i have changed

I'm an American living in South Asia. When I moved here almost 3 years ago, I thought everything, and I mean everything, was weird and different, and quite frankly, backwards. I bet quite a few people can attest to the fact that I was no fun to be around that first month in country. (I hope no one feels at liberty to attest to an even longer period of time...)

Now, it's safe to say I've changed. South Asia has changed me. So in my reflective mood, I'm writing up things about me that are different, and those of you who will be seeing me on the other side of the world in a few weeks, consider yourselves warned. :)

I don't like cold weather anymore. And by cold, I mean anything under about 75 degrees. Somehow, I grew accustomed to always being warm, and now I get cold way too easily. My family can remember how husband and I shivered last May in Paris in what can only be described by normal people as beautiful sunny weather. I think I called it "icy."

When I watch American TV shows now, I always grimace when I see someone wearing shoes inside a house. It's the custom here to take off your shoes when entering any home, and sometimes even shops. Actually, it's usually pretty rude to leave them on. It makes sense - look at what we walk on daily...would you want that in your home, on your rug, or carpet? The thought of wearing my shoes inside someone's home now just seems odd and slightly disturbing.

Interaction with men will take some getting used to. Before I moved here, I would smile at strangers when I passed them, even if they were men. It was just being friendly. If I were to that here, it would be the equivalent of hitting on the guy. In fact, I rarely look men in the eye at all unless I know them. I catch myself feeling awkward around men a lot, and this will take some adjustment to fix.

I don't want meat at every meal anymore. When we went to Nepal in January, we went to a steakhouse and both of us ordered a 6 oz. steak. Neither of us could finish it! It was just too much meat. That's not to say I don't want meat, I just can't take a lot of it at one time.

Husband and I spend a lot of time together now. At first, it was odd being around my husband for more than a few hours a day. Now when we move back, we've talked about how it's going to be hard to not be together all day.

I am more conscious of my water use. I've seen how water is precious and not always a guarantee, and it concerns me. So I do try my best to conserve water.

I know there are more that I'll think of from time to time. This is not to say my changes are good or bad, I'm just different now. It has been almost 3 years, after all.


a heat wave is coming

We caved and turned on our AC last night. Yesterday it was 105, and next week a warm front is predicted, high of 113. In April. Yikes.


top 10 mundane things i'm looking forward to

We should be stepping foot on American soil in one month. This list probably changes daily, but I'm doing a Top 10 of the things I'm most looking forward to. Now obviously, I'm mostly just excited to be around my family and friends again. So, that's not on the list. Neither are travel-related things (like going to the lake) or food related things (like eating steak and baked potatoes at husband's family's house) just because those aren't exactly mundane, and also because they are pretty much a list of their own. Wow, only I could take something so simple and over-analyze it until it's complicated and categorized. So here is my list of mundane, I-always-took-this-for-granted type stuff that I'm extremely excited about:

10. A dishwasher
9. Not standing out
8. Cooking with meat
7. No 120 degree weather
6. Being fluent in the language
5. Year round variety of fruits and veggies
4. Wearing skirts and shorts
3. Comfortable furniture
*2.5. Safe tap water
2. Constant electricity
1. Mailboxes

*How could I forget that one?!


old city shopping

Andrea and I went to the old part of the city yesterday. It was lots of fun! We didn't just stay on the main road either, but went into "the bowels". The old city is FASCINATING! I love going there...without baby, of course. It's way too chaotic for me to walk and protect baby from all sorts of vehicles. Not to mention it was 102 yesterday, and wearing baby also means I wear sweat.

I wanted to go because I need a new sari and the old city is where they are super cheap. Andrea found the sari bazaar in a little map book since we are both extremely directionally challenged. Extremely. I can't emphasize that point enough. I'm going to do a blog tour of our day. To get the full effect, you'd need to go sit in the middle of your busiest street with a hair dryer blowing in your face.

First, we were dropped off on the main road and then hopped on a cycle rickshaw (not pictured). He seemed to know where the sari bazaar was.

He didn't, but we got a cool tour of all the small roads and alleys.

Finally he found the sari bazaar, which was pretty much where he picked us up. This is a more main road of the market.

We walked into a connecting alleyway. Even as narrow as this path was, there were still scooters, carts, and cycles going both directions, not to mention people. And probably cows too.

I have never shopped for a sari before, so I started out pretty intimidated by the rows and rows of shops. If you've ever shopped in South Asia, you know how much variety there is, and how easy it is to succumb to indecision. Andrea finally encouraged me to just pick a shop and go for it. This was the first shop. We took off our shoes, sat down, and told this man what color sari I was looking for. Then he would pull out a sari and toss it at me. I'm a horrible photographer, but somehow caught the toss in action in this picture. (sidenote: most of these pictures are Andrea's, that's why they are so good!)

He didn't have what I was looking for, so we went to several more. One shop let me "try on" a couple saris over my clothes. I was looking for a double shaded sari with black and gold. I already have black and gold jewelry, so I needed one to match that. Like I said about the colors here, it was pretty difficult to find a sari with black in it. Lime green swirls, hot pink dots, bright orange silks, and turquoise beading, however, were all at my fingertips.

This is the sari I ended up buying. This man's shop was so small we could barely sit down, let alone try on the sari. So he offered to try it on for me! I told him he was looking very beautiful. He didn't laugh though.

Here are a few more pics of the old part of the city. Make sure to notice the ear cleaner!


summer is here...well maybe not officially

We were talking with my parents on webcam yesterday, and my dad laughed at something I said: "It's getting hot here. Last week we broke 100 degrees. I think we'll be turning our AC on soon." He said, "It broke 100 degrees and you still haven't turned on your AC?!" I know it sounds crazy, but so far, we haven't gotten hot enough to turn it on. I think some of the reasons are that our flat is nice and cool. The houses here are designed to keep relatively cool during the (early) dry hot season. The ceiling fans are impressive! I always cringe when designers on home improvement shows look at a room and say, "Okay the ceiling fan is the first thing to go." Fans can go a long way (well...to a point) for cooling the room, and thus conserving energy used on air conditioners.

Also, dry heat is a lot different than humid heat. (That's not to say that 115 degrees in dry season isn't hot - because it is!) And finally, I think you get used to the heat. It is rare to find central air conditioning here, even in shops or malls. So unless you stand directly under the wall unit AC, the room is still pretty warm. Not to mention that auto rickshaws don't have air conditioners, and car AC's don't really help out so much in 115 degree weather anyway. And then add in the near daily power outages where you go about an hour without electricity, the heat just becomes a way of life.

Last week, we went on one of our evening walks. The weather was probably around 90 degrees, if I had to guess. (it could have been warmer - like I said, you get used to it, so I am not a good gauge at all!) We had baby in just a onesie, and we saw our neighbor walking. He stopped us and told us we should put socks on her so her feet wouldn't get cold! And as I type, I just returned from taking a mid-day grocery shopping trip with baby; it's 99 degrees outside. A man stopped me and said, "Madame, you need to cover the baby's head so she won't be cold." So although it sure feels like summer outside, I guess it's still not considered hot yet to many of fellow capital city dwellers.


tagged by alicia!

4 Jobs I have had in my life:
  1. Hostess at Steak and Ale
  2. Library Assistant for school district
  3. Accounting Assistant at an IT company
  4. Budget Analyst at Nasa

4 Movies I have watched more than once:

  1. You've Got Mail
  2. Kabhie Khushi Kabhi Gham
  3. Die Another Day (and pretty much all the James Bond movies)
  4. Fever Pitch

4 Places I have lived:

  1. Land of the Lumberjacks! Axe 'em!
  2. H-town
  3. South Asia
  4. um...does 2 months in Paris count? I don't have another place...

4 TV shows I watch/watched

  1. Friends
  2. Law and Order (all of them)
  3. The Office
  4. Naach Baliye 3!

4 Places I have been

  1. The Himalayas
  2. The Mae Kong River in Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar
  3. the Persian Gulf
  4. on safari in Tanzania

4 people who email me regularly

  1. Sarah
  2. the fam
  3. Christi
  4. my mom

4 of my favorite foods

  1. Veg fajitas
  2. Crab cakes
  3. Baigan ka Bharta
  4. Cheese lehsooni parantha

4 places I would like to visit

  1. NYC
  2. The East coast during fall foliage
  3. Greece
  4. Turkey

4 things I am looking forward to this year

  1. Husband getting a job
  2. Boogeying back to Texas
  3. Hugging and cuddling my nephew and nieces
  4. Going to Virginia
I have no clue who even reads this anymore, but I tag: Sarah, Deanna, Melanie, AQ, and Alison