Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

Hope everyone had a good Christmas.

We didn't celebrate it, which I'm fine with since I think the real meaning has somehow been lost and now its more of a commercial holiday.

It was a good thing we didn't have any plans, since I fell ill. I spent most of yesterday dozing off and going between really cold and hot spells. Oh, yeah, and coughing so hard it felt like I was coughing up a lung, but you really didn't want to hear that. LOL

Anyways, I will be off to the dr today to see what is wrong with me, DH says I just have an upper respiratory infection, and hopefully once I get some antibiotics in me I'll feel better.

Here's to hoping I'm better for New Year's Eve, even though I just plan to stay home since I am not much for crowds.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Don't say ram chagol! and Learning Hindi

Well...I'm into my 3rd week of Hindi classes, and besides saying small sentences like, "Mein khush hoon" (I am happy) or "Mein ladki hoon" (I am a girl) and the sounds, and a few words, I'm not so far into it yet. However, I can write the letters in their horribly round shapes (I much prefer Bengali script as it's more straight) and read it pretty well.

Well, let me tell you about my teacher. Her name is Latika, her native tongue is Hindi, and her husband's is Bengali. I know, you are probably thinking, Why do we give a crap about what her husband's native language is?, there is a point I promise! This is her first time teaching at Ramakrishna Mission, and she's not entirely sure how to go about it, not that I correct her. At the beginning of each class we are supposed to say a prayer, and in my Bengali class we were made to stand while we repeated it...well, she doesn't make us stand, maybe she doesn't know better? Also, I swear she has ADD (attention deficit disorder) because she can't stay on the same subject for more than like 20 minutes. If she did, we would already be done with the sounds, and writing, and you know...the boring stuff.

In one of my last classes we were going over some small vocabulary words. The word bakri (goat) came up and she asked me what it was in Bengali. I told her it was chagol, and after a slight pause continued on to say, "But, my husband always says ram chagol." Now, ram chagol means a billy goat, but it can be used as an insult, meaning a very stupid person. My teacher upon hearing this was shocked and said, "No! Don't say that! That's not a good thing to say!"

Then the next class we were going over the hindi words for banyan tree and riverside / bank (which for the life of me I can't remember at the moment, and I'm too lazy to get out my workbook...) and she couldn't tell us the exact English translation for them, so I texted one of my friends and asked him. He responded and I then told the teacher...hehe, the power of technology.

Oh, yes, and the workbook makes me feel like I'm in Kindergarten again...seriously, but anyways...I am enjoying shocking my teacher like this, and am half contemplating continuing with the courses just to entertain myself. :-) Because, honestly, if I didn't entertain myself somehow in this class, I would just fall asleep...not good! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Famously famous or infamously famous?

I have been wanting some Men Tse Tse (a flat noodle soup with a lot of veggies and a light broth...) and some Pan-fried pork momo's from one of our favorite restaurants. :-) I have been wanting this for, oh, about 2-3 weeks now. Well, SIL brought me home some ladoo's since they are like my favorite misti. Well, DH wanted one, so I let him eat one...little did he know that he would have to feed me for that one 4 rupee ladoo. :-)

Well, off we went, and when we arrived the owner of the restaurant waved and said hi to us. She had recognized us and knew exactly what we wanted to eat. So...we sat down and ordered our food, along with 2 mango juices. Not even 2 minutes later the owner came over and told us that they were out of the noodles to make a proper men tse tse and what else could she give us? We replied that she should give us whatever was good, and we were ok with experiments. She replied that she would give us the men tse tse but with thin noodles. We were totally ok with that. We ate our momo's and when our soup came we chugged it down. It was pretty much the same to me, but DH says the flat noodles make it different (but whatever, you know? :P). Then when we were about half way done with our soup, the owner came over and gave us a bowl of chilli chicken as a apology that she didn't have the proper ingredients. The chilli chicken was delish.

Seriously, how many of us could say that we would have that kind of service in the US? I've only ever experience half as good service, even in the restaurants (like Taco Bell, and junk) where I've worked, and even then...it was iffy. Seriously, I'm impressed. :-)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Whats going on...

Apologies for not posting anything lately. I've spent the last week or so sick, fever since Tuesday, and just not feeling up to doing anything lately. I suppose this is how it goes.

News...hopefully by the beginning of next month DH's work schedule will slow down and we will be able to start the visa process. Yes, I'm still here on a tourist visa...which means we still have about 6 months or so before I can do anything fun again, like working! I know...working isn't fun, but when you've been doing nothing (except reading books and watching movies) for about 2 1/2 years it gets old. I'm looking forward to having something to do again! :-)

Also, I registered today for Hindi classes at the local language school where I learned Bengali. Let's hope that I have better luck with the teacher and that the teacher teaches me useful vocabulary. I start on Tuesday so then I will have a better idea of what I will learn. It is a 52 month course (I didn't know this earlier...) and costs Rs 500 (US$10) a month. Let us see how the first 6 months go and if it is of any real use to me. :-)


**ADDED LATER**

LOL DH just got home. He told me he received a phone call from a lady at the school. They apparently thought I was a guy because they couldn't read my name properly on the application. They told him my first class is not Tuesday, but Saturday...talk about ruining my day. My first class is now on my birthday...grrr

Friday, October 21, 2011

Did you say you were a Nokia Priority Store? Seriously!?

DH managed to break his clip that holds the holster on his belt for his Nokia N900 (for those of you who have no idea about phones, this is more of a computer than a phone...) and thus is carrying the phone in just the holster. Now people, let me tell you why this worries me. I've heard stories about DH leaving things and losing them. Umbrellas, expensive cameras left in the front seat of a cab...this phone is not something I want him to lose. So...I ventured out Wednesday to see if I could find him something. I went to the road side store I usually buy the screen covers at, and they had a flip cover, but not what I wanted. So I proceeded to all the other stores around, and still nothing.

Then today since I had to go to the mall anyways, I went to the Nokia Priority store. Well...I went in and asked if they had a carrying case for the N900 to which I was asked if I had the phone, which I did not. The sales representative said to me, quite rudely, that I *HAD* to have the phone with me. To which I said, "ki dorkar achhe? aapnar product janen na?" (what need is there? do you not know you product?) At this point he pointed me to the sales counter. There I went, and as there was another customer, I waited patiently for my turn. The man at the counter then proceeded to ask me if the phone was like the guy had. I don't know what phone he had, but I proceeded to tell them that No, it was nothing like this phone. It was shorter, and fatter.

Seriously, Nokia India...shouldn't your sales people know about your products? The people at the road side store and at the other stores at least knew the phone I was talking about. Ridiculous!!


Friday, September 30, 2011

Selfish or taking care of one's self?

So DH has been working pretty long days these past 2 weeks or so...I'm not complaining, I have but I'm not now. There's no point to complain, it's life, at least it's life here in India.

When he works he works in our bedroom, and he can't work without the light on, so the past few days he's been working up until around 5 or 6 at the latest. Well, I have problems sleeping with the light on, go figure!

Last night after I ate alone, because DH wasn't sure when he was coming home, I had laid down, hoping to fall asleep before he came home so I could at **LEAST** get some rest. Well...he came home before I could fall asleep, though not for my lack of trying.

He ate his dinner and his mother asked him if I was sleeping and he said, I don't know, her eyes are closed. His sister made him tea and he came in and worked again until around 5 or 6. Sometime around 3, I think...I fell asleep, but slept horribly because of the light.

Today I got a lecture from my MIL saying that I should have been awake, and I shouldn't have slept until he got home, and how she is old but she still stayed up waiting for him. Somehow me taking care of MYSELF is now being equated with being a bad wife, she didn't say that literally, but I could tell that's what she was saying.

What is it about Indian society that MIL's find their children more important than their DIL or SIL's? I mean, yeah, I've seen this in other cultures, but none so prominent as here.

Am I not allowed to make myself a priority? I do a lot for DH. Am I not allowed to take some well deserved me time? Seriously...wtf?!


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

18th August 2011 (Thursday)

Well, this was so far the most interesting day of the trip, as I was expecting it to be. After we ate our breakfast (which is not something I normally do) we went and saw some terra cotta temples,  which were awesome! It was amazing to see how the clay and the designs have stayed mostly intact for the last few hundred years. 
We also saw the Lalbandh which was amazing. It is an artificial lake in Bishnupur, created during the reign of Vir Singh, one among the Malla Kings. The lake used to serve water to the villagers. It is said that the cries of Raghunath Singh II and his mistress Lalbai, the Muslim dancer, who were murdered and drowned in the lake, can still be heard. There were amazing views of the lake, and it was very cool in this area, since it had been warmer during the day.
Next we drove for about an hour outside of the city to Panchmura, where we went to the house of a older gentleman, who does not create many pieces know, but is known for his terra cotta work, having followed in the steps of his father and grandfather. He sat us down by some of his work, and answered all of our questions, and told us how the work was done. Then he proceeded to take us around the town to a few different areas to show us some steps of the process. He took us to another terra cotta house, for a lack of a better word, where he told us more about the process. Here we got to see the difference between newly created terra cotta sculptures and those who had been sitting for a while, and the ones that had been put into the kiln. It was very interesting, when I could understand what the guy was saying. Next he showed us the kiln, which was not being fired up because they do not work on this day of holiday, and then took us to see a family who was decorating for the occasion. The family was showing off most of their best creations to the snake god and the range was amazing. Then we went to the pandal where the bigger god statue was being held, and saw more of the same thing happening.
While on our way (and on the way back) we had to stop of the side of the road, we had tried to keep driving but there were 3 herds of sheep that had to go by, and I mean, that's a lot of sheep! I have never seen so many sheep all in one place! There were men who were herding the sheep down the street. It was so cute! There were baby sheep with their mothers, and older sheep. It was nuts!
Next we went back to the hotel and freshened up, and then ate lunch, then took a short power nap before we went over to the field where Jhapan, Jhapan festival, dedicated to the snake goddess Manasa, is observed on the last day of Srabon in the western fringe of the state with a high concentration of tribal population. Idols of Manasa, specially made for the occasion, are carried round the village. The day is also of great significance for snake charmers in the region with some kissing their snakes,  was happening. We arrived around 415pm and the show didn't start until around 6pm, so we wandered around and had tea.
Jhapan...well, what do you say about this event?  Today there were 3 carts of snake charmers. There were a great variety of snakes, which amazed me, small ones, big ones, light ones, dark ones. It was insane!
Then they started to antagonize the snakes with their hands (like the shape of a birds' beak, with the other 3 standing up) so they would attack, but the snakes never got close enough to bite the men. One of the men was taking multiple snakes at once and putting some of them around his neck, in his mouth, and holding one, and using his tongue to annoy the snake. I was trying hard to not freak out, as I was afraid of the men getting bit and getting ill, or worse dying. Well, finally, the first bite, and it was on the tongue. The man didn't even try to get the snake off, he just kept showing it off then got the snake off and drooled some spit into his hand so everyone could see the blood mixed with the saliva (kinda grossed me out), and at this point I asked the man behind me if the men were immunized against the venom and was told yes, so at this point I could enjoy the show more because I was not worrying. So, the other 2 carts were boring, so I barely watched what they were doing, and kept my eyes on this man. He was the most entertaining of the bunch, as he was much more adventurous than the rest (I was wondering if this was planned, but I didn't ask, so I don't really know) and then another man got bit on the tongue, and then the first man got bit on the arm. By this time it was dark, and I was told that the snakes can't see in the darkness, I have no idea if this is true or not. Then the first man was pulling up his shirt and pointing the snake towards it and telling him to bite and then doing the same to his leg, but to no avail, the snake didn't bite him again.
It was definitely an interesting experience, not one that I would necessarily travel all this way for again, but I'm glad I got to see it. It was a unique experience, if not a bit boring.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

17th August 2011 (Wednesday)


We woke up early (I swear, I have never seen 5 or 6 am, so many times in 1 week, except when I went to Bangalore for a conference). We had to catch a train to the next site, and so off we went. Nothing really interesting happened during the day, I spent the day at the site because we were not staying in that city for the night, and so had to sit in the air conditioning all day, and ended up with a cold. Yuck! We had our lunch, which was chicken byirani with raita :-) Then returned and finished up the work, and took a train to Bishnupur.

Well, we arrived just in time, as we got on the platform the train started to pull away like 2 seconds later and so I grabbed onto the 2 handles by the door and jumped up, and then grabbed the heavy suitcase from DH so he could jump on. 3 of our party had gotten on the car, and 1 had gotten on the in front of us, and yeah, it reminded me of a scene from Jab We Met, where the girl is jumping on the train. It was amazing to me that I had jumped on to the train and even more so that I had grabbed the heavy suitcase from DH with no problems! :-)

Then we checked into our hotel, where the cook asked us what we wanted for dinner, and we were able to tell him exactly what we wanted and how we wanted it. We had rice, daal, egg curry and something else I can't remember, then we slept because we were going to be playing tourist the next day.

16th August 2011 (Tuesday)


Last night we didn't sleep. There was too much work to be fit into the night, we were cleaning up our room and packing. As well, as making sure we had everything one could possibly need for 5 days of traveling.

Our train was at 6 a.m. And we left our house at about 510am, and were on our way. After arriving at the train station we waited for the rest of our party before boarding the train that would take us to Purulia. It's a long distance local train, so thankfully we had our tickets booked and confirmed earlier so we had seats. There were a few (who didn't have confirmed seating) who were just sitting in the seats hoping and praying that the person with that assigned seat didn't show up.

The train left at around 6am, and our journey began. We were just in the chair class, after one of our group asking DH if I would be ok in a non-AC chair car, and off we went. It was amazing, there were so many wallah's (good sellers) coming through the compartment. They were selling all sorts of food, toys (including games, key chains, flashlights and fingernail clippers) and other sorts of goodies.

We managed to fall asleep, however, I kept getting woken up by the calling of the wallah's at first. Our first stop was , where we had breakfast of luchi and alu torkuri (luchi and potato curry) which wasn't bad at all. Then we re-boarded the train and kept on our journey.

We arrived in Purulia about 1130 or 12, where we then checked into our hotel, and freshened up and ate our lunch which consisted of rice, fish, alu posto (potato with poppy seed paste), daal and some fried potatoes. After lunch the rest of the party went over to the work site, whereas I opted to stay back and rest since there would be really no need for me to go. I slept most of the day and watched tv. Later DH and the rest returned, and we had our dinner. Dinner consisted of 4 roti, some chicken, and daal fry. Then we went to bed, so we could wake up and be on our way.

15th August 2011 (Monday)


Yesterday and today I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. DH and I are leaving in 2 days (16th) for a work trip for 5 days, which also just happens to include a day off where we will go to Bishnupur and see some of the terra cotta temples and Jhapan. This is the whole reason I'm going on the trip, and I can't wait to actually get going!!

Yesterday I spent the day at New Market buying leggings and other odds and ends. I was running to numerous pharmacies to find Zeoline, a chemical that will purify water in 5 minutes. I went to one pharmacy on my way to South City Mall, and after asking “zeoline achhe?” (Do you have Zeoline?) and “Regular Eno achhe?” (Do you have regular Eno?) I am paying for the Eno, and the guy looks and me and with a serious face asked me, “Are you a foreigner?” I kept a straight face and said, Yes, and went on my way.

I was laughing about that for some time and it keeps me entertained. :-) Tomorrow we travel! :-)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Trinca's, Toilets, and Tube Tops

Today the husband and I went out for dinner, well let me tell you...there are ladies who change their kids diapers in the bathroom using a shit load of toilet paper and just dump it all in the toilet and don't flush it...DISGUSTING!!!

We had gone out for dinner and I had to use the bathroom, and so I went and I go in and see the toilet stuffed full!!! I left disgusted...seriously?! If you don't know how to use the damn western toilet, THEN DON'T USE IT! Because leaving behind your kids shit for the world to see is disgusting.

Then I went to the Park Hotel to use their bathroom and OMG!!! Talk about slutty!! I was the only white person in the bathroom full of Indians, and all the others were wearing tube tops and short skirts that barely covered their ass...wtf?!

Horrified! The night was going so great until this!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Surprises in India

Yesterday I had gone out to pick up a snack for DH and I, so I took a rickshaw from our house to the closest Subway. The fare is Rs 15 (33 cents or so) and so off we went. Well...I had gotten some 10 rupee coins (instead of bills) the other day so I had given the rickshaw wallah 5 coins, a 10 rupee coin, 2 2 rupee coins, and a 1 rupee coin. He looked at the amount of coins, and started to say, "dekhun...(look...)" when I said, "Dada, dekhun, ekta dosh-ta taka kuchro achhe. (Dada, look there is a 10 rupee coin)" to which he replied, "oh, achchha! (oh, ok...)" and started laughing. Apparently he had never heard or seen a 10 rupee coin (I think?) and no idea that is what I had given him and then I went on my way.

Next...I crossed the street and got the subs we wanted. :-) Then, I flagged down an auto rickshaw, because the intersection was quite congested and I didn't want to have to walk across it, and asked him "opar-e jabe? (will go you above? above meaning to the other side of the crossing) and to which he replied yes. So I get in the auto. The fare is 4 rupees (around 10 cents) and when I tried to give him a 10 rupee note he just waved his hand, I had assumed he meant to give it to him later, so again, when we crossed and had stopped I tried again. This time he said, "Naa, thak, thak (No, leave it, leave it)"

Never before have I had someone not take the fare, even if it is only Rs 4. I was surprised and shocked, and went on my way to come back home. :-)

Oh, and our cook has been absent the last 2 nights (and like 3 or 4 days before that...) because she got hit by a bus! At least she is ok, and is not more seriously injured. :-) This also means DH has to cook for me...or we order in (LOL) or his sister or mother cook, because I only know how to make maggi, toast, eggs, and tea.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Zoo, Me? No!

Seriously people, do you think that I'm some sort of animal that lives in a zoo that you can just take photos of whenever you want?

This is the response that I had when earlier this week I was running some errands in Gariahat. I was walking down the street to go back home, and some idiot is trying to be inconspicuous about snapping a photo of me.

Dude, you have your cell phone held up to your side, with the camera pointed to the sidewalk, and then when I walk past, you push the snap button, and it makes a noise. Do you really think I'm stupid enough to not realize what you just did? Be grateful I just muttered to myself and kept walking on, because I was not in such a good mood.

Seriously, I DO NOT LIVE IN A ZOO FOR YOU PEOPLE TO GIVE YOU FREAKING VOYAGEUR PLEASURE!! KTHNXBAI

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dadu and snapping

When I'm at Gariahat and I want some cold water or a cold drink, I usually stop at this one little stall.

There's an old man, Dadu (meaning grandfather) who works there. He's a frail skinny, old man, who is a bit slow in his moves.

Normally I will bring back like 2 cokes, and 1 or 2 bottles of water. Normally if I just get 1 bottle of water he will end up bringing me 2 bottles of water and 1 coke, and I just laugh and ask him to switch it.

Now, the other day I had gone and was picking up my drinks, and there were 2 or 3 people behind me. They can all see that this guy is already helping me, and therefore busy, right?! Well, you would think so, but now, they kept calling to him.

Finally one guy behind me said, "Dadu, aapni ki korchhen?" (Grandfather, What are you doing?"

I snapped at their blatant disrespect of this gentleman, and said, "Kaaj korchhen. Ki aapni dekhte parchhen na?" (He is working. Can you not see that or what?" The guy looked at me, shocked and then shut up. :-)

I don't stand for disrespect of elders, maybe it's not disrespect in their eyes but to me it was, and I had had enough!

Friday, May 06, 2011

2 years and some change

Well, today is the 2 year mark of me being in India.

Looking back, it's been an adventure, a roller coaster, anything but what I expected.

I've started (and continue to) learn Bengali. I can read, write, speak (to a certain extent) and understand quite a bit. I never imagined I would be learning a new language so late in my life that would be essential for every day, well, maybe Spanish (or brushed up I would say...) if I had stayed in the US. It was hard, and still is...I still have problems trying to say exactly what I want to say in bangla. I either say things in direct translation from english to bangla, which doesn't work, or I say them wrong! It's a work in progress.

Plus...I've had lots of things to learn to deal with, such as the traffic, the stares, and the hardest, being dependent on someone, and living with the in-laws.

The traffic isn't so scary now, I can still remember the first day I arrived in Kolkata. We had taken the Rajdhani Express from Delhi to Howrah. It was an adventure. At Delhi, we had gotten a porter, which I had no experience with, and while we were waiting to board the train, some guy had come up to DH and asked if he wanted his ears cleaned. W-O-W!!! Talk about shocking! I had never taken a train ride before, we had taken over the right side of the train (the bigger part of the compartment) and we spent the night watching movies and just talking and watching the scenery. We had gotten off the train and went to wait in the pre-paid taxi stand to go home, we had numerous taxi drivers try to rip us off, and DH asked me if I wanted him to pay the extra or if we should wait. I said wait...I can still remember the feel of the sweat dripping down my back and face, bap re bap! It was so hot and humid.

The ride home...well, I was seeing things for the first time, and I was scared! The traffic was horrible, and scared the living daylights out of me!! But now I'm cool with it, and I joke with DH about waiting to see how my family deals with the traffic. hehe!

I've always been independent, I hate being dependent on others, and I **HATE** being treated like a child, and always having to tell someone where I am going and what I am going to be doing. I guess, that is just the Indian culture, and I have to deal with it, but having to tell my MIL where I am going and why I am going is getting old. I'm 27 years old, I need my independence, so I'm waiting with bated breath for the day we move out.

Also...the food, the adapting was not so bad...but there are some foods that I can't stand, but I still have to eat...like today...we're having gugni (chick peas)...which I can't stand...but I'll eat it for lunch, and maybe try to convince DH to take me out for a celebration dinner!

Yeah! 2 years!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

trains, sardines, fish

 Well...it's that time of the year again. WEDDING SEASON!!!!


We have been invited to...about 4 since February. We don't go to many weddings, DH is very uncomfortable at weddings for some reason. Well, we went to one Thursday, because the young man who was a good friend and ex-work colleague of DH's. We had been going back and forth about going because it was quite some distance from our house. Then DH was swamped with work, and all that.

Well, I had promised the young man that we would come, and I don't take lightly to breaking promises. So we ended up going.

I had previously told the boy that I would wear a sari. Well, stupid me, I didn't practice before, I thought, oh! how hard could it be. Well, even with this Youtube video showing how to wrap it, it didn't happen. I tried really hard to get it right, but the fabric was just fighting against me. *sigh* Instead I wore my salwar suit that I wore for our wedding.

So...we get ready to go and we catch a bus to Ultadanga, where DH tells me we are going to take a local train. No big deal, right?

Well...I was *WRONG*!!! It was insane! One train came, that wasn't ours, and people just pushed on, and packed that train so full, that people were freaking hanging out the doors. Oh, and someone freaking jumped off the train onto the platform and ran straight into me! So...I put my purse over my shoulders, and prepared to get on a train like that. Hmm! Then the next train comes, and we are trying to get on it, and people are pushing! We didn't manage to get on that one. We took the next one though, with DH pushing me so I would get on. Right before the train was about to leave DH was still outside, so I see him pushing himself onto the train. We push in and in. This train is packed to the brim like sardines.

A man sees me, and tells me to come inside. So I push myself past all the people and go into one of the aisles between 2 benches. The guy then told a younger man who was sitting down to "give their guest a seat" and then tells me to sit down. He asked me where I wanted to get off, I didn't know the station name, so I asked Indra. The guy seemed pleased to see that I wasn't alone, and then proceeded to fall asleep while standing up. LOL

Then, about 1 stop before we needed to get off, we got up. It was an adventure, now I'm kinda not wanting to visit Mumbai, as DH says I will face this all day, every day. Yeah!

So, really, we didn't go to the wedding, we went to the bou-bhaat, which is the reception for the groom's side of the family. We went, met the bride, who was gorgeous (although a bit too decked up for me...but traditional Bengali style)! Then...it was time to eat...well, it was a traditional Bengali meal, which meant fish! Fish fry, fish curry...lots of fish. Needless to say, I only ate a bit of rice, and some gravy. :-)

We had fun! :-) And the train on the way home was MUCH emptier, thank goodness!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

10,000 views!!!

Yeah!! I've had 10,053 views!!

Thank you everyone.

Sorry for not posting lately, but I've been feeling under the weather so when I'm back to my old self again, I plan to post about some things. :-)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Out of the loop here

Sorry I've been out of the loop a bit with posting. DH and I went to Bangalore for 6 days and had fun with lots of our friends. Anyways, that's not what I planned to blog about.

A friend of ours had her baby a few days ago. Twins, a boy and a girl. Well, they are home...just came home today, and I want to buy them a gift. Well, seeing as how I've never bought a gift for a newborn baby in India I am sort of out of my element. I don't know what things are needed here, what sort of clothes I should purchase for the baby. I asked the mother, and she said, "Their aunty is buying them something, there is no need to ask. Whatever you want to buy." Well, as nice as that question is...it didn't answer my question. I don't know if they need anything, although I doubt it. So...what will I buy? It remains to be determined by what I find at the stores. I will post about that later.

This also brings me to think about the differences between India and in the US in regards to visiting after a new baby comes home. I remember when my friends and family had babies they wanted only immediate family to come the first few days to give the parents and the baby time to settle in to their new surroundings, and their new life. That's fine...that's what I'm used to. So, when I called today and asked and the father said, "chole esho" (come over) I was a bit shocked. I don't know why, I mean, here family is a big thing. So everything and anything is shared by family, and friends. So...this is just a culture thing.

But still...it remains to be determined is it a good thing?

I think, personally, that it might be a bad thing. The mother is probably worn out and wants some peace and quiet after being in the hospital, but this is their culture. :-) Lets see how it goes...hopefully DH and I will be going to visit the babies tonight!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New layout...

I am having a friend make me a new header tonight...lets see how it turns out, oh, and I'm hoping I can get him to make the layout too! ;-)

Let me know what you think of this new layout, and what you want to see!

Funny things

So...a friend's son had his 4th birthday party on Sunday (27th) and we had purchased him a gift. There was some ideas to make given with the gift. Here are some "examples" that made me laugh and grab my camera!!



This looks more like a loaf of french bread to me than a hot dog?!?!


Um, since when do we carve watermelons? and since when do they look more like pumpkins, and have a stem??


Ok...this one i can't figure out how to flip it on here...but seriously, a clown that looks like a freaking snowman, and a lamb, that as DH puts it looks like a baby moose with a "with either a wardrobe malfunction or an off-shoulder dress" rofl...

I mean seriously...do the people who make these things up even know what they are drawing? or so do they just draw what they "THINK" something should look like??

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Seriously, did that just happen to ME?!?!

Sunday and Monday I had the pleasure to meet Sharell who also blogs about her inter-cultural relationship. Monday we went out and around and we got accosted by little beggar kids. At one point we were in a taxi, and there were these 2 little kids who came up and were like, "aunty, aunty, chocolate!" and "money". After the kids became enough of a irritation, Sharell rolled up her window, and then they proceeded to the other side of the cab. Then the other window went up, and then they went to the front window. Hmm, I've never seen them like this!

But today I was walking around at Gariahat today running my errands when I stopped to buy something at a corner stop, nothing abnormal about it. I paid and as I'm putting my things in my purse, the storekeeper calls "Hey!" to this bunch of 4 beggar kids. I just hold on to my stuff, and keep walking, ignoring the calls of "aunty, aunty" and other things meant to make me give them money.

Well, the next thing that happened completely shocked me. I felt this little hand grope my **ASS** and I mean hard enough for me to feel that he had cupped his hand and did it. I thought in my head, "Did that really just happen?" Not knowing whether the appropriate thing to do was to slap the kid upside the head, or whatnot I glared at the kid and sped away, especially since I wasn't sure which kid was the culprit.

After this I came home and discussed it with DH. Next time, I will smack the bugger and drag him to the police station. Just because I'm white doesn't mean I'm easy prey. So, if you grab my ass without permission again, you better watch out!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It seems a bit strange to me...

Today I was eating lunch by myself outside. Which gave me plenty of time to people-watch because I didn't have to keep up my side of the conversation.

This is what I saw.

There was 3 people sitting at the table next to me, 2 older ladies and a boy. Well, the boy was addicted to his game boy, and his mother was feeding him. The boy wasn't even looking up from the game, and just opened his mouth while his mother shovelled the food into his mouth.

I was aghast! I mean, this may be a cultural thing...but seriously, it if was my kid, he would have turned off that game and ate himself. geez!

Look Mommy I spoke to a white lady!!

Today I was running around doing errands. I needed to pick up a cd for a friend coming to visit next month, and I had not been able to find it at South City Mall or Highland Park, so the next step was Park Street.

After dropping off the necessary papers and having a fresh lime soda with a friend, I headed off to the metro. While sitting on the bench, minding my own business and  waiting for the train to come this is what transpired :

Young Man: Ma'am what country are you from?
Me : US
YM : Ok, are you working here?
Me : No
YM : How long have you been here?
Me : Almost 2 years
YM : Where do you stay?
Me : My house
YM : What do you do here?
Me : My husband is Bangali.
YM :Oh, ok

*silence*

YM : How do you like Kolkata?
Me : I like it fine
YM : I don't like it. Kolkata is an ugly city.
Me : No its not
YM : Yes, Kolkata is an ugly city. Mumbai is pretty.
Me : Um, ok, sure

um, what the heck? This is the first time I have anyone in the last (almost) 2 years tell me that they hate this city. I happen to love this city. The noises, the smells, the people. Everything!!! :-)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Multi-race children, confusion or clarity?

Today, DH was reading this link, he had gotten from a friend's facebook page. I saw the title and was instantly interested and made him pass me the link. The article talks about people who are multi-race.

I've been thinking about this for a while. Will my children be completely confused? Will they be dominated by their dad's Bengali culture? How will their Bengali culture affect their actions? How will their upbringing be? Will they be confused?

Well, in this article the subjects go on to say that they know they are Asian and proud of it.

I'm more afraid because here in India, the aunts and uncles are more specifically labelled, as per their age / line on the totem pole. Like, the oldest aunt (or uncle's wife too) is called boro maima or boro mamima. And on (I am not entirely sure of all the names, so I am not giving them all...) and in the US we call our aunts and uncles, as Aunt GivenName and Uncle GivenName...so you can see how it would be a bit confusing for the children. But, then again, given that they will be brought up with both cultures, maybe it won't be so confusing?

While DH and I were discussing this topic just earlier, we had compared our friends situation to ours. Our 2 friends live in the US, and have 3 year old twin boys. While both of them can speak and understand English perfectly, one of them can speak and understand Bengali quite well, while the other one can understand it but not speak it. I believe this is because of how they are brought up, (our children will be brought up to speak both Bengali and English from the time they are born). These kids are essentially US citizens with Indian heritage, but their exposure to English and American culture is much more than the 1 month they spend in India every year or so.

Any thoughts? I will write more about this later, its just 1am, and I'm tired :-)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Today, I love my friends, and my mommy :-)

Days like today make me smile. I woke up early to attend a conference with DH and while I was up, I was messaged by a friend. She had just arrived in Kolkata from the US and had asked me when I could pick up my items. So after a hectic day, I arrived at her house at 5pm.

There I was greeted by my 2 twin nephews :-), who are super cute! I gave mashi-ma (aunty) the sweets I had purchased for them, as per normal tradition (this I was told by DH today...) and went in and spoke to my friend for like 2 hours. My nephew proceeded to tell me how his brother "drowned" while they were in Singapore. Apparently there was a bridge over a small koi pond in the airport. The brother had been leaning over to see inside the pond, and promptly fell in, swallowing some "yucky" water. LOL it was so cute, the brother got such a kick out of the fact that his brother "drowned" ROFL

It was a nice little break, but what made me *SO* happy was that my mom had sent a package to her before they left. My mommy sent me $$$, some real hairbands (I just can't handle the ones here...) and my friend had brought me some of my favorite chips and chocolate. Oh, how it made my day. I have only eaten 2 chips, but now I am in a much better mood! How the small things make you smile :-)

Oh, btw, some funny things. The other day I saw a bakery that sells "pestry" (I'll try to get a photo of it...)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Noise, Loud noise, and just a ton of noise!!!

Well, apparently yesterday the elder son of one of our neighbors got married, and per the custom brought his bride home to his parents house today.

Well...OMG NOISE!!!!!!!! The house seems suddenly FULL of people!!! Not only are they constantly blowing on the conch shell (which in and of itself is quite annoying) but the ladies were making some howling sounds, ok, DH says its more a "woooo, wooo, wooo" sound, and its called ululation!

Then!! OMG, they were yelling over and over and over and over! grrrrrrrr

Then DH and I went out for dinner tonight and we were sitting by a group of young annoying (somewhat drunk) teenagers. They weren't so bad, but OMG, about 5 minutes before we left, some chick comes in with this horribly huge thick black rimmed glasses! UTTERLY UGLY!!!!!!!! She happened to come right when they were saying, "last orders", so she quickly placed her order. The waiter came and poured the drink, and she was like, "ooooohhhh, yummyyyyyyyyy!!!" over and over, as each peg was being poured, every time getting a little louder. Then she started to sing to the drink, at that point I told DH to get his ass up we were leaving, because I wasn't subjecting myself to that.

That's my rant for the night. Maybe I'll post some tomorrow if we go to the neighbors son's reception.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

So you are a bangali bou?

In Kolkata you take an auto that drives on a certain route, i.e. Ruby to Gariahat or Gariahat to Park Circus or Rash Bihari, with about 3-4 other people. Today I was on my way home from the metro when an old man started asking me questions.

It started because I asked the driver, "Gariahat, koto?" (How much to gariahat?)

The man next to me started with, "You can speak bengali?" in a somewhat surprised voice, to which I replied, "a bit".

OM : Where are you from?

At this point my phone rings and it's DH wondering where I am, so I tell him and then hang up.

Me: US
OM : How long have you been here?
Me : Just about 2 years
OM : Why are you here?
Me : My husband is Bengali
OM : Oh, so you're a bangali bou?
Me : I suppose so, yes
OM : Do you know what bou means?
Me : Yes, wife
OM : How do you like bangali's?
Me : I like them so far (at this point I am a bit annoyed...)
OM : How many months out of the year do you stay in India?
Me : Almost 2 years...

At this point he shuts up and we get out.

It was funny, and a bit annoying but it made me smile! :-)

LOL

p.s. sorry if i forgot any 'B's in this post...my 'b' button is acting up =/

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Truth About Heads...

So...tonight while I was warming up dinner, I lost about half of my appetite.

We had daal (lentils) with fish head...yuck!!

What I can't stomach is the head...the eyes staring back at you, the thought of eating brain, just thinking about it is making me gag.

Well...yeah, am I the only one that can't handle it??

These days my mother-in-law has our fish kept separately if the rest of the families fish will have heads.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Reasons I hate banks in India

I have 2 different bank accounts, at the same bank. The same bank that DH has his business account at. There has never been anything *BUT* problems since I've been banking there.

When we first got started banking there I got a normal NRO account and after my residence permit came through, we got a normal joint account. Well...that's when all the problems started. I requested a debit card for both accounts.

First, I got my NRO account debit card, but when I received it, the magnetic strip was bad. I told them after I had tried to take money out of the account from the ATM by the bank. They said to try to take money out at another ATM, so I tried that and nothing worked. They said they would get another one and it would come in 10-15 days. Well...fast forward about a month, and I went in again, still no debit card.

At this time, I had also applied for the debit card for my joint account with DH. Well...this debit card came, and worked perfectly fine. Until...one day I went in and told them my NRO card still hadn't come. They said that they had to hot list my card, and they would apply for another one, and for me to write a letter. Well...they ended up hot listing my joint account card, thus I needed another one. That problem got solved.

Then...

A while ago I went to the bank, as we had used our debit card at Subway, and it got deducted from our account, but wasn't showing in the transaction history at Subway's and since we had used DH's credit card after. I gave the standard letter application and asked for them to refund the money back to my account.

I went and put did this on the 23rd, I went to the bank on Friday (7th) and still nothing had happened...

It has been 2 weeks...nothing...

So I went and spoke to the manager. The manager apparently had been transferred, and there was a new one. He didn't know anything...apparently they had been sitting on the letter for 2 weeks. I raised some noise upon finding out that the manager knew *NOTHING* about my letter.

The manager told me to "not make any noise." I replied by telling him I would make as much noise as I needed to get the job done. It took me at least 10-15 minutes to get the manager and the lady to understand things. *sigh*

Now, I wait...if the money doesn't come back by next Wednesday (the 18th) I am going to cause more drama...even though DH hates it. :-)

**UPDATE** Since I posted, I have checked the online banking for the account, and it seems the day after I went and created some fuss the money was put back! But I still hate banks... =P

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

My girls' day out

Yesterday I went out with a friend. We met up and shared some chicken chow-mein. Then we started off to Forum Mall on Elgin Rd to see a movie and got a taxi. Well, we were just crossing Science City when I realized that the meter was running extremely high.

I pointed this out to my friend and she agreed, and at which point I called DH and asked him what the fare should be. He said the fare to Park Circus should be about Rs 45-50 ($1.05-$1.16) on the meter. So we told the driver to stop and we got down. Where my friend gave the driver Rs 100 ($2.33) and told the driver his meter was running extremely high, as the meter was reading Rs 98 ($2.28) which meant we would have to give him Rs 198 ($4.60). After my friend gave him the money, he was arguing how his meter was fine. We got down, and decided since the time was running out, that we would go see the movie at a South City Mall.

We went, and saw "The Tourist", which we both enjoyed. While we were there we splurged, we both had 2 sodas, and some popcorn. When we were done with the movie we had gone to the restroom. When we were done, the bathroom attendant was going off at me. She accused me of throwing toilet paper into the toilet, even though it was clearly written on the back of the door not to. She was going off at me in bangla so I don't know exactly what was said. My friend came out of the stall, and said, "Don't say anything." She then went on to ask the restroom attendant why she was yelling at me in bangla because I was a foreigner and didn't understand bangla. It went on and on, and my friend asked the lady if she had been inside the stall with me and if she saw me throw the paper in the toilet, to which she replied no, but she had checked the bathroom stall before I went in (which she didn't because she was standing by the sink when I went in...) and then I said, "aage chillo, aage chillo"  (it was there before, it was there before) and pushed my friend out of the restroom.

Then, next we went to have coffee at Barista at Golpark. Here we had some hot chocolate while waiting for DH and another friend. Then we went to Gariahat and picked up a new tupi (woolen cap). We then wandered around Gariahat, waiting for our friend and DH. We decided we would go to one of our normal joints and have a drink. :-) 

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year


Here is to wishing all a Happy New Year. May 2011 be better than 2010, and may all our dreams come true, and basically just have a rocking 2011!!! :-)