Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pictures and the christmas Season

Last weekend Muscles took me to a really nice spot outside of the city, it is called Osman Sagr and it's a lovely lake with some actual greenery. Hyderabad has a lot more trees and a few more parks than most cities, but it was nice to get out of the city for a few hours and spend some time in the quiet, with a lot less people. Here are some pics of that day.

Well tomorrow officially marks the beginning of the Christmas season, and although I know I moved away from Canada and I have no reason to complain, or whine about missing my favourite holiday, but this is my blog and so I am going to do just that. I am lucky to have experienced Christmas in 2 different countries, once being in South Korea, and the other time in India last year when i spent 2 months backpacking here (this will be my second time in India for Christmas). But both of those times I was going home shortly after the holiday, I arrived home January 1st from Korea, and December 28th from India. This time I'm here until the end of March at least. Although many of my friends in India are excited about Christmas (they are Christians) there is no where near the hype here as at home, no tree, no homemade cookies, no presents (yes I guess it makes me selfish), no snow, no crazy hustle and bustle on the streets, and malls.
I am hoping to be as festive as i can at work and try to get people at the call centre to really get excited about it. They'll be speaking to American and Canadian customers and so I'll live vicariously through them.
Muscles wants to try and give me some semblance of a Christmas so that's sweet.
But yes, I'll miss the holiday season, even the commercialism that goes with it. I love giving and receiving gifts......and so it will be rough this year. But it also will be yet another cultural experience under my belt, and maybe celebrating Christmas differently will help me see more of the real meaning behind it.

Nah...I doubt it. I never claimed to be a Saint. I do want presents, and cookies, turkey a Christmas tree, snow and MY FAMILY and FRIENDS!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Attacks in Mumbai

I want to thank everyone who has called my mom and dad to check to make sure that I am OK here in India. It means a lot that people are worried. Although it worries my mom every time the phone rings when something like this has happened.

I know my parents are both worried about me and they have reason to fear (the simple fact that they are parents), but I also think they are being strong about this as well.

Firstly, I am safe and quite far away from the incidents. I am about 600km away from Mumbai
, and here is a map to show exactly the locations.

This is a very random attack, and what is scary is it is the first of it's kind, no one has seen anything like this. Also what is scary is that the terrorists are looking for people with American and British passports. I guess this is when it is good to be Canadian. OK, bad joke, because seriously, I look and sound like an American, and last I read on the news 6 Canadians were being held hostage inside the Taj hotel.

No one really knows much about the groups who are involved with the attacks other than they are most likely NOT Indian nationals and that they arrived by boat at the gateway of Mumbai.
The other freaky thing is this time last or around this time I was in India. I had just visited Mumbai about 3 weeks earlier, and I had visited all the locations that the terrorists targeted. I even had lunch and drinks at Leopolds restaurant. This restaurant was targeted because it was made famous in the book Shantaram, where the foreigners would go to hang out and drink.

The attacks have been described by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as "well planned and very orchestrated attacks probably with external linkages to create panic by choosing high profile targets and indiscriminately killing innocent foreigners"

Regardless of what you heard in the media, they still don't know who is responsible for these attacks, and although a group called the Deccan Mujahideen has sent emails taking credit for the attacks, the police think that this is a red herring likely to steer the police in the wrong direction.

In Hyderabad the police are taking precautions as well, since this is the Silicon Valley of India, and so there are increased check posts, and our huge work party scheduled for yesterday at the 5 star hotel The Taj Deccan was cancelled for security reasons. These are just precautions, and although I disagree with stopping your life because of terrorists, I think that Hyderabad is probably quite safe from any attacks. And outside of this incident, I still stand by the fact that India is a safe place to travel to.

So, although I am safe from harm and far from these events, there are many people who lost their lives (125), 6 of these being foreigners and 14 being police officers. The attacks are still continuing, and so please pray for those still being held hostage and pray these attacks end soon.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pay it forward

This weekend, I did a few things I feel really good about. Now I didn't do them so i could come and write about them in my blog. I Just wanted to share my story, so that maybe it might inspire others to pay it forward too.

Muscles and I stopped at a sandwich wrap counter (absolutely delicious), and he ordered a chicken 65 wrap and I ordered an egg and spicy chicken tandoori wrap. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted an old man, homeless an sick. He had a huge tumour on his back. I couldn't see it, as it was just a massive lump under his shirt. He was politely asking me for money. Now here in India, people aren't so polite about begging. While Muscles and I are stopped at an intersection people come to us, beg, cry, touch my feet, legs, arms (and it drives me crazy), and sometimes they carry their babies with them to make it even worse. Of course I feel bad and sad and want to help, who wouldn't. But Muscles tells me that a lot of the time when we don't give money they will scream out "asshole, whore, and bitch" to me. Being western doesn't help, I guess. I don't like to give money, I prefer to give food or clothes or something else. Many homeless people get their children to beg for them and who knows what they use the money for. I've been known to buy fresh lime juice from the street vendors for many of the children who beg me for money.

Anyway this old man, had a sad face, but wasn't being overly aggressive. So I ordered him an egg wrap sandwich and gave it to him. He could barely look me in the eye as I gave it to him and a tear formed in one of his eyes. He walked away without saying thank you, but I know it's because of his pride, and I know he was thankful. Muscles told me with a look of love in his eyes that his mother does the same thing.

Last night Muscles and I went to City Centre, a pretty nice "mall" in Banjara Hills and there is this little girl that I fell in love with who works outside. Yes, she works. She is there from about 7pm to midnight and sometimes later (to get the crowds out of the bar). She's about 7 or 8 years old, clean, beautiful and happy! Her English is quite good and I think she goes to school during the day. Her job is selling packs of gum at double the price than what you can buy them for in the stores. They sell for about 5 rupees (10 cents or so) and she sells them for 15-20 rupees. She is neither aggressive nor annoying. She is the sweetest girl and I want to take her home with me every time I see her. She always greets me with a huge hug, and I have even taken her for a ride on my scooter. I took her around the block while she sat at the back screaming and waving to people. Then when i told her to sit down, she said "chill out, are you worried or something?" HAHA. So I went with it. She is courageous and happy and although my heart breaks for her, I do realize we are born into the life we have. She is making the best of it.
Anyway, last night she greeted me with a big hug and shook Muscles hand (such a little lady), and told me her birthday was on January 22nd and she wanted to see me. Muscles bought a pack of gum from her, and I ran in to the McDonald's and bought her a strawberry shake. When I gave it to her she hugged me tight, and then ran off to greet another potential gum buying customer. She has made many friends there and everyone keeps their eyes out for her, to make sure she is OK. When i went to sleep last night, she was the last thought on my mind. She is so full of life happy, and trusting. I don't pray often, but I found myself praying for her to have a good life and for God to keep her safe. This little girl has touched my heart.

Living in India has made me a better person, it has opened my eyes to the world and to a culture so different from my own. I am thankful every single day that i was given the strength, courage, and drive to do what i am doing. My parents, although it breaks my Mom's heart that I am so far away from home, are the main reason for who I am and what I'm doing. They always said to set my sights high and that I can do anything I want as long as I work hard. They told me to live my life on my own terms.
I am a better person for this experience. So many people told me that going to India would change my life, and for a while I was like, "what the hell does that mean?" It has changed my life, but I wasn't looking in the right place. I was expecting this huge life altering experience to happen, but it's the small things that have changed me.

You don't need to leave home or travel to India to change your life, nor do you have to wait for some life altering event to happen to you. You just have to look for the small things, like I did.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The most frequent compliment I get

Although I always receive compliments about the way I'm dressed or how I look, there is one constant compliment I get regularly from both women and men. They are fascinated by something I wear that is my signature, if you will. Most of you who know me, might have already guessed what this could be.

My earrings!

People compliment me daily. One guy asked me if I could buy him some of the same kind of earrings, give them to him so he can gift them to his girlfriend. Now Indians are not shy about wearing jewelery, especially bangles and ankle bracelets and nose rings. But their earrings are usually understated and small. Mine are large, all kinds if interesting shapes, designs and colours (although I wear mostly silver). It's not so easy to find funky earrings here, so I do miss going to Le Chateau, Dynamite and Aldo accessories for my fix of earrings.

When I tell people that my Mom picks out a lot of my earrings, they are shocked. I usually tell them, that my mom is super cool with great taste and I always get a few pair of earrings as goodies in my Christmas stocking. One pair in particular which my Dad bought me get the most compliments. They LOVE that my dad has picked earrings out for me, and I tell them my dad loves when I wear big earrings.

Everyone wants to know where they can get these earrings. Canada my friends! :)

Here are some pics of my favourite earrings!!!

I love my earrings, there is pair here my sister and her husband bought me on their honeymoon in St. Lucia. I get so many compliments on them. They are made out of coconut. They are the brown ones up top they also come with a matching bracelet. One pair is from my best friend's sister, another my mom picked out, which are the large silver ones that every person says are the same size as wrist bangles (hehe), and a few pair I bought myself.

These are the earrings my dad picked out! I love them!!! They are so long they almost touch my shoulders!! They look terrific with my hair up!


Here are some pictures taken from the last two weekends.

I went to a birthday party two weekends ago and my friends live in a gorgeous apartment block overlooking high tech city and what is called the Secret Lake. Here are some pictures of the view.

This is actually the building I work in. The larger of the two buildings that is behind the smaller building. It's called I-Labs and it houses GE Money and Hyundai.

Muscles took me out Saturday to this place I have never been called The Waterfront. It was a beautiful spot by the water where you can get some snacks and small meals and sit by the water. He took me to see the new James Bond movie Quantum and Solace, and then to this romantic spot. There is a road off in the distance called Necklace road, and it is called that, because when all the lights are lit up it looks like the lake is wearing a necklace. Looks beautiful, but difficult to capture on camera.

Me before Muscles picked me up for our Saturday date.

He looks pensive, but he is actually watching the football match (soccer) on the tv. The view is gorgeous behind him (which is what I was trying to capture) hehe!

More of the view

The food options. The "sodaz" place had awesome sweet lime soda and blueberry soda. It's freshed squeezed lime with soda water and some sugar. Dee-lish. Now not sure what they used for blueberry flavour cause there is not a blueberry to be found here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A girl with a big heart!

Yesterday, right before i was about to head home, one of my agents (I'll call her big heart) who I have begun training came to see me with big tears in her eyes. She wanted someone to talk to so i was flattered she felt she could come to me.
She has been having ear infections for the last 6 months and when she started to take calls as part of her training her ear acted up again and she was having major pains. The doctor has her on medication but also told her she would need to take 2 months off while her ear healed. This meant she had to take a leave from the company and wait it out.
To most people, I guess this would seem like no big deal. But this is where she is different. She lives with her mom who is a single parent (I have no idea the circumstances here), but in India it's a big deal!! She has put her studies on hold and is attending weekend classes so she can help support her mother. The government doesn't work like Canada and the US, so her options are limited 9in terms of gov't assistance). She kept saying over and over again, while crying, how she needs this job. I tried to comfort her and tell her that her mom would understand. But what she said next just broke my heart. She said her mom would tell her it was fine, then her mother would end up having sleepless nights crying to herself about how she had put her daughters in this situation. Her twin sister also has the same ear problems and is working in another company.
I asked Big Heart if there were options (restaurants or something) and she said you needed a degree for most jobs here. Say what?? To work at Subway or a restaurant you need a degree/diploma in hotel management. I guess there are so many people they need to have a system to weed people out. Kind of crazy if you ask me. Where would I have been during University without my Tim Horton's job (love the coffee hated working there), my retail job selling clothes at Jacob (loved that job-50% off clothes baby), and call center jobs. Which big heart is trying to do to help her mother. But now she can't.

It's just sad. And it made me realize the opportunities I was given growing up and how lucky I am for my own family situation. A loving mother and father who both worked and provided for my sister and I the best they could, while also teaching us the value of a dollar. I feel like I was a spoiled child when I hear stories like this. I have no idea how to help Big Heart, but I am going to ask around and see what can be done. She is a sweet girl just trying to help her mom, and in India, helping your parents is number one!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Highlights of my Monday November 10th

1. Forced myself to get out of bed at 12:30pm (remember I'm on a wacky schedule). I've been really tired lately because I've been working 10-12 hour days at work. And it's definitely not sitting behind a desk, I'm up and down and around and constantly moving. Once I was awake I had strong milky sweet coffee, toast and nutella for breakfast and watched a downloaded episode of CSI. LOVE the Internet, my little pieces of home make me so happy. And who doesn't love a little Gil Grissom.
2. Worked out at home, I'm on week 5 and phase 2 of the P90x work out. Today was back and biceps and wow what a work out it is. I've never done chin ups in my life and here I am having to do 5 different kinds. I have to use a chair with one leg on it mind you. Then I cleaned my apartment from top to bottom. My place smelled like a swimming pool I used so much bleach. I like to leave the windows open, but there is just so much dust and sand that sweeping my apartment felt like cleaning a construction site.
3. Washed my clothes by hand. I put it off last week because I had one hell of a lazy week last week (but was working way too much), so I had an extra large load to do. And after working out my biceps squeezing and wringing out the clothes was no walk in the park.
4. I found Kraft Dinner on the weekend at the 'dollar store" when I was out with Muscles and so I made that for dinner. I ate the whole darn pot of it too! I don't even eat Kraft dinner in Canada, but I'm getting a little tired of cooking elaborate Indian meals, so this was the perfect fix. It was three cheese too, so it was extra tasty.
5. Went to work early, because I had to leave for an hour and half for Hindi lessons. So I went at 6pm, was able to meet an agent and do two feedbacks with her. I listen to two of her recorded calls and score them on a voice and soft skills perspective and do some coaching. I was also able to send both my bosses my reports from last week (I work for two portfolio's: the Canadian HBC and the American auto club).
6. I also had some time to work on this PowerPoint I'm working on breaking down various call scenarios from an American perspective. What time means to us, what being stranded on an interstate is like in a snow blizzard (Indians just can't imagine this) so it's my job to help them understand these kinds of scenarios. Also, most people live with their families here so if for some reason their car broke down and the children were due to come home any minute, their mother or grandmother would be home to greet them. Americans don't particularly have this option. So the agents need to understand what is at stake when an American is stranded.
7. Went to my Hindi class at my friends place. There are 3 of us studying and it's coming along, but it takes a hole lot of memory work and using the new phrases and practicing them every day. I work entirely in English, all my friends speak English.I practice with Muscles but still, it is so easy to revert to English. English is probably his first language, so he is almost more comfortable speaking it. So when people ask me (and they always ask me) "say something in Hindi," this is seriously the most annoying thing to hear. I mean talk about being put on the spot. So now I just say "Mei rosana Hindi seek rahi-hoon" I'm learning more Hindi everyday. it's a well formed sentence and so most people are super impressed and leave me alone after that. if that doesn't work I say "Chup baith rai," which means "be quiet dude!" (a gentler way to say shut up) HAHA. Also for the beggars who insist on touching my feet and legs for me to give them money I have my arsenal sentence of "Hath Matt lagau" (Don't touch me). But I was told I say it too sweetly and I need to firm that up a bit. It's hard to sound angry when you're thinking about the right Hindi word to say and pronouncing it right. It will come.
8. Got back to work by 9pm, and worked like a slave for 3 hours with the auto club, then went down to HBC where there was an inter-portfolio competition. They are given a theme and have to decorate the floor, dress up in costumes, and act out the theme. HBC was given Native American and Pilgrims (score)! If you know me you'd know my grandfather (my dad's step-dad) is native Canadian and my aunts and uncles are also (My Dad's half brother's and sisters). So I planned with them all last week. And wow, they outdid themselves. I taught them about tee pees, dream catchers, how to dress, native dancing and drumming and hunting. I wish I could take pictures (no cameras on the floor). We all wore headbands with feathers, had our faces painted with native make-up, wore cool native looking clothes and jewellery. The tee pee they made was awesome, and a group of people danced around a made-up fire to drums. It was awesome.
9. This is a major competition and they have 4 themes over the month of November and the winner will be awarded and awesome prize at the annual town hall (aka work party) the company holds every year on American Thanksgiving. Everyone takes it really seriously. The other portfolios got such easy themes (Hawaiian, New York nights, Casino Royal). So I was pretty proud of our team. It was a hard one. I think there are some people who took pictures in the lobby with their camera phones, so I'll try and track down some pictures.
10. After waiting an agonizing hour, we got the news that HBC won the competition!! Woo hoo! next up winter wonderland. Come on!! With me on their team HBC has this one in the bag. I am winter!!!! Left work feeling so exhausted but happy with our teams win. Literally fell into bed by 4:30am.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The big reveal and a telegu love song

Well, I've decided to reveal the secret, I'm going to tell you which Canadian call center company I work with.

Are you ready????

It's HBC!!!!!! And I love it. Gap and Paypal are also in the building I work in as well, although I don't work with these groups. I technically work for GE Money, but these companies all fall under GE.

I thought it would be fun for you all to know (my friends and family) that when you call to activate your new HBC mastercard or call about HBC, you'll be calling where I work, and speak with agents I train, I might even be sitting next to them. Here's a hint, I'm usually with this group Monday-Friday at 230pm-4:30pm (EST time).

Yesterday while working with HBC, one of the agents started singing to me in Telegu (the state language). I had no idea what he was singing but apparently it was about him taking my exam of love with me being the love teacher and him being the student. Ya, I have no idea.

This is how the rest of the conversation went:

Mr. romance (obviously not his real name): "lalalalalala" (this is my cheap imitation of his singing in a language I don't understand).
me: "Mr. Romance, are you on a call?"
Mr. Romance: "Ya, Shelley, but it's a nice song"
Me: "Are you waiting to transfer the customer or something"?
Mr. romance: "No"
Me: Is the customer on hold????"
Mr. Romance: "Yes, I put her on hold to sing you the song"
Me: "What!! Don't do that.....get back to the customer, are you crazy?"
Mr. Romance: "Sorry for keeping you hold Ma' can I help you today?"

So next time you call HBC and the agent puts you on hold, he might just be signing me a Telegu love song. HAHAHA!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hand washing my clothes and the # 3 thing I miss from home

When I first moved into my new apartment, the thought of washing my own clothes all by hand seemed so primal and Indian and I was excited about doing it all by myself. Most working people here hire a maid to do this for them, or buy a washing machine (seems so exotic here). But I'm stubborn and refuse to pay someone to clean my place, wash my clothes and cook for me, when I have a lot of time to do it myself, and know when I do it, it gets done right. When I lived with Timothy, he had a maid and she did my laundry, and ruined a pair of white shorts and a pink tank top because she put a couple of turquoise never been washed dish towels in the same pail.
I was livid.

The novelty of washing my clothes in a bucket has now officially worn off. Have you ever tried washing a large fleece blanket in a bucket? I need to sit down and catch my breath after wringing the water out of the damn thing, never mind trying to get all the soap out of it! It's a nightmare. The next day I feel like I have carpal tunnel from all the wrist action I use. But I have to wash my blankets often, there is so much dust that comes in to my apartment, because of all the new buildings going up around me. And India generally is a dusty place.

On the plus side, no need to do any cardio exercise on laundry days. So if you're bored running on a treadmill, wash your linens in a bucket of tide and warm water.

So that brings me to the #3 thing I miss from home: A washing machine!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pictures: and Indian sky and me!

Here are some pictures I took and thought I'd post. The sky was gorgeous a few nights ago so I took some shots. I'll let the pics do the talking.....

Taken from my small balcony

This was taken a few weeks ago at my work retreat.

The homes just outside my balcony. It's sad, but the children seem very happy.

The Indian sunset...gorgeous

The awesomness of TGIF

Muscles and I went to TGIF last night, and it was awesome! When we walked in, I got that tingly feeling of some semblance of home. Except the waiters were Indian men wearing cowboy hats. But it put a smile on my face, nevertheless. Also, awesome rock music was playing in the background, which both Muscles and I love. There were a few other "western" people in the restaurant and they all had large grins on their faces and seemed to be enjoying their time too. I had heard one white guy (most likely American) say to the waiter, "we drove by every few days to see when this place would be open." I guess I'm not the only one excited for TGIF. For some reason I felt bad for wanting and craving food from home, but Muscles reminded me that if he were in America or Canada and there weren't any Indian restaurants around and then one suddenly opened up, he'd be lined up waiting for it to be opened and excited about eating there too. In Korea there were many western restaurants I could go to to get my fix, but this is really the first chain to open up in Hyderabad. There are a couple of western style places, but the prices are ridiculous and the food a little more fancy. TGIF reminds me of going to the Outback or Kelsey's, which I only do rarely at home and expect to once and a while here too (maybe) . I pretty much wanted everything on the menu, but that wasn't possible. I haven't had a salad in over 6 months too, as they are difficult to come by here. So I vowed to go back soon and have a chicken caesar salad. A tear almost came to my eye when I saw that on the menu. But I was craving a burger. A big juicy burger. And a burger is what I got, with cheese and bacon. First I checked with Muscles about my eating pork (it's been over 6 months since I ate pork, and him being Muslim I wanted to make sure it was OK). He had no issues with it and he just wanted me to be happy. HAHA. He knew denying me bacon on my cheeseburger would put me in pout mode. But he is not like that and would never ask me to not to do something. OK he did admit, if I ordered the rack of pork ribs that might make him uncomfortable. He ordered sirloin steak and mashed potatoes, and I had to cut my burger it was so huge. Both of us were in beef heaven!!! Beef is so darn hard to find here, so it was nice to have some options. The portions were huge and lived up to the North American standard, and Muscles was impressed. That guy can eat, but he works out a lot so he needs to. Then afterwards, Muscles coaxed me to order some dessert. He was treating me to dinner, cause he knew how much I've been craving food from home. So who am I to say no to dessert? I ordered the brownie and ice cream, and I am so glad we ordered only one, because what we got was a colossal 3 layer brownie tower with ice cream. It was so tall the brownies were wavering and threatening to fall over. Even the other table of 3 westerners looked over and gave us the thumbs up, and I replied "You can tell this is an American chain" and we all had a good laugh. Then I looked at Muscles and said, "No wonder North Americans are so fat." Seriously, I am so not used to these portion sizes. He paid me no attention because he was too busy stuffing his face with brownie. Between the two of us, we still couldn't finish the dessert. But we both had a great time and vowed to go back soon, there's a whole menu waiting for me to dig into. The prices were OK. We've been to more expensive places, but this was somewhat reasonable. For the burger platter, sirloin steak, dessert and bottle of mineral water, the price was 1300 rupees, which is about $30 cdn (no tip required). For India that is very expensive. I can spend that much much on 2-3 weeks of groceries. But once in a while you need to splurge, plus I was going crazy craving food from home.
I really can't believe I wrote a whole post on TGIF. Oh well, goes to show what little things make you happy living away from home. Here are some pics of me and Muscles, of course me looking really darn happy to be there!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Some random thoughts-comments

  • I've finally ran out of the two containers of Body Shop Body Butter i brought with me. Sad sad day. With no Body Shop to buy more, I'm going to have to settle for some other kind of skin cream. I know, it's just cream, but Body Butter makes my skin feel like a newborn baby's bottom. I love the stuff, and I'm sad that it's all gone.
  • I'm convinced that my friends have all disappeared off the face of the earth, or their computers have either been, destroyed, or stolen. Where are you guys??? I'm still waiting for replies from emails I wrote weeks ago! I'm not asking you to sit down and write me a 7 page letter, walk to post office and mail it. Just send me a message on facebook, or on Yahoo messenger, or text me. Whatever. It will take a few minutes of your time, but will mean the world to me. There are a few exceptions here of course.....I have heard from a few of you.
  • Thought it was really funny when I overheard an agent saying "Happy Halloween to you too ma'am" and then putting the customer on hold, looking over at me, and asking "Shelley, what's Halloween?" I take it for granted that everyone knows what these holidays are. So i sat down and sent out an email about Halloween, so now we're having a Halloween day on Monday, with dressing up and decorating. OK, so it will be November 3rd, but it's the effort from the agents to understand Canadian/American holidays that I love!
  • Going to TGIF for dinner tonight. It opened on Monday, and I'm sure the prices will be ridiculous and the place will be packed. But who cares! I'm looking for some greasy North American food. Although I love Indian food, I need a break from the curry. A long break.
  • On week 4 of the P90x work out that I started. 90 because it's 90 days x because it's intense. It's a 6 day a week workout at home (I bought some weights, a yoga mat and some stretch exercise bands). It incorporates some cardio, and weights, yoga, pilates and ab exercises. I love working out at home. I've already seen a huge difference in my body and am seeing ab lines for the first time since I was 13. HAHA. I took before after 90 days if i think the changes are quite noticeable I'll post them. If I get enough courage.
  • I've started studying Hindi. I go twice a week for a total of 3 hours with 2 other western girls and an Indian tutor. I find it really funny though how people think I should be speaking it fluent already!!! Just because Indians pick up languages like nothing and speak no less than 3 doesn't mean I'll be fluent in a month!!! Come on! Most people speak English here so I get lazy and don't practice it. My tutor thinks I'm picking it up really quickly and says it's because i speak French and also studied Korean. Probably true, but don't bet I'll be speaking it like an Indian anytime soon.
  • I've at the half way point of my contract in India, and I'm definitely seeing a pattern comparable to my time in Korea. Culture shock hit me around 6 months in Korea and is hitting me now. The cute, cool stuff has worn off and certain things are starting to annoy me. The staring, the feeling like you are a caged monkey and amusement for everyone, and so on and so forth. It will wear off, but it's good to know it's not really about the country I'm in, but more so the fact that I'm away from my own country and all that I'm familiar with.
  • I'm tired of my wardrobe. The seasons never change here, well I think they never change even though every Indian keeps telling me the changes are quite noticeable. But regardless, they never change enough that I have to change the clothes I'm wearing. I miss boots and jackets, and today I'm wearing open toed shoes, jeans and a t-shirt. One exception is I will bring a sweater for night cause it will get down to about 16. I love being able to buy winter, spring, summer and fall clothes. When I come home to Canada, my summer wardrobe is going to rock!! Too bad summer is only 3 months long.....
  • I taught a sensitivity seminar a few months back about how to treat eldery customers with respect. I spoke about my grandmother who defies all the rules of aging. Yesterday one of the agents asked about my grandmother (a lovely gesture) and about her boyfriend Fred whom I also mentioned. And I was so proud to say that she is cruising around the Caribbean with her boyriend, living her life exactly the way it should be and how I want to live it. She's 84, and my hero. I love you nanny, you have so much courage and zest for life, and all of your grandchildren and children are so lucky to have learnt this lesson from you! Keep rocking it!