For anyone wondering what we do all day – especially since I have a cook and a house cleaner – here it is! Click on any pictures to enlarge.
7:00 – If the kids are up now, we sit around watching Disney Jr. I run the washer at night to (hopefully) avoid power outages, so I hang up the laundry from the night before.
8:00 – About every other day I make a real breakfast. Today it’s blueberry muffins.
9:00 – Time to wash dishes (and Ziploc bags), by hand. We don’t have hot water in the kitchen, so I use a bucket to get some from the bathroom. The cleaning lady comes to clean the floors. It is so dusty and dirty here that they must be mopped every day. John plays with the kids, since this is often the only time he gets.
10:00 – John leaves for work, so we go on the balcony to “wave to Daddy” while he waits for the elevator. I get out Mr. Potato Head from the kids closet (Do you rotate toys?)
At this point, Dalton starts throwing up, and I spend the rest of the day lying on the coach with a feverish baby snuggling me. The pictures pick up 5 days later, and you can see that Dalton is still sick.
11:00 – Outing. Fridays we go to an indoor playplace. Other days we do shopping, errands, visit a bookstore, take a walk, go to a park, museum, etc. Today we drive half an hour to go shopping at a grocery store in a mall.
We came here specifically to buy cheese and look for imported cereal for my husband’s birthday.
Here’s are a few of the things we got, and the cost.
- 1 pomegranate: $.75
- 1 head green cabbage: $.18
- Cheddar cheese (imported from England): $11.20/lb
- 1 liter box of 100% juice: $2.30 (you can see the boxes in the photo at left above)
- Nature Valley granola bars: $.61 each
- 100% fruit bars: $.22 each
- 6 eggs: $.39
- Cupcake Pebbles cereal: $7.75
12:00 – Lunch at Taco Bell. They don’t serve beef and the chicken is spicy, so we get potato tacos. This Taco Bell is nicer than any I’ve seen in the US. I have to feed Maggie because she is too busy watching the sauce packets snowboard on the flatscreen TV. Dalton eats two chips, climbs out of his high chair and runs around charming the other patrons. The employees carry our tray upstairs, and clear it when we’re through.
1:00 – Driving home & Dalton’s naptime.
Some neighbor is cooking Indian food for lunch and I almost throw up in the hallway. I put the groceries away and clean up the house. Maggie plays Mr. Potato Head. We wrap and decorate the cereal for Daddy’s birthday.
2:00 – Kannagi comes. She washes the produce and eggs in water and bleach, removes the pomegranate seeds, makes pretzels, and bakes mini meat pies for dinner. I am reading blogs, checking email, etc. Theoretically, I am working, but truthfully, I’m spending a good portion of the time pretending to be a flying-pirate-fairy and “poofing” Maggie into a frog, or running and hiding from a much shorter flying-pirate-fairy.
3:00 – Maggie and I usually use naptime to do a craft, activity, or read together, or go on an outing if Kannagi is there to watch Dalton. Today we walk to the library. We live on the 4th floor (Ground Floor is 0). The elevator is so slow that it’s usually faster to walk down four flights of stairs. Maggie was kind enough to pose with some of the trash piles on the street.
When we get back, Maggie has quiet time (talking to her animals in my room) while I work in earnest until Dalton wakes up.
4:00 – When Dalton wakes up, we snuggle and play while Kannagi finishes cleaning up in the kitchen. Then she takes the kids to the playground. The playground has sand, ants, and metal playground equipment, so I don’t like taking the kids there. When Kannagi isn’t here I usually take the kids for a walk, or we do an activity like homemade playdough, or paint-with-water.
5:00 – I finish working, put the laundry away, read a free book on my Kindle, and chat online with my sister. I might also spend this time scrapbooking, cleaning, mending clothes, blogging, getting an activity ready for Maggie, etc.
6:00 – Time for dinner. Dalton refuses to eat anything (are you seeing a trend here?). We clean up the house, then read stories, including the kids’ favorite bedtime story, The Sleepy Little Alphabet.
7:00 – John comes home from work. He’s brought DVDs and American treats for the kids that a new co-worker brought over for us. Dalton goes to bed. John eats dinner and does the dishes. Maggie snuggles her Daddy and watches one of our new DVDs, Meet the Colors.
8:00 until bedtime – The kids are in bed and we spend the rest of the night relaxing. Watch TV, read, exercise, talk about our days, spend time on the computer, go for a walk, etc. You know, the same thing everyone else does!
I don’t think I can adequately express how frustrating things can be in India, and how the smallest tasks can turn into a hassle. Even though I don’t have a busy schedule, dealing with these things day after day is exhausting. People don’t know how to wait in line. Stores, restaurants and auto drivers never have change. There’s no hot water in the kitchen or washing machine. The power goes out all the time. It’s dirty and there’s trash everywhere. The traffic is horrendous. People make stuff up rather than admit “I don’t know.” I have to make things from scratch or pay a big import premium.
But, we’re learning about a new culture and saving money, and the kids are happy. If you’re new to my Frugal Foreigner posts, read all about what we’re doing in India here! You can read all previous posts in the series here.