A Week of Firsts

Foreign Service LifeIndia
October 1, 2018

Twas a week of firsts, dear readers! The highs continue to be very high and the lows, while less frequent, still feel very low at these early stages. I will prevail though, so don’t you worry, my dear readers (thanks to all of you who have sent encouraging messages). I write about it, not because I want you to worry, but because I like to keep it real. There are soooo many beautiful parts of being an expat but it’s important to acknowledge the hard parts too. The yin and yang of life!

So, without further ado, let’s get on to celebrating all the good things that happened this week, including:

1. Attending the Ganesh Immersion Festival at Chowpatty Beach. This was the culmination of the festival I’ve been writing about. While we weren’t close enough to see the actual immersions (for safety reasons but stay tuned for next year – I have a plan to get closer WHILE staying safe), it was truly spectacular. It was more like a parade with giant Ganesh floats going by accompanied by thousands of people. The Indians really know how to do festivals. :)

You can see the full gallery of photos HERE.

2. Volunteering for the first time. I started volunteering weekly at a home for girls in the Dharavi slum. It’s a beautifully run organization and will deserve a post unto itself in the coming weeks. For now, I’m still determining what the most impactful use of my time will be. I’m currently teaching English to a group of seven 11th graders. My Spidey senses tell me it’s going to be a great fit for me (and hoepfully even my family too)!

3. Making my first trip to the mall. Visiting the mall was very comforting. Very similar experience as in the US, just with an Indian bend (ex: a mix of saree stores and western wear stores). It will be a nice respite when Mumbai is overwhelming me. A little oasis of calm just 15 minutes from home!

4. Purchasing my first Kurta (Indian-style clothing). Speaking of mall trips, I am pleased to report that I purchased my first Indian-style clothing. It’s called a Kurta (basically a long shirt with slits up the side). I will wear it on top of sparkly gold leggings (of course)! Isn’t it pretty??!


5. Having my first good cry. What’s funny is that this is my 4th time moving overseas with the foreign service and for some reason I still have it in my head that I should be all up and running (including adjusted, on a schedule and with lots of friends) within weeks of arriving. Just writing this I’m laughing at how absurd that thought is. And how my mind makes up that it was easier last time (at which point I read back in my journals and see that I went through the exact same cycle each tour). The reality is that it takes 6-9 months for me to settle in. Those are the facts. Can’t speed it up. Can’t make it easier. Because learning new things is hard. And so is starting over somewhere new. What cracks me up is how my brain conveniently forgets the hard parts so that I’ll go back and do it again. Thanks brain, I guess…

6. Hiring an in-home yoga teacher to work with me 3 times a week. Developing my yoga practice was one of my big goals for my time in India. I initially looked at classes at different yoga studios, but most are a 20-30 minute car ride each way (to go only a few kilometers!) so I’m opting for an in-home option. My teacher will be coming 3 times a week for an hour. It’s not the style of yoga I was hoping to do (Iyengar) but I like her vibe. She said we have to do yogic stretching (translation: assisted stretching) for the first few sessions because I’m so inflexible. :) Ha ha. Feels amazing though. Maybe I’ll even convince Mr. Nick to partake in the fun.

7. Enjoying my first in-home pedicure and massage in India. Found a cool service called UrbanClap through which you can hire providers in a variety of industries to come to your home and provide services. I was really impressed with the in-home pedicure. Less so with the massage, but I’ll keep trying until I find a practitioner that clicks. Very affordable and oh-so-convenient.

8. Applying for a job with the Consulate. It’s true! I found a job that looks interesting to me. If I get it, I will be an entry-level General Services Officer. They manage things like housing, facilities, maintenance, procurement, travel, and motorpool. The position has substantial responsibility and while I wasn’t keen on working full-time, I am going to go for it. Nia is gone most days from 7:30 – 4:30, so working full time will have little impact on her. I will keep you posted!

9. Starting an Active Parenting class. The school is offering an Active Parenting course. It’s 6 weeks and includes a textbook and workbook. This transition has not been as easy as anticipated for Nia and I’m appreciating having some new tools to try out. It’s also been a great way to meet other parents in the school.

10. Opening a local bank account. Ridiculously complicated (millions of signatures and copies of documents) but sooooo worth it. Will make our life much easier, especially in regards to paying for deliveries, as many apps don’t accept international credit cards. Surprisingly, this will be the first time we’ve ever opened a local account.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. We’ll see what this week holds… thanks for reading. I appreciate you!

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