Sometimes it is just hard

Updated 2009-08-26 09:56

My husband embraced the thought of moving to India from the very moment the opportunity shone first light. And to be honest, he was hoping for an opportunity like it before he ever even knew there might be one - probably crossing his fingers under his pillow every night hoping something would happen. Damn him and his good crossing fingers karma. 8-)

He has always thought that it would be a good experience, that we'd be glad we did it. I agree. But sometimes India can bring out the "ick" in all of us. That part in all of us that we can keep hidden most of the time. The stomp your feet, I am a brat part of us. The this is a great experience, but I really miss home part in all of us.

It is very hard to let go of simple tasks that we can do ourselves. It is hard to see them undone or done so differently than we would do them that it is nearly impossible to appreciate their doneness. It is hard to know how far in the adoption process to let yourself go when it comes to staff. It is hard to define exactly what your responsibilities for them and their well-being are. It is hard because kindness is very often seen as weakness and the vultures come out.

We are new to having guards. We had them before but they were not under our care. So, I should say we are new to being responsible for guards. We have a cooler for them and every time it is empty, we fill it up with ice and water. That is absolutely not being overly generous. I agree. They sit in a pretty small box in front of our gate for 12 hours at a time. They keep dogs and people away from our front door. They open the gate when we want to walk thru it. Not that I have lost the ability to push a gate and open it - it just comes with the package. They did finally stop saluting us.

Oh wait, I forgot to give you just a smidge of background. A couple of nights ago, one of our boxes of household items came - it had more plastic plates and cups in it. You might recall that I love me some plastic plates and I have appointed my husband as the King of Plastic Plate Land. I swooned him over to the plastic side and he lives happily there. So when he saw that one of the boxes from home had our very LARGE plastic cups from home in it, he smiled and whispered, "You remembered". It was like we were filming a commercial for at a tupperware party. It was really a special moment.

So, anyway, these bigarse glasses hold a lot of ice. A lot. That is why number one hubby loves them. And why he loves me for remembering to send them.

Last night, we sat down to dinner - he gets his bigarse cup and walks over to the ice maker. Chink, chink, chink...............nothing. Rattle, rattle, rattle...........nothing.

I hear, "what the hell - what happened to all the ice?"

I am not an ice drinker - so I have no idea. But I am very thankful there is no ice in my cup. I notice there is some ice in his cup - but I am not pointing that out to him. He clearly does not think it is enough.


Laxmi: Yes sir?

Hubby: What happened to all the ice? Where is the ice? There should be ice.

(She looked at his cup and all decided it might not be wise to point out that there was some ice in it. Smart girl.)

Laxmi: Sir - the guards, the cooler. Sorry sir. Sir. Sorry sir. The guards.

Hubby: They don't get ice anymore. Do you understand that? No more ice for the guards. If they are on fire, do not throw ice on them. Got it?
(Okay he did not really say not to throw ice on them but you can bet he was thinking it.)

So now Laxmi is nervous, I am trying to walk number one hubby off the iceberg. But he is not having it.

He temporarily doesn't care how cold their water is. He temporarily doesn't care how hot it is outside. He wants ice. When he wants it. As much as he wants. When he gets home from a long day at work he wants ice. Is that too much to ask?

Just so you know that hubby is not a total grump - he would truly give you the ice off his back (just not out of his freezer) - these two guards work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hubby was concerned about that and added a third guard so that the first two at least get a day off. The irony in this is that they will probably just be assigned somewhere else on their day off. But now some of our energy is consumed with whether these three men are overworked and whether or not they are well hydrated with cold water. It wears on you sometimes.

Today I am going to buy ice trays so that the guards can still have ice.

Update - I just got a comment off-line that maybe this is a little silly. And if you have never been truly homesick maybe it is. So if you rolled your eyes at this one, please take a second and count your blessings that you have never missed home so much that a little cup of ice could bring you to your knees for just a few seconds. Be grateful that you have not lost perspective over a trivial thing just because you miss all that you hold dear.

And if you did roll your eyes, please understand that this is just the tip of the iceberg of what it is like to live as an expat. Most of us soak in everyday and revel in the experience, but there are moments.........

When you spend your day getting promises that things will get done but those promises are not backed by even a single intention of them actually getting done,
and you worry about your parents and your mother-in-law and your family - that something will happen and you won't be there, and
all your friends are asleep when you are awake, and
when most conversations don't mean a lot because you can't trust a lot of what you hear,
small children with no present adults knock on your window everywhere you go begging not just for money but for bigger sense of hope for something better,
and you call your driver to pick you up and it takes 10 minutes to explain 5 different ways what you are trying to say
and your skin is heavy with the heat and humidity and the grime
and your children miss their friends
and you see trash almost everywhere you go
, and
and your towels are scratchy because you no longer have a dryer or Downy fabric softener, and
your guard doesn't even know your name because he is only allowed to call you sir or madam
and you float over oceans for a new experience that you know will be life changing but it is hard to hard the accept the differences, yet you do your very best to embrace them or at least understand them
and you think a cup of ice at the end of the day might melt some of the challenges away because it feels like home
and you are left iceless.

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