Gateway of India

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Home Sweet Home - Beverly Park 400709

When someone dear relocates, it’s really not until I can stalk see them in their new digs either in pictures or in person that I can truly understand their new reality.  I’m a visual learner, and those pictures in my mind are what allow me to make connections and relate to someone else’s experience.  For me, knowing other’s surroundings makes a difference.  What can I say?  Call me nosey!  I prefer “informed.”

I guess it might be a lame excuse for sharing pictures of our own home here on the blog, but we thought that giving a peek in to our happy abode would shed some light on one aspect of our expat life in India.  Consider this post one third of a “House Hunters International” episode where you already know the outcome.  At the very least, I know my mom will get a kick out of these pics!

Beverly Park exterior
Beverly Park is primarily inhabited by employees of Reliance and their families (when the latter chooses to come).  There aren’t very many expats here working in the same Reliance Digital retail branch for whom Todd works; many of the folks here are doing contracting/consulting work with Fluor or Bechtel for Reliance, or are part of the HUGE 4G project that you’ve probably heard Todd mention along the way.  Expats here come from the States, the UK, Canada, Australia, and Germany, to name a few countries, along with Indians who have moved here from other parts of the country to work for this very large company that has it’s “fingers” in many different areas of the economy.  We’ve grown to really appreciate the fact that we can have a very “Indian” experience whenever we go out to shop, for dinner, to explore, and sight see, but then get this very “international” experience and perspective on our home turf by interacting with the many expat friends we’ve made here at Beverly Park.

Overlooking our Kopar Khairane neighborhood in Navi Mumbai.
Honestly, there is a huge advantage to living in a complex like this when undertaking an international experience, especially here in Mumbai.  Some very veteran expats might say that it’s a cop out (you should live in a flat amid the locals), but - hey - when you’re dealing with a THOUSAND things EVERY day that pull you out of your comfort zone, having your home be “easy” is one thing we’ll take without question.
A view of the walking trails, pool, tennis court, and club house.
That white building just below that taller hill in the background is a
mosque from which we can hear the call to prayer five times a day every day.
While Beverly Park is run by a large international serviced residences company, the employees go out of their way to make sure the residents feel at home.  Most of the  staff with whom we interact on a regular basis know us by name, and we enjoy having conversations with each other about family and day-to-day comings/goings.  On site, there is a pool, tennis courts, walking trails, work out facility, and little theater where they will occasionally do a “movie night.”  Recently, a “restaurant” was added that is open 24/7 and serves three meals a day, plus take-away during the rest of their non-meal hours.  For just a couple hundred rupees, we’ve enjoyed some pretty tasty dinners, and have been grateful to have that option since 1) we don’t yet have gas service set up for our cooktop, as a very lengthy process is involved for setting up propane service due to security issues in India; and 2) we’ve heard that getting around and access to grocery items can be more challenging during the monsoons, set to start in about 2 weeks, so having an on-site source for meals will be crucial.  If there is a problem (such as sitting with no power like I did for 30 minutes earlier today), a quick call to Guest Services results in a very helpful maintenance person coming up and rectifying the situation.  We’ve got some creature comforts too, including A/C, satellite TV, internet (albeit VERY slow until 4G comes along...Todd says it’s AT LEAST as blazin’ fast as AOL 5.0...), full size refrigerator, convection microwave, and in-unit washer/dryer (well, actually, those are on the balcony...).

The entryway.
We do our best to never wear our shoes in the house in an effort to avoid tracking greater Mumbai in to the house.
The Maid's Room.
Uh...yah, we use it store luggage.
View of the hallway from the entryway.
That's a pass through to the dining room above the counter.
Full size fridge decorated with Sconnie swag, water bottle, rice cooker, toaster, microwave convection oven.
That little door goes to the balcony where the washer/dryer are. 
In-unit laundry!
Spare bedroom awaiting guests....hint hint!!!
I promise I won't make you iron...
Dining room.
Living room.
Living room.
Master bedroom.
There have also been a few “quirks” with which to contend, but that’s just part of the “Hey, we’re not in the US anymore” learning process.  The mattresses are all very thin, so we discovered after talking to a friend that we could request a “Western style” mattress...thank goodness!  Like many non-US countries, each water source runs on it’s own geyser (a small water heater), so you have to remember to turn it on about 10 minutes before you want hot’s different, but far more efficient.  We’ve got a dehumidifier that runs constantly, and we empty it at least twice per day!  Tap water is not at all potable, so we only consume bottled water, and a filter connected to the kitchen tap allows us to wash/rinse dishes safely without having to use up the bottled water.  Power, as we understand it, is a lot more reliable now than it was even a year ago, but we still lose it on occasion.
His bathroom.
Note the geyser in the upper left corner.
Her bathroom.
Note the bottle of water...We always have a full bottle ready for teeth brushing.
In the grand scheme of things, especially when you consider the intense and extensive poverty that is all around us, these “quirks” are just different ways of getting things done at best, or minor inconveniences at worst.  Either way, we consider ourselves very fortunate to have made our home here at Beverly Park.  We’re looking forward to collecting some treasures along our journey in order to personalize it a bit more.  In the meantime, we hope you enjoyed taking a peek.


Todd & Melissa

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Week of 19-May-2013 in Review

A Note to our Family & Friends:  Facebook is a great forum we use often to post things as we go, but when there is more to share, it just isn't that convenient.  And I've had many people suggest that we start a blog to chronicle this crazy adventure in greater detail....  So, I'm finally getting this venture up and running.  I don't pretend to be a great writer, and certainly have a lot to learn from some other out-of-this-world bloggers out there, so I trust that you'll all bear with me as I get my feet wet and see how this goes.  Thanks for your interest, and off we go with Blog Post Numero Uno!

Once again, our expat adventure in India proves to be UH-mazing...

Evidence #1: Last weekend, I battled my first I-should-probably-see-a-doctor-illness here in India.  This need became apparent after Todd asked me one morning what I thought about the drums/horns/singing/fireworks for the wedding celebration taking place below our window from about midnight to 1am, to which I replied, “What wedding?”  The amazing thing about being here is that you can see a doctor for next to nothing (650Rs = $12), and he will actually make a house call.  Then, after the good doctor has written his prescription for antibiotics, a decongestant, and pain reliever, the couldn’t-be-nicer-staff here at Beverly Park sends a nice boy to run out and fill the prescriptions and deliver it right to our flat for another 150Rs = $3.  Two days later, I was as good as new and ready to tackle what comes our way next.

Evidence #2: I ventured back to the construction site on Tuesday with the expat group from our apartment complex to spend the afternoon with the kiddos.  I posted about this previously here and here on FB if you're wondering what that's all about.  We're doing our best to try and give the kids a modicum of exposure to very basic English (shapes, colors), number sense, and letter recognition.  We've got about 20 li'l beans who have been coming, and we'll have to see how stable/transient that group is over the coming weeks.  These kids come running when they see our cars pull up, and have smiles on their faces the whole time they are with us, despite the fact that they only speak Hindi and we only speak English.  Honestly, I think us volunteers may get more out of the experience than the kids!

Evidence #3: Jalebi...  Enough said.

Evidence #4: MONKEYS!!!

Evidence #5: When stores are opened here in India, they really know how to do it right!!!  An auspicious beginning is a MUST!  I know Todd thought this was just about the absolute coolest thing he's ever been a part of.

Evidence #6: A table of expats sat next to us when we were out for dinner last night.  It’s almost impossible NOT to clue in to other expats, especially Americans, because day-to-day we really are sort of few and far between. Shamelessly, we listened to their Midwest accents, and then made guesses about where they were from....Chicago?  Detroit?  Our friend, Brian, took the initiative to go up and introduce us all, and found out they were from Cincinnati.  Close, but no cigar...oh well.  Regardless, we struck up a conversation, found out that they are HUGE OSU fans (sad, I know :), at which point we yelled “Go, Badgers!” true Big 10 camaraderie fashion, we exchanged contact info, and Todd and I have an invitation to join in on their tailgating fun this Fall.  Granted, it will be in the middle of the night here, but - hey - it’s football!!!

Stay tuned for more next week!


Mel & Todd