Coming and Going

Two weeks in India came and went in a flash. For all my dread before I left, I never got Dehli Belly and, as a matter of fact, I am an even bigger fan of vegetarian Indian cuisine than I was before I went. The spice level was just fine and to be safe I just watched out for water and stuck mostly to vegetarian.

India is an experience I will never forget. My new and old friends and even complete srangers treated me with a hospitality that doesn't exist in the Western world. The difference is that they give with no expectation other than that they want you to have a good time and feel comfortable.

I never got over the randomness of the place. If I looked across the lanes of traffic on the morning commute to work, it was not unusual to see an elephant, two oxen pulling a cart, a rickshaw, a bus with its goose-honk horn, motorcycles and a man pushing a fruit cart. On the ride home from clubbing late on Saturday night, we saw three people riding their camels home from work. Little monkeys were running along the highway on the road to Pune. Garbage and homeless and stray dogs were everywhere. Whimsical skyscrapers and apartment buildings were sprouting up in the midst of the slums and as the new class of wealthy leapfrog from job to job, I could see India rushing to a new destiny that comes as a mixed blessing.

As my plane ascended over the city, I looked down at the streets filled with people and twinkling with lights and hoped I would come back some day to see Mumbai again.

Upon returning home the most remarkable thing was the clean air of Munich. We decided to pay a visit to the Rosenheim Oktoberfest and I gave my new dirndl a try. I couldn't let go of the surreal feeling of sitting at Oktoberfest in Germany knowing that less than 24 hours before I had been sitting with an Indian team working through issues in Mumbai. What funny life do I live?

I met some of M.'s relatives who were working at the fair and we had all kinds of goodies. I had to pass on a heavy dousing of beer because I was just too exhausted but my appetite is whetted for the big one in Munich.

Work has picked up significantly again and we are getting ready to take our product live in a few weeks. Stress levels and pressure to keep the raving masses calm has pulled me into some interesting situations but I feel overcommitted right now and didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I came to work one morning last week and saw an email chain circulated among the execs with the subject: '100% availability of MS' (that would be me). Frankly, I'm just not that good to cause such an allocation dispute.

With all this instability I am craving more and more a real home. M. and I agreed to spend the next few months transforming our apartment from an austere crash pad to a cozy retreat from the chaos of our lives. M. spends his weeks in Hamburg so with two of us living this lifestyle, we need a calm, safe place where we can relax. Mostly though I think he is worried about my parents visit in two weeks (yay!) and that the place isn't nice enough for them. Too late to do much about that now!

I find decorating so stressful though that the process itself terrifies me. I am always astounded when people can create a home out of a house. I think I am missing the gene for creativity in the household as interior design is shrouded in mystery to me. Conveniently, for the last 12 years I have always avoided doing much more than dropping a couch, a bed and a few pics on the wall anywhere I lived because I knew every situation was just 'temporary'. Although that was and continues to be true, there comes a point where you have to stop waiting for guaranteed permanence and make a home out of what you have. So the projects will begin! Now if M. and I could just agree on what our house should look like.

Posted from Basel


lobstah said...

What, he wasn't worried whether the house was good enough for me and Greg? ;)

Somehow the photo of that ferris wheel makes it look cleaner and better maintained than the rides at fairs here.

Andrea said...

Hi Michelle,

I found your link on http://justcallmemausi.blogspot.com

Would you like to help us out...

We're looking for expat women to volunteer to Mentor incoming expat women to their location (all online), on our new web site, launching (hopefully) in mid Oct 2006?

Please check out our temp page and drop us a line if you're interested. We'd love to have you.

Thanks in advance!

Ola said...

Decorating? Nice! Have a great time with your family and good luck with the place, I'm sure the redecorating process will be fun!