Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Appliance That Left The Plumber In Awe

The Saturday we moved into our “flat”, the modern conveniences arrived to be installed — a washing machine (we spent hundreds of dollars on laundry in the hotel — I am so happy to do our wash again!), a dryer (Yes!  I am so happy to see a dryer and not have to line dry all of our clothing!), and drum roll….. a dishwasher!

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Now as you will notice from the pictures, that this dishwasher may not appear to be all that special, but it is the appliance that left 3 grown men watching it in amazement.  Let me explain.  When the dishwasher was delivered the nozzle on one of the tubes was the wrong size for the plumber to connect it.  Several days later, the landlord’s plumber returned (of course, it took two visits in the same day to get the right size) to change the fitting.  Our guard accompanied the plumber to our apartment and stood and watched him as the work was done.  Upon completion, the plumber who could speak no English and the guard who has VERY limited English, were trying to communicate to me but we were not having any success.  I therefore went and got my driver to help in the translation.  Come to find out, the plumber was telling me that he did not know how to work the dishwasher to test it so was asking me how to operate it.  Yes, I wanted it tested for sure, as we have had a few surprises on things not being connected just right under the sinks.  My driver explained that the plumber had never seen a dishwasher before.  I asked my guard and driver if they had seen one before.  They had not.  As I turned it on, three grown men stood for many minutes staring at the appliance.  I finally had to announce that it looked like it was working just fine — they just looked at it in awe.

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Then a few days later, the dishwasher rep calls and wants to come out and explain how it works.  I had been waiting to hear from her because they told me I could not operate it until she brought some items — which included a specific salt that is poured in a bottom compartment to help soften the water, dishwashing soap and rinse.  When the rep arrived, I ended up needing to show her where the finishing rinse went and which compartment was for the soap.  She has since called me a couple of times to make sure all is going well and if I had any questions.  We are talking about a basic dishwasher with 3 different options — heavy duty, normal, and a quick wash but it is not a common appliance in India.  When I explained to our maid, Stella, that the dishwasher was working she said, “Mam, I do my washing by hand only.”  It’s a good thing we do our own dishes at this house because I want my amazing dishwasher to get some use!

 

 

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Goodbye Hotel…. Hello Anand Niketan!

Eleven weeks after departing California, we finally landed in our rented apartment flat here in New Delhi last Saturday.  We experienced a service apartment and two different hotels during those months and many moments where patience was needed.  Thomas and Conner are extremely happy to have their own bed and their own space after sharing a hotel room and Hailey is glad to move out of mom and dad’s room.  Seeing that furniture get unpacked was a happy day for the Bryson’s!

When considering a place to live in New Delhi, there are several options for expats — flats (apartments), farm houses (stand alone homes that are further out and have spacious yards around them), and condominiums in large high rises (these are found over closer to Tyler’s work in Gurgaon).  If a family is here with an embassy, some live on the embassy compound (I have been on the Swedish and Great Britain housing compounds and they are beautiful!) or their governments have various bungalows (single family homes) or flats that their employees can move right into when they arrive.  The US government has many of these.  For those expats that come with a corporation, a lot of time is spent looking at various rental properties.  There is no ability to view rental properties online.  Our relocation specialist took us to several properties within our budget.  After viewing many, we decided going brand new was the best choice for us due to heavy cooking odors from all those spices.  After having our first contract fall through when the landlord backed out, we have landed in a neighborhood called Anand Niketan which is about a 10-15 minute drive to the school and a 30 minute drive to Tyler’s work (IF there is no traffic).

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There are 4 stories in our building.  We live on the ground floor (which is really one floor up from the ground floor because the ground floor is where everyone parks their cars — there is a gate for each flat — our gate is on the far left.  With the ground floor, we also have the basement which consists of an extremely large open room.  With the heat that we experienced both in May when Tyler and I visited and for the past couple of months, we saw that moving into the lower floors definitely helps reduce some heat.

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Two buildings down from us the street deadends to a park and at the beginning of the opposite end is a large park as well.  We are the first tenants of the building with others scheduled to move in at the beginning of November.  Below are pictures so you can see what is to the right and left of our building.  It is definitely city living but a fun new experience for our children.

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We have a guard that sits right outside the door to our flat 24/7 — 2 guards on12 hour shifts.  They assist in opening/closing the gates as the car leaves the property, walk anyone up to our front door when they come to deliver something, etc., collect packages, keep their eye on our water tanks and tell me when to turn off the pump each day and add gas to the large generator as needed.  In the picture below, the door to the left is a separate entrance to the basement; the door on the right is our family’s entrance.  There is a keypad that only we know as it opens to an elevator that goes directly into the hallway of our home.  There is also a general entrance to the building where there are steps that lead up to our front door.

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Picture below on the left is of the very large generator for power backup.  We have heard it turn on just once early in the morning.  Picture on the right is the driveway.

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The following pictures are some inside our flat.  It is a four bedroom home with a large living and dining room, a good sized kitchen by Indian standards and an extra office/den as well.  There is no carpet in India in homes– lots of marble and granite.  One thing we have noticed is the detail they put into their ceilings and all the various lighting — we have more light switches in every room than we will ever figure out.  Thomas’ bathroom has about 12 switches alone.

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Unlike the United States, kitchens are not open and the “center” of the home.  They have doors to close the room off because in India, that is where your cook does her work — not the gathering place of the family.  We do have many modern conveniences though and we were happy to see that oven and microwave.

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We are so happy to land in our new home, sleep in our own beds, look at familiar furnishings that conjure up sweet memories that all the little quirks of catching a couple of mice in our kitchen, and the leaky sinks that have been continually looked at, etc. has not disturbed us at all.  Or maybe it’s the result of being in a country for nearly 3 months where we have seen the conditions where most people call home.  We have seen that the structure of a home can be many things — the sidewalk, tarps, crumbling buildings, or brand new flats.  The most important aspect of a home is the happiness that can be found within it and in that regard, it truly does not matter the physical structure as long as there is love for each other — although a little extra space among siblings is truly helping the Bryson’s appreciate each other again!

Proven Weight Loss Diet by Thomas Bryson

Diet shakes, gym memberships, weight loss pills and all of that other marketing thrown your way in order to help lose some weight, well I am giving you a new one to try — move to India.  Now I was not looking for a weight loss program, but I can testify that this one does work!

About two weeks ago I had some ongoing digestive issues where I would think I would be doing better but it would come right back the next day.  After about the third time I visited the Health Office at school and my mom was picking me up, the nurse encouraged my mom to get some testing done.  The nurse said it might be more than just some “Delhi Belly.”  So my mom texted the doctor (yes, the doctor here personally gives you his number and he communicates within the hour!) and he encouraged us to get some samples taken.  (You do not want the details on that part,)

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Well sure enough, I got my first (and hopefully last) confirmed case of bacterial infection in the intestine.  According to the doctor, it can be a result of contaminated water or food.  Okay, so I must admit at this point that Conner and I had both decided to forget the bottled water tooth brushing each night, and we had been using the sink water.  It smelled better here at the hotel.  Well , we don’t know if it was that or not, but I am back to using bottled water and I am doing much better.  After about a week of only Gatorade consumption, and having lost about 10 pounds, I can testify the pounds fall off with this tested method.  Just let me know if you want me to bring back some Delhi water so you can give it a try!

The Snake Charmer

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This past Saturday we visited a Rail Museum that is near our hotel.  Our driver had highly recommended it and we passed it so frequently, that we decided to try it.  Due to the heat and the large numbers of school groups (yes, some of the Indian schools hold school half-day on Saturdays), and the lack of things to look at, we did not last long.  But as we were leaving the museum, we got to experience our first snake charmer of India.  Conner spotted it first and said, “only in India.”  The man had two snakes and was playing his music as the first was coming out of the basket.  We stopped and watched and the man encouraged our children to come closer, get a picture.

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Now having experienced many street performers in San Francisco when we lived there, we applied our knowledge, which we soon learned would grow and change here.  Conner gave the man some money as they sat there.  Tyler took a couple of pictures and then we were ready to leave.  This man became quite aggressive in wanting more money from us — actually quite a bit.  Our driver finally stepped in to let the man realize we were finished here.  It was super cool to see the snake charmer, but we now know that in India, offer money only at the end, instead of while you are enjoying it, and be cautious about the performer who welcomes you to take a picture because he could expect a large donation from the Americans.