New Delhi, Weather from Weather Underground

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Back on the hunt

One of the most often asked questions before our move was, "Where will you be living? What kind of place will it be?" I had to tell people that I wasn't really sure. I knew it would be some type of apartment, but that was as much as I knew.

When we left the US, we hadn't even decided between living in Delhi or Gurgaon. Dan's office is in Gurgaon and Rachel's school is in South Delhi. We have now decided on Gurgaon. (See for a little more about Gurgaon) Once we decided on our location, we started on the house/apartment/flat hunt. The word "flat" is used most often here due to the British background. (Will post at a later date on all the British terms we have learned for some of our common terms.) In Gurgaon you can find high rise apartment buildings, three or four story buildings with one flat per floor, individual bungalows, and farmhouses on the outside of town. Most of the flats and bungalows have three to four bedrooms with a bathroom in each. Our real estate broker says this is because commonly there are more than one generation living in Indian homes. The separate bedrooms with attached baths give each generation their own space with privacy. The homes also have a drawing room (what I would call a den or living room), a dining room, and small kitchen.

We ruled out the farmhouses right away. Most of the people we know who have lived in a farmhouse decide to move closer to town and into a flat within the first year. The grounds and gardens are beautiful with peacocks, monkeys, snakes, and other tropical animals wandering right outside your window. The idea of living in such a location sounds wonderfully exotic and even romantic. The realities are that you need to have a staff of four or more people to help take care of the home. Managing a staff that large in itself is enough of a reason for me not to choose a farmhouse as a home. Also, I will admit that monkeys and snakes outside my window are not quite my cup of tea.

We have decided on a flat in a high rise building. The communities are about half expats. I know, I know, what is the appeal of moving to India if you are going to live around people just like you? The appeal is that they are people just like me. There are times when I want to have a neighbor with whom I share some cultural similarities. At the same time they aren't just like me. The expats here are from all over the world. So far, I have found quite an interesting group of people and can't wait to meet more....including Indian, British, Chinese, German, Brazilian, Canadian, and others.

So....we decide on a high rise. The first week we look at 20 flats. We find a place we love in the complex that had the most pros on our list. The company reviews the lease, makes a few amendments, and sends it back to the landlord. In the meantime, someone else comes along and the landlord decides to give the flat to them. Ugh!!!! I had started mentally placing my furniture in the different rooms and making lists of what items we will need to purchase.

Back to the drawing board and the house hunt. Remember, all this house hunting is being done in 100+ degree weather with a three and almost seven year old in tow. It takes four people, and sometimes more, to show the apartment. A driver to get us around, the relocation agent, the real estate broker and often his assistant, the landlord, and sometimes a random other gets involved too. Also, the broker and landlords often don't want to talk to me and just want to know what "sir" thinks or if I should wait until "sir" can come see it to make a decision. There were times when the broker would ask Dan a question about what we wanted in our home. Dan would look right at me for the answer. I would look the broker in the eye and answer him. He then turns to Dan and asks the question all over again. Hello, can't you hear my voice? I can talk louder if you need me to. Getting used to this very patriarchal society is an adjustment for me....if you couldn't tell already.

Today we (the girls, the driver, the relocation person, the broker, and I) went back out looking again. Thankfully, we found a flat in the complex we like. It is being renovated and will be available mid to late July. The landlord was there. He spoke perfect English and seemed very comfortable dealing with me. He didn't even flinch when I told him that Dan had left it up to me to make the decision and didn't need to see the place. Good sign right there that we will get along with the landlord. Later this week, we (the whole group mentioned above) will do a more thorough walk through of the flat. Once this is done, we can sign the lease. I am trying to think positive and am hopeful that this one will be the one. We are all very ready to be out of the hotel and in our own space.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Checking in

I don't want to get behind on posting but haven't had much time. This entry is from an email I just sent to the grandparents to keep them updated on what the girls are up to.......

We have made it almost two weeks now in the highs of 105-110. It is hot but what everyone told us seems to be correct. You do start to get used to it. I realize I just said that from the air conditioned comfort of a beautiful hotel. We tend to stay inside between noon and four and then go swimming around four. Because of the weather, we haven't done too much exploring yet. Many of the places that were suggested to us are outside and just not for this time of year. The weather forecast says that the rains have started in the south. I'm not sure how long they will take to get here but people are eagerly anticipating them. It will be interesting to see just how rainy the "rainy season" is. I guess it is all part of the adventure.

The hotel is located right beside one of the larger malls. The girls and I tend to head over there in the afternoon for a stroll around. We get ice cream and spend time playing in the toy store and perusing the book store. I wonder how long before the employees figure us out and tell us we have to make a purchase in order to stay. There is a grocery in the basement of the mall. It is very convenient for snacks and drinks to stock our refrigerator. We are slowly finding things the girls like to eat, so I can do a little more cooking for us. Room service has really spoiled all of us though. It is just the most convenient thing in the evenings when the girls are tired.

We have found an apartment that we like and are in the process of negotiating a lease for July 1. Still not sure when our household goods will get here but we either start the lease July 1 or August 1. We are going with hopeful thinking that everything will be here by mid-July. Rachel starts school around August 12 so we would like to be in as soon as possible. It would give her time to get settled and feel totally at home before school starts. The apartment is in a gated complex with security in each building. We would be on the third floor overlooking the playground.

I met a British woman with daughters the same age as Rachel and Rebekah. We went to her home this week for a play date, swim, and lunch. It was nice for all of us to have someone different to talk to and play with. As much for me as it was for the girls. Rebekah's eyes lit up when we say the playroom. I think she is getting bored with the few toys we were able to fit into our suitcases. Rachel and Livia are very much alike and had a wonderful time playing with their dolls.

Hope you all had a great from all of us

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hotel swimming...the ultimate cure-all is real....we jumped in and made the move. We have been in India since Tuesday evening (Tuesday morning in the US). Our last week in the US was busy, fun, sad, and bittersweet. Good-byes are never easy.

By the end of the week, Rachel had shut down on saying good-bye. I wish I had the words to help her through this transition. With this move, she is almost seven. Not sure if it is her age, the fact that we are starting another move in just under a year, or what. So much seems to be running around in her head, and she doesn't seem to be able to able to talk about it. I am not even sure if she knows what all the different emotions are. She just knows that she is feeling off-balance and out of sorts. I have always been (and am still) very thankful that Rachel is such an easily adaptable and laid back child. Can't even imagine what she would be like right now if she weren't. The first night after checking in she broke down and cried on Daddy's shoulder for almost 20 minutes. It was a mix of tiredness and reality kicking in. Dan always seems to know what to say to her and get her to open up. By the grace of God, we got our Indian visas in time to travel with Dan. Not sure how Rachel would have done without the stability of having her daddy around. Since then, she has had ups and downs. Wednesday went well. Thursday she didn't want to leave the hotel room at all. The only thing she has looked forward to is swimming. Hotel swimming is the ultimate cure-all. Every day after we swim Rachel seems so much happier and back to her normal self. I know that she will find her groove and bounce back. It is just difficult watching my happy-go-lucky little girl flounder.

Rebekah, on the other hand, is really surprising me. I thought she would be the one crying for her home. On the way to the airport, she was sobbing for "Sassy." Sassy was our van. The girls named her when they saw the picture on the Toyota website before they even saw her. Come on....if she was sobbing for a van, what is going to happen when she isn't sleeping in her own bed? Surprise, surprise Rebekah is doing well. The first night she asked where her bed was. Since then, nothing really. She is enjoying living in this small hotel apartment. She likes sharing a bed with Rachel. She, of course, L-O-V-Es swimming in the hotel pool. She does keep asking when we will get to India. Hmmmm....maybe she is doing so well because she has no idea where she is.