While I was gone…
He got a Vespa. I had left for two weeks knowing something was going to be bought “behind my back”, and I was right, we now have a shiny scooter standing next to the bicycles in the garage! Our driver now has to manoeuver a bit before he can park in the two-car garage. But my hubby is happy as a clam, riding around the neighborhood, buying a hammer last week from the local non-English speaking shopkeeper, and bananas from street vendors this morning, riding to the mailbox 150 meters away, feeling like an outlaw on his Harley. It’s cute! In case you’re wondering, I have no intention of driving it, but I will, probably, when I feel like it, when I am done being “fake mad”, ride in the back. I won’t ride sidesaddle in a sari with a kid on my lap though!
I came back to a shiny house. After seeing our neighbor’s polished marble floors, we decided to do the same. I will skip the long story of how filthy the house was when we moved in (“we gave it a good scrub” she said. Yeah, right…), but it’s now all nice. It took 2 days and 7 or 8 people on their knees scrubbing with little brushes, and a polishing machine.
The phones are working. You can call our American numbers. The intercom system is pretty nifty. With just the house number, you can call anyone on the property without requiring their personal phone numbers. It’s especially convenient for people who have kids who play together. We have used it to check references of the myriad of maids who have come to our door.
Talking about maids, we selected one. She was the first to knock on our door, explaining that “her family” is moving back to their home country and she needs a job. I emailed a few people, talked to the family she currently works for and checked with the front office that confirmed she has never been blacklisted. They are serious about this here. One of the potential maids had given me nice letters, but when I emailed people back in the U.S., the story was a bit different! I learned she was a drama queen and a gossip, sometimes skipping work, and had been blacklisted for a couple of days. So, no! Our maid to be was so happy when I told her she is hired as soon as she shows me her “police verification letter”!
Our driver also serves as an electrician. Since E. couldn’t find an extension cord (they have electrical trees, but extension cords were nowhere to be bought), Sathya made him one: take two electrical cords, cut them, twist the wires together, and wrap in electrical tape. It worked for a few hours but then shorted out. In all honesty, it is probably the “Made in China” Christmas lights that were defective.
We also have two new geysers (pronounced “geezers”). That’s what they call water heaters. The plumbers came, switched the geysers on and said they are working fine since hot water is coming out. It took a while, and a couple of phone calls, to make them understand that yes, there is hot water, but barely enough to rinse your feet, and this is no exaggeration. We were loosing hot water capacity everyday. A few days later, all is in order. We also have the additional furniture in the upstairs living room that we had asked for. There are still a few details that need to be ironed out, but overall, it’s a very nice place.
The neighbors are awesome. While I was gone, one decided to feed my lonely husband, who, by the way, had found several restaurants and an online grocer that deliver food to your front door. I thought I was going to finally loose those extra few pounds in India, forget that! A couple of hours ago, the other next-door neighbors brought us a bottle of wine. Indian people are just so very friendly!
It is hard for me to get in the Christmas spirit here. I was expecting expat areas to be all decked out with garlands, but I haven’t seen much. UB City, the super duper extra ritzy mall that sells Jimmy Choo shoes and Versace is decorated in all American extravaganza, but not our little corner of Bangalore. E. wasn’t going to let this lack of supplies tamper with his enthusiasm for shiny lights and ornaments. I came back to a house all decorated, with a lit-up tree in our front room for all to see. We get a lot of approving nods from local people walking by on their way to work. We do have all the windows open and it’s 75 degrees outside right now, but it feels a bit like Santa is getting to work! Yep, my hubby is sweet like that.
(picture of the tree to come later, the cameras are still all packed up!)