Monday, April 30, 2012

Satan's Blood Sucking Minions

Listening to: My daughter’s watching Harry Potter – for the 10 gazillionth time. Ugh.
Mood: Cranky

I have always hated mosquitoes.  Always. In the US, mosquitoes aren’t really a problem unless you are out doing some nature based activity at night – like hiking or sitting at a campfire. The US is also excellent at keeping screens over the windows.

Alas, India is the wrong place to go if you hate mosquitoes. Not only are they present in very large numbers, they have an ingenious way of finding their way through the smallest crack and into houses the minute the sun has actually set. Now this isn’t an exact science, but if you leave the screen doors or windows open, you will all of a sudden notice that you are getting bit and realize the doors are still open. Some people are blessed with screens – our house is not. It is annoying as hell. Once you have them inside, there’s nothing to be done. The go hide inside the almirah’s and in dark corners of the bathroom until evening when they come out and bite you again. These are not the large stupid mosquitoes that the US has. They are small, crazy fast, and sneaky. If you try and kill a mosquito in the US, you will probably get it the first attempt. Here, I can chase one small blood sucker around for 15 minutes and still not be able to get my hands on it – that is if I could keep track of it for that long. Evasive maneuvers people – they has them. The mosquitoes here also have an uncanny way of finding spots that you won’t realize you’re being bitten until you’re scratching like a mad person. Like the backs of your arms. I’m not even kidding. If you are sitting on the couch with your arm hanging off the edge, it’s like an open invitation for 8 of them to sneak in and take a bite. Another favorite spot is your ankle. True ankle biters if there ever was such a thing.

The only alternative is to sit in full on hot clothes. Long sleeves, socks, jeans, etc. I am so not a sock person. The only time I want to put up with socks is if I’m out hiking or some such thing that requires tennis shoes. Those socks get peeled off and chucked the minute I get back inside. However, socks are less painful or irritating than scratching bites all evening. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s full on summer here. So sitting in a long sleeve shirt, socks, and jeans is absolutely killing me.

I am terrified of monsoon season. Mosquitoes love monsoon season because of all the rain. Right now, we only use mosquito killer at night – and it really helps. We may resort to turning on the mosquito repellents all the time during monsoon.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

An Update

Mood: Calm – for now
Listening to:  Completely ineffective ceiling fans – it’s hot!

Hello. Sorry for up and disappearing on all of you lovely readers.  I had inlaws drop in for a week as well as 2 of my nieces, so our house was a bit of a zoo for a while. I’ve also been doing an A-Z challenge on one of my other blogs, so that’s kept my writing juices flowing in that direction.

So. Here’s the update at the G household.

Daddy G: I wouldn’t know much about Daddy  G because true to form, he is always working. We are definitely glad he is back from the states. Daddy G is also in the throes of decision angst over whether or not we are buying a car and what kind. All I can do is sit back and know that he will make up his mind sooner or later about this and completely let it go until then. I am itching to drive.

The Mini G’s: The girls are off of school for summer break right now. It has been challenging as usual to have them home all of the time. When they are not grounded for being sneaky little punks, we are enjoying the swimming pool in front of our house. Never thought I’d say that about India, but I am so thankful for it. The girls are also involved in 2 sports class and 1 acting class per day each. Don’t judge – we all needed some sanity time and they needed some exercise.

Becky G: I have been keeping busy chasing inlaws, nieces, and my own mini g’s around the house. I’ve been blogging semi-faithfully on one or the other of my blogs, which I’m thrilled about. I’ve been reading a bit too. I’ve also been exploring the neighborhood villagey-thing  behind our house too.

India is hot right now. Living in Bangalore is much better than most of the rest of India, but is still the equivalent of a New York summer. It is hot and it is humid. As I mentioned – the pool is well appreciated. 
There has been talk of planning our big vacation for the year (we do 1 big one a year, and a few small weekend trips). As you can imagine, my imagination has gone completely hog wild with all the possibilities. I do love me some travel planning.

Other than this, life is quiet around our house. We’re enjoying the summer and the kids being home. We’re also gearing up to send the smallest Mini G to school this year. It will be downright strange to have the house all to myself again. Aside from Indira (my housecleaner) of course.

Drop me a note. Tell me how things are going on your end of the world!


Friday, April 6, 2012

Tales from the Kitchen – Wait a Minute, I Already Have a Mother in Law.

Listening to: Highway Star – Deep Purple
Mood: In a serious procrastination funk. I have family coming over tomorrow and I’m pulling an ostrich

So yes. A Mother in Law, I have one. Indira, my housecleaner and cook rolled into one, however, is seriously vying for the job. This has nothing to do with her son though. While I dearly love my mother in law, I can’t help but be reminded of the Sex in the City episode where Miranda gets frustrated with her housecleaner and reads her the riot act. Similarly, I do have a mother in law and there’s a reason we live in separate houses.

I am a self admitted control freak. I have my processes people, and the Spaghetti Monster himself help whoever tries to change them. Sometimes change is good, I realize that. However, if I can’t find things in my own kitchen – indeed this is more like hiding than just putting them in a separate drawer - we have a problem. If you see me put the plastic spoons in a glass jar every single day, why would you take them and put them in the silverware drawer? Why would you hide the pressure cooker weight a different place every single day? My mother in law used to do this and I never understood it. I really don’t think there was anything behind it, but it is still irritating as hell.

Point 2. I learned to cook Andhra style Indian food from my mother in law. The woman can blow anyone out of the water with her mad kitchen skillz. Aside from Indian food, I have been cooking for the past 15 years of my life and as of the last few, I’ve gotten quite good at it. So taking over my cooking half way through, changing it, and clicking your tongue like you feel sorry for me because I can’t cook is likely to get you stabbed. With a rusty fork.  I am not a 22 year old brand new bride anymore. I know what the heck I am doing. My husband does actually like my food.  I know you don’t see me cooking that often, but that’s because I’m paying you to do it. This does not make me an ignorant orphan who needs you to take over what I’m working on. I do love her food though, so hopefully we can avoid the fork drawer in the future. My mother in law used to do this too, but then again, I really didn’t know what I was doing.

Actually, my mother does this stuff too. I think it stems from a need to be helpful, but it drives me a little batty sometimes. Oh well, back to cleaning. My mother in law is coming over tomorrow. I'll just throw them in the kitchen together and pray it's still standing at the end of the week. 


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Very Unexpected

This is an article that I wrote for the Studio30Plus web site - a place for writers over 30. Check it out if you love to write and you're over 30.

They told me I wouldn’t like it. They told me I would be back in 6 months. They told me it would be bad for my health, my children, and my marriage. They told me I would be miserable with all of the small discomforts that are built into life where I was going and horribly lonely.  Oh I had been there once before, I knew a little bit of what to expect. However, a visit is never the same as a commitment to stay for a while. With all of this in mind, I steeled myself and set my expectations as low as I could. It probably would be miserable, but after marrying him, going and staying there for a while at some point in our lives was rather non-negotiable. It was an obligation I had signed up for on my wedding day as surely as I had promised to love him forever. Make no mistake, it was voluntary. I decided to make the best of it, even while being scared out of my wits that I would indeed hate it and resent him.

I watched that last rainy New York night pass by me as a friend ferried the kids and I to JFK. I was heartsick with all of the goodbyes and numb with the thought of leaving the only place I had ever considered home. I didn’t cry, but then again, I rarely ever do. Saying goodbye to the last 2 people was the lowest point. It felt so intensely final as we walked through security and around the corner. A wonderful chapter of our lives had ended turning that corner and I couldn’t even bring myself to believe that the next chapter would be as good or better.

The 24 hour trip was a blur of uncomfortable seats and cranky children and spouses.  In essence, all planes and all trips are basically the same. As we emerged blearily into the early morning light in Hyderabad, a small seed of excitement began to grow inside of me. The seductive call of being surrounded by exotic sights, smells, and tastes called flooding into me.  After being immersed in Indian culture for the past 10 years, it felt more like coming home than leaving it. I cook Indian food, have Indian friends, enjoy my Indian inlaws.

It slowly crept up on my husband and me as we settled into life in Bangalore. One day, I turned to him and told him how glad I am that we came to India and we realized how good it has been for both of us and our family. Both of us were rather quiet as we pondered how this had happened. As more time passes, I find myself enjoying India more and more.  All of their words, while well meaning, have absolutely no meaning now. To be sure, home is where you make it and your mindset can make or break an experience.

The joy that I’ve found here was been completely unexpected, but I’m pretty sure that when our time comes to again rip up our roots and move on to our next adventure, India will call to mind the same despair that I felt leaving the US. A piece of me that developed after I married my husband will always have a connection to this place. The very essence of India has ingrained itself in me through this experience and that connection will always be there. Very unexpected indeed.