Wednesday, February 25, 2009

One of Those Things

Whenever you move to a new country, it is inevitable that something will go ridiculously wrong in your first weeks on the ground. Our first week in India, it was an explosion of very hot spaghetti sauce of the top of our blender onto every surface in our kitchen, including P.J.'s body. We were silly to think we could move here unscathed. Just last night as we were preparing dinner, we had such an incident. To get our drinking water, we use a water cooler type system that has a large inverted jug on top of a small collection container. The pressure regulates the flow so that the top one never over fills the bottom one--that is, unless a candle falls over and burns a hole through the top jug causing major spillage from the bottom. Of course, this annoying little thing could not, no would not, have happened in the light (since we wouldn't have needed candles in the first place!). Needless to say, it was a challenge to clean up the massive leakage that was all over the kitchen floor and counter tops, as well as inside the drawers in the dark. What will happen next? We're sure more adventures wait just around the corner.

Lady What?!?

Just today, our sweet neighbors began feverishly preparing for the weaning ceremony of the baby in the house. We've yet to determine if the baby is a boy or girl. They set up a huge tent in the empty lot between our houses, and cooks set up pot after pot of delicious food in the yard as well. Around 5 P.M. a DJ showed up and began testing his music. The first on the list? Snoop Dogg and the Pussy Cat Dolls blasting loudly into our back door. The remainder of the evening brought us loads of entertainment as our dinner hour was filled with lovely sounds of local music intermingled with songs recorded from Kiss FM radio with Ryan Seacrest in the U.S. The thing that really topped off the evening and showed us that the neighbors likely had no idea what they were listening to was the song "Lady Humps" that was blasting as these innocent locals celebrated the weaning of a sweet baby. I'd say some of the anatomy to which the song refers might have been appropriate for a weaning ceremony, but the remainder of the song really, REALLY didn't fit.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Day # 2

While this was technically, the first morning waking in our new apartment, it was our second one in it. I woke at the crack of dawn with Nay and managed to make a horrible pot of chai that P.J. graciously drank anyway. The power was on one hour early so I made the tea while I washed dishes. After I showered and nearly froze because of the bathroom window that intentionally has no glass panes, P.J. rigged up a few pieces of cardboard from the TV we bought yesterday. Priorities, people! (American Idol…Wednesdays and Thursdays). Hopefully, the cardboard will stay until it’s warm enough to take it down.
After our morning routine, I set out on my own for a few hours for the first time. I enjoyed coffee while using the internet and picked up a few more survival supplies. When I returned home, however, the real work began. I began very intimate with hand washing clothing once again, only it was far more difficult this time because baby clothes really add up! It took me about two hours to wash all of Nay’s clothes and our bath towels. The towels left us looking like fuzzy blue Cookie Monsters so I decided a wash might help. Aside from being quite a spectacle for the other ladies washing clothes on their rooftops, I seemed to get back into the groove quite quickly. Speaking of laundry, I better go bring some in now.

Night #1

On Thursday morning we moved into our new apartment. P.J. quickly got to work running about town to acquire those bare necessities that would enable us to survive at least one day without leaving the place. He was literally gone most of the day, only popping in to drop off bags between stops. I busyed myself with the task of cleaning the bathroom, since apartments here are generally not clean to my standards prior to moving in. It has something to do with not sweeping out the good luck when you leave. I also managed to kill a spider the size of a silver dollar that was lurking on the bathroom curtain.
We most enjoyed being able to prepare a meal at home, although we did most of the prep work by candle light, waiting to do the actual cooking until the power came on so the hot plate would work. At the moment, we’ve not yet purchased a gas cylinder that would allow us to cook at anytime regardless of the electrical load shedding. Hopefully, we’ll get that soon.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Welcome to the Madness!

Yesterday we arrived to be reminded of just how wild South Asia can be. Here are just a few of the things that have been interesting just to start us off:

1) No task is too small for someone who really wants a job. Yesterday in the visa line, there was one man who walked around stapling people's photos to their visa applications, and it took three others to take payments and process visas for one line.

2) You may run into all kinds of cargo at the airport. There were about 10 crates of chicks peeping like crazy at the baggage carousel when we arrived. Run from the avian flu!

3) Honking solves everything. Nothing else needs to be said.

4) No matter how crowded an electrical pole looks, you can always add more wires without any safety equipment required.

5) Expect a parade at any moment that's complete with a marching band dressed in uniforms.

6) The massive unemployment rate becomes very real when you can look around at any time of day to find at least 20 guys sitting around doing nothing.

Okay. That's about enough for now. Welcome to South Asia!

Almost Famous

For those of you wondering what traveling with a baby is like, we’ve certainly had plenty of experience in the last 36 hours to tell you. When we got on the first flight, Nay cried until takeoff and then slept through landing, a train ride, and a second ticketing line. She was amazing during the flight to Korea, maybe because she’s too young to know the difference.

To get to the fame, though… people barely noticed her on the flight, but once we arrived in Korea, it was like we carried a small superstar. Small groups gathered around her and oooed and aaaahed. The best part was when the cell phone cameras started coming out. Now her picture is in the phone of many people from random strangers on subsequent flights to the airport security guards! In fact, as I began writing this post, a Korean woman on the flight came up with her camera and asked if we would take a picture of sleeping Nay for her. Despite her new found fame, she took it all in stride. We, on the other hand, need to now get used to being completely ignored because of this cute little girl. But that’s a small price to pay for someone so lovely.