Ring the bell yet?

OK. So it's been a little more than a week here.. and surprise...surprise... looks like I am surviving.
First things first, need to, have to, - get that driving license. Yes, I know, the Indian license is valid for a few months, but I drove like a motorcyclist in India. Not like a motorcyclist driving a motorcycle - but a motorcyclist driving a car. Any nook, any gap in the road, I'd squeeze my vehicle in. And I never, ever got pulled up. Mostly because if the Traffic Police 'uncle' got a sad smile or knew that I had a toddler in the back seat, he never bothered to stop me.  And not once was I caught speeding - well not that I ever had a chance there, not even that I would ever have taken that chance. Going beyond 40 km/h is a sin, and our Dad taught us well.Not here. Here, I need to be in my best behavior. Alright, the best learnt behavior. On the contrary I could get a ticket for driving too slow.. too slow! My Schumacher speed is 60kmph.

So I opted for the bus. Driti's school starts in September, but with one week - just the two of us, we decided it was time for some day care or pre-schooling activity. She was the person to ask for it. Wow! I do have baby sitting skills! I take her in the bus now and get her back - also in the bus.

The first day in the bus again, was an experience. Did you know the driver does not stop the bus, till you ring the bell. I learnt it the hard way. The driver of our bus stopped about 5 blocks from the bus stop I was to get down. And here I was telling him that he did not stop where he had to stop. "You didn't pull' he said. "Pull what?' I was on the brink of pulling my hair. "The bell, the bell", he said gesturing towards it. Ok. I should pull the bell. So Dri and I walked back to her school trying not to jump any signals. The pedestrian has the right of way. But only when they cross it legally. You just can't look left and right and cross!! :O So we stuck to the rules. Am so glad Driti knows Red is stop, orange is wait and green is go. She tells me, just when I notice there's a great spa around the corner.

So far, so good. We're still sane, and we're going to school and we're learning.

Of Garfield, Suckers and the 'right side'

"Driti, we're going to Seattle! Yaaay!!" "Yaaay, Mamma! Is that where Papa loves me till?"
(For those new, Driti's measures of our love for her - Me - till the Sun, her dad - till Seattle (since he kept traveling there frequently from India),  Grandma - till Alwal and her love for us - well me - is to the moon and back. She loves the moon, so she was ok trading the sun with me).
"Yes Driti, we're going there"
She was very excited that we were moving - well we created it. It was much better to have her look forward to something, rather than have her miss something that she's going to leave behind. We tried to recollect our experiences as 3 year olds- turns out we remember nothing - so we decided it was ok, to paint this picture for the present so we don't have a cranky kid on a 28 hour flight.

We arrived in Seattle, with pickles and photos of family and friends. We figured that these would probably be the most important things we would miss. But we were wrong. We missed Padma .and Pramila the most. Padma- my house maid and Pramila - my cook. And as soon as we rented the car, Ady started missing Purushottam, our car cleaner.

Life's changed drastically. Apart from laboring to the core, and playing the cook, maid, baby sitter - ok - 'the homemaker', we were in for quite a few 'small changes'

As soon as we landed - on 3rd of this month - we were given an apartment to stay in, till our stuff from India reached us. But the apartment was really awesome. Completely furnished- electronics, furniture, linen. Yes - we were ready to move in.
My husband wanted to postpone my cooking as much as possible - so 'we' decided,  to go have a good dinner. Tomorrow was unavoidable - we had to go to the grocery store. We weren't exactly going to be able to afford eating out everyday on forex money, if we were planning to live here long term.

On the way to a Mexican Restaurant -( I was already nostalgic and wanted to eat something spicy although my threshold for spicy food is to the extent of Haldiram's samosa)  we heard somebody scream at us- "Go back to India you freaks!". My worst fears from the sub conscious were coming true. My life flashed before my eyes. Mum, I am sorry for telling you your dal was not as tasty as Paati's. Appa, I am sorry I didn't tell you my math marks in 4th class.... I was just going to turn to Ady and repent for the long list of things I'd done, when I saw him smile and wave at the 'miscreant'.  Who the hell was this guy, and why on earth was my husband waving at him?

It was Henry!!!! Our beloved friend from India, who had relocated back to the US a couple of months ago. Was I glad to see him and the family. Driti immediately jumped into their car from the driver's window, stepping over Henry to hug Sidonie, Henry and Mikaela's daughter. It was a reunion of sorts round the corner. Driti ditched us to go with her friends - as expected.
We had a 'large dinner' that lasted 3 days. (Yes we 'boxed' it).

With help from our friends - on the west and the east side of Seattle - we finally had a stocked kitchen. Now I had no excuse. I HAD TO COOK.

Well, turns out - I hadn't forgotten cooking, although Pramila, Ma and Amma had pampered all of us and spoilt us silly. However, the first dish I cooked - Potato and Onion Curry - alerted the smoke detector. Now, that I've lived the event, I can act as if I knew it was the smoke detector and that I non chalantly, switched the fan on, to disperse the smoke off and resumed my job. But I'd be lying. As soon as the alarm went off, I freaked, expecting the sprinkler to go off any moment. I quickly switched the gas off, picked Driti and rushed out of the house, expecting the house to be flooded. But I guess the detector realized my anxiety in cleaning up after, so it stopped whining.

The best part of this incident however - Driti soon got interested in knowing the ingredients of what I cooked (well maybe she's smart enough to figure she'll have to do the cooking soon, considering her mother's panic attack) - Potato, Onion and garfield - well she loves the cat, and doesn't really care if garlic is different from Garfield.

Soon I learnt - ok Mikaela, Suraj and Ady helped me figure how to use the gadgets - the dishwasher, the oven and the washer. Did you know the door needs to be completely closed for the washer to wash clothes? In India, I used to peep in to see if there's any mischief that the detergent was up to with the machine.

While it's scary and you never know which alarm would go off when -( the previous occupant had set the alarm for 4:00 AM and with all the jet lag - the alarm seemed to have no snooze button at all!), I'm slowly getting the hang of it. It's not that bad, being self sufficient. I can do with learning to read the map, refer to directions based on the earth's axis, rather than the simple old left and right. I just hope I am on the 'right' side of the road and am not 'left' stranded with a ticket.

I also wouldn't mind not reacting like a mad mother, when somebody at the store asks if they could give a 'sucker' to my daughter only to realize sheepishly later, that she was referring to the beloved 'lollipop'!

It's learning all over again - and baby, bring it on!