Hi Friends! Happy Diwali as everyone is saying here. Today is Diwali which is the Festival of Lights. It is kind of like the equivalent to New Years Eve in Australia. Tonight we will light fireworks (yes we light our own on the rooftop terrace, eek), have some wine and just spend time as a family. Its been really fun to see all the goings on this week and to see how all the locals celebrate. Most of the houses in our community are lit up with fairy lights and have strings of marigolds hanging from their front gates. There are parties every night and my mother in law has been sent boxes of sweets, fruits and little gifts all week.
The kids had an early Diwali celebration at school as well and now they are on school holidays for a week.
Highlight: As I previously mentioned, all week there are various Mela’s (markets) all around Delhi where you can buy Diwali gifts, handicrafts, jewellery, traditional clothing etc. Most locals shop at these markets for everything they will need to decorate their house with for the holiday. One of the largest and most popular mela’s is put on by a local blind school and all of the proceeds go back into the school. I really wanted to attend this Mela so I was really happy that we were able to go on Wednesday. We decided it would probably be easier for everyone (mainly me) if Xander stayed home and so it became a bit of a girls only day out.
I didn’t do too much shopping but as you can see there were heaps of wonderful things available and Hazelle scored a new handbag so it was a very successful day out in her book!
What I’m looking forward to: Before we even left Melbourne a few months ago I was already hoping that we would all be able to go back for Christmas. As you know, I have a wedding on the 23rd of December so my tickets have been booked for months, but due to my husbands work schedule we weren’t sure if he and the kids could come back too. Well this week we finally settled on a date and booked tickets for the four of us to come home. I am so happy and can’t wait to see my parents and celebrate Christmas. This week has definitely put me in the festive mood and it will be so fun to keep that going back in Australia.
What I am missing: You know, this week hasn’t been too bad in terms of ‘missing home’. We have a pretty good rhythm happening and I’m either getting used to the food and how things are or maybe the countdown to Christmas is getting me through, but all in all it’s been a pretty good week. I will say though, I am getting massive FOMO seeing the Spring Racing Carnival start in Melbourne. My stylist fingers are itching to pull some looks together ;). Next year I’ll be there for sure!
Do many people speak English? Do you find it easy to communicate? English is spoken by much of the population, and it’s the language of education, the professional workplace and politics. Most of the children will learn english at school too, no matter what kind of school it is. I still find it a little bit difficult to communicate however because most Indians have very thick accents and they feel the same about me. My dry / sarcastic sense of humour is definitely not a crowd pleaser either haha.
Can you wear shorts and mini skirts? If I really wanted to, I could. There are no laws or regulations about showing skin and in fact I see many Asian and Western foreigners wearing shorts or short dresses but out of respect I choose not too. I already command a fair amount of attention for being fair and tall, and female, so showing a lot of skin would only get me more attention. We don’t tend to go out at night much and I rarely go out without my husband so I never feel unsafe but for any young girls travelling alone or in small groups I would definitely advise against dressing skimpily at night.
How tolerant are the locals in New Delhi of foreigners? Is it easy to make friends? Making friends is just like anywhere else in the world, it takes time and good judgement but overall there are a lot of social opportunities and activities to get involved in if you want. Family is huge so if you find a good family to mix with then they will often introduce you to their connections and so on. Overally Indians seem to be quite tolerant of foreigners however they only want to hear good things about their country. If you start a conversation listing all the things you miss about your home country, you can bet the conversation won’t last very long!!
…and that’s all I’ve got for you this week! Sorry I missed a few blog posts again this week, time went by so fast but I will make sure to catch up with all my scheduled posts next week. For now though its almost time to light those fire crackers! Have a great week everybody xx