Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Passage to India | Part II

Just when I think Elise and I have done the most difficult thing we will ever have to do in our lives, we will tackle an undertaking that is the most difficult thing we have ever done in our lives. When I look back on what we have accomplished in the last two weeks I am stunned and proud.

Two weeks ago today we left our temporary corporate housing apartment in Falls Church, Virginia, a place we had called home for nine months. We piled into a giant black Suburban and drove to Dulles and got on a plane bound for New York City. There, we took three small children into the heart of Manhattan. Elise and Peter ice skated in Bryant Park. Elise starred in a movie. We climbed to the top of the Empire State Building. Saturday night, we got on another plane at JFK and flew to Frankfurt, Germany. We got off the plane, checked into our hotel room, and hopped on the subway--with no knowledge of German--looking for a mall we would find closed on a Sunday night. Instead, we bought the boys McDonald's (Clementine, exhausted, slept in my arms). We walked through a very cold and very windy and almost deserted Frankfurt. Over cobblestones, past church spires, and beneath flocks of ravens.

Finally, we returned to our hotel, miraculously navigating the subway system. There, in anticipation of arriving in a dry Tamil Nadu state, pounded two Warsteiners and ordered brauts and schnitzel room service for Elise and I. The next morning, we boarded our last leg....10 1/2 hours from Frankfurt to Chennai.

Five hours into the flight, Elise leaned over. I had been watching the cinematic release Man of Steel, so I removed my ear buds. "How much longer?" she asked me.

I hesitated to answer. I thought about slipping my ear buds back in and ignoring her query, but she was persistent. I finally answered, "Four and a half hours."

Elise said, "I don't think I'm going to make it."

With our options somewhat limited at that point, we swapped seats. I piled in between the three kids, and Elise sat in front of the two Norwegians who had had two Warsteiners each and two tiny bottles of Finlandia each before we had even ventured out of German air space (If you have to be near two men who are going to get completely schnockered on a flight, I recommend they be Norwegian. These two gents were on their way to watch the World Championship of Chess being held in Chennai).

When we finally landed in India, the sky was hazy and orange. It was almost one in the morning. We emerged from the airport into a cacophony of people, tired, disoriented, and desperate to keep our children close...which was difficult since Peter insisted on pushing one of our carry-ons through the mass of humanity clamoring to carry it on their head for five rupees.

We have been in India for one week, and one blog post cannot possibly capture the breadth of all we have already seen. I am playing catch-up now. Thankfully, it only took one week for our internet hook-up.

I will skip ahead and say that on Thanksgiving morning, we discovered a new coffee shop close to our house, went to look at a used Mahindra Scorpio and almost returned home with as ten-day old kitty, and had a very warm Thanksgiving dinner at my new boss' house. Though beer has been scarce, bottles of Budweiser were available and welcome. Beggars can't be choosers. 

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