Night on the town

We knew that our social activities would likely decrease when we moved to Bangalore. For starters, there are no Senators games to attend, no hockey or baseball to play, no weekly #ThursPintsW tweetup, and we really didn’t know anyone to visit when we moved here. One of the biggest hurdles though, is the loss of our babysitting safety net. We no longer have family and friends that we can call on mind the lils, and there is no pool of teenaged children like we had at home. There are a number of nannies available for hire, but we don’t want a nanny, just an occasional babysitter. To prepare myself for this reality, I spent the weeks leading up to the move telling myself that we would not be going out at all while we were here. Just in case.

We haven’t gone out at all in the six weeks since we arrived when I got an email that made me pause. It was from an ex-pat group that I joined and it spoke of a Christmas dinner, the clincher for both of us was that it included the line “there will also be greatly discounted imported wines for purchase on the night” Sold. It was time to find a babysitter.

We briefly joked about asking our friend Carpet, who is staying with us this right now as part of his 8-week world tour, to mind the lils. We really wanted him to come with us, so we talked to our maid. Sheela is great with the lils, and had minded them for short periods while I was setting up the house. It had been our plan to try her out as a regular sitter and this was the perfect opportunity. She said yes, the lils were excited, and we were off!

The evening got off to a rocky start, with it taking Carpet and I almost two hours to get from our house to the restaurant, picking Willy up on the way. It was two hours to travel a distance of nineteen kilometres! Picking Willy up did not add to that time, he met us at the side of the road on the route we had to take. It was all Bangalore traffic! We arrived at the restaurant ready for a glass of wine. We were handed that wine as we walked in, and spent the rest of the evening meeting a few new people, eating delicious food and indulging in copious amounts of the wine. Carpet even won the door prize, a GC for a local restaurant, which he handed to me. We left pretty happy, albeit wineless (their supplier backed out). This needs to happen again, and soon.

I think I like this wine club.



Wordless Wednesday – Lal Bagh Gardens

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The famous Woo

When the lils started school, it was Woo that I worried about.  They were both leaving a very loving and comfortable group, moving to a school where they knew no one.  it was going to be an adjustment for both, but I  thought that Goose would be OK.  She is at an age where she still just floats around.  No one wants to play with her?  She plays alone.  She doesn’t want to play with anyone?  She just sits and watches.  It’s a good age.  Woo, on the other hand, is right where friendship starts to matter.  School aged lils start to notice when the others embrace or reject them, I didn’t know what was going to happen, so I fretted.

It turned out that I did have some concerns with Goosie.  She had a really hard time being away from her brother for the first time ever.  Everyday of the first week of school, she came home and said “no friends today” in this sad little voice.  She started to have problems with drop off, and really didn’t like school for a short time.  We focused our energy on helping her adjust and I stopped worrying about Woo, for the most part.

That is not to say that there weren’t the occasional things that made me raise an eyebrow about Woo’s days.  Times like when he came home and told me about the girl who told him she would only be his friend when no one else was there; the day I saw a boy trying really hard to push him down as they walked up the lane towards me; when he complains that they are the ONLY KIDS IN THE WORLD who have to have a quiet time at home; or when he reported that the teachers had given him the “secret job” of telling when other lils throw toys (because those kids are always the most popular).  Nothing serious, just little things that I watched.

This week it has become clear that things are going well. Woo has one little friend that he is really tight with, a very sweet little boy.  Each day when we arrive, different children either yell hello to him from the second floor balcony of the classroom, or gather excitedly to him in the classroom.  He gleefully tells us of all the friends that he plays with each day.  The teachers all seem to love him, telling me what a kind and considerate boy he is, and many of the parents know him by name as we pass by them.  Then yesterday one of the moms, after being introduced to him, said “Oh! So this is the famous Woo!” I think he is going to be just fine. Although I am a little worried about just what he is famous for…



O Christmas Tree

This past Saturday we set off on one our our favourite holiday traditions, the family search for our Christmas tree. I have always loved getting the tree, and some of my favourite Christmas memories are of getting trees with my family as a child. Willy and I have continued the tradition of decorating real trees, and have historically taken the family to precut tree lots. Had we been in Canada this year, we were going to go to a “cut your own lot” for a new twist!

Being new to Bangalore, I didn’t really know where to look for trees. I wasn’t even sure that there would be Christmas trees of any sort available, given that the population is very much non-christian. Happily, there are a number of decorations in the stores, including some fake trees. We were more interested in a little tree that would be kept (alive) in a pot and available for planting at a later date, so we started looking at alternatives to traditional pines. Tops of my list were either a Christmas hibiscus, or a Christmas palm tree. We found what was reported to be a large nursery and set off.

The nursery was actually in the middle of Lal Bagh Gardens, a massive and beautiful park just south of the downtown core. We spent a couple of hours wandering around admiring the trees, flowers, and wildlife. It really is an amazing park that I want to go visit some more. It was about an hour from our house, but we packed a picnic lunch and had a nice time.

The visit concluded with a trip to the nursery. We had two tired lils, but the promise of a Christmas tree perked them up, and soon they were running around and goofing off among the plants. After our first pass, we found some flimsy palms, and no hibiscus trees. I wasn’t sure the palms were going to cut it, so I wandered a little deeper, and found the perfect little tree! It’s about four feet tall, and a smidge Charlie Brown. It has soft, short needles, and branches that will be strong enough to hold whatever we come up with for ornaments. It is a pine, but a more tropical type of pine, one that is seen growing in some places in Bangalore, including one on our street! Near as I can tell, it is a “Cook Pine”, also known as the Christmas tree pine. Fitting.

The lils loved it so much that we needed to get them each smaller versions. So we now have three trees, ready for some decorating. They aren’t quite the tropical tree that I envisioned, but the will do just fine!


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The big countdown

This is the first time that I will have ever spent Christmas outside of Canada, let alone in the tropics. Sure, I have gone south just before and just after Christmas, but this is different. This is the entire Christmas season away from home. I admit that December has snuck up on me somewhat, though I am pretty excited that it is finally here. Not only does this month bring a PILE of family birthdays (mine included!), it brings Christmas too!

It is pretty important to me that the lils experience of India doesn’t leave them feeling like they are missing out, so I have tried to bring traditions with us. One of these traditions it pretty new to us, and it’s all thanks to Andrea from a peek inside the fishbowl. This is the second year that we will be celebrating the countdown to Christmas with a month full of family friendly, holiday themed activities!! Andrea’s family has been doing this for a number of years (though they scaled it back this year), and this is our second year. The idea is a twist on the modern tradition of candy or toy filled advent calendars. I loved the idea as soon as I read the post, and knew that we had to do it. We loved doing it last year.

Given that December snuck up on me, I am the first to admit that we don’t have a full list written out. Part of this is because a number of my items from last year required either snow or more than an insignificant portion of the population actually celebrating Christmas, and the rest is because that is how I role. we did get our first day’s activity in, writing letters to Santa. Well I wrote what the lils dictated. Woo went first, followed by Goose, and here is what they gave me, word for word, with no prompting:

Now we just have to figure out how to get these to Santa in time for the big day!


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