Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Countdown Officially Begins

Nope.  Still not in Mumbai.  The countdown's at 20-some days.   Okay, just counted 28.  I think that means I need to start counting down.  Maybe.

A few other countdowns...

3 more days to love NYC and to get inspiration from one of my writing heroes who swears at least five times each day
Mom and Dad watch out because I could totally live here.  More on it soon.

5 days till my Great Aunt Kate's 90th birthday celebration
Looking forward to celebrating this special day with all my family

6 days till Andrea's birthday and the Annual Pearson 4th of July Party

7 days till the Goo's 31st birthday
Margaritas and more

8 days till the movers come
That means 7 days to finish all of my shopping odds and ends.  I shoulda brought the bigger suitcase to NYC.

11 days till Memphis and the Laptop Institute
I'll meet many of my newbie colleagues and learn all about one-on-one teaching and learning.

17 days till the Looney weekend in Chicago

20 days till the BT girls head to Lake Geneva for a getaway

So many amazing things before I go.  So many wonderful people I get to see and enjoy.   Glad the countdown is filled with that.

This countdown though is bringing up some mixed feelings.  I was going to delete this post.  Just keep it for me.  But then you wouldn't get my true perspective.  Moving has it's ups and downs.  Tonight I'm feeling both.

Alright time to go and call my mom and dad.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bombay Blogger - New Scenery in my Hood

As I sit comfortably on a couch pillows in the half bath at my sister's house due to the tornado warning (not on the Church toilet Sam but next to it), I had a chance to catch up on my email.  I actually subscribe to a few Bombay blogs via email. It's a great way to learn about my new home through other expats' eyes. I received a couple of blogger's posts while I was in Milwaukee with AP, CPF and LM. Since I had limited options, I took the time to read a few posts.

The link below is to Karsten's blog.  He stumbled across some new scenery in my new neighborhood.  Wonder if it'll still be there when I arrive to Mumbai in 31 days...

Strained in Mumbai

Ohhh...some loud  and rattling thunder!  Lisa, what were you saying earlier about being cozy on the couch with a fire burning? 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Doing my Part to Support the Economy

Since being home I've definitely done my part to support the American economy.  It's funny how when you live overseas, returning home becomes a shopping craze. The time's limited.  The list is long.  Each expat has their own specific list.  My creature comforts include bedding, towels, clothes and an excessive amount of toiletries.

When you move to a new location though, this list expands and includes new things.  In Brazil there were lots of foods.  In India, that list isn't so large, just chocolate chips. 

I've learned that in India I'll be able to find many of the things I need but there's just something about opening a cabinet or washing your face in the morning with what you've used for years.

Today I went with my sister to Costco and picked up toiletries, lotions, medicines, tampons, Sharpies, pencils and a few other odds and ends.  Got some great deals.  Thank you Costco and Erin Looney.

The past few days I've also picked up some shirts, tops, dresses, jeans, kitchen gadgets and shoes.  Three pairs of sandals so far.  And no I'm not finished...quite.  Yesterday I also got new bedding and towels at Kohl's.  

Next week I'm shopping for an Ipad and a queen bed.  Yes, a bed.  In several different communications from school and from ASB staff, an American bed is a must.  Korean beds were awful - hard and like sleeping on the floor.  Brazilian beds were also hard.  Indian beds must be even worse if everyone's saying to bring one!

With all of these things I "need" I've decided to ship things to India.  Next Thursday I have two shipping companies arriving to give me quotes on shipping all of the goodies and bed.  We receive a shipping allowance from ASB which will  help pay for all of these great things. They will give me the quote using volume.  I used shippers in Korea and had an amazing experience on both ends of the trip.  Men coming to pack and unpack.  Items all arriving safely.  Peace of mind knowing that your things are on their way and I won't have to schlep them with me this time!  Well, not so many things.  I'm gonna try and pull a Sam Richards.  Only bring bags I can carry (aiming for 3 suitcases). 

I'll post photos soon but currently the mess is occupying three rooms.  Tomorrow I hope to have it down to one! 

So, even thought I may live far away, I am doing my part.  No one can accuse me otherwise. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I Got My...

visa!  I got my visa!  At 11:45 this morning, thanks to Andrea and Fiat's help, picked up my Indian visa.  It's complete, has my school's name and all the correct info.  The only wrong, well, not wrong but interesting thing is for those who read closely.  All of the information is off by one line.
Thus some fun things like:

Surname:  none
First name:  Looney
Number of children: 027,600,000 (is part of my passport number which should be on the line above.

After the process of the past few days, I decided not to mention this to them. Instead, it could make for some interesting conversations in India.  Right?

And I did get a receipt for my visa for R$592.  Perhaps I was wrong about the bribe and this is the correct amount after all.

So happy to be another step along in the move to India.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Visa Update

So I know I should be posting Visa Part 3 about the bribe but it was one of those kind of days. Actually the past two days have been this way.  Makes sense that since I'm dealing with my visa on these days that something in this process would also make you hit your head on the school bus ceiling because your bus driver went over the speed bump too fast.

When I dropped off my visa last week, they told me it should take one week.  I had heard the same thing from Kristie, the other EAB teacher moving to India.  As I say to my kids, "Easy, breezy, lemon squeezy."

I called the Embassy yesterday.  Guess who answered the phone?  Sassy!  She said the Embassy was busy with a cultural event, an inauguration of sorts (no idea what it is and why and yes, I tried googling and looking on their website and no luck so anybody with info, please share) and she could let me know later in the day if my visa was processed.   She also said she might not be there because of the event.  I asked if I calling back tomorrow would be better.  She appreciatively sighed, "Yes."

So, 10:15 this morning I called back.  Good ole Sassy answered the phone.  She answered in Portuguese and without hesitation I went right into English.  I told her that I was calling to check on the status of  my visa and gave her my name.  When I said it, she said, "Oh yeah.  You called yesterday."  Then she started flipping through her pile of visas and told me the bad news, "It's not here."

I told her I need my passport back by Friday.  I need it to get my Brazilian Social Security funds which is a pretty nice chunk of change.  We're going on Friday to collect them.

Sassy said she could check into it and especially since I was traveling on Friday, they would get back to me today.  I gave her Andrea's phone number because I lost my cell phone a few weeks ago and said I would really appreciate any help.  I didn't bother to correct her that I'm not traveling on Friday and instead want some money but I figure it's hopefully gonna help to expedite this entire thing.

Andrea just heard back from them with an update.  I guess India hasn't heard back from Washington.  What?  Why do they need to talk to Washington?  What did I do?  What are they checking?  I swear my record is clean.  Andrea asked four different times for them to explain it and she still didn't understand the reason.

The person Andrea spoke with told that I would for sure have it Friday.  Seriously?  Maybe it just means that I'm supposed to go to lunch with some friends and pick it up on the way.  Gotta be, right?  I mean I know there was a holiday in the U.S. and there's a cultural event but don't they still process visas in both countries?

Cross your fingers and wish upon a star for the visa gods to align again. Will update as the week goes on and also share Part 3 soon.