I started this post knowing that things are bound to change continually in our move to India from the US, and knowing that we’ll get answers, likely not all positive and some not so directly. We’re up in the air so much but we’re still moving forward, even if it is a bit s-l-o-w-e-r than we’d appreciate. The kids are doing well at times, and then other times, I wonder how much of the behavior and “no” and hitting and such is due to the move and just stress over all. It is now officially the longest I’ve ever been in India at one time and is longer than I’ve been in another country (previously that was held by Finland).
Happily, two big causes of stress were remedied on Monday. The kids and I headed out in the sweaty heat of mid-day to visit a potential school, Fr. Agnel. Since our goal is to stay in this society/complex, we need a school option which is near us, since the Montessori one is a bit far since monsoon is coming. This school has an “acceptable” educational philosophy, a decent ground and we know someone who teaches at the grades of our children. After the visit, where V was excessively shy and R was super smily, but a bit active. I mean, he’s a 3 year old boy. We left there with R likely getting admission, but our daughter being potential. Sr Kg (which she’ll be heading into in June) requires an interview and there was only one opening. Interview and date come into play. Since it was the last date, interview was what we counted on. Since she was shy and refused to say the niceties of “hello, what’s your name” and such, we weren’t sure.
Two issues were – no AC. It was hot with lots of breeze, but we are talking India, right? Another was 60 kids per class, with two teachers. While they said their lessons are no longer than 7 minutes, most of the classrooms were lined with tons of low bench desks. Not what I was looking for, but our options in this area are limited if I don’t want a lot of homework and a 3 year old pressed to memorize, et cetera.
When we returned (we did rickshaw), the cleaners were in our room and they told us “oh we’re getting your new room ready, it should be ready tonight” UM, I hadn’t heard that. I called my husband and neither had he. So, I called the front desk and they confirmed that we were to move (or, as they say in India, Shift) that night. But when? No one knew. This meant… you guessed it…
but my mother in law had another surprise for us – she had arranged a maid for us! Guess what her first help was, packing up the kitchen It allowed her to set up the new kitchen in a way that made sense to her. So since Monday night we’ve had help. My husband is getting decent Indian food. I’m getting to the gym, and both kids can get their choice in the evening. Today, V wanted to swim and R wanted to go to the park. Guess what, both were able to be happy. V and I went swimming (she’s doing quite well) and R and Swapna went to the park. After swimming we met them at the park, and then went home and ate dinner.
She is from a village in Maharashtra and went to school until 8th grade. After which she worked for a few years at a factory but it was affecting her health so she had to stop. She came to the city and we’re happy to have her with us. She seems happy, but I’m glad that once she has her “servant pass” (yeah that’s what they call them), she can come and go to the store, etc and not worry about being stopped at the gate if someone doesn’t recognize her.
We’re trying to encourage her to eat with us, and she did this evening. I also hand her the remote to make her relax and stop “doing” stuff. I’m also trying to find crafts for her to do with the kids as well. She was actually so happy when I gave her a paintbrush and told her to paint the plaster cars that she helped the kids make. I’m not sure if she’s done that before. To her, this is a pretty decent-paying job. I mean, some college graduates will only make slightly more than her at their first job. Plus, she gets room and board covered. Her English is limited, so this will help the kids learn Marathi, as well as myself. She’ll also gain more English skills.
She was happy when we went for a walk yesterday (my husband stayed home with R, and V came with us) and we picked up a few things that she had asked “Kut-he” (which means where) about – She also was so happy to get her own water bottle in a color she picked.
It was so sweet – today I was walking through the living room and found her taking a picture of the television with a huge smile on her face. We want her to be comfortable here. Many people won’t allow their maids to associate with them, won’t let them do their “personal” laundry with their own (I showed her how to use the washer/dryer after she refused to put hers with ours, I think she wants privacy too at this point), and she was happy. These are the small things that go a long way. I only hope that she doesn’t get too bored. We get poor reception so she hangs her head into the window/storage to talk to her friends/family.
But our final update came today. My husband talked to his boss and he again said that it will not be possible to stay here long-term. We’ll likely continue to renew until our stuff arrives, but after that we’ll have to rent elsewhere. Not the best, since this place is spacious, clean and has built-in friends (I still plan to go to Mah Jong tomorrow, haven’t played that since we lived in Maryland!), but it will be closer to the Montessori school we originally chose, and the community we plan to live in isn’t that bad, it was great until I saw this place
I do feel sad because my 3 year old keeps asking “is this our place” – he really wants his roots to be settled it seems. I’m sure this is part of the reason his “listening ears” aren’t working as well. I mean, at shower today, he covered the drain, and I asked him not to – then he did again and a few minutes later I hear a bit too much happiness – he had flooded the bathroom – I asked him to uncover the drain and it earned me a lovely “spray’ from his boat. After I did remove him from the bathroom, he ran back in saying “i’m turning on the water!!” and then proceeded to fall right on his bottom and then his head. Lovely.
In more water news, after a month long detainment by US customs, our stuff is in the ocean somewhere, floating along we hope. It has been at sea for around 11 days. They estimated it would arrive quickly into Mumbai, by mid-May, but they indicated that with customs and delivery to expect that we’ll have our stuff around the 10th or so of June. So we’re looking to start a lease around then – we’ll spend a day or two painting and setting up before our stuff arrives. School for the kids will start slowly after that. We’ll likely have a car long before then so random things we need to buy will be easier to pick up.
Oh and I have a cell phone! Yay! Friends/Family, if you need my number, do let me know
So there we have it, some updates. Not all as I’d personally choose, but it is where we’re heading. I believe it will all fall into place. Some work, some planning and lots of love and understanding.