Wednesday, December 29, 2010

India made me smile yesterday! Wait, thats not right, a country can't do that! :-)

Yesterday I had gone out to run some errands. I had to get my hair cut, and pick up a few things for DH.

Well, at the salon (the same one I have normally gone to for like the last 3 months...) I had the same 2 girls that took care of me last time. There is a trained professional (who does the actual cutting / eyebrow threading) and her helper (she holds the hair up and does the little jobs...) who take care of each customer. Well, this time they remember me, and they go on jabbering in bangla. No biggie, I just sit and listen and they thread my eyebrows first. Then the fun starts.

The trained girl starts asking me if I wear sindoor, and I say no. Then they ask me if I wear the shakha (which in Bengal, married women wear red and white bangles. The white bangle is beautifully crafted from conch while the red is made either of coral or lac. While the red and white ones are quite important as a symbol of matrimony, what is crucial is the loha or iron kada that is worn along with them. Some Bengalis get the loha gold-plated rather skillfully, giving it a more contemporary look). Then where I was from and then if I had been married long.

Then when I came home yesterday I had a auto-wallah who was irritable and yelling at some man on the street (I have no idea why...) and was just plain ornery. When one of my fellow passengers got down, she gave the driver a 10 rupee note, and the driver was rooting through his change, mumbling something, and so I gave him my 6 rupees, and then he gave the lady change. He looked back, and smiled and said, "thank you".

Then, when I got home, I went to take a rickshaw to my house and when I got to the stand, the rickshaw-wallah looked at me, and turned and hit the seat of his rickshaw, and said "bosun, bosun" (sit, sit in the polite form).

It made me smile and come home and tell DH about it. :-)

Christmas 2010, or what passed as Christmas

This year...well, honestly, Christmas was a bust!

Both DH and I *HATE* crowds with a passion, so before Christmas I flat out told him I was not interested in going out anywhere (and the same is holding true for New Years...we will probably spend the night drinking at home, and watching movies). There is always the potential on holidays that :

- the food will be horrible (undercooked / overcooked / not up to normal par) due to excessive crowds
- crowds
- prices will be raised

so we tend to stay in. Well, we met up with a friend the day after, the 26th, because I was wanting turkey. Well...we ended up at Mainland China, where we had heard they were serving turkey. Needless to say, we had the buffet. We had some yummy soup, which I can't remember the name of at the moment, along with some dim sum. That was delicious!!! I have never had appetizers and soup from a buffet served at the table before, so that was a unique experience.

Then...time for the turkey. Well, needless to say I was disappointed. The turkey was prepared with some chili plum sauce and was cubed. It was horrible, it tasted like chicken, and wasn't what I wanted at all. Also I had some garlic crab (and how the heck do they expect you to get the crab out, with out those cracking things??) that was pretty good.

Then I went on to dessert, I had fresh cut apples with chocolate sauce, from a chocolate fountain...that didn't work half the time. *sigh*

Needless to say I was disappointed. The owner of this restaurant is the same one that owns Flame and Grill (which we love!) so I was very annoyed to see the quality.

Also, the area was so small and so crowded.

Christmas was better when I sat at home and spent the time with the hubby and ate bengali food! :-) Next year, if we are in our own home, I will make it like I am used to. I have vowed I will not have turkey until I either prepare it myself, or when we go to visit my family. Which, when the visit occurs, my mother has promised to prepare me a proper Thanksgiving dinner, even if it is in the middle of the summer! =D yeah! That means, roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, stuffing, black olives, and pickles!!!

YUMMY!!! Good thing it's almost lunch time, and I will have alu paratha's today (except mine have no stuffing, the alu (potato) has been mixed in the dough!)!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas all!!!

Enjoy the holidays with your family, and eat too much food!! =D

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Road side shopping

Well, today DH told me he needed a screen protector for his phone. So being the dutiful wife that I am, I went out and got it.

This is how it happened.

First, I went to the mall and asked, at one store they wanted Rs. 395!! What?! I had paid Rs 90 at a road-side stall last time, so I gave it back and wandered out to the street. I got on a bus next, and went to Gariahat.

Here I went to the same stall I had purchased it from last time (remember I paid only Rs 90 then!) and asked the guy if they had the appropriate item. He didn't have it in stock at the moment, but once the other customer had completed their transaction he went into the main store and brought the requested item. Here is how the conversation went.

Me: Koto? (How much?)
SK: 160
Me: Dada, aami age 90-ta taka diyechhi. (Dada, I have given 90 rupees before)
SK: 90?
Me: Haa, 90. (Yes, 90)
SK: 120
Me: Kintu Dada, aami *ekhon* theke age kinechhilam, aar aami 90 diyechhi. (But Dada, I have purchased one for 90 rupees from here before)
SK: 120
Me: Fine

and I started to walk away

SK: thik achhe didi, ayk sho (ok didi, 100)
Me: ok

So I gave him the 100 rupees and walked away.

I felt relieved, I had seen that he was trying to rip me off, and I didn't let it happen. I bargained (and successfully I might add, saving 60 rupees!) for the first time. :-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

One of those days...

All in all I would consider myself quite lucky. In the transition after the move from the US to here, I haven't had many bad days. I haven't had many emotional breakdowns.

But, the last few days with being sick and a lack of sleep, since Saturday we went out with some friends at 5am for breakfast (more in a minute, will give it a post of its own =P) and not sleeping, I was a mess, and I should have expected.

I was feeling very sorry for myself, and wondering why I had given up all I did to come here? I was feeling very lonely, as DH works a lot...and I don't have many of my own friends, and I didn't want them. I just wanted to be alone and sit in my pity. I suppose its this time of the year, I mean it's almost Christmas, and I'm so far away from my family.

Anyways, I was a major b***h. I admit it, I was, and I apologized to DH a lot. I was just missing my mom, and siblings, and M & J. It was just everything. I have also had a lot of other things on my mind.

I am much better today, but I broke down and cried a lot. I wanted to go home, I looked at prices of round-trip tickets to go home for Christmas (Rs 60,000, way too much right now!!!) and texted my family and told them I missed and loved them.

I even told DH I wanted to get away, and I am hoping that perhaps we can go away for Christmas weekend, or if nothing else, we can get turkey?? Let's see :-)

Last weekend and our accident

I wanna say it was Saturday, but it could have been Sunday, not the ones that just past, but the ones from before.

I don't remember the exact happenings, because the accident pushed everything else out of my mind.

I don't remember where we were coming from, or who we had been with, or any of that information.

I just remember driving down the road to go to our house and that it was night, and I was sitting with DH in the back-seat of the taxi.

All of a sudden there was this auto that sped in front of us, and the driver slammed on his brakes and we hit the auto. Well, the auto didn't stop, it didn't cause severe damage (well...that we could see...) and it kept going (without stopping). Then the driver and DH got out of the car, agreeing that the auto-wallah must have been drunk to assess the damage. Well, nobody was hurt, but the left headlight of the taxi was broken. Not major damage I was told, but enough that the driver would be having to pay for some damages out of his own pocket. I was shaken to say the least. We were almost home, so we continued home, and the driver admitted to DH that he was also shaken, so he was going to take the taxi back to the garage for the night and then go home.

That's all I remember...*sigh* I hate car accidents. At least nobody was hurt, and DH wasn't shaken and he was there! :-) All's well that ends well, right??

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

US Consulate Town Hall meeting

Monday I went to a US Consulate Town Hall meeting. Basically it was just a bunch of American citizens (and by American citizens there was only like 10 white people, and the rest were Indian's who either had kids who were citizens or something of that nature).

We started out with a quiz about America. Then we went on to a speech about the Consular services. It was boring, but informative. :-) I met a few new people.

Then there were some questions asked. Many people were curious about Indian visa regulations (about which nobody knew in the US Consulate, except one ACS (american citizen services) officer).

Among the really stupid questions were :

  1. Does the US Consulate pay for the US citizens education in India?
  2. If my minor daughter, who is a US citizen, wants to go to school in the US, can the parents come with?
  3. If the Consulate can help at Calcutta International School (CIS) to get the younger US citizen students to be able to meet with International schools before their senior year?
These questions I found interesting. I mean, seriously, they were dumb, but...people aren't always sure of the answers. :-)

I enjoyed making some new friends, but also was bored out of my mind.

Now, thanks to going out for the day for this meeting, I have a cold and a slight fever. *sigh* such is life I suppose

Will have a few more posts coming up soon about going for Nihari and other adventures around Kolkata. :-)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Living with the In-Laws and miscommunication

Who do you have communication and cultural problems with? When it comes to communication and culture differences, one would assume that it would be with your significant other, but that is not always true.

For me, it's with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. I have a much different sense of humor than they do. I understand that my mother-in-law is 75 and I shouldn't expect her to change, but I have changed who I am and how I do things for her.

How does one deal with this? How do you deal with the constant cultural barriers? I'm not going into specifics, but I am not sure what to do, or how much longer I can deal with this.