We've had an interesting week. Let me see if I can give you some "highlights" ...
1) Visa/Residency Renewal - We are in the process of renewing our visa which means renewing our residency permit. To do so, you need to fill out a kazillion forms and visit your local police station. Keep in mind.... You need to do this 45 days before it expires. Our's expires 6/13. 45 days out was 4/30. Despite my constant questions about this Feb through March, we found out a couple things this week (note that we are now PAST 4/30)
Taxes - We have to have a copy of our Indian Tax Return in order to renew said visa/residency permit. Taxes arent due until 6/15. Our visa expires 6/13. We found this out on 4/30. We spent a frantic week trying to "quick" get our taxes in before Friday so that we'll have time to get them processed before our visa runs out.
Police Station - ALL of us are required to appear at the police station to get a stamp that says we live in Whitefield. The commissioner needs to be there to issue the stamp. We packed up the kids in the car, took them out of school and appeared at the police station twice this week, only to find out the commissoner WASNT there. We went today, paid a "fee" of 1500 ruppees, spent 2 seconds in the station and magically we were approved. Not sure if this is because of the "fee" we paid (read .... bribe) or the fact that Jimmy had on one of the policemans hats and was running around yelling (in an Indian accent)"you are under arrest". Not sure the 3 guys shakled to the desk thought that was funny.
2) Christian funeral in India - One of Tom's friends and local charity directors died unexpectedly this week. It is really sad as she was an incredible lady and advocate for the disabled. We felt we need to go say our condolences and that's how we ended up at a Christian funeral in India. I polled all my coworkers... "have you ever been to one, what can we bring, what do they do, etc? " None of them had been to a Christian funeral before. Interesting...So, off we go, dressed up, 110 degree heat, outside service at 11:00am. There are, besides 200 people in attendance, 4 cows and various street kids that "stop by" to watch the proceedings. The service is kicked off by the pall bearers bringing her out in a glass coffin. Really. Glass on all sides. Did I mention it as 110 degrees? The hymns, bible readings and words from the family were all very similar to our services. That was nice. They even sang, "Blessed Surrender" our FAVORITE Tonia Hughes hymn. Very very touching... Then, after the service ended there were 2 moments of interest ... 1) the pall bearers lifted her body out of the glass coffin and into the waiting wooden coffin. 2) the minister announced that the hearst was leaving for the cemetary, that cars should follow with lights on and that the hearst "would be going fast, would NOT wait, so please keep up..."
3) Prep for the BIG Visit next week - At work we are in the throws of getting ready for our ENTIRE executive committee and 40 of their closest friends/team members to visit us next week (May 11-12). This includes our CEO, President, CFO and CIO. It also includes about 5 EVP's. Think of it as a wedding that is planned in under 4 weeks. This has included trying to plan dinners, lunches, speeches, presentations, transportation, and a remodel of our building. Needless to say, it has been an interesting process. We are editing, tweaking, modifying and adjusting the same presentations so many times that I am beginning to dream about them. We have all been out shopping for just the right Indian attire so as to make us look professional and yet ethnically appropriate. We have all had new haircuts and are all getting at least one spa treatment before the BIG day. Each day we learn something "new" about the visit. Much of which isnt really new, but just hadnt been shared before. I am trying to stay very zen on the whole process/topic/thing. Many many people are putting their heart and souls into making this a success. It will all work out. Even if there are a few issues, I doubt anyone but us will notice.... Right?.... Right?!... Right !?!?!?!
So... for those of you that thought all we did was galavant around India siteseeing and entertaining family members, there is the same stuff her that gets you bogged down at home ... taxes, funerals, work....
Its not all fun and games :)