And finally I am having the time to sit down and write a blog to you all. But so much has happened since I last wrote that I’m thinking you will have to sit down and be prepared to read for the next 3-4 hours! 😉
Where to begin…..where to begin?
Let’s start where I left off. California…
I finally realized that I just was not going to be able to sell the entire amount I wanted to sell. Some of the big ticket stuff just wasn’t going. Whether it was because of the economy or the time of year…people just were not buying. I sold my big screen TV and the accompanying items (surround sound, DVD player, VCR and TV stand). I also sold my recliner chairs and two smaller TV’s as well as my computer and monitor. A few other small household items got sold, but other than that….nothing. My frig didn’t sell, my gorgeous grill, the bed, the armoire, the large DVD case and my car. None of it sold. Well, my car DID sell at the last moment. I got the lender to take the car back as payment because the car was worth more than my loan. So I essentially “sold” my car to my lender without repercussions. I tell you what, if we ever go back to the states, I’m going with that lender again….they are an AMAZING company that know the meaning of taking care of their customers. Thankfully, the big screen TV sold for my asking price and THAT paid for my personal items to be shipped to India. YAY.
Leaving my apartment was a bit of a chore, they had fired the office manager that I had become close with and the new staff was rude and truculent. I enjoyed leaving the apartment less than clean (which if you know me, you know that’s a HUGE deal….I’m a clean/neat weirdo which is a step below freak).
Then finally the day came and we were off, flying from California to my hometown on the east coast to visit my family for 5 days. It was wonderful! The weather was just starting to get cold, the leaves were changing, it rained a little bit and it was still green. I miss home more now than I ever thought I would. Growing up I hated my hometown. So small. So out-of-touch. So blinded. Now I see it as it really is…a bustling community full of good people and interesting things. My Dad drove us around and showed us the new High School and some other new developments as well as all the new technology based businesses (I think to show off the ‘burg to Bear in the hopes of getting him to fall in love with it and want to move there). My Mom took us on hay rides and corn mazes and to a pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins for carving. It was Bear’s first time carving a pumpkin and you should have seen his face as he scooped out the “innards” with his hands! Mom and I were dying with laughter.
Then it was off to the north to visit Bear’s brother and family for 3 days during Diwali. That was a wonderful visit too and I wish it had been longer. I was a little nervous about meeting my new Sister-in-law for the first time…but I was excited too as she was (in my eyes) part of the reason why everything came together as smoothly as it did. Meeting her was like meeting a long lost friend. She is a lovely, sensitive and caring person with a flair for the dramatic! We had so much fun together! Their daughters were lovely and the eldest was completely enamored with her Uncle Bear. She pulled on him and climbed on him and did her best to always have his attention. Poor Bear hasn’t been given that kind of treatment in a long time and needless to say he was exhausted by the time we left.
The flight to India was long and fairly uneventful. I watched three movies back to back. I slept. I ate. I slept some more. We did wind up with some annoying seatmates….a group of Swedish women (6 total) were flying to Brussels together and we had two beside us and four behind us. They were loud and didn’t seem to fit into their seats very well as they were constantly banging into ours. There were also two very young children in our section of the plane and every time the cabin pressure changed, they screamed holy terror….which got the dog in the back compartment barking, which in turn made the baby in same section cry. At one point, I had been given an Orange Juice in a flight container (you know the ones with the peel back tin foil “lid”?) and it turned out to be leaking from somewhere on the plastic section of the “cup”. I tried to hand it to a stewardess that was going around with a tray but she refused to take it saying that the tray was only for pencils and paper. I asked her if she could come back for it as the fasten seat belt sign was on and she said she would. I sat there, with that thing leaking all over my hand, shirt cuff and part of my slacks because even though I tried to hold it out over the aisle, occasionally we would hit turbulence and my hand would get shifted over. After about 15 minutes, I finally got sick of it, unbuckled my belt, stood up and started walking back towards the bathroom…where I was met by the same stewardess telling me to go back to my seat. I tried to nicely explain to her that I needed to throw that away and that it was leaking on me but she rudely interrupted me and said “Ma’am, I told you I would be coming back and I will, now please take your seat!”, to which I replied “I will NOT be taking my seat until YOU are taking this leaky container!” and she continued to try and argue with me. So I finally interrupted her and said…loudly… “EXCUSE ME, I will now keep this container AND not wash the OJ from my hands, shirt or pants and once we land I will go to YOUR superiors and ask them why I was forced to remain this way because YOU Smita ( I read her nametag) refused to take GARGAGE from a paying PASSENGER!” And then I turned around and walked away. Please understand I had been nice to this lady the entire flight. Every time she served me food or drink, I always said “Please” and “Thank you” and I always smiled at her. I tried to help as much as possible by not making a mess or being a pain in the butt. And yet this stewardess continued to frown and have a cold attitude the entire flight. So I had pretty much had it by that point and really…who likes having sticky fingers and wet clothes? So, I went back to my seat, wrapped the container in a plastic bag holding a magazine, put that in an air sick bag and then placed it under my chair. By the time I was done with that, the head stewardess came over and apologized profusely. I explained what happened, the people around me chipped in and agreed that she had been rude throughout the flight and basically….we never saw prune face again the rest of the flight. YAY for flyer solidarity! LOL
One other thing to remember, we had left a VERY cold region in US…so we were still bundled up in a lot of clothes when we landed in Mumbai…where it was VERY hot. Even at night. Bear didn’t have time to take off his sweatshirt or to pack up his scarf so he was forced to wear it. We got inside the airport, and then had to walk through a H1N1 screening line. Where they had a thermal imager. Which Bear failed. His body temperature was very high so he got pulled out of line to be screened by a doctor and have his temperature taken. This delayed us almost two hours as the line had been long to begin with. Meanwhile, Bear’s Dad was waiting for us outside and we had no way of calling him to let him know we were ok and coming….because neither of us had a cell that worked in India at that point. LOL.
Finally we made it out, where I met my new Father-in-law for the first time. I was TERRIFIED! LOL. But he was so wonderfully sweet and had brought flowers for me. I bowed, placed my hands together, said “Namaste Baba” and pent to touch his feet. I think that pleased him…he smiled at me and touched my head.
Then it was a long drive back to his parent’s house. I was again nervous and anxious. Baba speaks English but Aai speaks very little (having no reason to use it over the years). Ajoba (grandfather) speaks no English at all and he was waiting at the house with Aai. Plus, it was around 1am, so I was exhausted.
But you know what? All that worrying and being nervous was really for nothing. Aai and Ajoba greeted me just like my own family would after a long separation. They were truly happy to see me. I did the same for Aai and Ajoba and got the same smiles and head touch in return. Aai happily served us all of Bear’s favorite foods that she could pack into a late night supper. Then they shuttled us off to bed and that was that. We spent one day with them and on the next day, they came with us to our hometown which is a three to four hour drive from Mumbai. We stopped to view their retirement flat in a hill station, and it was truly lovely and peaceful, you could see how happy and excited they were about it. Once here, Aai and Baba did everything in their power to make sure that Bear and I were settled and comfortable with all the household items we would need to make a start. Aai thought of the items that I never would and I was delighted to find that her taste and mine exactly matched. I love each and every thing she and Baba purchased for Bear and I. We all had fun talking and getting to know each other. They were impressed with my “cleaning” skills and happy to see that I knew quite a lot about Indian food already. Aai would giggle over my pronunciation of certain foods but she would also ask the English word for them. Baba would hover over us and explain anything to me that he thought I didn’t first understand from Aai.
They stayed with us for four days, as Bear had to go to work and they didn’t want me to be alone that soon after coming to a new place. Anything I needed, Baba was quick to run out and get for me. All too soon it was time for them to leave and I was truly sad. I loved having Baba and Aai with us.
For two weeks everything was fine. I rode around on the back of my husband’s motorcycle or in the back of our friends car and we shopped for curtains and bed spreads and pillows and curtain rods and refrigerators and DVD/Surround sound players. It was a thrilling and new experience. I had a great time joining my husband in the art of “negotiating” a better price. I played innocent or hardnosed depending on the situation and we got the deals we wanted along with free delivery. 😉
And then one day, while out shopping, we realized that it was very late and that we were both starving. So we stopped at a restaurant to eat and I forgot myself and ate curd and drank the water. And that was the last day that I felt well. The next day I began getting ill and then progressively got worse and worse. I was in the bathroom more than I was out. I took a medicine to stop all the constant bathroom going but not being used to the Indian medicines, it over-reacted in my system and cause more damage than good. I became worse and Bear had to take me to the hospital twice. The pain was horrible and constant for nearly 10 days. I was sick a total of two and a half weeks. THIS is the first week that I am actually feeling better. I’ve been on a diet of fruits, warm water (filtered and boiled first), Gatorade, plain green Dahl, unbuttered Roti and PB&J sandwiches for the ENTIRE time! ME! A lover of food…stuck to a limited and mostly tasteless diet. It’s been torture. During the worst of it, Bear’s parents came again because he was not able to take off from work to care for me and I couldn’t be left alone during the day. Also, they were too concerned to sit at home worrying over me anymore. So they came and stayed with us for a week. Aai cooked all the food and prepared my special diet for me (and it tasted so much better when she made it!). Baba encouraged me and every day told me I was looking better and not to worry, “tomorrow you will feel better!” They cared for me like I was their own child; they hovered and asked how I was always. Having them here with us took away my fears and truly did make me feel better. By the time they left, I was on the mend and able to get up and do a few things around the house. I believe that if it hadn’t been for Baba and Aai coming and staying with us, I would have been sicker for longer. Not just because of the care and medicine that they made sure I had, it was the love and happiness they gave me. That kept me from falling into a depression. It kept me hopeful. I truly am a very lucky girl to have such wonderful new parents and such a loving and caring new family.
And let’s not forget my poor Bear during all of this. Forced to deal with a horrid little man as a Project Lead, Bear wound up working his butt of during the day, calling constantly to see how I was, running home at lunch to feed me or bring me medicines or to just check on me, working hard so he could leave on time, fighting traffic to come home at a bad hour to find me just as sick and to be worried and have to cook for himself and me or to run to get more medicines or help me out of bed or back into bed. When his parents were here, the only thing he no longer had to do was cook, but he still worked his tail off. My poor, dear sweet Bear was so worried and concerned over me during this time. I am equally blessed to have such a husband.
And now, this week, I am feeling better. Well enough to do the cooking for us both….even though it’s still separate meals. One for him and one for me. I went to a friend’s marriage this weekend and even though I was exhausted afterwards, I did not get sick to my stomach again.
And so now, dear blog readers….you are all caught up on my life so far and I can start writing again about the traditions, the expectations, the cultural differences, and all manner of things. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and that you come back again to hear my opinions and perceptions. I’m sorry it’s been so long, but I hope now you see why it’s been so long.
In the mean time, you all take care and we’ll “talk” real soon! 😉