Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Adapting to Bangalore

The kids and I arrived in Bangalore early this morning after being in Canada for almost two months. I think as humans we adapt to our surrounding pretty easily. Well, maybe not so easy if it is your first time in India. But here we are and it feels pretty normal. Our house is sparsely furnished and decorated but it has everything we need. I'm not sure that it feels like home, but more like our home away from home.

After being away so long it's interesting to walk around and notice things that I hadn't even thought of for two months. I think the sounds are foremost. The exotic bird sounds, the high pitched chipmunk sounds and especially the horns and traffic. In Canada I thought most about the busy streets and interesting sights that one sees on the Indian streets. The streets and sidewalks in Canada are so bare and quiet. But I forgot about the sounds.

Today I had to remember about using bottled water for brushing teeth and no more drinking tap water. I had to remember that you must turn on a switch before using the microwave, kettle, toaster etc. The geyser has to be turned on in order to warm up the water before a shower. And I had to remember that the internet doesn't always connect - as it didn't when I first tried.

It was a little cool when I first got up and grey outside. But soon the sun came out and I was having my coffee outside on the patio, reading a magazine. Then it poured rain - it's monsoon season - for ten minutes.

Some things never change. Michael and I discussed travel plans for the next year - after taking all his vacation for this year (four days left) it's going to be a challenge to get away much. Luckily there are alot of stat holidays in the fall, so lots of long weekends.

Craig filled up his basketball and we got air in the bike tires. He also has plans to eat all his favorite foods here in India within the next two days. Alanna had a friend over and talked and talked and talked. And of course she has already made plans to go to the mall. I'll be back at the OWC coffee morning on Thursday and looking forward to seeing what's going on in the next month. Lots of planning for the charities and articles to write for the Rangoli. And especially nice to see that one of my photos is on the front cover of the Aug. issue of the Rangoli!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Return to Bangalore...Twice that is

Michael returned to Bangalore today for the second time in two weeks. No he didn't just want to rack up the airmiles (but I guess he is). He left Vancouver Thursday, July 8th and unfortunately had to return the next week due to an urgent family situation. Around the world in less than a week.

The only problem was that he didn't have time to register with the FRO (Foreigners Registration Office). He arrived in Bangalore Sat. and had to leave again Tues. They did detain him for about fifteen minutes at the airport and he had to explain the emergency situation to the officer and then to the "big man." Luckily they let him leave but warned him there might be a fine when he returned again. Definitely a bit stressful.

But today, he returned to Bangalore and no problem at all getting into the country. It's Wed. morning and just hours after arriving...he's on his way to the FRO office.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Efficient India

Things can get complicated at times. Michael is supposed to return to India on July 8th. His Indian visa expires on July 15th which means he has to go in right away to have it renewed. Of course he has to give up his passport until it is processed.

The problem is that due to a family members' illness he may have to return to Canada at a moments notice. Without a passport he can't.

Normally the Indian Consulate will not extend a work visa outside of India. But Michael decided to explain the situation to the Consulate General and ask for an extension outside of India, two days prior to leaving.

If there is one thing that is important to the Indian people - it is family. Last night Michael emailed the Consulate explaining the situation and this morning they phoned and told him to come into the office with the required documents. We drove downtown right away and the visa officer came out to talk to Michael as soon as we arrived. He then took us across the hall to meet with the Consulate General who was extremely sympathetic to the situation having had a similar situation in his family last year.

He sent us back to the office where they already knew to accept the application and assured us that they would extend the visa for six months; Michael can pick it up tomorrow. It is wonderful to know that people can be compassionate and empathic when it counts, although I think the Indian people are just that on a regular basis.