Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Visitors From Home

For the last little while we have been enjoying some visitors from home. Who finally braved a trip to the spot where the Middle East meets Asia, you ask? Lizards!

In Arizona lizards are everywhere. They come in all sizes and all colors. People even use images of lizards to decorate. Wear it around your neck, put it on your wall, whatever.
The fact is that I like lizards. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't hold one, pet one or call one George, but I don't kill them either. That's saying something, trust me. I'm slightly blood thirsty when it comes to critters in my house. One of my first fights with Mr. Smith began when we returned home from work one night to find a scorpion on our kitchen floor. I squealed and told Mr. Smith to defend me from the awful beast. He quickly grabbed a newspaper from the counter and proceeded to scoop up the scorpion and set it gently in the plants out front. I stood there agog. "Mr. Smith! You have to kill it or it might come back in!" I yelled. "Oh no," he replied, "there was no reason to kill him. He's out of our house now. You are safe and so is he." At this point I became the official Kritter Killer of the family. My philosophy is this, if they stay outside I will leave them in peace, but once they cross that threshold, they are as good as dead.

For some reason though, this does not hold true for lizards. If I see one on the wall I will generally watch it for a while and then leave it alone. Now, it's true that I have never seen a super large one. I suppose I might show a big one the door, but the little ones are welcome.

As one does with any guest, Mr. Smith has been snapping a few photos to document their stay with us.

The More The Merrier

So Nice Of Them To Help Out Around The House

This morning Mr. Smith commented that he thought it was strange that the thought of mice turned me into a crazed, violent lunatic, but that I was totally comfortable with lizards. Well, duh. One is gross and vile and the other is kind of cute and way cool. What does he know anyway? Scorpion hugger.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Everyday Miracle

In 2001 we moved to a tiny town in Southern Utah. It was just outside Zion National Park, which means the the scenery was beautiful, and the town was full of the kindest people a person could hope to meet. I, however, was miserable everyday of the year and a half that we lived there because we had mice. No amount of traps and cats could keep up with the mouse population in that house. I was never able to get used to it. One day when I found Mr. Smith looking at a job posting with his former (and now current) employer, I burst into tears at the thought that we could move out of the mouse house.

Fast forward to 2006. When we told our friends and family that we were moving to India, almost everyone mentioned rats. Apparently the two are permanently linked in the minds of Americans. After being here just over 15 months, I have to say, there might be a reason for that.

One day, a few weeks into our stay, I was on the phone with Mr. Smith and suddenly he dropped the phone and was making sounds of distress. Next I heard him saying, "Did you see what just ran through here? It was this big! Did you see it?" Mr. Smith explained to me that a large rat had run by his office door, but the truly disturbing part was that nobody cared. Evidently this was an everyday occurrence for the people in the office. That did not bode well for me.

Since then rat sightings have become a normal occurrence. In the cafeteria at work, near the food stands that line the markets, out on the street, they are everywhere. Yet I have not seen a single one. Not one. In my book, everyday that I don't see a rat is a miracle. Knowing that we have promised to stay at least three years, perhaps a Benevolent Being has blinded me to those particularly nasty things. The day I actually see one of them, we may have to begin contract renegotiations!

A few days ago I signed into my email and found that Mr. Smith had sent me a message. I opened it, eager to read what sweet, mushy note he had sent. Instead I found a picture of a little trophy left outside our gate that morning by our unofficially adopted stray dog.

I think Mr. Smith wears a size 12 shoe.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Voices I Hear

As a mother of seven I have become quite adept at tuning voices in or out at will. As a woman I have learned to follow several conversations at once. All of this has given me a skill, a super power if you will. I can hear the voices of people speaking a foreign language and know what they are saying (you can relax by the way, they are all talking bout me). My children will tell you a different story. They will say that I never hear anything, that I need my hearing checked. The truth is I'm usually just ignoring them. Can you blame me? There's a lot of them!

Living in New Delhi as an American who doesn't know a lick of Hindi would be frustrating for the average person. Luckily my super power allows me to understand what the people around me are saying. Of course, I pretend not to understand them in order to preserve my secret identity. Here are a few examples of what I hear when I am out and about.

The men selling me yogurt -
  • What is she wearing on her feet?
  • They're called Crocs, I hear they are very comfortable.
  • I don't care how comfortable they are, she looks like an idiot! Who leaves the house like that?
The men at the dry cleaner -
  • Awww shoot! I haven't even started this ladies clothes and she is here to pick them up!
  • Tell her there was some kind of Holiday and she will have to come back tomorrow.
  • Good one! No foreigner can keep track of our Holidays, there's too many of them.
The electricians "fixing" the short in my living room -
  • Dude, did you see that football game last night? Liverpool got the snot beat out of them.
  • No, I missed it. No TV.
  • Me neither, but I was fixing some guys A/C who was watching it, so I took my time.
  • I don't think you should be poking that screw driver into the wires like that, are you even an electrician?
  • No. You?
  • No. But it's way cooler in here.
Our driver to the person from whom he is getting directions -
  • Man, you've got to help me! Is there a short cut to this address? These kids are so noisy I think I'm developing a tick, and see that little one? He gets car sick. I'm telling you he's going to blow any second! Please! Nobody should have to listen to the song "Banana Phone" this many times!
The Ladies in the park -
  • Are all of those kids hers?
  • Doesn't she know what causes that?