Category Archives: school

Expat Youth Scholarship Opportunity………..

Clements International Announces 3rd Annual Expat Youth Scholarship

Clements International, the leading provider of insurance solutions for expatriates and international organizations, announces its 3rd annual scholarship program for expatriate students.

Clements International’s Expat Youth Scholarship is a unique contest exclusively for expat students who spend their childhoods moving between different countries and cultures. This year’s theme asks participants to create a video explaining their favorite thing about their host country and its culture. Clements will award a total of $10,000 to students ages 12-18 of any nationality who have resided in a foreign country for at least two consecutive years.

“We’re so excited to offer the Expat Youth Scholarship again this year with a new twist,” said President Chris Beck. “Incorporating online video and Facebook voting will  really make this scholarship contest an interactive experience for everyone involved, including participants, expats, supporters and viewers around the world.”

This year, everyone gets a chance to help determine the winners. A Judges Panel consisting of individuals representing the expatriate community will determine the top 12 video entries, which will be posted on the Expat Youth Scholarship Facebook page under the “Links” tab. During the month of August, members of the Expat Youth Scholarship fan page will be able to vote for their favorites using the “Like” feature.

Voting (aka “Liking”) will end on August 31. The total number of fan “Likes” will determine the top three winners in each age category.

The scholarship entry deadline is Friday, May 13, 2011. For more information about the scholarship and to submit entries, visit

Ooops, I did it again……………

I just got home from a 3-day field trip with 120 fifth graders, some teachers, and several other parents who did not have the good sense to not raise their hands. We rode on a train to Ranthambore in India. I never thought I would find myself on a train in India. It just was not on my list of things to do. In fact, it was pretty high on my list of things not to do.

But nothing ventured – nothing gained. Right? Right.

So, I went on the train and Flower and I got to see tigers – again.

Ranthambore is an amazing place – it is a wonderful wildlife sanctuary and has a tremendous fort. I will share more about our journey with you soon. But, right now I am going to go take a shower, eat some food I recognize, brush my teeth, go to bed, and not worry about what 120 fifth graders are doing – or not doing. 😎

Greeting Children with Trust/Faith…….

Sit back. But don’t get too comfortable…

Now imagine. You are 7.

Your parents have both been lost and there is no one left to take care of you. You are probably scared and hungry. Probably very, very scared and very, very hungry. Your whole world has just become lopsided.

So, you sneak onto a crowded train with no ticket and you run away to a big city filled with 15 million people where you know no one. You are completely unaware of what adventures and dangers are ahead of you. You have probably never seen a train or been very far from your small village. But that does not stop you because you are left alone with no real choices. And there are no movie cameras rolling. It is not some writer’s made-up fantasy about just how bad life can get. This is real.

This young man (the one on the left) is living this story – it is his life. He has been living on the streets of Delhi since he was 7 when he lost his parents. I do not know if that means that they died or that they abandoned him. I didn’t have the heart to ask for clarification. The Salaam Baalak Trust found him when he was 8. They have been helping him ever since. Now he has dreams of becoming an actor.


The young man on the right grew up here with his family. Behind the railway station. He told tales of running the streets and drinking and mischief. Now he tells tales of a university education and making a difference.

The Salaam Baalak Trust takes kids from the street and gives them safety nets. John Thompson (not of Georgetown fame – but from England) thought of giving these kids some training in giving tours of their “homes” and lives on the streets. He knew it would be important to teach the children strong English skills. And now, some of the children are taught how to give tours and teach others about their lives on the streets of Delhi. To share all that their life involves – crime and poverty and loneliness at first – but then with the help of the Trust – community, education, and finally, hope.


There is a non-government organization (called an NGO in India) that helps get street kids off street. In fact, there are several. The one I visited is called the Salaam Baalak Trust – it means “greeting children with trust/faith”. It is not a religious organization – by faith, I believe they mean that they have faith in every child – that every child can find a better life.

I went on the city walk tour that the Salaam Baalak Trust offers. It was, to say the very least, humbling, depressing, and exciting.

Humbling because most of us aren’t really doing as much as we can to help each other out as global citizens – as neighbors to everyone. As brothers and sisters of our own human race – we forget that we are all connected and that if one of us is suffering – it’s just too many. We take a lot in life for granted. We should be more generous. And, by we, yes, I mean ME too. I assure you that I am at the top of my own list.

You can hold hands and sing Kum-Ba-yah now. Please be sure to swing to and fro whilst you are singing. But really we can all do more. In my neighborhood in the U.S., I simply cannot imagine a scenario where a child would be left unattended. Really left alone. It is unfathomable. Not that it doesn’t happen in the U.S., I know children are unattended there – but it is just not so obvious. That doesn’t make it better – it’s just harder to ignore here.

It’s absolutely depressing because it is so impossible to ignore – to pretend it’s not happening – that these are children. And they are left unattended on the streets of a big city. Innocents who grow up way too fast. They eat out of trash cans and spend what little money they earn at the movie theater. They learn to be sneaky and how to swindle and how to run away all in the name of survival. They are clever, very clever, and it is criminal that their energy and talents are sucked dry just making it through the day. Finding ways to eat and avoid the repercussions of the trouble they can get into. And trying to avoid the evil that is out there. And it is out there, looking for these unattended children.

But it was also exciting. Really. The energy that these guides shared was wonderful. This Trust is swooping up kids and giving them real opportunities to succeed. And protection. And food. And hope. And a community. They are eating without stealing and learning to read and write. The Trust believes that education is the key to getting these kids off the street and everything they do is in furtherance of that. They are no longer completely unattended.

Here is a little bit of what we saw….


This is a make shift classroom. Street children can come here and eat and learn for a few hours everyday. They can also get a bath. They catch the water that is used to clean the trains and bathe with that. Unfortunately, I am not kidding. But a bath is better than no bath.


No matter how run down or shattered a village may be, there is still very much a sense of community and family. Thankfully, we don’t need much to care about one another. I am guessing this is a mother and a daughter.


These train was rolling down the track very slowly in between the children and the clotheslines and the huts.


These are some of the kids we saw that day…









Get it? Kid? I couldn’t resist. These kids live there too.

So, now what. Now you might feel like you aren’t doing enough. What can you do? Of course, the website offers an opportunity to donate. It mentions wire transfers. Yeah, I know, that makes me nervous too. But you can donate to the Salaam Baalak Trust thru Give India. The link for the Trust is here. If you are in Delhi, you can encourage others to go on the walk – raise awareness. If you are not from Delhi, I am sure there are children in need near you. They might even be in your neighborhood. And we can all just be a little more open to others who need our help – whether it is a parent or a friend or a teacher or a child.

Change does not always have to come in big sweeping movements – sometimes a simple kind gesture changes a life forever.

Just Like Target, only (way) different……….

I went to Spencers this week. The best way to explain it is that it is like shopping at a mini-mart at a large gas station – only with shopping carts and air conditioning and actual cash registers – and a bakery and a kitchen section. Oh yeah, and an electronics station and a book section. (But no digital alarm clocks.) Okay, a very large mini-mart at a very large gas station. But this store is not just around the corner – it’s about 30 minutes away – with the potential for a good bit of traffic. So you have to really “plan” a trip there.

We now have a place large enough to invite friends over – so I am doing just that. However, I don’t really have the dishes and silverware to do that. To move here, I packed a lot of my plastic plates because I knew that they would not break when they were mailed over here – but I want to invite actual adults over – not my imaginary friends from plastic plate land. And we will probably want to use silverware. Adults – remember? Okay, American adults. Indians will often eat with their hands as is their custom – but not many Americans have adopted that method just yet.

So, off to Spencers I go. My experience at Spencers explains what it is often like living in India. “Ask for what you want, be happy with what you get.”

First off, I went with one of my very favorite friends in India. So we laughed pretty much the whole time. Very nice.

However, when shopping in India, you really, truly never know just what you are going to find. You could have been at a lovely market last week where they had 10 varieties of goldfish crackers and hardly enough room to put them on the shelf. You go back this week and they say “goldfish crackers? no ma’am.” You might as well have said you wanted a real goldfish served on a golden cracker. So my motto has become “get it while the gettin’s good”.

My whole purpose in going to Spencers was to get plates and silverware.

Mission One – plates.

I walked down the plate aisle. Walk with me – here is what you will typically find. Several patterns of Correll dishes that would have been absolutely perfect if I was inviting Sanford and his son over 20 years ago (remember the tv sitcom junkyard owner) and a few patterns of pretty  china. That’s right, nothing in between. Rags to riches on aisle 7.

But not this time. This time, I spotted a lovely pottery pattern. The plates and bowls and cups all had the same colors but not the same design.  They coordinated beautifully but were not all the same, same – matchy, matchy. Tres cool.

Normally when shopping in Spencers, there are 4 salespeople on every aisle ready to bug the heck out of you help you find whatever it is you do and do not need. Today? Not so much. So I went on a Spencers safari and hunted down the lone clerk lurking behind the drinking glasses.

Me: Could you help me, please?
Him: Yes ma’am
Me: Over here, by the plates?
Him: Yes ma’am
Me: I would like to get this pattern.
Him: Yes ma’am
Me: Okay?
Him: Yes ma’am
Me: Ummmm, what do we do next?
Him: Oh, yes ma’am
Me: Okay. Seriously, I would like to get this set of dishes. And I would like another set – two sets. Of this pattern. Is there another set in the back?
Him to himself : oh-uh that was too many words – I don’t understand her – maybe if I don’t answer she will just go away
Me: Do you think there is another set in the back? This set is missing a bowl. Are there more sets?
Him: Yes ma’am
Me: Can you get them?
Him: saying Yes ma’am – but still standing right in front of me – not moving
Me: Now?
Him: leaving…….
Him: returning…..empty handed
Him: No more in back ma’am
Me: I would like to get this set.
Him: No ma’am
Me: Why not…. what happened to Yes ma’am?
Him: A bowl is missing
Me: Really, I happen to know that – remember just a minute ago – I told you that. It’s okay. I still want it
Him: No more in the back
Me: I understand that. I want this one
Him: No ma’am
(Are you banging your head against the keyboard yet?)
My Friend: Do you think another store might have it
Me and My Friend: instantly laughing – yeah – that isn’t exactly how it works here
My Friend: Can she get a discount for the missing bowl?
Me: I wish he would just agree to sell me the set – can I pluhlease get this set
Him: Yes ma’am. Then he packed it up in a box from a different set. (Apparently the box was missing too. Some mysteries are probably better left unsolved.)

Okay. In the U.S., I would have n.e.v.e.r. been happy with this set of dishes. As cute as it was, it had a missing bowl and actually a chipped saucer. No, I did not point that out to HIM. Sista please. In the US, I would have asked if they could call around to every other store in driving distance to find TWO complete sets of dishes. Heck I might have even stayed home and ordered online. I would not have wanted it without two complete sets in good condition. In fact, in the U.S., they would have walked over to the computer – entered the sku- and let me know who in Alaska had purchased the same set. I would know if Madonna and I had the same plates. Okay, not really, but you get the point.

But here, I know that if I go back later, it will be gone. I know not to drive all over town looking at other stores.  I know that I liked it well enough to not risk it. It was so cute and unique that I just decided to get it and I will just make sure the 6th person I invite does not care for soup or ice cream. Seriously, conducting a survey of my guests will be easier than finding two complete sets of matching dishes that are not broken or orphaned in anyway – at least two sets that don’t cost a fortune. These were just about the right price. And somehow I managed to get an extra serving tray in the deal for free. I mentioned it might be nice to throw in a serving tray to replace the bowl and he agreed. Wahlah. And the guy even walked up to the check out stand to ‘splain the situation to the check out clerk.

Mission Two – silverware

Oh, and I bet you forgot I wanted silverware too. And just how do I know that. Because I also forgot I wanted silverware. Damn.

What’s it really like………..

This is the most common question I have been getting since we came back to the U.S.

Describing India in contrast to the U.S. is nearly impossible. It is an amazing place – full of culture, history, and fascinating people. It is also so very different from everything I am used to. Some of those differences weren’t even clear to me until I returned home.

Some of the things that are so very different really have nothing to do with India – but encompass more the differences between living in a house and an apartment. My husband has always wanted to live in a city – rather than the suburbs. That is what we are doing. I don’t care for it. It is hard to be in a 3-bedroom flat when you are very used to a 3-level home with a yard and a drive way and friends all over the place. There were times I frankly felt a little claustrophobic.

Doing homework is hard when you have 3 kids and no where to go. Having friends over is hard when you just don’t have the room to entertain. The kids in India don’t really seem to be outside playing a lot. I am not sure why – but we just don’t see it that often.

Having staff sounds like a great gig if you can get it. But again – if you aren’t used to it – well, it is also a big adjustment. I don’t like explaining everything to other people when I am used to doing it myself. But I like going into the closet and pulling out an ironed shirt that I had nothing to do with getting cleaned – if only they would wash it and iron it somewhere else. Cooking and cleaning might be a little difficult to accomplish somewhere else – but that would be nice too.

We have two people who work in our house. And after some trial and (some very big) error, we have people that are a really good fit for us. But it is still someone in your house – your little house.  I calculated that our staff works for us for almost 80 hours a week. They work hard and they work almost the entire time they are there – really only rarely stopping for tea. So that is 80 hours of work I do not have to do. Yes, I am very thankful for that!

One thing my husband always says is that there are nice people everywhere. That is true. I have met some kind and generous people who I hope I will be friends with for the rest of my life. I have met some people who are more interesting than I will ever be. The expats who live in India are adventurous and smart people. They soak in the world.

I am writing delicately on this one – but parenting is different in India. And on this issue, I am talking mostly about expat parenting because that is what I have been exposed to. Some of the parents I have met depend on their staff a lot. Drivers drive kids to and from parties. Not everyone is that concerned with meeting the parents on the other end. Ayahs (babysitters) supervise play dates. This is all about comfort level and, again, if you are used to it, surely this is easier. But I cannot let go of my parenting long enough to enjoy this benefit of India. I like being the one to take my kids places and I want to meet the parents any where I might be dropping them off. I know this is all about balance and I am a little heavy on the side of caution. But it is who I am and I do not want to let India change that part of me.

And this is not the friends that I have surrounded myself with. I gravitate toward people who think more like me. I roll like that.

The expat children I have met are confident and outgoing. They all seem to find their niche and thrive in their own circles. They are comfortable talking with adults and don’t seem too affected by moving around the world. They are impressive in that regard. They will surely accomplish great things. On the down side, some of them are a little entitled. I mean, really, if you have a driver, a cook, a house cleaner, a gardener, and an ayah – yeah, you might feel a little more than special. But a lot of parents I have met work hard to keep their kids on an even keel.

I have written a lot about shopping. Haggling is fun. Very fun. But I do miss Target and Costco and the grocery store. It is just so convenient in the U.S. But I have gotten some very fun Indian items that I probably would never have found in the U.S. – even at World Market – and I negotiated good prices for them.

The best way I can think to describe  living in India is that it is like living in the U.S. about 30 or 40 years ago.

People do not have answering machines – well, I guess technically they have human answering machines. Everyone has a cell phone but nobody leaves messages. It’s all about texting. I stink at texting so it takes me a really long time to do it. I am usually about half-way thru my message when the person I am calling calls me back. Augh.

I am not used to electricity and water being sporadically available. Although we are really fortunate that we will have not been inconvenienced by the outages.

And I know many Indians are not thrilled with the portrayal of India in Slumdog Millionaire – but honestly – it is a dirty place. Pollution is abundant and it is dusty and in many places, very dirty. You see people working hard to sweep the streets and move the garbage – but there is just so much of it. There are lovely places that are not dirty – in fact, they are meticulously maintained. But there is a hazy sky almost everyday. It’s just not what I am used to.

Delhi is less organized than my little corner of the U.S. And India is less predictable. Which makes everyday interesting. You really, truly never know what you might see.

In some ways I feel we are living in a little bubble of expats. We really spend most of our time on the school campus. Most of our activities are there. We have not met that many Indian families. The Indian people we have met thru number one hubby’s work are delightful and kind. They are generous with their support and thoughtfulness. They certainly have made me more comfortable about living in India.

So – what’s it really like – it’s very different. I miss all my routines and friends  and family and conveniences. I am enjoying my new friends and experiences. It’s a mix – it’s a great adventure that really makes me homesick.

Where have all the nut allergies gone…..

In the U.S., there was not a preschool or elementary school parent who didn’t have a story about the hoops s/he had to jump through just to bring a snack to class. Not that we were not PERFECTLY happy to be extremely careful. Food allergies are serious and no one wants to lose a child over a well intentioned cupcake. But in the U.S., it gets c.o.m.p.l.i.c.a.t.e.d. It can be a pain in the lactose-free pudding.

I am not kidding when I tell you that one preschool class my daughter was in would not allow any snacks that had:

red dye

It would have been prudent to buy crackers – throw them away and just serve them the cardboard box. At least the kids would have gotten their fiber.

And this was not because of a proven nut allergy – oh no – it was the potential for a possible allergy that had this mom marking yummy snacks off of our list. It seems her older son might have had an episode – to hear her tell it – they weren’t exactly sure it was an episode – but no sense taking any chances. hee hee hee. And by older son, I do not mean the child actually in my daughter’s class – just someone related to the child in my daughter’s class.

Seriously, I would grind dirt into Angel food cake if it meant your child would not get sick. But give me a real list I can work with. And take your kid to the doctor and rule out at least a couple of those. They have tests now. It all made me a little allergic to nuts of a different type.

The most infuriating part was with about 6 weeks left in the school year and about 4,000 carrot sticks later, we were given the “all clear”. It seems little Johnny has no allergies after all. hee hee hee. Silly me.

So it amazes me that here in India none of my kids friends or classes even talk about nut allergies – or any other food allergy for that matter. What do you make of that – do Indian children or expat children just not have allergies?

P.S. And please don’t worry about me offending this mom. She and I never really had time to bond – I was too busy peeling carrots and cutting grapes in half – oh, you didn’t know – grapes are a chocking hazard. 😉

The same 24 hours…………

We all meet people throughout our lives who seem to be able to stretch the clock. They make more happen in one day than it seems possible to accomplish in a full year. And yet they do it – over and over again. We are left to marvel and wonder – do they eat, do they sleep, do they have a magic vitamin, have they been invaded by aliens? Where do they get their energy from?

Let me introduce you to Anou. She created Project Why.


In short, she created Project Why to help those who cannot help themselves. Of course, the story goes much deeper than that and it begins with her own daughter. Anou’s daughter struggled with the academic challenges of school. When I first met her, she laughed that she did what every good parent does and told her she did not have to go back. Then she resolved to help those children who struggled in this world.

This is Rani. She came to Project Why when she was 15 from not the best of circumstances. She exemplifies why Project Why is so important. She is now traveling the world to share Project Why’s story. She is a confident, beautiful, unassuming, and gracious young lady – her life is better because Anou carved out enough minutes in her day to help her. And now she is making her own difference in the world – carving out her own minutes.


This is Meher. When Meher was a little bitty thing, she was burned terribly. I am not exactly clear what happened. But it doesn’t really matter – Meher needed some angels to lift her up and help her along her life’s journey. Guess who spread her wings once again? Anou and Project Why. They have raised enough money to help Meher with reconstructive and plastic surgeries. She is a vibrant girl who is full of joy and laughter and I believe a good dose of mischief. She lights up the room. And I am sure eventually she will light up the world.


This school is one of the centers that Project Why uses to help children who live in slums. If I understood it correctly, they attend government schools as well, but Project Why teachers supplement their studies with much needed extra help. The boys go in the morning and the girls come in the afternoon.


This is what the neighborhood looks like right outside the school.



The American’s Womens Association had donated money for building materials for a roof for the school house – so these boys presented our Outreach Chair with a beautiful handmade card.


We also went to visit the Women and Children’s Center. Here women learn to sew and how to become beauticians and children up to about age 14 take classes.


I think this is their guard cow. He’s on it.


This is another classroom. The children here were learning math.


No, I did not offer to tutor. Remember, they are trying to improve their math skills. Ironically, this almost looks like something you would see in a shabby chic catalog.


True to her original mission, Anou opened a center for mentally disabled children. Across the street from this center is also a residential center where a few of the children live.


This girl could put any bollywood dancer to shame. She was magnificent.


I had never heard of brittle bones disease until yesterday. This little girl has it. There is no cure. Her bones are deteriorating at a ridiculous rate and she will die from the complications from this disease – probably sooner than later. She is a bright, enthusiastic child who is eager to learn. She gets to do just that at Project Why.


There is so much more to Project Why than just this blog post. Anou and Project Why help over 700 children in 7 locations throughout Delhi. They have made it possible for several children to receive open heart surgeries through their Hear Fix Hotel. They have given local women a safe place to fall when they need to escape from the toils of their daily lives. Project Why has taken in disabled children and given them a home. Five children from the slums are now attending a boarding school and are getting a proper education. The list goes on.

So I spent my day yesterday with some amazing people who stretch the bounds of compassion and generosity beyond all reasonable limits. Their clocks do not tick in real time – their clocks allow them to add minutes to each hour with spaces in between where kindness grows and humanity flourishes.

At the end of the day, I felt pretty much like an underachiever, realizing that I hold my minutes too tightly together and lose too many of them for no good reason. I realized how ungrateful I am at times for the complaints I have voiced in my life and I hope to spend my time, talents, and energy more wisely. I am sure to fall flat on the face of my watch with those ambitious goals – but I can dust myself off and start a new until I get it right.

There are a lot of different ways to support Project Why if you are so inclined. Here is a link if you are interested – Support Project Why.

Anyone know the answer to this………….

I have seen quite a few young children around Delhi with very dark lines under their eyes. I finally got some pictures of these beautiful children and I am wondering if anyone knows what this is for……….





Tomorrow I will share with you just how it was that I got to meet these kids.


There is a Cactus park in Delhi – maybe it’s Cacti park – whichever – there’s a park with prickly plants in it. Flower’s class recently went there for a field trip and I got to tag along. It is a pretty cool place. I clearly don’t remember the exact name of it – maybe someone who reads along will remember. I know you are probably thinking, “didn’t you get  a hand out or something?” The answer would be yes – and I lost it. So, no help there. Apparently I walked away with the handout from the teacher too that I wasn’t supposed to keep – lost that one too. So, nope, I won’t be able to identify any of the specimens for you. Sorry.

Yes, I am sure to be fired soon.




If the students don’t listen to the teacher – they have to sit here.


Now that is a pathway Peter Pan would have loved.


This was a lovely Buddhist thing – I am honestly not sure if it is a temple or a shrine or just a statue. But whatever it is, here it is. Tres cool.


And another very fun bridge. Did you notice that neither bridge has water running under it – do you notice a theme here? Does anyone know why it doesn’t just go straight across? I am guessing just because – but if there is a more scientific explanation, I am all ears.

Dueling Drivers……….

I know many of you roll your eyes when I talk about my “staff” woes. I completely realize that it really is hard to understand how “un”helpful help can be. You lose a lot of your independence and that’s not always fun. But sometimes it is funny. Sometimes in India I have to remember that as long as it ends up as a funny story later, I should laugh about it now.

Let me ‘splain…

As you might recall, our driver is a good driver. We are happy enough with him. He is reliable and kind. Sometimes communication with him is not easy, but most of the time he gets it pretty well. I have learned that whenever we are going in a caravan that I must get the other drivers phone numbers – just in case. That has proven to be very helpful and wise.

Things have been good enough. Until yesterday. Yesterday, I called him and told him I was on my way out of the school. He said, “Yes, ma’am, I am coming.” That’s what he always says and he always comes.

Until yesterday. I sat for about 10 minutes – yes, in the 110 degree heat – and then I called him back. No answer.

Houston, we have a problem.

I called again at 15 minutes. You got it. Still no answer. Now I am worried. It’s really not like him.

I want to worry about my driver like I want a root canal. Really, it’s just not on my list of priorities.

So, I call hubby. Who calls our driver. No answer.

Hubby calls his assistant. Hubby’s assistant calls our driver. No answer.

Yes, it was like beating our head against the wall – a wall with very long nails that have been waiting  in the 110 degree heat. Yes, that would hurt.  I know someone brilliant once said that repeating the same behavior over and over and expecting a different result is foolish.

Call us foolish. It’s like a bad joke – how many expats does it take to call a driver?

I called our driver again. What do you think the odds are that there was NO ANSWER?

Hubby sends another car. It’s going to take 45 minutes to get to me. Yeah, that’s a long time. Yes, it was super duper hot outside. Yes, I had to pee. Yes, I should have taken a cab. Something about being dependent on others makes you forget temporarily how to think in a straight line. Plus I am now really worried about our driver. I want to be sure he is okay.


As I sit waiting for driver number 2, driver number 1 shows up in a rickshaw. WTH?

It seems he locked his keys in the car – and his phone. WTH?

I wondered the same thing – yes, he answered the phone and told me he was coming. AND THEN he locked his keys in the car AND his phone. Seriously, WTH?

Upon further investigation interrogation, we learned that he was sleeping on the passenger side. I called and woke him up. He answered the phone. He got out of the car to get in the drivers seat and WALAHHHHHHHHH. Okay then.

Then he tried for 25 minutes to get into the car – while he knew I was waiting. He was literally around the corner trying for 25 minutes to open the door. When he ultimately accepted that he was not going to be able to get the door open without a key or call me without a phone, he caught a rickshaw to come give me an update. Yes, I suppose that was very kind of him.

Do you see how having a driver is like having a teenager? Did you see why it’s not all butterflies and unicorns dancing on rainbows?

Oh, and yes, it gets better. You knew it would.

Now our driver and I are waiting together outside in the heat. He feels terrible. I am not happy – glad that he is okay – but not really happy – but trying not to act like a biotch, because really  these things can happen. I cannot make small talk with him because (A) I don’t want to and (B) I don’t speak Hindi. It was like two divorced parents waiting to congratulate their kid for getting the Nobel Prize. All smiles on the outside – but not exactly happy, happy to be standing next to each other waiting.

So, driver number 2 (finally) comes. Driver number 1 gets in the front seat. I get in the back seat. We are going to my house to wait for a second set of keys to be delivered. It’s going to take about 2 hours. Fine.

All the way home I hear blah, blah, blah Ma’am (that’s me) – blah blah blah Saab (that’s hubby) – blah blah blah mobile (that’s how you say cell phone here).

That’s how it went the whole way home – ma’am – saab – mobile – ma’am – saab – mobile – ma’am – saab – mobile. AUGH!

Hey dudes, can you use that little device right in front of you? It’s called a rear view mirror and it lets you see what is behind you. That would be me. I don’t speak Hindi but I know what Saab and Ma’am mean. I know you are talking about me. STOP IT.

I remembered that I needed to get some cash. So, I asked driver 2 to stop at the ATM machine.

We stop at the ATM and now, ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a ballgame. Driver number 1 and driver number 2 are trying to see who is going to get to my door first to open it for me. They are like two kindergartners trying to be first in line for free ice cream and lizards.

While they are busy trying to out open each other, I turn slightly to the left and open my own friggin’ door. I have not completely forgotten how to take care of that for myself. And alas, I will need this simple skill in just a few weeks when I am left to my own devices in the U.S.

I went to the ATM and get money. Then back to the car. They’re at it again. Me first. No me first.

Seriously – I got it. It’s just a door – I can handle it. (get it?  “handle” it? door handle. hee hee)

And although, waiting in the 110 degree heat wasn’t that funny – and worrying about our driver is not what I would have picked to do – I can now see the humor in this. It has become a funny story.