Thursday, July 17, 2008

Our Own Apartment, Bangalore

We finally got internet! It's mid-July and we still don't have enough furniture, though our apartment is comfortable enough. We just need more bookcases. And a bigger kitchen table, and chairs, and some chests of drawers. But since we had little furniture in the US, now we have to get it all here, and shopping is not easy. I always wondered why my mother-in-law seemed a big possessive of the gifts she gave me since many of them were so inexpensive. Now I know. Just going out to find something you want can be an all-day expedition, unless you know what it is and you are sure that the store you are going to has it. Things may be materially inexpensive, but the work that goes into finding them, well...

Our apartment complex is very nice, though the road leading to it is full of potholes. At least you don't have to drive through a slum to get here, like another complex we visited. And a slum here is probably different than a slum in the US -- here the really poor people live in corrugated tin huts with no running water or toilets, with open sewer, packs of wild dogs, etc. My guess is that the slightly less poor live in the homemade brick huts I see sometimes. In some of the fields we drive by there are tents of tarps or plastic covered with palm leaves, obviously used as housing for either farm hands or construction workers.

Despite the often horrendously filthy living conditions, most people make a supreme effort to maintain bodily cleanliness. Even homeless people wash every morning and I've seen very few beards anywhere.

With the help of a neighbor, we found a wonderful cook who comes for about 2hrs/day and cooks up the most wonderful meals. Food is super cheap, by the way. And we have a girl who comes and cleans for about 3hrs/day doing sweeping, mopping, cleaning cleaning cleaning especially in the kitchen where I think the old tenants didn't do a great job of cleaning so we're doing double duty.

People say it's really dusty here, but I think it's just that the floors are tile and if there's any dirt at all, it shows. I prefer that, since with TM's asthma it's better to know when things are dirty. :).
We don't have curtains yet, either. I have some quick-n-dirty ones I'd made in Oregon that I hung up, but I need to buy new ones. I don't know when I'll find the time for that, but hopefully in the next couple months. We found a daycare for TM and she's currently getting used to it -- more on that later, I hope.

Meanwhile, airline prices have risen so much that I can't go to the conference I wanted to present at in August, so I need to put together a bunch of slides for my prof so he can take care of my presentation for me. Oh my, I forgot I need to cancel. And I still have bills that need paying...I thought I paid them, but my aunt in California just sent me some more, so I'll have to find out how to follow up on them.

Mosquitos... everyone closes their doors around dusk because it's mosquito time. Yup. Ick. And of course they carry all kinds of diseases. The apartment people spray for mosquitos every day or every other day, which I'm not super happy with, but I guess it's easier than dealing with hordes of hungry bugs. Ick. Luckily the apartments here all have screens on windows and porch doors. But the screens aren't tight, so mosquitos still get through, which makes me laugh since it seems like it would be a simple thing to put a brush on the screen that would make it tight against the frame... oh well.

TM will probably be getting up soon and all I'll have done is talk to the cook, figure out our insurance, and look for bills. Oh well. Things are slowly getting better, as I knew they would, but it'll still take another 6 months or so I imagine for us to be settled. We still need a car... okay, I'm done for now :).