Wednesday, March 30, 2011

India's National Sport - Cricket

Today India advanced to the next round of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, beating Pakistan by 29 runs. The India/Pakistan rivalry can be compared to that of a Packer victory over the Vikings. Here is some info on the great sport of cricket. If you can read and understand the rules, perhaps you can explain them to me! I've been trying to follow but find it much easier to get caught up on the high spirits of those celebrating the victory, then to worry about pitch, wickets, and creases.

Read more about cricket here:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Lease papers will be drawn up this weekend for what I'm told is a very nice flat in Madhapur, Hyderabad. It's a little unnerving signing a lease on a place I've never seen but it's short term, only 6 months, so if I don't like it there are many more to chose from.

Hall (nice storage if you're a giant)
The apartment is a two bedroom, two bathroom, with kitchen, living room, and den. It has air conditioning units in both bedrooms, hot water heaters in both bathrooms (they're called geysers in India (pronounced geezer), which makes it sound like I have an old man sitting in each of my bathrooms), and comes fully furnished. It has underground parking, so although my place is on the ground floor, I'm not actually on the ground. That helps relieve some anxiety I have over the bug situation there. A snow-free climate allows insects to grow QUITE large.

Master washroom - note the bucket and spout
You'll notice in the pictures, that the set up is a bit different then what we are used to seeing. The bathroom is basically like a big shower stall with a toilet. There isn't a tub, just a spout on the wall. The objective is to turn on the geyser, let the water heat up, then fill the large bucket you see pictured under the spout. You then take your bath out of the bucket. If you're using the bathroom for potty purposes, you have the option of either washing your hands in the bathroom using the shower spout, or you can use the sink positioned outside the bathroom.

Hall (living room) with sink.

I've never seen a sink actually inside an Indian bathroom. They are typically situated right outside the bathroom door and sometimes an additional one is found in the Hall (living room) or dining room.

In the dining room pic, you'll notice that the refrigerator (also an Indian luxury item) is located next to the table rather then in the kitchen. This is also common.


Kitchen - note the tile and burner
Surprisingly the kitchen has, what I consider to be, farmhouse-esque tiles, versus what I would call Indian style tiles. Note the little flour canisters and fruit baskets on the tiles in the kitchen. Also in the kitchen you'll see a canister with a burner on top. Stove top cooking is how most things are prepared, minus the stove top. So you just get a series of burners and cook using those. Baking is done in bakeries and not in the home (at least not in my home it would seem).

You also won't see an electric washer and dryer. That's something I'm going to have to work on. Instead there is a small patio like thing that clothes can be washed on using a bucket and detergent bar. While I don't see myself returning to my colonial roots and washing clothes by hand, the apartment does come with maid service so I can have them take care of washing and cooking, until I can sort things out and get situated. It would seem the current tenants are not utilizing all the maid has to offer. 

TV room and a clear indication the current tenants are not utilizing the maid service
The apartment is just 10 minutes drive from the office which I'm thrilled about. It's common for employees to spend 1-2 hours going each way to and from work daily. I don't see that in the cards for me. The area around the apartment is very bustling. I'm told the gym is just a few steps from the front door, as is a good salon, a grocery store, clothing stores, etc. So everything I need should be in walking distance, minus the office, which provides transportation at no charge to it's employees.

Here is some info on the neighborhood (Madhapur) I'll be staying in courtesy of wikipedia -

Friday, March 25, 2011

The decision to move to Hyderabad

The decision to move to Hyderabad, India wasn't a difficult one. Just after my 30th birthday I found myself at a crossroads and knew I had to make a change. It just took me awhile to identify that change. In the spring of 2010 - I jumped at the opportunity to spend 5 weeks training new hires at our Hyderabad office, and quickly realized that is where I needed to be. Many things intruiged me about India. The diverse culture, the amazing work ethic, the excitement of an intense population of individuals in a single geographic location, and the mix of old tradition and emerging ennoblement. It had always been a dream of mine to live abroad. Naturally that comes with many expenses, both emotional and financial. 

My first goal was finding employment. While I had a little bit in savings, I needed to ensure my financial security long term, so the great job search began. After several month of scouring job ads and sending out resumes, I decided to pursue opportunities within my own organization. Fortunately, the fairytale experience I've had over the past five years with my current employer, extended across the ocean and I was welcomed with open arms at our Hyderabad office. 

The process was a long and slow one, and even as I write this, there are still outstanding pieces. Learning to navigate the laws in terms of employment, establishing residency, and obtaining the appropriate work visas is not an easy task. Luckily I had an amazing team working to make the transition happen.

As always my family was very supportive. In situations like this, all of the missed communication opportunities are brought to light. Since announcing my decision to move, communication increased as did visits. Although we'll be further apart geographically, I think living abroad will enhance our dedication to keeping in touch and probably result in us being closer to one another. I'm experiencing the same with my friendships. Every weekend is filled with visits and talks and catching up with folks previously taken for granted.

I hope you'll join me on this life changing journey. I welcome your comments and feedback each step of the way.