Monday, November 7, 2011

Still waiting..................................

.............for the NOA 2. That is the notice that the USCIS has accepted my petition, and will be sending it along to the National Visa Center for the next steps. This part can take up to 3 months, so hold your horses, peeps, my man won't be here anytime soon.

In the meantime, it sucks, sucks, sucks, to be so far from him and have no more plans to visit in the immediate future. If anyone would like to buy me a plane ticket to Mumbai for Christmas, I would accept with with gratefulness, and love you forever! ;)

I am just busy trying to get back into my life catch up from all the time off I took. Working hard, and enjoying my island. I am doing a Bikram yoga 60 day challenge, and I feel amazing! (Day #37 today if you are curious.) I read the yoga Teacher Training blogs obsessively because I want to become a teacher and teach in India someday. How fun would it be to teach this yoga that I have been obsessed with for 10 years(!) in the place where yoga came from! And what if John Abraham came to take my class, and decided that I am his favorite teacher and offers to take me to his next movie premiere and.... Oops! Did I get lost in lala-land?  :)



John Abraham!

Anyhoo, just a quick update. I need to sleep now... Goodnight all...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Visa Journey

So I sent off my I-130 package! Now the anxiousness starts. I guess it can take 8 or 9 months on average for him to get his visa, and that is if everything goes smooth. I already had a bump in the road, (signed the line below the one I was supposed to!) and they sent it back, so I lost 10 days and 10 dollars. Oh how maddening this process is! I should just move to India! If I didn't love this island so much....

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cute Husband

Last night on Skype, Husband and I were chatting about bikram yoga, and about Bikram himself. I told husband that he is going to try it with me, fall in love with it, and then go to teacher training and then we will open a studio. He said we will open our own studio, and...
Husband: "We will call it DJ Yoga"
Me: "Oh our initials! How nice that you put my initial first!"
Husband: "Females always come first."

Haha!!! What a well trained husband! :)

Today he is heading for Mumbai for the Ganesh Chaturthi Puja festival. http://vamtantra.com/ganesh-chaturthi-puja-daan-september-2011.html
 I miss him already!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Oh yeah, I have a blog...

Updates...
 Still working on the Visa paperwork. Should have it ready to go next week...

I am picking up shifts at my old job and have been pretty busy. Just waiting for someone to move or quit so I can move on in! Although Red thinks I should apply at her work. We shall see. I am still somewhat waiting for the universe to point me in the direction I should go. Not wanting to make any more impulsive decisions for a while!

Bikram Yoga! I am doing a 30 day challenge. I love this yoga. Have been doing it for 10 years, and it will be a part of my life forever. So I think I should do the teacher training already. If I do, then I can teach in India! We all know that I cannot live in India unless I have something to do. So I am planning on going to the training in the spring, which is right around the time husband should be here if all goes well...

Husband is awesome. I love skyping with him every morning and night. He has "met" a lot of my friends and family this way. And wherever I stay, I like to take the computer around and show him the environment. I showed him the beach and he asked, "Where are all the babes in bikinis?" I think that is what he is most excited about when he comes to this island. Seeing all the flesh. :) My friend Red has decided that Husband is going to join the canoe club and be a paddler. Husband says, "that sounds fun, but I have to learn to swim first!" There will be so much for him to learn about life in this country, on this island.

I don/t have much to say, and I gotta go to yoga, but I have to post every once in a while to be able to say that I have a blog. :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Question...

Here's a question for anyone that has done the visa thing...

I am filling out these forms (i-130, g-325a) and I am wondering if anyone knows if I can use my PO Box number? I am couch surfing right now until I can afford to get an apartment, so I don't have a physical address. Any thoughts?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Home!

I am going back to my island!!!! Yay!!!!

After the 2 months in India, I stayed on the mainland, doing all kinds of road trips, reunions, and continuing education in the Pacific Northwest, and it is way too cold!!!! I was trying to stay here until September or so, but I can't handle the weather anymore!!!

So it is time to go home, get a job, (or my old job back), a place to live, and start the immigration process for my sweet husband. It has been very nice spending some time with his aunt and uncle who own the best Indian restaurant I have ever eaten at, and I have been very blessed that they have fed me and made me feel welcome, especially as I have been jobless for almost 5 months and am broke, broke, broke!!!

I tried so hard to catch up with old friends and their new babies, but there are still a lot of people that I didn't get to see. Please don't hate me if I didn't get to catch up!!! I spent a lot of time out of town, and it was hard to work around everyone's schedule.

It was fun skyping Husband while I was with old friends so they could "meet" each other, and now Husband has faces to put with the names.

My favorite part of this summer was all of the time on the road. Living on an island doesn't allow for long, unknown car journeys, and I tried my best to always take roads I haven't been on before. (Kind of like I am living my life right now!!!) The exploring and discovering and conquering has made me feel like myself again- the girl I was before I impulsively married and dropped everything to live in India. Sometimes I amaze even myself. :)

So, now I am going home. Back to paradise. Back to my wonderful job, my fantastic yoga and my favorite bar. I cannot wait to see all of my island friends and hear about what they have been doing the last four and a half months!

Aloha!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to my wise, witty, wonderful life partner... If we didn't live on separate continents, I would give you a hug!

Today is my beautiful, far away husband's birthday!!! I got to wish him Happy Birthday on FB twice- once on his day in India, and then his day here in the US. He is 12.5 hours ahead of me in this northwest city, and 15.5 hours ahead of my island time... On skype, I asked him if he was going to do anything special, but he didn't think so. Hmmm... I would like to buy him ice cream!! Someday, someday.... 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I cant believe it is already June.....

 My husband informed me that he fell off his balcony. Ouch! I guess he was in enough pain to need to go to the doctor and get some medication. On skype, it hurt to see him groan and make faces as he shifted and adjusted his aching back into a more comfortable position.

 Oh babes, wish I was there to take care of you!

 This is what's frustrating about a long distance thing. What if he had cracked his skull and bled to death? Who would've called me? How would I handle trying to get to India while grieving? And what kinds of pieces would be left of me if my man was taken from me before we even got to live together? Hmmmm...

 Since the visa thing is stalled at the moment, and I am jobless, I don't really have much to write about, and the highlight of my day is the twice daily phone calls or skyping with him.

 It isn't fun being a single wife. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Oh how I miss my husband...

After months and months of reading about the whole visa/greencard process, I think I am ready to tackle this on my own. No lawyer needed here! I have all of the paperwork done to start, now I just need some money. I need a job!!!
In the meantime, we just skype every day, morning and night, and I entertain myself by reading blogs by other girls with Indian men, and searching the library for books by Indian authors. And every other day, I go eat at my husband's Uncle's restaurant here and they feed me and chat with me about husband, family and India. I am blessed...
 I am planning on documenting the whole visa process here, mostly for others who will be going through the same situation. There is an overwhelming amount of info online, and I think I can keep it simple and easy to understand. But the website visajourney is the one I have turned to the most. They have example forms if you need help filling them out, timelines, forums, step-by-step guides, and checklists.
Good luck to me! ;)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

In Limbo

 My life is in limbo at the moment.

  I am a bit depressed as I realized that I don't make enough to sponsor my poor husband to come over here. So now what? How do you ask someone to sponsor your immigrant husband that they have never met?

Maybe I should just go live in India? Or try to work two or three jobs so that next year, I might qualify to sponsor him? How can I go another year without seeing him?

  I am homeless, jobless, and uncertain of which direction to go. I can't go back to my island and get my job back, due to some family things, and continuing education stuff that I committed to do this summer, and I can't do my old job here until I get registered with the state which will take about six weeks, (they changed the law when I moved to the island, and I didn't know, or I could have registered before I spent two months in India!) and I can't just get a retail job because everyone wants you to work weekends, and I need weekends off to do all of the things I am here for.

Boy it is hard to explain this while trying to keep it anonymous!

A big thanks to all of my friends that are letting me couch surf and house sit. I really appreciate your help.

What's next? I am stuck....

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Ugly Truth


It is the night I go home. We are at a friends place in Mumbai, waiting for my flight. I get to order one more dinner of butter chicken before I go. :)

I am so relieved to be heading back. It was wonderful to be here with him, to get to know him better, but it was difficult to realize some hard truths about myself.

Having too much time on my hands was not good for me. My mind can take one little thing and blow it up into a presumptive mess. It is challenging to face the the fact that I am not nice when I feel helpless, stifled, unsure. There were many times these last two months that I did not like myself.

It is hard enough to deal with a country, language, food and customs that are not my own, but I had to throw in a burgeoning relationship that was supposed to grow in a somewhat artificial environment. I am not this person that  he knows. I am an independent individual who supports herself, who texts her friends, who goes to Bikram yoga everyday, who loves her car and her bike, loves drinking at the local pub with all her island friends, who visits the library once a week, and likes to eat out for almost every meal. All of these things I don't do or have here.

He made a comment about something that he thought wasn't me, and it floored me because, in my country, it is me. He doesn't know me at all. He only knows the girl who is in India on intermission from her life and responsibilities.

I tried not to post when I felt bad, which is why I posted a lot less than I thought I would when I made this blog. It is not easy for an Aries to admit her faults. To admit that I don't like myself when I feel helpless, worthless, and left out. To feel resentful when Husband is not keeping me in the know, filling me in, informing me of plans ahead of time instead of just springing things on me that were just discussed by everyone in the room but me, because I don't understand the language. No matter how many times I ask everyone to speak in English around me when plans are being made, they unknowingly slip back into Hindi after about three minutes.

Sigh. It's not his fault. He has been wonderful. He is so patient, says that he understands. Didn't hold it against me when I picked fights with him out of boredom and frustration. I hope that I can be as accommodating and gracious when he is adjusting in my country.

It amuses me that I think our daily phone calls when we are apart are a more realistic way of getting to know the details of each others lives, thoughts, and dreams than me being here in a suspended state of living.

Being with someone from a different country is hard. Being married to him means I can't hide from the things I don't like about myself. In order to love him, I have to learn to love all aspects of myself, and it is disconcerting to accept that I am not perfect! ;)

Thank you to all my supportive readers, and to all the gori girls who are with Indian men, and blog about it. I am thinking that I will keep this blog to write about the extensive immigration process that is ahead of us, and hope that it helps others in the same situation.

This sojourn may be over, but the adventure is just beginning.




Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Indians love to party

Lots going on!

The boy next door is getting married and the neighborhood is full of activity! These large tents have been erected, in the street in front of our house, and in the field in the back. Tonight is the DJ party, tomorrow is the wedding. Unfortunately, we are going to Mumbai tomorrow, so I wont see the wedding, but today I have been out there taking lots of photos.

There are about 50 women, dressed in their nicest sarees, with mehndi all over their hands, arms and feet, sitting on a cloth rolling out rotis. They all had to bring their own rolling stones and pins, and it is a frenzy of women chatting as they roll and transfer to a larger plate that other women come around , consolidate, and collect. A few adorable little girls are trying to help as well. I will have to post pics later.

And there are about 20 men just sitting around, watching.

As I take photos, I can recognize a few Hindi words that inform me that the women are asking my MIL about me.

I tried to snap an unobtrusive photo of the groom standing there looking like a prince checking on his subjects, (and maybe just a tad bewildered), but he caught me and rewarded me with the most beautiful smile. I fell in love just a tiny bit. ;)

I gotta get back out there! Need to keep spying on the activity! Love this.

And, there really is nothing more beautiful than an Indian woman dolled up in a glittery saree, adorned with gold bangles, necklaces, earrings, and nose rings, sparkling jewels in her hair, and dark mehndi decorating her  limbs. They are queens, and I am the poor, pasty, pale outsider, the comic book next to the Mona Lisa. It inspires awe...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You've heard of Indian traffic, right?

Ouch!

 Oh boy. So last time I was in India, the traffic scared the hell out of me. I was usually yelling at husband to slow down, stop following so close, please don't hit the pedestrians, I can't watch this! Surprisingly, I felt safer on the motorcycle as it is able to swerve in between and around and felt like less of a coffin. We had a few close calls, and got hit five times, just little bumps and nudges, where you just stop, glare at the other driver and move on.

 This time, the traffic is more like a video game, where I am enjoying the seamless beauty of swerving, darting, shuffling, hedging, and honking, gasping at close calls and itching to be my own driver. Oh to tackle it and conquer! I would do this, not that, go here, dodge there, jump through that opening, squeeze in between those trucks, pass this loser, fall back now, grin maniacally at my fellow contestants, exhilarated, and loving how alive driving is here.

But accidents do happen and I experienced my first one last night.

 On the motorcycle, Husband and I were heading to a baby's first birthday party, and another motorbike turned into our lane without looking at all, and slammed right into us. Husband tried to slow down, but there was no where to swerve to as the median was on our other side. It all seemed in slow motion to me, the bike falling over, the other bike and two passengers almost on top of us, skidding down the road. No helmets. When we came to a stop, Husband jumped up and pulled me up, pulled the bike up, moved us over to the side of the road, and we were instantly surrounded by at least thirty people, watching me cry as Husband used my water bottle to wash off my bleeding elbow. I don't recall what he said to the other bikers, I was kind of shocked that my video game turned harmful, and was grateful that we were both fine and that it was late, around 11pm, so there was less other traffic to worry about as we were skidding and laying there, and getting up and moving to the side of the road. Of course no police were called, no accident reported, no exchanging of insurance information. We just hopped back on the bike and went to the party.

 This morning, there is a bumpy bruise on one knee, and one of my toes is paining. Husband is fine, and says "This is India, babes!" meaning that this is common and we just glare at the other driver and move on.

 Oh India. How I love the way this country will take an observer and make them an active participant. You cannot be apathetic in India.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Lately....

Well....
 I've been online a lot looking at visa stuff for getting my man over to my country. After I got home last time, I consulted a lawyer and he made it seem pretty simple, but he wanted $3600, and that is something I don't have right now. Husband is still getting his paperwork together, so we haven't been too concerned about it, but once I leave here, I wont be able to afford to come back for a long while. I think I can do this without a lawyer, thanks to the plethora of information on the internet (Oh how my life would suck without Google!), but first I need to get home and get a job and an address, so I think it might be a while before I see my sweet man again. Makes me sad.
 My time is winding down. Two weeks until I leave India and about a week and a half until we leave this village and go to Mumbai and Goa. So ready to see something new, and so ready to go home, back to yoga, back to work.
 I have been sick a lot lately. Upset stomach, diarrhea, and sinus issues which have been giving me headaches. I want to do Bikram for 30 days in a row just to get out the toxins I've built up here!
 I wrote down a recipe for a Punjabi dish that my sister-in-law makes. It's called kadhi and it is kind of like a spicy soup with pakoras in it that I put over rice. I like it a lot and it looks pretty easy to make so maybe when I am visiting you, Emily, we can put it in action! Mind you, the recipe is more like a little of this, a pinch of that, a bit of this, some of that, so we shall have to go by looks and taste. :)

 So, forgive me for not posting. I am burnt out.
 And if anyone has any tips on visas and immigration stuff or knows of any web sites I could gather more info, it would be appreciated.
 Hope you all are enjoying life, love, good coffee, and being a productive member of society. Aloha!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Interesting India

Some interesting things that I have read in the news here:
-Monkeys have taken over the runway at Ahmedabad airport. Planes cannot land until they get them cleared out.
-There is usually one story a week about an abandoned baby girl. Seems like boys are still the most wanted. Sad.
-Men buy more beauty products than women, with teenage boys buying the most. Everyone seems to be obsessed with whitening creams and lotions.
-A 20 and 21yr old couple committed suicide when they realized they wouldn't be allowed to marry as they are from different castes. They drank poison.

And an interesting thing I have noticed concerns the babies. The boy babies have eyeliner, and bangles around their wrists and ankles, and get dressed in pink. The toddler boys have long hair. The girl babies are rather plain, sometimes they have eyeliner, and sometimes they have pierced ears. I have taken to asking my niece what gender it is just to be sure.

The other day, Husband took me to a hospital to see a 10 hour old baby, and the poor mother was so exhausted. I felt like we were intruding, but he says it is normal for everyone to come see it as soon as possible. At home, we would wait until the mother was home and ready for visitors.

Husband's car was so dirty that the neighborhood kids were writing in the dust all over it, so one evening after the sun went down, I asked for a bucket, soap and a rag and I went and washed it myself. Needless to say, at first my Mother-in-law couldn't quite figure out why on earth I would want to do that, and I became the entertainment of the neighborhood, as the Indians were quite amused by the foreigner washing the car.

My sister-in-law wants me to teach her some yoga. :)

My friend from Ahmedabad is coming down on Saturday. I hope she brings me the Indian version of People magazine. I am dying to catch up on all the Bollywood news! ;) 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

H-O-T

Oh the heat here!!!

 I was warned.

 People, I spent every summer in west Texas, but I don't think the heat was quite like it is here in India. I wake up in the morning full of energy and plans (we sleep with the AC on), but by noon I am sprawled on the bed with my skirt pulled up as far as it can be while still being a somewhat proper Indian wife, zapped of any desire to move. (But I have to move to turn over every once in a while because the parts of the body touching the bed soon become drenched with sweat.) Even a trip to the bathroom takes much gathering of resources and droopy shuffling, with a huge sigh of relief when I return to plop back down. I don't even towel off after showers anymore, because those precious few moments before the drops of water evaporate are pure bliss. I now take two showers a day, sometimes three! Oh my lord.

 And it is only going to get hotter.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Halfway

This week has been full of new adventures!

 Now, don't get too excited. My excitement threshold is such that just leaving the house is cause for celebration. :)

Husband has been fabulous, taking walks with me in the evenings and out on the bike for his errands. He also took me to a couple of libraries to look for books in English. Both of them had about one shelf worth, but they weren't really books I would normally read. I was ready to sign up for a membership, when his cousin mentioned that she has a friend that has a bunch of English books. She called her friend and then came by one afternoon on her moped to take me to the friends house.

Now, just getting to go for a moped ride in Indian traffic is a thrill, but the prospect of more books made me giddy. Every speed bump that jolted my butt off the seat had me giggling like a girl.

 When we arrived, this extremely nice lady sent her teenage daughter out to get us all some ice cream. A moped ride, books, and ice cream?!!!! This has to go down as my favorite day so far!

 She teaches at an English medium school, and offered to ask her principal if I can come to school with her, to chat with the kids, and browse the school library. I would totally be interested, would love to chat with some kids that speak my language, and satisfy my curiosity about schools in India. (When I told my niece of this, she promptly insisted that I come to her school too. So this next week might be busy.) I ended up borrowing 13 books, and have already finished three...

Saturday evening, Husband picked me up and we went to meet his friends for drinks. Since this is a dry state, drinking takes place in people homes. We went to his cousins place, and I chatted with his two little sons and even got to ride a bicycle! I told you, lots of adventures. ;)

So. I am no longer bored. Besides the school visits, the other things I am looking forward to, is, one, my friend from Ahmedabad is coming down next weekend to meet the family and just hang out. She said she would bring me some magazines and I am beyond thrilled. And, two, before I fly home we are planning a trip to Goa! Yes, beautiful beaches and the laid back Indian life await me. I am happy that I will get to see more of this wonderful country.

Right now, I am in our room, and nephew is playing a game on the computer while four of his little friends are gathered around watching. I have no idea what they are saying, but their cheers and laughter are making me smile...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

This Aries isn't made for the housewife life! (aka -Posting just to post)

 I totally want to post something witty and amazing, but I am out of steam. I look at the calendar and see that I still have 5 weeks to go, and I am about to jump out of my skin! I want to go back to work, I want to go back to Bikram yoga, I want to ride my bike to my favorite bar and have a few scotch & sodas while talking story with all my drinking buddies! I am thinking that 2 months of just sitting around reading is surprisingly not as fulfilling as I imagined it would be.
I am enjoying the time with my husband, and with the kids, and I do like being here, but the slow tick-tock of these endless days, are wearing me down. If my knee wasn't injured I might start going for runs just to burn off some energy. I cant focus, and I just keep obsessing about all the things that I need to do this summer. I am worried about my lovely job and how I might lose it because I took this time away. I am irritated by people who don't return emails. Argh!
Okay, enough with the negative. Sorry for the uninspiring post. I wish I had something going on to report on, but literally, there is NOTHING going on.
Ah. But...Maybe I should list all of the books I have read since I've been here. :)
-Someone Else's Garden    *Dipika Rai
-The Glass Castle   *Jeannette Walls
-An Instance of the Fingerpost   *Iain Pears
-Between the Assassinations   *Aravind Adiga
-His Dark Materials Trilogy   *Phillip Pullman
-Hotel   *Arthur Hailey
-Five Point Someone   *Chetan Bhagat
-If Today Be Sweet    *Thrity Umrigar
-Mother Pious Lady   *Santosh Desai
-A Girl Like Me   *Swati Kaushal
-Known Turf   *Annie Zaidi
-Hindi Bindi Club    *Monica Pradhan
-Being Indian   *Pavan K Varma
-A Fine Balance   *Rohinton Mistry

The last one I am still reading.
So 14 books in 3 weeks, and I still have 5 weeks to go. Hmmmm. I need to find a bookstore again. The train station here has Sidney Sheldon and Jeffrey Arthur. That is it. So I have been trying to get Husband to take me to Vadodara, a larger town a couple of hours away. We might go when the kids are done with exams and make a day out of it.
Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh..................................

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It's like that only

 I am obsessed with this phrase that is uniquely Indian.
  "It is like that only."
 It is a response to many of my questions that I secretly think they don't have an answer to. So this phrase, accompanied by the Indian head wobble of course, pretty much slays any further questions I might have.
 It implies, how can you argue with this?
 "It is like that only" or "Just like that only" reminds me of when mothers say, "Because I said so!". No further argument please. And, how your mother would sometimes shorten it to "because!", my husband shortens "just like that only" to "just!"
 "Babes, why do Indians do the head wobble so much? "
 "Just!"
 No further comments required.
 You can put "only" on anything. "Sister-in-law, where did you go this afternoon?"
 "There only."
 Well.
 I love it. Every time I hear it, I copy it and do the head wobble. It might be the only thing I pick up in India, but I believe it will serve me the most. :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

India wins the semifinal against Pakistan

Cricket!
 I didn't know a thing about it before I married an Indian, but I have been lucky to be here during the World Cup. The family watches every game, and I am trying to understand it. Husband explains some and I also looked it up on Wikipedia. I like it! Not only is it an interesting game, but all the beautiful brown boys make it exciting to watch. You should check out the Indian captain, Dhoni, he is super handsome. I tell my husband that I only watch to watch Dhoni. ;) Heeheehee...
The semi-final was India vs Pakistan, and I guess they have a longstanding rivalry. It was pretty much a holiday here in India, with the banks, government offices and most shops closing early, and the streets were surprisingly deserted. Every time India got a wicket everyone would stream out of their houses and dance with the neighbors in the streets, hooping and hollering, lighting firecrackers. I couldn't help but get caught up in the excitement.
 It was a long game but I guess they usually are. Started at 2.30pm and ended about 10.30pm. When India won, it was pandemonium in the country. The news was full of shots of people dancing in the streets and fireworks going off. Here in this town, the neighbors were all out, dancing and drumming, running around with India flags, lighting firecrackers and just smiling at everyone. Husband took nephew and I on the motorbike to see what was going on outside the neighborhood. I made a video for you. :)
video

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My sad tummy :(

 I totally want to do a post about the magic of my bowels right now, but since most won't appreciate it, I will spare you. :) But, you should know, that if you ever spend any significant time in India, you will become obsessed with what is happening there. :) 

Monday, March 28, 2011

I heart riding Indian trains.

 I finally got out of the house!! Went to Ahmedabad to visit an American girl who has been living here since January. I found her on the Expat Blog website a few months ago and we became chatty, chatty FB friends.
 On Saturday morning, Husband took me to the train station and helped me find my car. I had to kick someone out of my seat and I was one of two women in the whole car. The staring is still a little hard to deal with. The journey was about 4 hours, and I just read the whole time. I didn't have a window seat and when I did look out the window, the person sitting next to it would turn and stare at me. So strange. In the US, we would just ignore each other.
 I thought it would be easy for two pasty white girls to connect right away, but the mass of people at the Ahmedabad train station made finding each other a bit difficult. We called each other but the loud speakers announcing trains made it impossible to hear. We finally resorted to texting, and found each other near the entrance.
 Then came the inevitable crush of autorickshaw drivers asking us if we wanted a ride and quoting exorbitant amounts as we are obviously tourists. Ha! C had just taken an auto to get there so she knew how much it should be. After a lot of haggling, we were on our way.
 We went straight to her place to drop off my bag, and then headed out to find a bookstore. Yep, thats right, all I wanted from the trip was some new books. :)
 It was fun trying to fill each other in on the stories that brought us to India, and the things we find silly , difficult and outrageous about it here. Our conversation was all over the place, jumping back and forth between many things. It was so nice to be understood, and find some sympathy for the cultural things we are both dealing with.
 After we bought books and Hindi movies (with English subtitles!), we just went back to her place and laid around reading and watching Hindi MTV. My favorite kind of day.
 We ordered food to be delivered, had some beers, and visited with two of her friends that stopped by.
 The next morning was a lazy one , and the afternoon found us visiting a mall, where we were the only white people and the source of amusement for the young Indian boys who hang out there. Especially after we found a Scary House and came out of it screaming with delight. I wont tell you where we had lunch, it is too embarrassing to mention, but sometimes the familiar in an unfamiliar place just draws you in. ;)
 A little more of hanging out at her place and then it was time for me to catch my train. Her friends came to give us a ride and help me find my car, which is always appreciated. They left me safely in my window seat and I settled in.
 Window seat!
 I love the window. Watching the countryside fly by, feeling the wind and dust on my face, having a front row seat to the action at the stations. It is perfect for daydreaming. The older man sitting next to me took me under his wing, buying me peanuts, asking me questions, and telling me when my stop was the next one. There was a couple with a toddler sitting across from us and it was fun making faces at her, smiling at the parents. Smiling is my main form of communication here, and I am getting more comfortable using it. :) I am also getting more comfortable traveling in India by myself, and can't wait for the day when I can just spend a few months just wandering this beautiful country, speaking Hindi, and making friends of all ages. I think that I married him just to be married to India. :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A little slice of Indian life..

A few things happen here that dont happen in my life in the US...
Every morning, two ladies come in, one to wash the previous nights dishes, and do the laundry (both of which involves taking the dishes and laundry outside and scrubbing them in this little area where there is a faucet), and one sweeps the floors, and then mops them with a rag and bucket. In the afternoon, one comes back to wash the breakfast and lunch dishes.

Every day a dude on a motorcycle comes with these containers tied onto his bike, filled with milk. The ladies either bring a container that he ladles milk into, or they can just buy a plastic bag already filled with milk.
And, once a week, a guy on a bike collects the clothes to be ironed and brings them back the following week, pressed into pristine flatness.
The banana guy comes by with the fruit piled high on a cart, calling out, and various other people come down the lane as well. No wonder Indian women never leave the house. They don't have to!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Holi! :) And homesick :(

 Yesterday was Holi. I woke up late, but had been aware of the laughter and screaming neighborhood all morning. I guess kids get up early for the fun. I was out on the balcony taking pictures, when the neighbors all gathered around telling me to come down and play. So I did.
What a fun holiday! Everyone smeared color on me while saying "Happy Holi!". I smeared them as well. All of these people that I have just been smiling at, I finally got to interact with. Since I am a foreigner, everyone wanted to touch me, and they all laughed when I would do something outrageous like put powder in this kid's buttcrack as he was bending over to do something, or chase the kids around the block, or smack the cute boys and leave a colored hand print on them somewhere, or draw a colored heart on my husbands shirt. Sometimes it is fun seeing what I can get away with.

 I had a blast. It is wonderful to see young and old alike, playing together and having a good time.

 After a morning of excitement, I took a nap, then woke up homesick. The rest of the night I was in a cruddy mood. Sometimes it gets hard to not have my personal space, or independence, and it gets wearisome not being able to understand the language that is constantly going on around you. I feel as if I am in a bubble of incomprehension, and have to be told what to do, because I don't hear the plans as they are being discussed. The simple things I want, like the newspaper or a magazine, or even toilet paper, I have to ask for, sometimes even more than once. It is hard for an independent girl like me to be reliant on others. Husband is very patient with me and I am grateful. He even took me out for ice cream for dinner, so how could I stay sad? ;)
 But today is a new day. I got to chat on FB with my buddy Red, back on my island, and I am listening to my music on my laptop, and am making plans to visit my American friend in Ahmedabad this next weekend. So I feel good this morning, and am loving India again. It is amazing how this place can frustrate and charm at the same time! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bored Housewife..

 I am not someone who stays home all day. When I have a day off of work, still I am going to yoga, going to the beach, library, Coolers, B&N, out riding my bike. I never stay home all day.
 But this is what we do here. We have a daily routine that never changes. I am a very bad housewife! I am restless and dying a little inside! :)
 It is not easy to just jump in the kitchen and learn to cook. Like I've said, I don't cook at home, so it is not any easier being in a foreign country, and I hate being in the kitchen. My MIL doesn't speak English, so I cant ask questions or have her explain things.
 So, I have been avoiding the kitchen. I do a lot of reading, alternating between Husband's room upstairs (nice and quiet), and the main room downstairs (lots of people and animals out and about, and loud Hindi television). I write, I get on the internet, and when my niece is home, play cards and answer endless questions.
 The other night I begged Husband to take me on a motorbike ride, and last night he took me for a walk down to the train station. (Good Indian wives don't go roaming on their own.)
Luckily, I have an American friend in a city 3 hours north of here, and I have warned her that I will be coming up to visit soon, and maybe a lot more, maybe every weekend!
My favorite time of day is right before sunset, when everyone is up from their siestas and the neighborhood kids are playing out front. They play cricket a lot, and hide and seek. Some ride little bikes, and some just wander by to stare at the white girl. Their bright white smiles kill me! The niece, SIL, and MIL, have been sitting out there with me, and that makes the neighborhood ladies wander by to chat and let us coo at their babies. Ohmylord, I have never been so frickin feminine in my life.
 I might go crazy. ;)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Two Firsts!

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan

my first roti (need to work on the shape, of course) :)
 I have successfully completed two things here that I wanted to do. Make rotis, and travel by myself. Well, technically, I barely traveled by myself but it is a good start!
Husband took me to the train station and put me on a train to Jodhpur, where I was going to meet a friend that has been traversing India for 7 weeks. It was the AC car, so It was pretty uneventful. I just read and slept, and in the morning, got off at Jodhpur where my friend was waiting. :)
 Hey, don't judge! India used to scare me!
 I was just there for 2 days. We walked around and had lunch, catching up on each others lives. It certainly was different though, as with my husband, I didn't get bothered very much by beggars and touts, but with her, we got harassed all the time! It was fun though. I am trying to grow some balls. I need 'em to be a good Indian wife! Someday I will be able to yell at the harassers in Hindi. Ooooh how exciting that day will be!
 The second day we were sick (must've been something we ate), and spent the whole day moaning in bed. Around 3 we were able to rally so we could see the Fort. I was feeling a bit better than she, so I hailed a rickshaw and bargained him down. (That is another first! Yay for me!)
 The Mehrangarh Fort was beautiful. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mehrangarh_Fort  We got headphones for the audio tour which took almost two hours. By then, we were both ill again, so we went back to the hotel and lazed around. (Actually my idea of a perfect sightseeing day- one adventure, and lots of lazing.)
 But the train ride home was the best! She got us tickets in the sleeper car and it was an adventure. No AC, so the windows were open which was awesome. The wind, the sights, and being able to buy food, drinks, ice cream and even magazines from the vendors right through the window! At one point, she jumped out to get samosas and just passed them to me through the window. And ordering ice cream for the lady sitting across from us was interesting too, as I don't speak Hindi and she and the vendor didn't speak English. Oh and the cockroaches everywhere, and the searing afternoon heat made it all the more enjoyable. :) (Husband says that an Indian wife would ride the sleeper car, no more AC! I told him, I am a spoiled american and I dont want to share my ride with cockroaches, so he can be in sleeper and I will be in AC!)
 Ah India.
 Husband, niece, and nephew met us at my station. They brought chocolates for my friend who was continuing on to Pune.
Then today I made rotis! Feeling pretty proud of myself, as I reach the end of my first week here. Lots more fun to come. ;)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Adjusting

Well, no cooking yet as I am adjusting to the travel and the jet lag and today I had a headache all day. :(
 But it is so good to be back. India is indescribable. I am just soaking it all up and remembering. The staring hasn't bothered me as much.
 I got into Mumbai at 3am. My dear husband and his cousin met me. Husband has grown his hair out since I left and it is all curly and makes him even cuter. Ok that will be all of the mushy stuff!
 We went to the cousins and went to sleep, and when I got up there were a niece and nephew there that wanted to meet the foreigner. We hung out for a few hours visiting and having lunch, before the whole family piled in the car to take us to the train station.
 The train ride to Gujarat was about 6 hours, and we had fun just catching up, teasing each other, and just being silly as we knew everyone around us were eavesdropping. Indians are not ashamed to be caught listening to your conversations and one dude even answered a question I asked my husband! So funny.
 The next day, the neighborhood kids all wanted to meet me, as my niece had been telling them about their new auntie from the US. Most of the kids know "Hi, How are you?". I am desperate to learn Hindi so I can chat with them.
 One of the girls invited me to her house. She is 20, the eldest of 5. We sat in the living room (4 siblings and the mom) and we asked each other questions with my niece translating. The 20 year old's name is Dilkush which translates to 'happy heart'. Love it! When we ran out of questions and were just staring at each other, I took my leave.
 Tonight Husband is putting me on an overnight train to Jodhpur where I will meet up with a friend from my island who has been traveling India for a while. It will be nice to hear of her adventures and be with another American in this crazy country. It will be a different experience without Husband to keep away all the beggars and touts. I will have to grow some balls. :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Holi

While sitting in the Seoul airport waiting for my flight to Mumbai, I saw an article on About.com India, of the Holi festival. This year it is March 20th, which means I will get to experience it! How exciting. It is so cool to experience what you have previously only read about.
http://goindia.about.com/od/festivalsevents/p/Holi.htm
Sweet! Now how can I take pics without my camera getting ruined...? :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

New Visa

The reason I flew to San Francisco was to renew my Indian visa. When I decided to go back to India, I didn't think there would be enough time to do it by mail, and it costs a lot to have things Fed-Exed to and from my island. My roomie (N.) just recently moved back to SF, and the flights to India are cheaper from the mainland than from the island, so I booked a flight to India from SF, and flew over a week earlier, to get the visa and see N.
It is pretty easy to do the drop off thing. You make an appointment online as you are filling out the application, and they check that you do have one before they let you in. You had to have all your documents and either a money order or exact cash in a plastic bag or a manila envelope. (You are not allowed to bring anything into the office except that.) They confirm that you have all paperwork, take your money and give you a receipt to bring back at the end of the day.
 I spent the day playing tourist (riding the cable car, browsing City Lights bookstore, people-watching), and at 5.30, went back to the visa place. The courier brings everything back from the Indian embassy at 5.30, and once they get it all organized, they take your receipt and give you the passport with the visa in it. There was a long line of people waiting and a few were disappointed as their passports didn't come back, and they will have to come back Monday at 5.30. My flight is Tuesday so I was a tad worried. What a relief to have it in my hands!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Why I started a blog

I dont cook!
I do not cook, except eggs and toast. Easy.
But my husband is a bit worried about not having his favorite foods on this island, so he wants me to learn how to make them while I am visiting. Now, my MIL doesn't speak English, I don't speak Hindi or Punjabi or Marathi or Gujurati, so the learning process will be quite interesting.
And, it will be HOT. Like 100 degree hot. And because I am now an Indian wife, I will have to take care to cover my limbs. No tank tops, or mini skirts!
So, this blog will cover the adventure of learning a new language, learning to cook, learning how to live with 7 other people, and learning how to be a good Indian wife.
Argh!

Moving Day

So today I am putting all of my stuff in storage here on my island, to wait for my return. I fly to San Francisco on Wed to get a new visa, and then to India on March 8th... Let the adventure begin!