Monday, May 28, 2012

Moving Along

We have entered the time of year when every day can bring a new statement "We are moving to..." from anyone around the school campus.  I have discovered that all three of my seven cities sisters from my small group will be moving away from Delhi after school end.  Honestly we haven't done much together as the four of us since we finished our tour but we have interacted in larger groups surrounding the common meeting point of seven cities.
I find myself more focused on the others that are leaving and trying to ignore the obvious leaver within my own house.  Kid one is preparing to move to the US this summer to begin her adventure in college.  She was accepted to enough colleges to make a decision necessary but clearly wanted the out of state but close enough to home and grandparents option.
Graduations begin this week.  Our local high school back in the US celebrated graduation yesterday.  Fifth graders cross their bridge here at AES today while eighth graders will graduate on Monday night and high school graduation for AES is Tuesday night.
My mom and "Auntie" are here for the graduation and to visit India so there are some distractions for me to focus on.  We have been seeing sights and participating in the year end activities together.  I am enjoying having my mom here to hold my hand as these good byes get harder to ignore and say.
Graduation will have a live streaming feed for those who want to be here but can't.  Link to the below sight at 7:00pm New Delhi time Tuesday May 29.
Love to all of you we miss and those we will be missing soon.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Bed of Roses

I have returned to being the single person who does the entire housework load as life in the US once was. Yes, the kids and Mister are requested to help as well but reality is time does not permit for them since they are gone from 7:30am to 4:30pm at the earliest often arriving home at 6:30pm or later on most days. I have found myself plenty to do in Delhi and it has been enjoyable doing the plenty of things but that all comes to an end when there is nobody home taking care of what needs to be done within the home for everyday living. The simple task of washing dishes is made into an all-day affair because five people eating morning and night brings a batch to wash both in the morning and at night. In the US I would require all those who ate to load their dirties into the dishwasher and we would all leave the house near the same time. In the evening we would eat and, they would load, wash cycle would take place and they were required to unload the dishes from the dishwasher. Here because an automatic dishwasher is not present in most Delhi kitchens we have the manual dishwasher and she left the country when her visa came through. That task could be shared with the other four who share this house with me but again reality is, homework and eczema type dry hands prevents the older two from participating and the intolerance of hot or even warm water from the younger hands causes me to just wash the dishes myself so we can prevent some communicable diseases that could be passed hand to mouth. I can stay home in the morning and do the dishes after our morning tears through the kitchen or I can leave with everyone else and return to a messed up kitchen and still need to prepare dinner for the family. Our kitchen is very small so stacking dishes waiting a turn in the bath can be problematic as well as the health issue of leaving dirty dishes for long periods of time with bugs and rodents willing to participate in our problems. So I stay home and drop out of the things I once participated in and enjoyed.
The saying "When it rains it pours"...I also had my group email address hacked and messed up. Ameritech which became SBC then AT&T is now Yahoo email addresses saw the suspicious activity and warned me that I had my email account compromised. I had noticed as well because I had more than 50 undeliverable emails waiting for me when I woke one Saturday morning in early April. As a remedy I changed my password, although that was a hard task given that Ameritech help is now filtered through the old SBC now AT&T to help the Yahoo email account holders. After looping through on many of the links I finally changed the password and was set to warn all possible recipients to no longer respond to “Wow, take a look what I found” type links coming from my group email address. Unfortunately when open of business in the US on Monday morning came AT&T who is handling the old SBC formerly Ameritech accounts in its infinite wisdom chose to suspend my account because the account was compromised and then the password was changed within India. So I called AT&T who I was directed to call in the “You may contact customer service at 800 ATT-2020 (800 288-2020) and speak with Technical Support if you need assistance with your password” email that I received regarding my Ameritech changed to SBC now AT&T email. I explained that I had Ameritech then SBC then AT&T services while living in the US for 12 years but when I went to move to India AT&T didn’t service anything in the area so I stopped all AT&T paid accounts (Uverse cable, land line phone and mobile phone services) and kept my Yahoo delivered email address. My unfortunate mistake is that because I am no longer a paid customer of AT&T my Technical Support can only happen at a very superficial level (IE they can answer the phone and tell me to restart my computer). They do not collect money from me any longer so they cannot help me in recovering access to this group email address, period. Literally, they stopped the chat session when I was getting help online with; that is all you have for options “period”.
So being locked out of my group email accounts now puts me out of touch with PSA and AWA and any of the NGOs I was working with as well as subscriptions, bill pays, online accounts. It also means that I am no longer inundated with all the emails but I am also out of touch. All the contacts I had through these groups are now gone. Any end of the year business is now being left in the vortex of undeliverable mail and senders are not getting the message that my email was undeliverable. Their only conclusion is that I am being unresponsive. This should be a good thing because I need a lot more time to wash the dishes and clean the AC units and replenish the water and gas and scrub the floors and make the dinners and wash the clothes but it is not good. It has made my life here in Delhi that much more lonely and sad and depressing.
As humans we often blame our problems onto others and take credit for the goods. I am human so right now I am blaming all my problems on AT&T! Tonight I insist AT&T must wash the dishes, and dry and put away. So there!


Sad, Lonely and sick of the housework in Delhi

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Our Honeymoon may be over

I have written about house staff in the past.  The hiring and firing of many a drivers was our issue for several months.  We have finally settled on one driver whom we have kept for almost a year now.  He has stayed with us not because he is everything we need in a driver and more.  Or that we are such a great family to work with and pay him loads of money and allow tons of time off (with pay of course).  Neither of the above statements are true but we do have a driver that has managed to stay employed for eleven months.  Neither of us turning cartwheels at the end of the day but both agreeing, it's a job and it's a driver, we will continue again tomorrow with the same. 
Our house staff of ONE happened upon us when we first arrived in Delhi.  As it turned out she was a friend of the house manger from the flat below ours.  She had no family domestic experience but worked in hotels and boutiques and had been training with the household below ours to refine her skills in hopes of getting a job of her own.
More out of need for an interpreter and fully respecting the work that interpreters do, I hired this gal back in December 2010 and she has been our family's personal assistant ever since.  She manages all our comings and goings.  Makes sure the kids have the water bottles in the refrigerator the night before on hot days and jacket ready for the taking on the cool days.  She cleans the house, does the laundry, washes and sweeps the floors, manages the water and gas levels in our flat and calls for replenishing when needed.  She does shopping when I ask her, and saves me a bunch of money because she does not get the "foreigner" price, plus she knows how to bargain much better than me.  She told us when we interviewed her that she would learn to work with a family if we hired her.  We told her we would learn how to live/act with an employee in the house.  For the most part it has been a dream come true.  She is honest, caring, frugal and wise.  She reads and writes both English and Hindi, she always has a charge on her phone to return my calls and is constantly coming to work on time and performing above her call of duty.
She has also been waiting for her visa to process for a three month trip out of India to see family/friends.  We knew when we hired her that this day would be coming.  She was upfront and warned us when we interviewed her.  At the time we thought it was a long way off and we could find a replacement when the time comes.  The time is here and I must say the thought of replacing such a natural part of my life in India is breaking my heart.  I need to interview people who can do the job but I know in my heart, no one person will do the job that K could do.  K rarely cooked for us but in search of our new staff we would like to look for a cook AND housekeeper.  Honestly, I really just need the fit that K brought to my family.  Making our house a home even with someone who was not of OUR family in it.  We love you K-sang and we will miss you!