I’m back! Online, that is. Miss me yet? 🙂
The journey to New Delhi was long but painless. Both my suitcases were within weight restrictions which I think is pretty good for more than 6 months of stuff – thank you, canoe camping pack skills! I found out upon check-in in Montreal that my flight was slightly delayed but not to worry about catching my connection in London as that one too had been delayed – by 8 hours. So I had two overnight flights with some quality naptime at Heathrow. Nice new terminal! Since I was the last person through Customs (they ran out of Entry forms for me and were not particularly helpful about getting me one…) I found my driver easily and was dropped off at my apartment early Monday morning.
First impressions of India: Loud. Busy. Holy Traffic, I’m glad I don’t drive here. Accident aversion seems to be 95% horn use and 5% actual braking, and cars, buses, rickshaws, animals, and humans all share the road. Lane lines are suggestion only – if you can fit 4 cars across 3 lanes or even 2, do it. People kept warning me about the smell, but I don’t find it that bad. It is very smoggy and there’s a sweetish smoky smell, but it’s totally breathable. It hasn’t been “as hot” as it usually is this time of year – it’s only in the 30s and will be 45 degrees before I know it, I’m told 😦 Not looking forward to that so much. There are a lot of stray dogs. I haven’t adopted any yet.
My apartment is not the one I was expecting. I was told I would be in the same one as Crystal and Arshia were, and I will be – next month. For now, I’m in Nehru. I had no idea though since I never saw the address and Crystal wasn’t sure of the street names, so when I went out for an exploratory walk with Crystal’s hand-drawn map of her former neighbourhood to try to find my way around, I was quite confused. It’s ok now though. I just really want to see where I am on a map so I can start feeling a little more oriented, because I still have no idea where I am. I’ll take some pictures when there’s light (and when I’ve cleaned my crap off the dining room table – it’s Suitcase Unloading Headquarters right now). There is AC, thank goodness, but it doesn’t really reach all the rooms. The kitchen is equipped with a two-burner gas stove and a small fridge. I can’t drink the water here, only bottled, so there’s a crate of that too. The bathroom, since I’m sure you all are wondering, is Western style – shower, what we would call a typical toilet, sink. Overall, it’s comfortable enough.
Today was my first day at work. I got picked up by the CARE driver and spent the first part of the day with the HR manager, then met my manager and was introduced to the other colleagues. I’ll be sitting down with the department heads all week and maybe a bit of next just learning about the different programs and how the structure of CARE is changing. It seems really interesting, and I’m relieved to find out that the “language” that they’re using (in terms of development, populations, impact measures and such) is something with which I already have some familiarity. I have a lot of material to read and then I’ll do a post on the work aspect. My colleagues seem very nice, I’m looking forward to getting to know them a bit better.
A colleague took me out this evening to the Greater Kailash market so I could buy some groceries. Definitely helps me feel more settled to have something besides granola bars in the house. Not that Effy’s oatmeal isn’t fantastic (thanks again, Effy!) but I want to start cooking and eating like normal again. Tomorrow someone is going to take my around the neighbourhood I’m currently living in so hopefully I’ll feel less lost.
Off to make dinner now; wish me luck!