Yesterday, Kaden had a birthday party today at Aerie’s house. Aerie lives in the Benson Town area of Bangalore, about 45 minutes south of their school. It’s a beautiful, tree lined neighborhood. It turns out that her apartment complex has over 15 kiddos that attend CIS, including 4 girls from Kaden’s grade. It’s a lovely, quiet neighborhood (i.e., gated community). Kaden asked me if we could PLEASE move there—and fast! She’s tired of only having boys in our current neighborhood. The problem is, finding a four month lease is tough here! We had to sign on for five months even though we are only here for four, and even then we had few choices. If we had chosen to come for the year we could have lived in a community chock full of kiddos like Benson Town. Here is a photo of Kaden with Aerie and her Japanese friends at school last week:
The kiddos in that community have a 45 minute bus ride to CIS. That’s nothing though. Some kids have an hour and a half bus ride from the southern parts of town. They board the bus at 6:15 in the morning! Long communities are quiet common in Bangalore. Aerie’s dad works for Toyota (they are from Tokyo). His commute is 1 ½ hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening. That sounds perfectly awful to me.
After Kaden’s party, we had some time to kill before picking up Amma. So, I tried to discover the places in town that sell good meat. Many Indians are vegetarians. Finding good quality meat to purchase is hard to do. Most grocery stores hardly sell meat at all, except those that cater to ex-pats. After some confusion with the driver who tried to take me to Bangalore Central Mall (no sir, this isn’t the ham store. It’s a shopping mall! Really! This isn’t where I want to go!), we found the Bangalore Ham Company–a little hole in the wall known for excellent pork products. I left with pork chops, a pork tenderloin, bacon, and ham slices. Can you tell I am missing meat?
A few shops down we also found a “gourmet” supermarket where we could buy goldfish crackers, Nutter Butter cookies, salami, and turkey lunchmeat. Hurray! You really can get most things in Bangalore. It’s just sometimes a treasure hunt to find them. Ex pats are constantly trading information on things like, “I found maple syrup today!” and “where can I find almond milk?” The two items that I haven’t found yet are parmesan cheese (grated, although I did find ungrated) and apple sauce. I might need to send a message out to the ex-pat list serve regarding these two items. Todd will also be bringing plain Cheerios (we can only find sweetened), peanut butter granola bars (we can only find oats and honey), and more applesauce!
On the way to the gourmet store, we found a t-shirt shop in an alley where we got Kaden a new graphic tee for $1. A fun find! Hopefully she will wear it! Despite the look on her face, she had a lot of fun shopping here.
Speaking of grocery stores, I was at the Food World on Friday to pick up light bulbs. The security guard took the light bulbs from my bag and went to an empty light socket at the front of the store where he tested each and every light bulb. Never seen that before! And it turned out one wasn’t working. Now if only he could have tested the size of the light bulb as compared to my lamps. I have plenty of working bulbs, but the wrong size socket! Back to square one!
We saw a cow with its horned decorated for the festival from last week, Sankranthi, when we picked up mom from her Buddhist Meditation class that she found in the city. It is taught once a week by Tibetian Monks. She was so thrilled to find the Buddhists in Bangalore!
The kids were THRILLED to have the chance to Skype with both Josh K and Lauren K tonight. Josh was Carson’s first Skype encounter. Kaden had Skyped with Lauren once before. Our connection wasn’t perfect but it really boosted our kids’ spirits to “see” and chat with their friends. Best times to Skype with Kaden and Carson are Saturday or Sunday morning U.S. East Coast time, until about 10:30 a.m., which is 9:00 p.m. here that same evening. Saturdays we could go a little later. School mornings would be great for us, because 8 a.m. is about 6:30 in the evening here, but I know that can be a stressful time of the day for many families!
Best time to Skype with me is 10:30 pm, because I’m arriving at my office around that time (9 am). I have a much better internet connection at work than home, and a private, quiet space. Our only internet connection at home is right in the middle of the living room/dining room. Skyping is really easy, we promise! And free! We’d love to hear from more family and friends.
Then, this morning included two exciting firsts—a new dedicated driver for our family—with a nice mini-van permanently assigned to us. What a luxury and a stress reliever to not have to figure out transportation every day. AND, I found a power yoga class. An ex-pat mom hosts a class in her basement twice a week and invited me to join. Five women joined in the class and then we stayed for lattes afterward. They are a wealth of information, and are encouraging me to get my IPhone “unlocked” so that I can use it here. Tempting…
It was heaven to exercise again in a place other than the treadmill in the fitness room back at the villa. Granted it was no Kerry Bestwick class, but a good enough to keep myself in yoga shape until I return! Yoga studios and gyms are few and far between in the Northern End of town. A fancy Gold’s Gym (sounds much more like a Bally’s given the classes they will be offering) is opening near here, but not until March. Looking forward to returning to this class Wednesday morning.