invited by our friendly neighbors to go out and see some sights in Delhi.  Together we decided it would be fun to go see Red Fort.  Nobody bothered to take into account that Friday was an Islamic holiday, and most businesses were closed, making that weekend a three day weekend.  Red Fort apparently is in Old Delhi and a section where a lot of activity relating to this holiday were taking place.  The traffic was slow, at best, so we did some people watching.  Along with got watched, (stared at) ourselves.  This is a job none of us would like.  Look closely, there are three men in the wires, we assume attempting to fix something.  I really don't think that was a pleasure climb.

After almost giving up on parking we exited the car and started for the gate at Red Fort.  As you can see from these pictures, we did not have an original idea for a Sunday afternoon.

It didn't take us long to decide, we have lots of weekends to go to Red Fort in Delhi, India since we have agreed to live her for two years.  So we walked back to the car and drove back toward home.  The day wasn't a total loss though.  We saw a man on a bike with two monkeys in tow.  The kids have been wanting to see monkeys.  Not quite the same to have them on the end of a rope but it was fun to watch the little monkey act the guy put on with the pets.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Like meeting a Celebrity

In these first few weeks here in Delhi we have checked into the places that need to know we are here and begun to get around a bit.  We have become familiar with the US Embassy and have begun our membership process to the things the embassy has to offer.  We can shop at the embassy commissary, eat at the embassy restaurants, use the gym and bowling ally, all fine advantages of having the US Embassy membership.
In our moving around and checking in we have had the pleasure of meeting some of the fine people we either read about prior to arriving in India or even better, had contact with and corresponded with prior to our arrival.  When we found out where we would be living a very helpful co-worker of the Mister put us in touch with our neighbors down one floor.  We had emailed and Mister even talked to Mr first floor when we were still state side.  We have met the entire family and we are blessed to have such great neighbors. 
We met the famous Superman, a co-worker with the Mister, a helpful local man who works with Mister and has helped both while we were state side and has the answers to all or our local inquiries.  I think his name should be Superman, he is that helpful!  And even a superhero at times. 
Through sharing of our news prior to our move to India, my in-laws put us in touch with another family with ties to the mid-west who moved to Delhi in July of 2010.  I was put in touch with A who answered many questions from what to pack to where can I get a hair cut.  A and daughter E took kid one and I out for a day of shopping on Saturday.  They just took us to Khan Market and Sarajoni shopping areas. What a treat to do some shopping India style. 

We have now met face to face with these helpful people and are comforted by the help they continue to shower on us as we adjust.   I feel like I am meeting famous people when I see faces to these names I have had in my head for months now.  Thank you famous helpful people!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Still In the Bags

Going on two weeks landed in Delhi and we are starting to have a grasp on night and day. We are still living with the same things we brought with us on the plane; the same ten suit cases and carry ons but we have all of them so that is a good thing. Our shipments have not arrived at our home yet but we are in the flat, our permanent house for the two years we will be here. We are thankful for what we have and try not to dwell on what is lacking.

Mister has been going into work and has a car and driver for that. The kids and I are still going by way of taxi when we leave the house at all. We will eventually buy a car/vehicle here for the family to use but we were hoping our van in the states would sell first so we could use that money towards a family car here. It is that whole waiting game thing all over again.

Kid one had some placement tests and AES to finalize her schedule. She is starting her new school and new semester on January 4 when the school resumes after winter break. Kid middle and Kid three will start at the same time. The two of them would have liked to start last week but the school seemed to encourage them to wait and we don't have a car so I didn't want to fight it. They are both excited that they will begin Spanish classes here. We moved to India for everyone to take Spanish class! I am sure odder things will happen.

Kid three had a small case of what is affectionately called Delhi Belly. He had a mild case though, no vomiting, just nausea, and the "other" symptoms he had but the fever only lasted twenty four hours. Kid middle pointed out that everyone is worried about kid one meeting people that she has been introduced to many high school aged kids yet kid middle and kid three have met nobody their age yet. Living out of suit cases with few things and little to do is beginning to wear on the two of them. They are last to call the computer time, last in line for the votes on what to get done, it is getting hard for them to be without the things that make time go by. So for the sake of the little ones, we pray our stuff arrives soon.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


We have been in Delhi for almost a full week now and the adults are still feeling a bit of the jet lag.  The kids have all recovered pretty well and for the most part so have the adults but there are times during the day that I feel myself listening to another person speak and wonder to myself, "am I drooling?"  My head is still in a fog at times.
We have been around town some, bought groceries, taken in a few events, tried some traditional India food.  We even found some gluten free options, what a wonderful treat!
The kids will be starting school after the holiday break so we are doing home school until then.  We visited the American Embassy School (AES) campus and it sure looks wonderful.  One thing the kids enjoyed learning is that the teachers from AES live at the school.  There are residence halls right on the campus and the teachers live right there.  It is just like what we all believed when we were in kindergarten, teachers really do live at the school.  There is a large climbing wall at AES that kid three is most taken in by.  He is very curious to know if you have to wear a harness to climb such a large wall.
We have seen different modes of transportation like the tuk tuk and different living accommodations.  We have seen stray dogs and cats, not monkeys yet.  We have seen cows, kid middle was most impressed by the large bull walking down the street and nobody paid it any mind.  They just walked by it like it was just another pedestrian.  We have gone out on our roof top and looked from high above and took a ride in tiny little taxi to watch from down low.  From inside our house at different times of day we can hear the chants sung for the Muslim's call to prayers.  We hear horns honk while in our house and even more when we are out in a taxi.  There are nice reminders painted on the traffic light posts NO HORN! that are completely ignored and slightly comical.  All of this in one weeks time.  We are excited to see what two years can show us.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Looks like we made it!

We arrived, finally we arrived.  With Christmas packed along with school books and clothes all the bags were very heavy but we made sure all were under 50 pounds before we left our temporary home away from home in the hotel.  We left the USA and flew to Frankfort then to Delhi and arrived at about one in the morning on Monday, December 6.  All our luggage also arrived safe and in tacked for the most part, one handle broke.   The air was all a haze, even in the airport, so when we stepped outside the four of us who had never been to India didn't know it was outside, we only knew it was more hazy and a little cooler than the room we were just in. We compared the smell to campfire, mostly because that was something we knew. A gentleman greeted at the airport and then drove us to our new home. The drive at one in the morning to our flat was an easy one, nothing out of the ordinary.  We saw some tuk-tuks and other odd vehicles. We saw one accident, a truck turned on its side but for the most part it was a smooth ride to our flat.  Unfortunately the whole inside of our flat was freshly painted for our arrival and was made from the cool colorful walls we saw in pictures to the boring drab ivory we hoped not to see.  In the pictures it looked bright and fun, like we hoped for our life in India.  We will decorate with bright and fun and make it our home in India and all will be well.  You just come and see!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day of Departure

I have had bad dreams all week of our flight being snowed out and complications because of snow.  This morning I woke to the sound of the snow plow clearing the hotel parking lot.  It doesn't look like much to worry about, just some snow to make the place look like it is early December, but it has been worrisome nonetheless.  Our hotel rooms look like small suitcase explosions throughout the rooms.  I had to call it quits on packing last night when the tears started coming down thinking of my friends and family I will miss so much while I am gone. We still have lists of things to do so I am now awake at five in the morning trying to do some of the work, and some to avoid the work. 
The kids middle and three had wonderful parties in their grade school classrooms yesterday.  We will miss their school a lot.  Our family has been part of that setting the entire time we have lived in this town, ten and a half years, and we have many wonderful memories and friends there who will be greatly missed but kept forever in our hearts.
Kid one met with friends last night for a party and sleep over.  She is a bit like her mother, has a list of things to do as well but avoiding the list is more fun.  Classes and clubs had sweet send offs for her even within the high school setting.
As we pack and clear out our house it has been fun to remember and smile about the family and friends we have shared our lives with in this location for the time we have been here, and look ahead to the new friends we will meet.  It keeps us inspired to know some of the faces we already know will come visit us in the new, unknown place we are about to call home.  Kid middle was the first to voice "I'm a little scared" out loud.  We are all scared, the unknown has a way to do that to us but the excitement is fun too, not to mention it is just fun to say "I am moving to India!"

Count down

We have waited and waited for a date to finally be determined, now we know the date and suddenly we are all frantically running around trying to get it all done, everyone visited, sights seen, it's CRAZY around here.  We decided to make a trip into the big city to do some sight seeing, see some fun things here in the USA, still not too far from home.  We also made a trip to see family over Thanksgiving and of course we got to see our dog.  The dog remembered us but she is very happy in her new home.  (That was great for all of us to see).  Play dates for the kids are pouring in so everyone gets just one more visit before we go.  Swimming at the hotel we are temporarily living in is a huge draw for play dates.
Movers descended onto our house and packed, loaded and crated all of our things we want to be sent to India for our stay there.  We are working on loading the other things we want to keep into a storage place and carting ten years of other stuff off to Good Will or dumping it directly into the garbage.  I go to bed at night with lists of things to do tomorrow running through my head and wake every morning with more things to add to the list.  Will it ever all get done?  The count down continues...four more days to departure. Eeeeks!