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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!