Party Hopping, House Hunting, and More
Sunday evening I attended another embassy event, a dinner hosted by the commission of the Kingdom of Lesotho to bid farewell to the current ambassador and his wife, who are leaving India after many years serving here. Sporting my new threads from Fabindia, I finally felt like I fit the dress code. Here is a picture with my host Rotarian, Gobind, who has become my Indian grandfather. I feel so at home, living with him, his brother & sister, and sister’s children and grandson. Moving to my own space will be bittersweet. I will most definitely drop in for a home cooked meal and conversation no less than once a week. The warmth of this family is at least 80% of what has made my adjustment to India such a breeze! There is an incredible generosity among Rotarians when it comes to hospitality. The general philosophy is that Rotary is like a large global family, so Rotarians host you as though you are family, treating you very well but not so well that you become uncomfortable. I look forward to returning the favor in Minnesota!
On Monday we went to a celebration hosted by the Egyptian Embassy. There are now many familiar faces at these events, ambassadors and their spouses who I have met many times. I got to speak Spanish with the ambassadors from Chile and Mexico as well as a number of other Latin American countries. I’ve been testing my French with the African ambassadors, who I sat with at dinner on Sunday. I also met a counselor from the Bosnian embassy who knew my dear friend Boris, from St. John’s University, when he did an internship at the Bosnian Embassy in Washington, D.C. What a small small world!
On Thursday we signed our contract with the landlord and his wife, a young couple who seem really nice. There is still work to be done on the flat, painting, wiring, plastering, etc. On Sunday night we’ll meet with them again for a complete walk through and instructions on anything we need to know before they hand over the keys. Tomorrow morning the girls and I will go furniture shopping. All stores here do home delivery, so we’ll order beds, tables, etc. to be delivered to the flat on Sunday night. We are all excited to make the space our own!
Today I completed my registration at the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) within the necessary 14 days so I will not be deported. The office is a mini Ellis Island. People from all over the world were milling about, sitting, and waiting with papers and passports in hand. I saw a few Americans. If one thing has surprised me about India it is that I haven’t seen nearly as many Americans as I expected. I met the naval attache to the US Embassy on Monday and that was the first American I had met since my arrival. Speaking of Americans, Daniel arrived on Wednesday night and I was overjoyed to meet him today! It’s nice to see a familiar face and catch up.
Two of my classes will start on Monday. I was able to complete the last of my registration formalities yesterday which is excellent because I was growing quite tired of the signing and stamping routine. There is no way to describe the process of registration at an Indian university. Through the entire ordeal I found myself doubting whether so many Americans would go to college if it was such a hassle to register each semester. Then again, education is an incredible privilege worth any hassle. But serioulsy, you haven’t seen red tape or jumped through hoops until you’ve registered as a student in India.
Finally, I have some video to post. The group, Marimba, that I wrote about in a previous post was there on Monday night to play again. So this time I captured part of “Ojos Asi” as well as the Arabic welcome song I spoke about. Enjoy!