Reflections

Is it silly to think so much about something which may not even happen? Probably. C’est la vie. Ou, c’est moi? Je ne sais pas et je ne parle pas francais. I think thinking too much is frying my brain.

Well, if it does fail to happen, which may be a good thing, I might feel foolish sharing all this, but I will do it anyway. Isn’t that what blogging is all about? hehe. I’ve already started planning what to pack, and many other logistics. Yes, I’m a dork.

To get to the point, we had been discussing our feelings on the possible move. One topic that came up are things we will miss from our life here. 

Starting with obvious ones, personal freedoms. Here there is no one to pry into our personal choices, and can pretty much get away with doing whatever we choose without anyone batting an eye. And we do have a lot of choice! Although I don’t expect most of my lifestyle choices to raise eyebrows in India, I am expecting to be the subject of relatively more gossip.

Another personal choice is the opportunity to live a fairly healthy lifestyle if you want to. Namely, organic and natural products. In India labeling is sketchy at best, and adulteration is rampant. There’s another side to that, but I will get to it later.

Then of course, the things we take for granted… safe(ish) water, smooth easy driving roads, A/C, and especially – less bugs!

A big one, possibly the biggest one we will miss is earning in dollars. Ugh. Neither of us are big spenders and I’m sure we will be okay while in India, assuming the employment is good, but saving in rupees to return to US  is almost futile. Boo hoo.

Which reminds me of the next one… joint family living. No, we wont be living in one of those ultra modern high-rises in the fancy schmancy part of town. We will be living with them. 0.O Well, sort of, not exactly, but yes. I’ll save a special post just about that one, lol. Actually, I’m not opposed to it at all, nor do I have unrealistic expectations. I don’t foresee it being a huge problem, but I’m used to independence for the most part. I’m also largely adjusting. More of that later.

I’ll probably add more later, but for now, I will end with …. yes, are you all thinking it?        Are ya?    What. am. I. gonna. do. without……… Toilet Paper.     I guess I really mean the whole bathroom situation. I don’t mind washing with a bucket, but one day I may miss a hot shower. I can see it happening. And I admit it, I don’t really like a wet bathroom. I can squat pee in Indian toilets with the best of them, and I can clean with water too… but for how long? I guess I will find out. I can see myself getting tired of that, but I also think I can deal.(I know tp is available there. I have the impression its expensive though, and I don’t think my IL’s pipes can take it. Plus its wasteful. Oh, that and pads! Ack!!)

Two common things that are not on my list are family/friends and food. It’s not that I haven’t thought of them, but I’m not expecting them to be major factors for me. 

What about you? Have you given any thought to it, or what you would miss? If you live in India after living in the west, what things do you miss?

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~ by honeybeeluvsjackfruit on January 6, 2009.

10 Responses to “Reflections”

  1. Huh. If your in-laws are middle-class and living in Bangalore, I’m rather surprised they dodn’t have a Western toilet and a shower head (probably not a shower stall, however). And if you’d move there with white collar jobs, you could likely afford to, at the least, have one installed.

    Do tell us more about the details of the potential move, if you get a chance. 🙂

  2. Hmm…I would miss family and friends, western plumbing, quiet surrounds, and bug-free living. Once in a while Sun and I discuss moving to India, and the bathrooms and bugs continue to be the sticking points for me. 🙂 Recently he told me about the ‘common house lizard’ issue, and finding lizard eggs in closets and cupboards. Blech!!! Still, if the opportunity arose I would probably give it a try – at least for a little while.

  3. Hmmm – I completely missed the question.

    Off the top of my head, I’d miss the ability to just walk out the door and go jogging on wooded trails with my dogs (poor Panda, the malamute, probably couldn’t leave the house in the summer), I’d miss living in an area that is relatively dust and pollution free, and, finally, IKEA.

  4. Well if your in-laws are middle class chances are they have a western toilet they are more common down South than up North though. TP isn’t that costly and it flushes down pipes just fine, I was not using it until recently but repeated yeast infections over the year made me think the using water to wash thing was causing it. tampons are also avaible here, only one brand : OB but every roadside pharmacy sell them so you wont be condemned to use pad. Are you in-laws living in bangalore? if yes A/C isn’t a necessity in this city, only the months of April and May are hot and still very manageable with a fan compared as in Delhi.
    I wouldn’t worry too much about freedom as well, gossip happens everywhere, and as it is the case everywhere : pay it no heed, I lived 5 years in india so far and only the first year did I feel awkward realising soon that I was the one setting my own limitation and blaming it on culture, sure suntanning in bikini isn’t possible on public beaches on the coast, but then that’s about it, I’ve been wearing shorts around a couple of time the only thing is guys are less shy about cat calling here.

  5. I would miss my co-housing community probably more than anything else. Besides that, I would miss long, hot showers, being able to play with my children on the several acres of beautiful land we live on that include a field, playground, organic farm and forest. I would miss easily accessible organic food.

    I know there is a very real possibility that we will live in India at some point too, so this is a good question to reflect on.

    Independence is something I would miss in terms of wearing whatever I want and doing whatever I want without question or judgment, but honestly, I would probably have MORE independence overall if I lived in India because I would have so much more help from family with my young children (sometimes being a stay-at-home mom feels like house arrest).

    That’s all I have right now. Good luck with whatever happens!
    Sounds like you have a terrific outlook!!

    Oh, and by the way, given the way things are going here, the US dollar will probably not be worth much for too much longer…I would much rather invest rupees in gold at this point than save in the US dollar, but that’s an entirely different topic altogether…

  6. Hey Y’all… I appreciate the messages and good vibes 🙂

    NOPES, my inlaws have neither a western toilet nor a shower head!
    I’ve used Indian and western toilets and I didn’t use tp in India. I did go to one place which had a shower head but I found I would rather just use the bucket. However I do prefer the little sprayer for.. .ahem.. toilet use. My IL don’t have that either.

    The thing is, I want to be practical and have my eyes wide open. I realize that there are things that are fine for a few weeks, but may start to grate on ones nerves. It may or may not happen. I’m not really worried though… just posting my thoughts 🙂

    Interestingly, JF is the one who came up with the personal freedoms one! He also said their house has old plumbing and may not handle tp.

    Thanks Cyn for the tips. I have a feeling I might end up with a lot of questions for you sometime! Hehe. Tampons, I don’t use… I was just thinking pads are so wasteful. I’ve been actually wanting to stitch some cloth ones. And I don’t wear shorts, so in Ind I think I would wear (happily) only Indian clothes… but you never know. Its another thing I might get sick of.

    Another thing I had meant to add to the list is Nature preserves/parks. We would really miss that. JF says its not kept the same way there.

    Jessica, that’s a good point about investing in gold. HMMMM. Scary how insecure the financial future is. But, still, out of my list… that and health are my biggest concerns.

  7. Do not hesitate with questions 🙂 And yes indian style outfits do wear thin after a while and Bangalore has some cold winters during which you appreciate the jeans and sweater especially in the evenings. Plus as you will find out, it is almost silly nowaday to wear these indian dresses to the mall, to a pub or a movie hall if you aren’t a old generation or traditionnal indian, wearing ethnic wear in those places as a foreigner will actually bring more odd looks than you will ever get, Bangalore is now turning into an international city.
    Missing nature is a big one, but I find that a trip to the Lalbagh botanical garden is good at fixing it, this par is HUGE and well kept, you can esily spend the day walking in this place and not feel like you are in the city anymore.

  8. Sounds very exciting! Please keep posting about it as you know more. Myself, I’d try living in India for maybe a year to see how things go. How long do you think you’d be staying?

    Satya remembers fondly the monkeys, mongooses, lizards that populated his yard. The part that would freak me out the most is the snakes-he said sometimes they’d go through his house.

    I lived in Athens for 3 months during college. Tp was put in a trash bag next to the toilet as the pipes couldn’t handle it. Maybe India is the same in some places? Or maybe Bangalore has installed good, sturdy pipes?

    I don’t think health would be a problem in cities and towns. In rural places, probably. Satya maintains that in some ways Indian doctors are better than American ones.

    The bugs would probably get to me too. I would say privacy as well. Satya says that in India people will drop in unannounced and chat so that sometimes it is hard to be alone.

  9. hello and thank you for the great post and for food for thought! this couldn’t be more timely for me..We just got back from Tamil Nadu few days ago, after spending there a little over a month for our own wedding. My husband was born and grew up in Chennai and it was my first trip to the country. While i always thought that I was born and lived for half of my life in a third world country ( one of the former USSR republics) and that India hence will be a piece of cake..boy..i couldn’t be more wrong :)!! Looking back at things, of course i give away to the many years spent in the ( what seems to be now 🙂 luxurious heaven of USA, and perhaps the malarone pills which do make you feel depressed and miserable and btw that the side effect no one warns you about :(, or .. i could come up with so many excuses, but while the first two weeks in India were magical..for the last two all I wanted to do is to go back home to the HOT shower and not the buckets, to the A/C ( it was winter in Chennai how on earth would I survive through the summer?:), toilet paper, western DRY.. bathroom ( DRY is another word taken out of the dictionary :)), spicy food that does not turn your stomach inside out, privacy – his is a BIG joint family- where i always had to share a bed with someone :)) or have 3 other people sleep in the same room :), away from omnipresent bugs, rats, lizards, cow dung, smell of human urine and so many more unidentified smells that were always in the air..CLEAN AIR perhaps is the most thing that i missed..
    this is a life of a middle class family in Chennai..and thinking about settling down there and having to raise kids makes me really concerned..and worried. Will I ever be able to? What if having to miss those things will be unbearable? ( and missing my own family of course is by itself another story..)

    Before my wedding and the trip – someone told me that you either love or hate India from the first sight. To my ( yet another surprise) I love and hate it both at a time…
    Its colors and people and culture is now essential part of me and of who I am. The ability of the people to be happy and complete with the so little that they do have is beyond my understanding. The barefoot smiles I have been given on the streets of Chennai is so much more that I could ask for..I would never know the complete and true definition of happiness if I were never to visit India. It gave me the person who I love the most and only now i understand that it also made him what he is right now with his amazing human qualities – the most wonderful person for me in the world :)) and one last but not least thing – In India I came to see that with all it’s mess and dirt and everlasting chaos somehow things just make sense there. ..
    Though I still have to find answers on my many questions myself , I want to thank you for posting yours and sharing. Believe me – it is very helpful! 🙂

  10. Cyn- I’m probably not nearly trendy enough for B’lore. Sigh.

    Minnesota- The Tp in a bag could work. You’re right, its the pipes in their old home that would be the problem. I will probably try to go without, but maybe installing a sprayer could be a negotiating point, hehe. Time frame…. that is up in the air! And health, I have a separate post in my mind for that 🙂

    Untranslated- first, congrats on your wedding! Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I can relate to many of your points! After a while, I just accept the grimeyness and settle in to the fact my feet will be constantly dusty 😀 I LOVED this line that you wrote “and one last but not least thing – In India I came to see that with all it’s mess and dirt and everlasting chaos somehow things just make sense there. ”

    Hope to see you back here!

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