Our first Saturday in our new place ended up being much more social than expected. The unit below us is owned by a family with a girl who turned 10 today. Unfortunately they do not plan to live in the unit and instead hope to rent it out. But they did decide to use their vacant villa to host the birthday bash and they invited our whole family to join them. Carson was too busy playing soccer in the courtyard with his friend Anuman, and the adults got pulled away by the internet people who finally showed a day late (and won’t be able to finish the job for two more days), but Kaden stayed for the full experience.
The party included about 10 girls and a smattering of siblings plus a whole slew of adults as well. It is most common for adults to stay at the party and for it to be a multi-generational affair. The cake was cut at about 12:30 and then eventually food was served around 2:30 and the event stretched on even after that. We brought a present for the girl (some lip glosses from Claire’s back home), but it did not seem that many of the guests brought presents. The singing and birthday cake were very similar. The same song was sung, in English. The main difference was that the kiddos rhythmically clapped the song while they sang it, gathered around the birthday girl as we do in the U.S.
The cake was then cut and distributed amongst the guests (a delicious white cake with pineapple filling), along with potato chips and an Indian dish that was more savory than sweet called a Doba Vapur (I know I am spelling that wrong). It tasted like Raita yogurt with an Indian dumpling of sorts inside of it. A bit hard to describe but very different from the U.S. No ice cream was served at this party at least. The kids had a choice of water or a pink traditional drink called rose water that was rather bitter actually. The kids did not like the rose water—hardly anyone drank it. My dad thinks they made it wrong. I noticed that all of the girls were dressed in Western clothing. To my eye, they could have fit in at Easterly Parkway. But Kaden claimed that they were far more dressy than what she or her friends would wear and some were even wearing skirts (a dirty word in our house, apparently)!
After the cake and snacks the younger party guests gathered in another room of the house to play a board game and then headed outside to the playground while the adults chatted and got the food ready.It was at this point that we had to leave because we had a prior commitment at the kids’ school. The Newcomer’s Tea at the school was a bit of as bust. There weren’t many newcomers and none the age of our kiddos, so they were pretty bored for the event. Plus Kaden was pretty wiped out from the unexpected birthday party. At this event, finger sandwiches and lots of donuts and cookies were served, along with hot tea, hot coffee, and hot milk, as well as juices for the kids. Mind you it was a good 80 degrees or so out there!
While the kids were a bit bored, I met a delightful couple from Buffalo New York who had just moved town last week. Their children were ages 11 and 14 and they lived in the city center. Their daughters ride the bus to school and it takes almost an hour. I really enjoyed Kathy and we had similar experiences, questions and reactions to Bangalore. I am going to look forward to meeting her for coffee—hopefully next week! We are also going to check out the women’s ex-patriot group that meets once a week that is apparently a great social network for figuring out the city.
We then stopped to fix Kaden’s new cell phone on the way home. Yes, Kaden has a cell phone and it is much fancier than mine because she is looking forward to texting all of her new friends and to making international calls back home. We shall see how this goes but at least I know it’s a temporary situation! Here is a photo of Carson watching all that is Bangalore out the window while we waited for Kaden and my parents to finish up.