Diary of an Expat: Week Two

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Flower picking with my number 1 girl in our garden. Pretty much our only outdoor activity. As long as it is before 10am. 

We made it! Two weeks down and I have to say I am feeling good. This second week has been really good for me to feel much more settled. It looks as though the kids and I have swapped places though as this week they have seemed to struggle a little bit. It’s almost as though the novelty has worn off and now the lack of structured activities, especially for my toddler, is leaving them a little frustrated and bored.

In the past whenever we visited India, I was always shocked by the lack of parks and outdoor activities for kids. What do all the kids do? Where do the families go? We really are so lucky in Australia that there are so many clean, safe and engaging activities for kids of all ages, but here there really aren’t many options. Yes, there are some parks around but it is way to hot and honestly, not very safe for us to go and hang out in them. When we first got here my Mother In Law said that in India people spend so much time in their homes so they try and make them as comfortable and entertaining as possible. As someone who loves to go out (even to the supermarket) I couldn’t believe this and didn’t think I would be able to adjust, but after two weeks here I am beginning to understand.

Everything about leaving the house is so HARD. Firstly the traffic and general condition of the roads is insane. The weather is hot and humid and unless you are going somewhere like an air-conditioned mall, you will most likely be dealing with beggars, animals, and general chaos. All of these things have their own charm I guess, and they definitely add to the ‘India’ experience but after taking the kids out a few days a week I can see why most families try and limit it. The kids come back hot, flustered and just generally out of sorts. Not many places are pram friendly so it’s exhausting for me to have to try and physically wrangle the kids in these situations too. The best thing we did however was bringing a car seat over with us. It is not compulsory here and in the past I have just sat in the backseat with the kids and held Xander on my lap but it is so much more relaxing to have him safely strapped into a seat, even if he does scream most of the car trip, haha.

I’m sure as the weather cools down as little in the upcoming months things will be a little easier with the kids, but the traffic and crowds will always be there. We are getting better at creating activities within the house and we are so lucky to have lots of space to work with. We are currently working on creating a rumpus type playroom for the kids where they can run around, draw and just generally make a mess without worrying about damaging anything, so that will help too.

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Narrowing in on the good coffee spots so that means my general mood is infinitely better. 

Highlight: Well I’m not sure if this is a highlight but it was definitely a noteworthy experience. As some of you may have seen on my Snapchat and Instagram, we went to a big market this week to do the meat and veg shopping. Again, I have been here before and in hindsight I knew it wasn’t the best place for the kids to go, but I think I was so desperate to get out that we all went along. So buying meat in India is not like back home. You don’t get to go into a clean, air-conditioned supermarket where everything is perfectly washed and packaged nicely. No, here it’s an open-air market with all cuts of meat and fish out on display. There are live chickens for you to select and they butcher it on the spot for you. Honestly it is quite confronting and a very good reminder of where food actually comes from. The turn over is so high and the quality of the food is the best there is but the flies and the blood on the ground and the smell of meat in the hot and humid air turns my stomach every time. I’m not a huge meat eater at the best of times but after a visit to INA market my appetite for meat decreases even further. Anyway aside from that we got some amazing nuts and dried fruit from the Middle East, the best seasonal veggies and some imported products that we can’t get at the local grocer. 

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My Husband and I literally sweating in the middle of the market

New Words I learnt: I don’t actually think I have any new words this week, which is bad, I know. I think I just got better at using basic English and speaking slowly hoping that someone would understand lol. I’ll try harder next week.

Things I’m loving: This isn’t really India specific but we’ve hit some major parenting milestones this week with Hazelle being toilet trained (only one baby is nappies now, YYYYYEEEEESSSSS), Alexander starting to walk as well as weaning him off formula and onto cows milk (although sourcing milk here is another issue within itself…). It feels good to see them continue to grow and develop despite all of the change.

Things I’m missing: More variety in our diet. I know I just said that we went to the market and got seasonal fresh produce, which is awesome but during the monsoons there isn’t a lot that is actually in season. Here’s what we have:

Fruit: Apples, banana and guava

Veggies: Tomato’s, cucumber, okra, squash and potatoes

And that’s about it. So if we don’t eat meat then we often have at least two types of carbs plus tomato and cucumber. That’s about it. My mother in law and I share the cooking and we try our best to make it interesting with some eggs and Paneer (like a fried India cheese) but it’s getting a bit old and my carnivore of a husband is starting to get cranky hehe.

What I’m looking forward to: My birthday! It’s my birthday next Wednesday and I thought it was going to be a quiet affair but my husband told me last night that he’s made reservations for us at a restaurant which is the Number 1 Best Indian restaurant in the world. So that’s exciting and it gives me something to look forward to, especially seeing as he has to work this weekend again. We don’t have anyone to watch the kids though, so they will be coming with us, which means it wont be very relaxing or romantic but that’s parenthood for you, hey? 

Questions from YOU:

  1. What does your Husband do?
    1. Good question, also known as aka why the heck did you move to India? Lol. So my husband works for himself and does a variety of things from Business Consulting, managing a small Hedge Fund and Venture Capital based projects. After a redundancy early last year he decided to work for himself and we have been lucky to have a few good projects early on in his career. However, we are still very much a start up ourselves so we have to go where the work is and it just so happened that the next opportunity that came his way was the project in India. Actually as fate would have it, just one week before he was set to leave for his first trip over here, he was offered some work in Sydney. The project in India is a very exciting one however and for a variety of reasons, the biggest one being that the we are currently very flexible with the kids being young, no school or mortgage to think about etc, we decided to go for this opportunity.
  2. Can you wear shorts / cool clothes etc. within the confines of your house?
    1. Yes and no. We have servants and a gardener that come to the house twice a day, morning and night, to help clean and maintain the house and garden (I know it probably sounds pretentious but its very normal here and is as much about creating an income for them as it is about helping us out) and so during those times I have to be pretty conservative out of respect, but in the early morning and evenings I can wear whatever I want. Which is usually PJs
  3. Can you get me some of those pants?
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These pants!

 

  • Yes I can! I absolutely love buying for others and am just as happy shopping for a client as I am for myself so please let me know if there is anything you see that you’d like me to get for you too. I am toying with the idea of adding some jewellery to my shop page so let me know if that sounds appealing to you too.

So that’s week two done and dusted. I’ll be back next week when I have another week under my belt AND I’m another year older. Don’t forget to send me any questions for my next post too. You can email them to themummystylefiles@gmail.com, comment here or on my Instagram @themummystylefiles. xx

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