Sorry for the absent week 12 recap, things have been a little bit crazy here and last weekend slipped by without me even noticing! I am happy to be back today because in terms of current affairs, this past week has been by far, the most interesting. From the city closing down due to extremely high pollution levels to the sudden and unexpected demonetisation of certain Indian rupee notes, it’s been a challenging but interesting week to be in New Delhi.
If you’ve ever travelled to India and in particular, New Delhi, you would know that the air quality is already questionable, particularly at this time of year, but this past week was off the charts. Early in the week it was so heavily polluted that you could barely see street signs on the road and asthmatics or those with respiratory illnesses reported an increase in difficulty of breathing. The government made the decision to close all schools from Monday- Thursday, which although was a bit inconvenient, it really was the best decision and it meant that we didn’t have to be out in the pollution. 4 extra days off school on the back of the 6 day Diwali break did mean that we went a little bit stir crazy but I will take a bit of boredom over litres of air pollution any day!
By Tuesday evening however, the air quality was much better and we were all set to get back to business as usual when on Wednesday morning we woke up to the news that the Indian Government had decided to ban 500 and 1000 rupee notes in an effort to stop corruption and stamp out black money. This was effective immediately and the only places allowed to accept the old notes were petrol pumps and hospitals. India is a very cash driven country and a lot of people don’t even have bank accounts let alone credit and debit cards to use in lieu of cash. To say that this was a huge deal would be an understatement. We are fortunate to have a bank account here but we mainly deal in cash as well, so suddenly we found ourselves stuck too. We planned to go to the bank the very next day but we arrived first thing in the morning only to find 2-3 hour long queues full of people needing to open a bank account (so they could deposit money and get the new, valid currency) or exchange money. The situation has only worsened over the past few days with people getting even more desperate for money, ATM machines not working to dispense the new currency and rich people being forced to (literally) throw out huge stacks of cash so as not to draw attention to themselves from the tax office. We are hoping to get to the bank on Tuesday and will hopefully get some of the new notes but until then we are on rations at home haha.
Add in the results of the USA election and I think the world has officially gone crazy this week lol!
Aside from that I have some exciting news about our movements at the end of the year. We have decided to head back to Melbourne in early December and will stay for at least the foreseeable future. My husband has about a 3 month break in his project and we have really missed Australia and so we think that we’ll head back Down Under and then hubby will potentially do some fly in- fly out work for a little while until we decide what our plans will be after that.
I am SO excited to come home, we’ve randomly been singing ‘ I still Call Australia Home’ to the kids at night, for the past month or so, so I’m taking that as a sign haha. Given that it’s the festive season I plan to jump straight back into Personal Styling and will start taking clients from the 13th of December. Stay tuned for more details but if you’d like to book in an appointment or purchase a gift voucher for someone else then please send me an email and we can discuss it further.
I didn’t mean to stray from my usual format today but I guess I just had too much to say! It’s really been a wonderful experience in India and I’ve learnt a lot from our time here. I’m not sure that anything can prepare you for the experience of living in India, but there are so many amazing things that I will miss. For example, this week my MIL decided that she wanted to purchase a new Persian carpet for the house, so how does she buy it? She calls a man to come to the house with his collection of the finest rugs. I’ve never seen anything like it. The amount of carpets he presented to us, as well as pashminas and shawls for us to peruse was amazing. All in the comfort of our own house.
My husband and I joke that Frank Sinatra said about New York that -“if you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere”, well we are pretty sure that he never lived in New Delhi haha. I will continue to share what we get up to over the next 5 weeks as well so don’t worry this isn’t the end of my expat experience just yet :).
Next week I will get back to the original format and answer your questions which have banked up over the last 2 weeks. Don’t forget to comment or email me if you have any thing you are curious about too.
Congratulations if you made it to the end of this post! I hope you all have a great week and that I am back next week with tales of a calmer Delhi. xxx