"Guest posted" by my friend Tracy. We lived one street apart from each other during our time in Delhi. When she posted this on her Facebook wall, I asked if I could borrow it to share with all of you.
It's our last night in Delhi! In about 24 hours, we're headed to the airport to go home! I can't believe it's really here. When we moved here three years ago, I felt like I was in totally over my head and I thought this day would never come! But, I made it! I decided to write a list of things I would and would not miss about living here... enjoy!
Things I Will Miss About India
1. Being able to drive like a maniac and not get pulled over (i.e. excessive use of horn, changing lanes without a blinker, weaving in and out of traffic, etc.). I am also proud that I learned how to drive a stick shift in crazy, stop-and-go traffic. With my left hand, but still.
2. SHOPPING! Someone once asked me what my favorite part of living in India was, and when I said shopping, he chuckled and waited for my real answer. That was my real answer.
3. Random TV commercials that I can't understand because they're in Hindi, but I'm pretty sure would be just as confusing in English (example: Man and boy are racing to the top of a mountain in what appears to be the Himalayas. When they finally make it to the top, they jump for joy! Yay! What is this commercial advertising? Cooking oil. What?!)
4. Everyone calling me madam.
5. My huge apartment- I wish we could transport this apartment to Alexandria, VA.
6. In India, you don't have to go to the Dollar Store, the Dollar Store comes to you! Just stop at a red light.
7. Speaking of red lights, you don't have to pay attention to when it turns green. Every car around you will honk THE EXACT SECOND the light changes.
8. Being able to call the Embassy to come and fix something in the house.
9. Making doctor's appointments is so easy! I've never heard, "our next available appointment is 6 weeks from now." Call the health unit and be seen that day. Take 45 minutes to talk to the doctor about every question you have.
10. Seeing an elephant or a camel on the road! I have also ridden on both an elephant and a camel. Not at the zoo, either.
11. I can get my eyebrows threaded for $1! $1!!! Also, $10 haircuts.
12. Fresh flowers are so cheap and the guys who work at the flower stand in my neighborhood do such a good job of making arrangements.
13. Hanging out with friends we've made here! We always had fun either commiserating about India or just pretending we weren't here altogether.
14. Our favorite restaurants: Baci, Izykaya, TK's Oriental Grill, Fez, Side Wok.
15. If someone "does you wrong," when you call them out on it, they back down (cutting in line, etc). In the USA, they would just call you a bitch. India has definitely made me more assertive.
16. This one is kind of dumb, but I am going to miss my mobile phone. Black and white screen, no camera, no fancy ringtones. The coolest feature was a flashlight. But it (mostly) served me well for 3 years. (Side note: Greg did not learn his own mobile number for the whole 3 years he was here. What the heck?)
17. Cheap fabric! I had custom curtains made for our condo in VA for like $100 (fabric and labor). And the tailors do seriously quality work. I also bought a ton of cotton for about $2/yard for making clothes. I have seen some clothes at H&M and Old Navy made from fabric I have seen at the stores here. Crazy!
18. Traveling out of India! We saw A LOT of Asia and the world. We feel very lucky about that, and have so many photos and memories to share with our friends, family, and future children and grandchildren! We've seen and done some pretty cool things. We've stayed in quite a few hotels. I am now a 3-oz.-or-less travel-size bottle hoarder.
19. This is the first place I taught Zumba! I got in great shape and had an amazing time, and discovered a new passion and career path. I met lots of great men and women from all over the world who took my classes. I even gave a Zumba demonstration at the house where Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, once lived. Gandhi, Nehru, and Jinnah discussed the partition of India/creation of Pakistan there. That's pretty cool.
20. It's kind of bittersweet that we are leaving and this is where 'Carlos' spent the first 6 months of his life (in utero at least!). I'm glad my friend Naomi was able to capture some photos of me and him in Lodhi Garden. How special!
Things I Won't Miss About India
1. Lack of traffic laws
2. When shopping, having to bring your purchases to one counter, pay at another, and pick them up at a third. Also, having to "check" any other shopping bags at the front of every store, having sales people hover THISCLOSE to you while you are browsing, and give you helpful tips while you're looking such as, "Madam, this is a skirt," and "We also have this in red madam." I can see that.
3. Watching a movie/TV show in English with English subtitles. What is the point of that? All it does for those of us that can read quickly is ruin jokes.
4. People paying more attention to Greg and not acknowledging me when I am RIGHT THERE. (Greg says this is one of his favorite things. Jerk.)
5. Cleaning my huge apartment. Seriously, there is dirt everywhere! In the closets! In the drawers! Really, how does that happen?!
6. The children begging for food/money/selling flowers/junk at red lights.
7. The head bobble: is that a yes, or a no? Just freaking SAY YES OR NO FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
8. Maintenance men touching everything, even if it isn't broken. Finger prints EVERYWHERE!
9. The random smell of poop. And falling into the disgusting mud trough/gutter at the end of our driveway. Really, whose idea was it to make a driveway out of marble tile? When it was wet, it was damn slippery. What made that situation worse was that I had JUST showered and was going to meet Greg for lunch. I came back inside covered with mud and my housekeeper told me, "Don't worry, the dogs just lie there, they don't poop there." Yeah, ok. I think I fell more times in India then the rest of my entire life combined. What the heck?
10. Seeing taxi/tuk-tuk drivers (or really anyone for that matter) pull over to the side of the road to take a whiz.
11. Stray cows/dogs/pigs eating out of the trash.
12. The water situation: I can't shower with my mouth open. I can't take a cold shower in the summer (our tank is on the roof and the water gets SO HOT). Cleaning the water distiller is a pain in the behind. In America, if you drop something in the sink by accident, you can just rinse it off. Here in India, if it touches the sink or the sink water, it's done.
13. No more bleaching vegetables! Woo!
14. The weather situation: The summer is so hot. The breeze feels like a hair dryer (Benefit: outdoor pool from March - October). The "winter" is so smoky/smoggy that you can't see across the street some days. The air gets so dirty when you blow/wipe your nose there is actually dirt that comes out (at least you know your nose is doing its job!). We rarely see blue sky. Ugh, it's just depressing for 10 months out of the year.
15. Having to order takeout food over the phone. Even though we were both speaking English, I almost always had to repeat either my order or my address 4 times (Me: First Floor, A. Them: First Floor? Me: Yeah, apartment A. Them: First Floor? Me: APARTMENT A!!!!). So frustrating that I just wanted to go to the place and make whatever I was ordering myself. I'm talking about YOU, DOMINO'S PIZZA!
16. When an Indian calls and you answer the phone with the standard, "Hello?" They repeat you and say "Hello?" This continues until you say, "WHAT?" or "YES?" or "HOW CAN I HELP YOU?"
17. People stare. They take your photo. At first it sounds fun, like you're famous, but it gets annoying really fast. Sometimes I would tell people they owe me money for taking my picture, or I take theirs after they take mine. This confused them very much.
18. The airport, specifically the screening process! Argh! So frustrating! They stamp your carry-on bags after they put them through the x-ray machine. Then they check for the stamp 68 times between then and when you board the plane. Women and men have to go through different metal detectors. You even get frisked going into the mall or a fancy hotel. Sounds secure, but it's really not.
19. Lack of manners! (i.e. picking nose, ears, turbans, spitting, cutting in line, scratching/grabbing in private places)
20. Delhi belly. Ugh. One time, I was very sick and Greg was sure I was dehydrated, so he made me some oral rehydration solution. It's basically super salty fizzy orange Gatorade. We didn't have any of the pre-mixed packets, so he needed to make it from scratch. The recipe called for "boiled water" meaning, clean water, not HOT water. The rest of the ingredients were something like salt, soda water, orange juice... a pretty nasty concoction, specifically when HOT. I took one sip and when that stuff hit my stomach, my stomach was like, OH HELL NO! Not a fun night. Thank goodness Greg and I could each have our own bathroom. Yeah.
In conclusion, it appears the lists are all tied up! There were some cool benefits as well as some crappy drawbacks we dealt with here. I'm sure once we get home (and get over our post traumatic stress disorder...) there will be more things we'll miss. On the other hand, I am sure there will be things we will be thankful never to have to deal with again! But, we are definitely grateful to have had this experience- we made great friends, traveled the world, and did some pretty cool stuff. And, we did it together. Without killing each other. Yet. There is still that 19 hour plane ride...