Friday, June 21, 2013

It's all relative......

Simon had his annual check up recently - it appears all is functioning as it should but his BMI was interesting!

He has been going to the gym, biking and playing some tennis so is in reasonably good shape. The normal stats for height and weight were taken and his BMI (body mass index), an absolute result calculated.  Of course one number is of no use unless we have a norm and percentiles to help put it in context. Apparently Simon's BMI means very different things in different parts of the world.

In the US it would imply he is underweight and a little skinny, in the UK he would be Mr Average and in India almost positively obese.

We thought we opt for the middle ground, relish our Britishness and go for the average interpretation.

As well as weight, there are many size anomalies inter-continent. Some are expected like westerners on average being taller and having bigger feet. But in clothes sizes from being a small in the US, a medium in the UK, I am a large in India. Not so good for ones self esteem!

However even eye size it appears is different. A friend was needing to buy new eye glasses in India. Apparently his were going to be more expensive than the norm as the western eye is wider than the Asian and hence frames and lenses had to be imported and hence re expensive. I'm not convinced!

Friday, June 7, 2013

A long week...and my wuthering withered!

The last week of school before the long summer break should have included a last long lazy lunch or two.......nah!

Ads had the last half of his exams which one would think meant he was relatively obscure and below the radar. No - it just seem to mean there were more of him. On four days of the week he had one exam - from 9.15am for two hours, then he comes home with a couple of buddies. Apparently they did a lot of revision at school and not much more is required (fact that is borne out by the results Adam has to date). Multiple teenagers in the house seems to mean, for me, higher demands on the kitchen (or my wallet if I send them out to eat) and limited access to the computer. Not to mention the disruption to the day of Ads having to be picked up. Tho' for a variety of reasons......I'm getting to them...... on days the car didn't get to school the informal car pool worked very efficiently. Several drivers and cars would role up to Indus post exams and seemingly randomly all carless kids would pile in one going roughly in their direction and return home. Doesn't require any planning or arrangements by parents. Worst case scenario kid stays at school and gets the bus home at 4.00pm as usual, having sat and studied (oh yeah) for the remainder of the day.

And Wills, well he had two days off sick and two nights of keeping me up! He's very stoic when he's sick, and is tuned-in enough with his body to drag it to the bathroom when required. But he likes company, especially in the dark of night! Anyway as he does he bounced back very quick and could easily have gone to school on day 2 - benefit of hindsight!!

And then the car. We seem to have a very high incidence of slow punctures, which necessitate trips to the repair shop and also to the gas station to check and replenish the air in the tires. At one such "air" stop mid week, Purander left the driver door slightly open while tipping the air filler guy and a truck passing far too close tried to take the car door with it. It failed in the attempt but thoroughly mangled the door in the process. Car towed to repair shop and Simon now also home to work.

So even more calls on the kitchen, less access to the computer and everyone is home. So the chance of that last, long, lazy lunch has now totally dissipated and we are without transport.

Come in EasyCabs. Or maybe not. Booking system is all online. Text arrives immediately post booking to confirm (wrong word), to acknowledge booking has been received. An hour or so before scheduled arrival of cab another text arrives giving car registration and drivers phone number. All straight forward????

First cab of the day is to take the recovered Wills to school for his student led parent teacher meeting and pick up his portfolio (binder of highlights of second grade) and other books. Cab is 30 minutes late but as that was anticipated and already factored in we arrive on time.

Second cab of the day is to take poor Ads on the last day of 8th grade, after his last exam away from his buddies and to the orthodontist. No text arrives from Easy -in theory - Cabs confirming driver and cab. I call up. It appears my reservation was for June 7th, 2015 which is apparently all my inputting error. Very interesting as the only options on the online booking form are for "today" or "tomorrow" I am told all too easily and quickly that they will sort it and I will receive confirmation text in two minutes. A text does indeed appear -

 "Dear customer, due to non-availability of the cabs in your area we cannot process your booking, we apologize for the inconvenience caused"

Another phone call, to Easy-not at all-Cabs, me getting increasingly snooty and person at other end essentially saying tough but no resultant cab.

Ads and I get a rick in the rain and rattle our way to the orthodontist. I've now got this auto rick thing a little more organized and I know my away around town a lot better than previously.  I agree up front that the rick will wait for us outside the dentist and will bring us home.  If at anytime the rick driver seems to be deviating from what I think is the correct route or is looking hither and thither in a sort of confused fashion I ask him to pull over, dial Purander and give phone to the rick driver and after a few minutes of hindi or kannada, we are back on the straight and narrow.

But the saddest thing that happened this week was without doubt the demise of my Wuthering. The last step of our move was the unpacking and sorting of the bookcases. We seem destined to always have more books than shelves. I donated so many books before we moved to India and it's seriously one of the hardest, slowest and most pathetic part of the moving process for me. I hate getting rid of them. We have less bookshelves here than we did in the US as our CA house has built ins to complement our portable ones. I really can't get rid of any of Ads' vaste collection as Wills will hopefully, one day, read them all. Simon insists on keeping some very dull, exceedingly complex, not very well thumbed, looking nuclear physics editions from his college days so it seems to be my collection that takes the fall.

Ads and Simon have totally gone digital - kindles and iPads. Me, they give me a migraine and I love rereading my old friends. However good the book, Simon will not read it if the available version is only on paper.

My Wuthering Heights, first read in maybe 9th grade, when I first fell in love with Heathcliff, and then reread at least once a year since has disintegrated, withered and died. This last move was the final straw. It was an old copy of my mothers, price in shillings and pence on the font cover, pages yellowed, covered in scribbles, underlinings and exclamations. I knew its days were numbered but even so I wasn't ready to say goodbye and consign it to the trash.

I adored the rugged Heathcliff and despised the wussy Edgar Linton. I loved the wild and windy Yorkshire moors. The book appealed to that so very deep buried rebellious dangerous side of me, that has never come anywhere near the surface, the side that wanted to be a pirate when I grew up (never a nurse or a ballet dancer) and still has a bit of a Captain Jack thing going. I have read biographies of all the Brontes, visited Haworth, seen the parsonage where that amazing family grew up, and sat and dreamed of Cathy and Heathcliff running wild and unfettered on the moors.

The quotes I remember still....the most worn pages of my deceased book, the pages that gave up and dropped out first

"My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff!"

 "My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff's miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it.—My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary"

I"ve always hankered after my own leather bound Wuthering and  -maybe now is the time...............

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Did Ads miss a mark of passage or did I?

Eighth grade graduation or promotion - not sure what the correct technical term is. What was Ads' middle school when we left the US has just held both a dance and a ceremony to celebrate the transition from Junior High to High School. Bit like a High School prom and graduation but slightly smaller scale. On Facebook I saw pictures of the decorated hall - (and ladies you did a great job), the kids, boys and girls, looking so grown up and so handsome/beautiful respectively, ready for what I'm sure was a night to remember. Then for the ceremony, all looking equally smart and very proud clutching their certificates in more pictures for the family album.

If we'd have been back in the US, we would have been there and Ads would have been in some of the group pics I have seen.

Here, at Indus, no such mark of passage. Ads moves from grade 8 to grade 9 with no festivities and minimal fuss. Next year his base camp/home room will I believe be in the same MYP block where he currently hangs out, altho' for some subjects he will walk over to the very big kids block. He will wear the same uniform, catch the same bus, have classes with most of the same friends and have the same haircut restrictions!! He is in the process of choosing his IGCSE subjects and is aware that life will academically get more serious from August. But on the whole not much change.

We looked at the pics of his friends ready for the junior prom and at their 8th grade graduation ceremony. Did he feel he had missed appears not. Does he think progression to 9th grade and High School is a big deal.....apparently not.

For me, I will be the Mom of a high schooler, a kid who has maybe 4 years left at home, will be 14 in a few months, is about to take a second trip to another continent hans solo..........yes I think I missed a mark of passage!! Maybe I should stick up some balloons, throw my own smart party, and celebrate the transition.........but I think Ads would prefer just to hang with friends and pizza.

{As a side note - at Indus they do have a prom for high school graduation....and it is quite a do.......but this is soooooo Indus. First notification -  prom for the class of 2013 will follow a James Bond theme. Second notification  -  girls dress restrictions. Like any Bond girl has ever been modestly attired!!!}

So I will wait for the High School Graduation for the class of 2017 which I'm sure will come far too quickly!! In the meantime there are always the pics of Ads and Pranav from Kindergarten graduation!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

A day by the pool!

Our third Indus PYP swim meet. Deliberated whether to blog or not to blog about Wills getting a fist full of medals. Decided as sport is where he gets his moments of glory I would.

In support of Wills, I will say he seems pretty non-plused with victory and is always happy for those (or  in most races the one) who come in quicker and faster than him. He seems to think the winner takes all approach is fair as he doesn't get honors for either academics or angelic behavior at school so if he deserves it why not take it for sports.

So Wills my little frog......well done!!

On the podium with his buddies. Blonde Michael, who does have a bit of a Phelps thing going swept the board taking all the golds Wills got several silvers and a bronze.

Diving has come on since last year, with some pretty clean entries into the water.

 This is my fav pic of the day, nothing to do with swimming but listening to one of the Dads telling a boy joke (i.e. plenty of potty references!!)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Gold dust........

Bangers is home to a very active market in expat gold dust. Those exotic treasures which to those some way from home are so valuable. Items which maybe common place in our homelands but are not readily available in Bangers. For different folks from different parts of the world these treasures are vastly different - different shades of gold dust!

When we first arrived here I decided I would avoid panning for gold and make do with what was on the shelves. If it wasn't in Hypercity we would do without. However, I have mellowed on this front. I do now go further afield to buy specific food stuffs and do keep my eyes and ears open for gold dust.

This time of year, as the school year draws to a close, many folks are packing up to return to their native land or are off to another overseas assignment, to pastures new. Many of these folks have things to sell - be it surplus foodstuffs imported during their time in Bangers or household items bought here and not needed back home (surge protectors being a big one!!).  So the OWC yahoo group and housing community web portals are loaded with for sale notices. Some folks give stuff away for free, others sell at cost and some are in to make a few bucks. You'd be surprised at the market cost of western brand diapers, especially swim diapers, in the expat new - moms market!! and as for Capol or Tylenol - liquid gold indeed!

Anyway yesterday I spotted real gold dust at a good price......chocolate chips - not any chocolate chips but real Ghiradelli ones. I responded by text immediately and today walked to another Ozone villa to collect my prize!!

I like to cook but am not really a baker. In the US we usually bought our cookies or at least a pre-prepared cookie mix. I imagined on arrival here my kids being half English could switch happily to McVities chocolate digestives......but no, they miss their gooey, thick chocolate chip cookies. Although they never really took to American Hershey's, as I have always managed to persuade them that Cadburys rule, Ads has had too many visits to Ghiradelli's in San Francisco and is partial to their chocs.

 So I am now the proud owner of one huge bag of choc chips and one nearly full bag........yep....there was an immediate demand for cookies!!

Keeping my eyes and ears open for more sparkles of gold.....................