Thursday, August 10, 2006

Drivers, Help, House and Contrasts

Ok... random thoughts on our driver, our household and the constand contrasts you see everyday here.....

Our driver rocks! He set us up with everything... shopping, school, a cook & housekeeper... he fixed our DVD and makes sure the maintenance people are showing up to do what they are suppose to do. He brings the kids treats and buys us wine. He is our superhero and we love him! He is even getting married this fall, so we'll get to experience a traditional 3 day Indian wedding. I cant wait. Its an arranged marriage, so that has been interesting to learn about. He worked in Saudi Arabia for 5 years too, so he's great company on the way home from work. Good stories.

Our housekeeper and cook started this week and its been interesting. Florence and Raj are married. He used to work in a restaurant, so he's the cook. He only makes India, so he and Tom have an agreement. He'll teach Tom India if Tom teaches him American. We came home yesterday and he was reading our "Joy of Cooking". It was really cute. The food he has made has been fabulous so far. I cant believe it! We are so lucky. We do need to do a little coaching with our housekeeper. She does things like ... change the sheets each day, but then doesnt clean the bathroom.... I think we just need to tell her what we'd like her to do. She has always worked for Indian families so I think its just a cultural adjustment. Our driver said she was a little "scared" of us. I dont blame her .... I am scared of us too!

Our house is a single family home in a gated community. Its about 1700 sq ft, but that's deceptive since each bedroom has a bathroom. (Its a 3 bedroom 4 bathroom house). Each bedroom has a TV too. There is very little storage space, but the windows and garden are amazingly beautiful. The whole house is tile floors and stucco walls. So, with 3 kids it is really really noisy all the time. The complex has tennis courts, a huge pool with water slide, a pub, 2 restaurants, a grocery store, a squash and badmitton court, a full spa and health club and sidewalks! We really do feel lucky. Come Visit!!

I'll try to take some photos of Bangalore. Its interesting. Shacks selling everything (cigarrettes and pants) next to the best high end retailers (Nike and Swarkoski). People on bikes in rags next to SUV's. Red dirt,clay and dust everywhere and the most bright/beautiful silk sari's on each woman. The contrasts here are amazing. I was contemplating the poverty last night too. We live in such a rich neighborhood and literally next door there are tar paper shacks. Maybe I am in denial, but.... its not affecting me the way I thought it would. As I was wondering why its not pulling at my heart more, I think I realize that ... there is not a sense of desperation here that you feel when you drive through poor areas in the states. Everyone is out on the streets each night and its more like a celebration. The atmosphere is fast, festive and energetic. I dont get the feeling that people are concerned about their situation or feel that they are lacking. There just seems to be an easy acceptance. I imagine that it is similar to the feeling in port cities 1000 years ago or market days in South America or Africa. Everyone is just glad to be together, socializing, sharing what they have, coming together and watching out for each other.