Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Movin' On

Things are looking up and the move is becoming real. Well, we are going through the motions, although it's still hard to believe we'll be gone in less than three weeks. We've had a few house showings and I'm getting kind of tired of keeping the house spotless. But that's all part of it and it will be worth it once it gets rented out. The cupboards are getting barer as the garage fills up with packed boxes.

We've never used Craigslist before but decided to try it out. We sold everything from a couch, a chair, wii games, a wine barrel and even the van. Everything was sold and picked up the same day I posted it, except the van which took a few days. I'm impressed. The people put a deposit on the van and will pick it up a few days before we leave.

Looks like the company has arranged a three bedroom apartment for our arrival in Bangalore, until we move into a house. We will probably be in the apartment for a few weeks but that will give us a chance to look for furniture and buy the essentials.

They are still negotiating with the landlord for a house in Bangalore that we might rent. I guess in India negotiations must go on for a while so both sides feel like they have won. There is a pool, tennis courts and fitness room in the complex and we want that fee included in the rent. The landlady says she's "just an old lady from Delhi, renting it out for her daughter in America," and doesn't want to have to pay taxes on the fees etc. The person negotiating for us replied, "but this is a family with young children from Canada where it is very, very cold. They will not be used to the heat. You wouldn't want them to be in India without a pool..." I just laughed, we'll see what happens.

My Dad is out of the hospital which is good, and we've been doing the rounds to visit with our friends before we leave. The last week will be spent visiting with both of our families and as I look at the calendar we need to be organized and have most of the packing done by the end of next week. Yikes!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

India Quiz

Here is a short quiz about India (answers below). Let me know how you do:

1) Since India's independence in 1947 the average life expectancy has risen from:

a) 40 years to 63 years

b) 45 years to 72 years

c) 36 years to 58 years

2) India has what percent of the world's population?

a) 19

b) 16

c) 10

3) What percent of India's population lives below the poverty line today?

a) 25

b) 35


4) What is India's largest export industry?

a) gems and jewelery

b) ready-made garments

c) tourism

5) At independance (in 1947) India's literacy rate was 18%. What is it today?

a) 25%

b) 38%

c) 62%

6) What are the two national languages of India?

a) Hindi and Urdu

b) Hindi and English

c) Hindi and Bengali

7) How many countries does India border?

a) three

b) six

c) eight

8)Faiths that evolved in India include Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikism. What percentage of the Indian people are of the Hindu faith?

a) 82%

b) 70%

c) 55%

9) What is a geyser in India?

a) a communal hot pool

b) a water heater

c) a bout of diarrhea

10) Bangalore is a city in Southern India known for:
a) being the "Garden City."

b) being one of the cleanest cities in India.

c)being called "Ban-Galore" due to no dancing allowed and pubs must close at 11:00pm.

d) all of the above

e) a & b

Scroll down for answers

Answers 1)a, 2)b, 3)b, 4)a, 5)c, 6)b, 7) c (Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar (Burma), and Bangladesh), 8)a, 9)b, 10)d

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Reality Is Setting In

We are getting into the thick of things now. Sorting, packing, selling. With only four weeks to go so much has to be done in this small amount of time.

We finally signed with another Property Manager to rent out our house. The one I interviewed last week had too many fees so we found someone else...and now we wait.

Spent a lot of time on the computer this week filling out forms: medical forms for the kids for the Bangalore school; forms for the storage company; forms for the shipping company.

I can tell these last few weeks are going to be tough. My Dad is in the hospital and I hope that he is well before we go. I would hate to leave with him in bad health. Tonight Craig asked if we could go to India at the end of June so he could finish the school year. He seemed a little teary and I think it's starting to become real for him. He sees taped up boxes around the house, and shelves being emptied out. Yesterday I emailed the principal and teachers to let them know that the kids would be leaving school two weeks early. It was a tough email to send - the kids have gone to that school right from the beginning and we have been involved with the school and the community for years.

As I packed boxes yesterday I couldn't help but think, "What are we doing, why are we leaving?" It's hard to look at the big picture now. Before I just thought about getting to Bangalore and all the reasons we wanted to go there - culture, travel, a different way of life. Right now it's all about the present, making decisions and trying to get everything done in the next month. It's all about physically doing, not just thinking about it. Reality is setting. I know will be a good thing, but this is going to be a tough month. We need to get through this part of the journey and move on "to the other side."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

To Do Lists

I've packed four boxes to put into storage! Well, it's a start. The "to do" list is piling up, there's always something "move" related to do these days.

I terminated the contract with the property manager. Top priority is to get another one, a good one, but there isn't much of a choice. Very few companies do property management and of those that do, few return phone calls. Interviewed one yesterday which may be a possibility but don't want to jump right in. I want to make a good decision.

The air shipment company sent someone out yesterday to see what we wanted to take with us. A bit of a waste of time considering we are only allowed 6 cubic meters. So it's mostly just small kitchen stuff, cutlery and pots and pans. Mind you after walking around the house we did have a list a page and a half long. First on the list for me was the Bialetti - my stove top coffee maker! Alanna has 50 books on the list and says she will forego clothes in order to bring them. Actually, I think she said she would forego going if she couldn't bring them. Craig wants to bring medals and a picture of where our (1st) dead fish is buried. Michael - must have hockey sticks for road hockey and if there's room - a hockey net. We are Canadian!

Got another list from the real estate agent in Bangalore of houses available in the area we like. Looks like two may be possibilities so asked him to send pictures. Also looking at temporary accommodation when we first get there. Will probably stay in an apartment for a few weeks
until we get furniture and a house.

Today off to the travel clinic to see if there's anymore vaccinations that we need. Trying to stay on top of things and get things checked off the To Do list.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Virus H1N1 Formerly Known as Prince...I mean Swine Flu

It's hard to know - is it mass hysteria or common sense on behalf of the WHO and the media? Mexico is shut down, and some schools have shut down in the USA and Canada. At the time that I write this, 367 people around the world are confirmed to have the H1N1 virus, Formerly Known as Swine Flu. Does this virus have the same publicist as The Artist, Formerly Known as Prince (now Prince, Formerly Known as the Artist)? Amazing publicity, imagine having the power to shut down a whole city?

The key word here is "flu." I've had the flu before, haven't we all? Not this particular one but other strains. And hundreds of thousands of people around the world die from complications of the flu every year. Generally, those are people with underlying medical problems: the elderly, sick babies, and people who have chronic breathing or lung problems. The truth of the matter is, like any flu, most people who get this H1N1 flu will get a mild case and fully recover.

What's good about all the attention given to this virus? People around the world are being educated on how to prevent transmission of airborne viruses: wash your hands, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing and stay home when you are sick!

My family has cancelled our trip to Mexico. We were supposed to go next week for my nieces wedding. The flights were cancelled. The wedding was rebooked in Costa Rica. Would we have gone to Mexico anyway? Well, that would depend on the situation a week from now. And who wants to sunbathe with a surgical mask on? That would be some weird tan line. Michael Jackson must love this. Finally he can walk around and feel normal wearing a surgical mask.

Which brings me to the next thing about surgical masks. You know those paperlike ones that everyone is seen wearing in Mexico? Well, they don't really work very well. Many viruses can easily pass through those surgical masks, not to mention the gaping sides. They are the masks that Dr's and nurses wear during surgery to prevent our germs from getting onto the sterile field. But it doesn't stop germs from getting past the mask to us.

There is a special mask called the N95 that is better suited to keeping viruses out. It is the one that has a hard, rounded, shell-like appearance. The N95 must be fitted properly to do its job and still only works 50 - 92%. Hey, you wouldn't trust a condom with those odds would you?

Since we aren't going to Mexico, it's time to refocus on India - where one never has to worry about getting sick, right? Makes me wonder why India hasn't been shut down?

What about malaria? There are 300-500 million cases of malaria reported each year around the world, of which one million people die. What about AIDS? 33.0 million adults and children are invected with HIV/AIDS globally. There are two million deaths per year. Should we shut down Africa? What about the common cold? Should the WHO shut down your home town?