Saturday, August 28, 2010

There's no hope

Mostly, we're pretty comfortably settled in our life here. We have a good system worked out with our household help, we really like William's school, we're all generally healthy, we've developed a great network of friends both in and out of the office, know our way around the city to our usual haunts and still have fun exploring areas we don't know as well.

But, every now and then, something happens which reminds us that (a) we are still living in a foreign country and (b) somethings about India will probably be beyond our comprehension no matter how many books we read, how many questions we ask and how hard we try to observe and make sense of things on our own.

Last week, we were driving home and came to a busy T-intersection. The intersection itself I find interesting because one corner houses an upscale movie theater and TGI Fridays (representing "new" Hyderabad), another corner has the headquarters for the TDP (a major State-level political party, representing the "established" Hyderabad), and the top of the T intersection has the entrance to Hyderabad's version of Central Park (emphasizing natural landscaping inside the party ... a rapidly disappearing "natural" Hyderabad).

As we were waiting at a red light (that in itself of note), a man - who appeared to be perfectly capable of walking - was crawling on all fours across this intersection with a mob of about 15 young men around him and behind him all chanting ("raising slogans," as the phrase is here). We couldn't understand the slogans and they had no written signboards, so we have absolutely no idea why this man was crawling on all fours in the middle of the city.

Was he protesting for or against a separate Telengana state? Was he going toward the TDP headquarters for some reason? Had he taken a vow to complete a walk of a certain length on all fours if he passed his university exams? Who knows? Greg and I just stared at the guy and turned to each other and shrugged. This kind of site is not that common, but yet happens often enough that it's not uncommon, either. And, I don't think I'll ever quite be able to understand why this guy was crawling.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What's going on?

Just a quick status update. I've been out of commission because of the broken arm, but the splint came off yesterday, so I'm back to typing!

Patch is moving in full swing. He likes to take a few steps, and then will fall down and zoom off crawling to where he needs to go. He has figured out how to use one of those party horns (the kind where you blow and the paper unrolls) and will start laughing at himself when he plays with it. His other new "trick" is being able to make cars "go." Basically, anything William shows him, he learns pretty quickly. It's either that or risk being left behind!

William mostly loves having Patch around. First thing in the morning, William comes into our room to give Patch a hug. Then we usually have a small melt down as we remind William for the millionth time that he cannot carry his "small brother" down the steps. Favorite games to "play to each other" (not sure why William always says "play to" instead of "play with") are: tackle, cars, peek-a-boo, and tump over.

Patrick will, on occasion, get a strong enough push from William that he tumps over and bonks his head, so we're really trying to stop this since we have hard marble floors! Thankfully, William is doing this less and less often ... but it still does happen :( And probably will as long as Patrick continues to want to do everything William does. Of course, with Patrick (at 9.5 months) weighing in at close to 20 lbs and William (at 3 yrs, 2 months) at 27 lbs, I'm expecting the small brother will outweigh the big brother in the foreseeable future.

I'm going to Tashkent, Uzbekistan for work in a few weeks. Hopefully an interesting blog post or two will come out of that!

Our household staff is starting to get nervous about us leaving in four months. I keep on trying to calm them down, pointing out that with all the summer transitions which happened at work (and we had a lot!), all staff members found new jobs with incoming families, but I think they don't believe me just yet. It's hard for them, since their livelihood depends on us. Working for foreigners brings bigger pay, it's true, but also more instability with postings only two or three years.

As for us, we're starting to think about Manila, but mostly trying to enjoy being in the present and being here. It's a difficult balance to strike since we have to answer emails about housing preference there and start making travel arrangements ... but at the same time, still have full time jobs here! And friends here!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sorry, Power is Out!

Greg and I had to hand it to our neighbor today. Usually she's asking us about American parenting techniques - we're a lot stricter with expecting good behavior of even a three year old. But, today, we took a trick from her book.

Our neighbor's daughter is about 6 months younger than William. Now that she's 2.5 and William 3 years old, they are great playmates. They play most evenings from about 5 to 6:30 or so. Today, we came home and the two of them were in the process of heading over to our neighbor's house.

Willliam and the little girl (and her nanny) were back in about 5 minutes. William was saying something about wanting to watch cartoons. He was talking so fast (in his maximum Indian lilt) we were having a difficult time understanding him. Finally Sarwari asked our neighbor's nanny what was going on. She replied that "madam said the power was out in our house."

Apparently, William promptly told our neighbor that the AC was on in our house, so he came back because we had power and he could try and watch cartoons at our house (TV is not allowed at our house until 20 minutes before bed time).

Greg and I took the hint, though, and turned off the power for the TV at the wall switch. William knows about wall switches for electricity, but somehow missed this sneaky attempt. So, when Greg announced, "sorry, power is also out here!" William just took our neighbor's daughter over to the play kitchen area and they started baking a birthday cake.

For once, we could use the spotty power supply to our advantage.