Cultural Challenges…aka what do you mean they don’t deliver here???

A friend of mine recently wrote a blog on Cross Cultural Attractions and Challenges.  In it, Sharell asked people to respond with the answers to two questions that she and her husband both asked each other and the answer’s which she posted as a “response” to her own blog topic.

After reading this blog, I realized that there have been some challenges that I’ve faced recently that would probably been an excellent topic for my OWN blog.

If you read her blog, you can also view my comment and answer to her questions so I won’t reiterate what I said on her blog here.  But I will go further into detail on some of the issues I mentioned.

Most of you who have been reading my posts know most of what Bear and I have had to face in our own Intercultural Relationship and Marriage.  But one thing that I have not spent a great deal of time on is some of the issues we have been facing since being married AND living in India.

AND is the essential and key word here.  Married AND living in India.

I didn’t want to write on this before because to be honest I felt that I was too emotional on the topic and wouldn’t be as clear headed or open minded when I wrote the blog.  I thought it would look something like this…

I HATE IT HERE AND I AM READY TO GO HOME NOW!!!   IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO LEARN THE LANGUAGE, I CAN’T DRIVE ANYWHERE, I SIT AT HOME ALL DAY, EVERYONE EXPECTS ME TO ‘BECOME’ INDIAN AND I CAN’T BECAUSE I’M NOT!!!  AND I WANTED CHOCOLATE TODAY AND I COULDN’T EVEN GET IT FOR MYSELF AND IN AMERICA I COULD JUST HOP IN MY CAR AND GO TO FREAKING 7-ELEVEN AND GET CHOCOLATE WITH THE CHANGE IN MY CAR AND NOW PAPA JOHN’S DOESN’T DELIVER IN OUR AREA ANYMORE BECAUSE OF THE STUPID BOMBING!!!  AAAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!

Yes, I actually did rant that to Bear about a week ago.  And then cried…HARD…for nearly 20 minutes.  He started getting scared that I was going to dehydrate myself with all the crying I was doing.

And what started that rant?  Earlier in the day I had had a craving for chocolate and because I still can’t drive here and because we live on the outskirts of our city and it’s too far (and not safe) for me to walk to the nearest “shop” I couldn’t get it for myself.  Also, my maid had been sick for over four days and I had been doing all the cleaning/washing on my own during that time and was exhausted.  That day I just wanted to order pizza…Papa John’s pizza because it’s the best.  But when I called they said they didn’t deliver to our area anymore because it was outside their ‘legal’ delivery area and corporate found out and wouldn’t allow them to deliver here anymore.

I found that out as my husband walked through the door sans the chocolate that I had texted him to pick up on his way home.

Needless to say, I exploded.  I was tired.  I was hungry.  I was hurting.  It was late.  And I didn’t want home prepared food even IF my sweet husband offered to make it for me.  I wanted AMERICAN food.  I had a craving for it, I wanted it, I was being denied it, so I was pouting by GAWD and nobody but NOBODY was going to stop my pout fest OKKKK?

Poor Husband.  🙂

So yes, most of the issues we have been facing since becoming married have been since and because we moved to India.

And it hasn’t been all on my side either.

Bear picked up on some “Americanisms’” in his two years there.  Or rather, he already had some of these tendency’s and they became more pronounced because of his experiences in the US was reinforcing those tendency’s.

So, here are some of the issues we’ve been facing since moving to India as a married couple.

For instance:

1)      Bear and I prefer our “quiet time”.  We both have moments when we don’t like being disturbed.  This includes phone calls, door bells or internet chats pinging.  Here in India, it’s quite common for someone to just drop by at any time of day or night with no prior warning.  It’s also quite common for someone in his family to call on his cell or the landline with numerous questions or tons of information and then “requests” for him to call so and so back to congratulate/question/ inform someone else in the family about this or that.  We love his family and friends, but we prefer the way things were for our ‘life’ in America.  Nobody just dropped in without calling or asking first.  You spoke to your family about once or twice a week with no other obligations tied to it.

2)      Bear and I believe that if we have a life, you do to.  That way, if we want to see you we say so and then ask when you have free time.  We do not, at any time state “You must not care about us anymore as you do not come/call” in order to get friends or family into the guilt travel/call mode.  However that is used EXCESSIVELY here.  Oh don’t get me wrong, we got it in the US too, but rarely and even then the guilt tool usually was from our Indian friends.  The guilt trip seems to be a much heavier used tool here in India than it was there.

3)      Obligations galore.  Family obligations.  Friend obligations.  Demands for our appearance for this function and that function.  Demands that we take part in this or that.  Demands that we contribute for people we don’t really know.

4)       Excessive Drama.  No, not on the Hindu TV Serials.  Yes, there is an abundance of them and yes they are syrupy with Drama.  But neither of us watches those so that isn’t it.  No, I’m talking about the Drama we’ve faced when dealing with external or extended family members.  Our own close knit family is not dramatic.  But extended family dynamics can sometimes be a huge draw on our emotional resources and have been the cause of some tensions even between him and me.     This is one topic that he and I are both trying to find a respectful way of handling.  Neither one of us likes drama or dramatic people; however you can choose your friends but not your family.  So this particular issue is a difficult one for us and one that we are both still working on to find a happy resolution for all involved when the situation arises.

5)      Family getting used to some differences between western etiquette and eastern ones. Some of which I refuse to change because of my beliefs for what is right/wrong or rude. (Not saying that theirs are…just that I refuse to change who I am as a person and the morals I was raised with, if I feel that my morals are not harmful to anyone else.)

6)      Lack of time in doing the things we both need to do.  For me it would be learning the language.  For him, it would be more time to study the changes in his field of work.  However, obligations and constantly changing work time lines are making these even tougher obstacles that we once thought they would be.  In the US, he was home by 6:30pm every evening.  He didn’t leave for work until 9:20 am as it only took ten minutes to get to the office.  Here he leaves early and sometimes comes home VERY late.  Here, I spend most of the day dodging the door bell, cleaning/organizing/fighting off mosquito’s, working around power outages and coming up with that days recipes that will work around what we have available because going grocery shopping is a chore.

7)      Accessibility.  Yes, I know this seems odd but for me this is a HUGE issue.  There is a certain way things ‘should’ be done or certain things that ‘should’ be available 24/7.  Like there should be a shop nearby where I can get chocolate or a jug of 2% milk at 11pm if I need to.  There should be a grocery store with everything that we need available in one location instead of selling SOME food on the first floor (and even that food is sometimes dodgy if it’s “fresh”) and clothes on the second floor and electronics on the third.  Don’t the vegetable vendor’s realize that we need fresh fruits and veggies out in the sticks of our city just as much as the people who live in the older more established areas’????  I want my veggiewala damnit!!!  If we go to the Hospital, my husband should not have to leave my side to go and purchase my stupid medicine so that the nurse can administer it.  I want my husband by my SIDE at all TIMES when I’m sick/in pain OK?  Why can’t I get Nyquil here?  Why can’t someone tell me its equivalent?  Why is it when I go to the medical shop and say that I have a sore throat, they give me medicine for a cough????  Why can’t I just pick what I want to use by standing in an aisle chock full of different medicines and deciding for myself which one to take?  Why is it, whenever I call for home delivery from an advertisement that is WRITTEN in English…no one on the other side speaks it?  And why is it that they will not deliver in my area even though I’m still considered to be within city limits?  Why is the bus system so atrocious in this city even though the city has been granted a ton of funds from the government to improve it and then the money got all rude and disappeared?  This brings us to the next point…

8)      My over developed sense between right and wrong and the need to fix everything. This one has worn us both out and I’m working on controlling it.

9)      From Bear (as he called to have me add this):  “My challenges are to make sure that YOUR challenges are solved very fast otherwise MY challenges will increase.”

While I realize that this list seems fairly long, let me assure you it could be even longer.  I just didn’t want to make this so long that some of you cannot finish reading it due to time constraints.   🙂

So what issues have you faced in your Intercultural Relationship?  Do you think things would be different if you lived somewhere else?  If so, where would you live?

PS:  Bear and I both have toyed with the idea of moving to New Zealand where none of our friends or family lives.  🙂  LOLOLOLOLOL  JUST KIDDING.  Maybe.

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33 thoughts on “Cultural Challenges…aka what do you mean they don’t deliver here???

  1. After hearing all the ranting, I wont surprise if you tell us that you are done with India and now busy eating candies in the USA 🙂

  2. Do you read Naomi at Delhi Bound? She’s going through some of the same sort of frustrations at life in India that you are (although, of course, she’s in Delhi, not Pune).

    Having recently returned from a three week trip to India – with all of the relatives asking us if/when we were moving back to the subcontinent – the idea of living in India has been on my mind recently. Obviously, a vacation is an incredibly poor indicator of what life would actually be like, which was my main response when family asked if I could picture us living there.

    I’m still thinking through the idea of whether I could hack it or not…

  3. Came to your blog thru Sharell’s blog. I find your blog and the comments also quite interesting. Keep writing.

    Regards.

  4. Hey Gori Rajkumari..guess you are living up to your name..at least the rajkumari part..ha ha

    MOst of the challenges mentioned in this post are the result of staying in an under developed part of Pune outskirts and do not necessarily represent the issues of living in India. You will be surprised at how much better life will be if you stay in the right area.

    Living in a foreign nation is expected to be challenging particularly if you move from a developed nation to a developing nation…

    I thot that this post was very negative in tone and outlook…

    • Hi Silent Melody…

      Mmmmm at first I was really offended by your comment. You don’t know me, the person I am, what I do, or anything else about me really…but you passed judgement on me nonetheless. THEN I realized that if you had read any other of my posts you would know that I have a bit of a sarcastic sense of humor and tend to make fun of myself and my own issues/problems over things that (on further reflection) are trivial and small.

      I think the thing to remember is that it is all about perspective. For me, yes things are hard here. Yes I have come from a developed country into a newly developing one. But what I think you fail to realize is that I was aware of the problems and issues I would face on a larger scale before coming here and was still ready to move….and happily so. The purpose of this post is to show people that they must NOT overlook that even small things will get on one’s nerves and make things worse than they really are….no matter how small and trivial the issue really is. The key is recognizing it and being able/willing to work on it to make it better.

      Finally:

      1) I’m not a Princess nor do I act/behave like one. I clean my own house every day and cook fresh meals twice a day. I have a maid to help me with the things I’m not used to doing on my own ( ex: washing clothes without a washing machine, dealing with tons of construction dust, etc). I’m very grateful for her and love her to death and she knows it because I treat her like a human being who is HELPING ME instead of a servant who’s job it is to come in, clean and get out. Which is how I see most of the people in this complex treating their helpers.

      2) How on earth could my making fun of my desperate and crazed need for chocolate be ‘negative in tone and outlook’? It’s nothing less than a travesty!!! Not getting chocolate is truly a problem of national attention and I’m sure there are focus groups forming now to deal with this issue along with global warming. 😛

      • Hey GR, I guess my comment came out judgemental and it was not supposed to be…Your reply makes a lot of sense. I can kind of understand where you are coming from..I lived in US for a year and I was craving for stuff I didn’t even know that I liked..

        I am not a chaat (indian street food) person but I was just dying to have a good plate of chaat when I was there..And yes we need focus groups to deal with the whole chocolate issue.. 🙂

      • Hi Silent Melody….

        No issues truly. I reread both our comments and my conclusion is that it’s alllllll a matter of perspective. Plus, to be quite honest, that particular blog post was a little negative in tone (after reading it while in a happier mind set). But still, the problems were still problems and the issues were still issues…no matter how small. It’s a good idea for people to remember that even the small things can bring you down.

        For example….yesterday I got a tad peeved and stressed out. I have been waiting for a couple of weeks to make a trip to Dorabjee’s because they carry ‘foreigner’ type items. I needed Secret Invisible Solid Anti Perspirant and Deodorant. It MUST be this. Regular Deo just don’t get it for me. I wind up truly and horribly stinky. The sprays last only 2 hours and then they stop working. I found Lady Speed Stick in the Solid but it’s the ‘Teen Spirit’ brand and is NOT strong enough for this NON teen.

        So when I finally made it to Dorabjee’s and found that they didn’t have anything I could use…..I felt like I am doomed to spend my days stinky until someone coming back from the US could be prevailed upon to bring me my Deodorant.

        It’s a sad sad SAD day when you tell someone “No, do not waste space in your bag packing me chocolate from Godiva even if it IS amaretto filled. Bring me back a few extra Deo’s….thanks”. Oh sad sad day. Oh HORROR!

        Anyway, truly….you try to prepare yourself for everything till the point where you actually say to yourself “THERE…I’m prepared for every eventuality. I’m more prepared than a Boy Scout.” And then get whacked up side the head with something you never even saw coming….like a few small pebbles. They don’t hurt really. No blood. But they let you know they are there and it’s annoying and then you start chewing on it and then something else goes wrong and now the first wrong thing is an even BIGGER deal than it was before and GOD FORBID that something else goes wrong or your gonna go on what the movie adverts call a “roaring rampage of revenge” (thanks Beatrix).

        😉 And no, currently I am not stinky. I have a sliver of my old deo left. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        Thanks for your comment. I hope to see you comment again in the future! Hopefully I’ll write something new in the next few days.

  5. “Why is it, whenever I call for home delivery from an advertisement that is WRITTEN in English…no one on the other side speaks it?”

    Hahaha, that IS a funny one and so true. And you know, I have a confession to make, in all my years here in India I’ve never once called up for delivery. I refuse! They can’t even understand my husband’s English so I doubt they’ll understand mine. There’s always Hindi, but I don’t even want to try. It just seems like too much effort is required… ah, like A LOT of things.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself. It really does take a long time (a year even) to settle in to life here. The lack of independence, and not being able to just jump in a car and go out to get whatever, really is the worst.

    • If you mean this in the verb form of “to spring into existence or into view” then yes, I agree. Thanks for the compliment and I’m glad that I have now risen to be recognized as being in “existence” as per your “view”!

  6. Hey Gori, no problem 🙂 Let me know what you hear from Vick’s 🙂 I do have to say, though, that the one thing I found in India that I miss here when sick are these home-made ginger/jaggary candies my mother-in-law makes. It really helps with sore throat/mucas drainage problems. I don’t know how to make it at home myself, though!

    I reread what you said about pickles — do you think you could try to make your own? I’ve been wanting to learn to pickle things myself. I would think that all the necessary equipment (jars, tops, tongs for the jars, big pot for sterilization) would be available in India, since it seems that people make their own pickled veggies.. might be a fun hobby to take up AND you could sell your pickles to other US expats who miss them 🙂

  7. So much of your frustration about groceries/convenience sounds familiar to me from our year of living in France! We lived outside Paris, so the shops in the village closed at 7 p.m. and on Sundays. If you wanted milk at 8 p.m., or some wine on a Sunday, you were OUT of luck. And, due to the reduced hours, the grocery stores were ALWAYS packed. It was just such a CHORE to go out and buy anything.

    And ditto on the Nyquil! They didn’t have it, and they had no idea what I was talking about. They gave me some decongestant and it sucked. Perhaps we should suggest to Nyquil that they start marketing outside the US, huh? 😉

    Oh, and same thing with Ziplocks. I reused the few I’d brought with me like crazy.

    However, I’m now finding that no matter WHERE I move, it’s difficult to adjust. And a foreign country is just that much harder. Good luck!

    • Andrea Andrea Andrea….thank GOD someone who understands the benefits, wonderfulness, bow-down and praise worthiness of Nyquil!!!!! heheheh The stuff here just sucks and I never get that nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever so you can rest medicine. 😉

      Living in France though….how romaaantic. All that rolling green countryside. The beauty of the language. The foooooood. 🙂 But I’m sure that there were/are just as many challenges and beauties there as there are here. Same anywhere you go and it’s all a matter of perspective and attitude. Like you were saying, now and day’s it’s hard to adjust just moving within your own country, let alone to a totally new one!

      Thanks so much for the luck and hope you keep coming back to comment. Comments make my day! Take care and see you soon!

      PS: Writing to Vicks as we speak about the whole Nyquil situation! 🙂

  8. LOL! I truly enjoyed reading this post! You have a unique ability to rant all the while being completely hilarious! It sounds like you have adjusted quite well though. I can see where one would get a craving for American food once in a while. I cook both Indian and American food at home so we have a variety. Not sure how I would handle it either if I couldn’t have the variety. I have to say, the inability to freely go about shopping would be a big challenge for me. We’ve never been able to visit India as of yet but I would really love to someday. I’m sure we would have to travel secretly without notifying his family or his mother would probably hire some thug during our travels to take me out! In the meantime, I’ll travel to India through your blog posts here 😉

    • Hi MilkyChai and WELCOME! 😉

      I just checked out your blog and I LOVE your header picture! Gorgeous! Oh and welcome to the blogging world! So much fun to expose every little thing to every body let me assure you! 😉 Actually, if it had not been for people like Gori at Gori Girl and Sharell at Wife Indian House Wife, I don’t know what I would have done….gone nuts trying to flounder around on my own I suppose. That is the reason why I started my blog, to let other people know that there ARE those of us out there that do have the happy ending even when the beginning isn’t so smooth-a-rific. 😉 I love that you are posting similar kind of experiences!

      I know what you mean, back in the US, I also cooked a variety of food for us. Bear wasn’t quite as adventurous back then with his food eating habits but over the last 6 months he’s gotten to a point where he believes I can cook anything and will eat pretty much anything I put in front of him and usually love it (although there have been a few rare times when he’s smelled the pureed grape tomato that I snuck into the recipe and he’s TRIED to turn his nose up at it….). Back home I made stuff like baked bbq beans, coleslaw, bbq “meat” (aka quorn) sandwiches, homemade three cheese mac and cheese with bread crumbs on top, spaghetti (with parm sause for him and marinara for me….argh) garlic bread, green bean bake…ohhhhhhhhhh God I’m hungry…. anyway…… here it’s a little more difficult.

      A) I have a hard time finding what I need to make that stuff and am not so sure of the things available and if they can be substituted or not.
      B) No oven/microwave yet.

      If you ever make it to India, come our way and we’ll have too much fun! 😉 No PIMIL’s allowed! 😉 Muahahahahah.

  9. Sorry to hear you are having trouble adjusting. My first and only trip to India was last November when we got married (Lucknow) and I experienced a great deal of culture shock! I honestly don’t know if I could live in India. Of course I’m basing my opinion on only one three-week visit, but I just have a feeling that I would really struggle with it. I’ve been following your posts recently and feel for you. Hang in there!

    I’m curious if you had planned on living in Pune/India a long time or do you plan on moving back to the U.S. Just curious if this is temporary or not…

    I can’t believe Papa John’s won’t deliver! 😦

  10. Just read your post via Sharell’s blog, and wanted to say I can totally relate!! I’m an American married to an Indian, and we are planning a move to India. All of the things you mention in your list have come up before in our discussions of what our life will be like. We’ve been married for almost 8 years. Even though we’ve been living the US, we’ve experienced these challenges in small doses when we visit India. Now we have a young daughter and want to give her a life close to family and where she can grow up feeling attached to India as much as America. So, we are moving but we know it won’t be an easy adjustment. One example is that I’m going to have to give up my beloved bacon. My husband’s family is Muslim. Bacon is okay here because its just the two of us, but we know just isn’t going to fly when we live there. (Although, I should add that my brother in law has informed me that he know where I can get some if I have a major craving – LOL) My husband on the other hand loves efficiency. He knows moving back home means that he has to give up many of the efficiencies he’s come to appreciate in the US. These are just a few of the things that we will have to adjust to, but I wanted to say that I really appreciate hearing from someone “on the ground” in the similar situation and look forward to hearing more from you and how you deal with India!

    • WELCOME Amy! Thank you so much for sharing that! I know exactly how you must be feeling….except that you have a child to incorporate into the Indian Culture. Hopefully you are coming here with a better grasp of the language than I did! But I think that is a wonderful, honorable and noble thing you are doing…giving your daughter the opportunity to expand and learn about all of her roots!!! It’s always difficult to move, even within your own city or country. Your move is different and I applaud your bravery.

      And yes, I have seen the BACON and I know that it DOES exist here….albeit it never looks as crispy good as it was in the US. 😉

      I always thought before moving to India that things like those that I listed would be the easy ones. I always figured, “Well, I’ll just stand my ground is all….” but it’s really not as easy as all that. Especially when you’re getting inundated day in and day out with the big issues AND the little ones.

      I definitely never thought it would be a chocolate and Papa John’s Pizza craving that would be my “straws” but there you have it. Life in India is a life full of frustrations and inefficiency (I have YET to find a good floor mop) and doing things the harder way (see my posts about Agent’s or getting registered in India) but life in India is also filled with beauty and a kind of eerie calm/peacefulness. I love how laid back it can be. Unlike Sharell, I don’t have too many issues with IST (India Standard Time with regards to being late) as I TOTALLY fit into that! 😉 However, just like Sharell, I do have issues when things do not go as planned and THAT happens often in India. India is VERY talented at finding work around’s for life’s little puzzlers and we westerners are so used to things just working how their supposed to that we’ve lost a little bit of that ‘problem solving’ ability that they seem to have here.

      And I’ll tell you this….if you have large plastic containers for stuff like lemonade or iced tea…bring it. Can’t find a large one here anywhere. Also, freezer bags. The one’s here suck (if that’s what they REALLY are). And if you are shipping stuff, back some essentials….like Kraft Mac and Cheese. One box of that stuff here costs like 150rs!!! I also have not been able to find one jar of kosher dill pickles. THAT alone is making me severely depressed. hehe

      If I think of anything else that I think might be useful to you, I’ll be sure to let you know! 😉

      PS: If you’re moving to the Pune area, we can always go on a girls day out once in a while and eat bacon when nobody’s looking. 😀 Muahahahaha

      • Thank you for the advice on what to bring. I am going nuts trying to figure out what to keep, throw, buy in bulk to bring, etc. Did you do a residence transfer or just start fresh in India? I’m applying for my PIO card in advance. Anything else you can let me know about the move itself would be very helpful.

        We’ll be living with hubby’s parents in Bombay, Colaba until I can get on my feet with managing a house, then we’ll be living in Worli. Living with the fam has me a bit nervous. Although I love them dearly, I’ve not been under someone else’s roof for over a decade. I guess its just an incentive to learn faster 🙂

        I struggle with the language. I can speak “food” in Hindi pretty well, but I am awful at pronunciation. My family speaks mostly Hinglish to each other and their English with me is very good. I can follow along with them, but with the house staff and shopkeepers I really have a tough time. Hopefully, I will be able to learn alongside my 2 year old 🙂 Or maybe she’ll be teaching me before too long!

        In any event, thanks for the offer of a girls day. I would like that. Pune isn’t too far, right? We won’t be moving until the end of the year, but I’ll keep in touch.

        Thanks again for the great blog!

      • Oh that story sounds so familiar! “What to bring? What to sell? What to donate?” and my personal favorite….”But I don’t WANNA get rid of THIIIIISSS!!!” Good god the three months leading up to right before we left were hell let me tell you.

        And my poor husband, who really truly DID try to help as much as he could, hadn’t really been in Pune for very long. Or rather, he’s lived here for almost 6 years but he’s spent half of that working late hours and not really going anywhere on the weekends, and the other three years traveling back and forth between Pune and America for work.

        Here is a typical conversation between us (please take note, most of our convo’s centered around my quest for food in Pune):

        Me: Sweety…will they have Peanut Butter or Pickles there?
        Him: It’s a big city sweetu, it has everything that you could want. I’m sure they will.
        Me: Yes but Sweety, have you ever SEEN them?
        Him: Noooo, but I didn’t really go out much.
        Me: Then how do you know if it has everything that I could want???
        Him: Uhhhh. 🙂 I love you sweetu!

        Siiiiiiiiiiiigh. Thankfully, I had a friend in CA who was female and recently transplanted from Pune and she gave me the 411. There was Peanut Butter but she didn’t know what Kosher Dill Pickles were. No Bologna either. Or veggie “fake” meat like Quorn or Tofu Turkey (which is totally gross anyway). Zip lock bags are available but the quality is suck oh-rama. Also, while I’ve SEEN tupperware LIKE things…the quality and quantity are not the same as what we could get in US. It’s also difficult (but not impossible) to find some western spices so if you have a favorite, I say bring it. Like Allspice…no such thing here from what I can tell. Plus, I am addicted to Iced Tea, especially Lipton Cold Brew. No such thing here. So I bought a ton of it and brought it and a huge amount of Splenda (just in case).

        ALSO…there is NO SUCH THING as Nyquil here. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Same goes for Pepto Bismal. Oh there are Indian variations, but here is my suggestions. Bring a stock of whatever American store bought, over the counter medicines you use, this way you have them in case of emergency when/if the Indian version/brand does not work on you or makes you worse. I brought a limited stock and then proceeded to catch every single flu and cold virus available in India except for the Swine Flue (knock on wood and thank God). I went through my US stock pretty quickly and had to start taking the Indian brands (aka quitting the US brands cold turkey sucks oh-rama too).

        Needless to say, my body wasn’t used to the Indian brands so some of them didn’t have any effect on me, some I got every side effect imaginable, which in turn led me to having to take OTHER medicines to compensate which increased the problem and I wound up in the hospital not once, not twice but three times. And I was sick for nearly a month. In IMMENSE pain. The water sickness. Get’s us new comers every time baby. 😉

        You know what? I think I will write a blog on what to bring with you to India if your moving! So many people give lists of stuff if you are visiting but not for the move! Maybe that will help out more! 🙂 Keep an eye out for it!

  11. Oh, and I forgot to add.

    Pizza Hut, Little Caeaser’s, Dominos – NONE of them would deliver to the area I lived in, even though it was University-provided student housing, because there was one rough part of town, just outside the Student housing area !!!

    So, it was bike to Publix, or o to bed hungry.

  12. Many years ago, during my graduate Studies in the Southern USA, I too found myself marooned, much like you currently seem to find yourself, in Pune.

    After 3 years of saving up, I did buy a small car for $2500 from a Good Ol’ Southern Boy. Turns out the car was in fact the Proverbial Lemon, and had been in a crash, and had been cosmetically done-up to fool suckers like me.

    Within one year, and less than 5000 miles later, I was left with an immobile pile of auto-junk, that I sold for $200 to a Good Ol’ Southern Car Scrapyard.

    So, for the next several years, it was me riding my bicycle some ten miles each way, to the nearest Publix for groceries. Too tired to ride the bike to the grocery store tonight ? Tough ! Well, then I guess I’ll be going to bed hungry tonight.

    Back then, the cars on the roads were not friendly to bicycle riders at all, and I’ve had many a close-call with jerk motorists.

    You can guess that, during all those years, I was limited to only going to places that I could ride my bike to, because the public transport bus service was kinda a Southern joke.

    In your case, you may want to venture out by auto-riksha, at least during the daytime. In general auto-riksha rides are fairly safe, but be alert and cautious, if you use a riksha. Some riksha drivers might be total creeps and criminals.

    Be VERY careful, crossing streets, and walking in traffic in Pune. Pune traffic is not for the faint-hearted, as everyone makes up his / her own traffic-rules, as he/she goes along.

    The public bus transport in Pune – worth a try, but again, be alert and cautious at all times. Be wary of strangers, just as you would anyplace else.

    • Oh man Neal….I agree with the experiences you’ve had in the ‘good ole’ south’. Some places are just bad and even we southerns wouldn’t go there! 😉 When Bear’s boss asked me what I thought of a particular city/state for potential transfer/H1 opportunities….I told him “No freaking way”. 🙂

      I wish I could take a bike or auto-rickshaw to the local store or anywhere for that matter. But where we live….it’s what you might say is a village that has just recently been incorporated into Pune and is still under development. There are stores here, but they are few and far between and it takes a good 10 minutes for Bear to get us there by motorcycle at the best of times. The nearest auto-rickshaw “hang out” is even further away. I could walk to the store faster than it would take me to hail a auto. 😉 And because it’s under construction here, it’s also a tad unsafe for single women to walk alone. I’ve watched the other ladies here ( they are construction workers too I think? ) and they all travel in packs of at least two or more. Siiiiiiiiigh.

      So for now, we just have to wait till we can get my license and a good used scooter.

      But other wise, I’m an EXPERT street crosser here in Pune. I often tell my husband when it’s time to go or drag him if he is pausing to long. 🙂 hehehe But yeah, the TRAFFIC and RULES here are a whole other blog and one which I plan to write on very soon. 😉 This one will even have real live pictures to go with it! Muahahahahaha PMC watch out!

  13. Check 1, Check 2, Check 3, Check 4.

    Five is alright. I don’t entirely relate to it. But if I see it from your point of view, then yes. Your point of view as in an American’s point of view.

    Check 6, like totally. Agree to each word. Sigh. Wife leaves for work at 9 AM, comes back never before 10 PM. Ditto me. Sigh.

    Seven. You can easily do all that in New Delhi. Not too sure about your city. Never been there.

    8 and 9. I’ll just keep quiet as I have nothing to say in it. And come to New Delhi if you can. Way better than New Zealand! Good luck!

    • 😉 Five is a work in progress and I’m trying SO hard to see it from perspectives other than my own. It’s just a little difficult to reconcile some things I’m asked to change when I was raised with them being a part of the “do’s and don’ts” within my own family, society and culture.

      New Delhi huh? Funny thing, Sharell said we should head out to Mumbai for the same reasons! 😉 I love Pune….and I think a big part of it is that we live on the outskirts of Pune and while it’s still considered Pune….it really is just under-development, farm/country, newly incorporated village area. Bear says in 2 years or so it will be just like Kalyani Nagar or Koregaon Park. One can hope. hahaha

      If we ever come up there for a visit, we’ll be sure to let you know and then you’ll have to be the honorary ambassador and tell us the good places to go.

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