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Saturday, August 27, 2011


Everything needs maintenance.   Cars, appliances, skin, hair, friendships, marriages etc...require fine tuning occasionally to keep them running smoothly or to repair a minor ding, zit or misunderstanding.    Women generally have a long list of maintenance activities, normally referred to as grooming.   Somehow no matter how busy I seem to be, I manage to have manicured nails and toes, a good mix of highlights and plenty of mascara on.    I have started to think about the other parts of me that need maintenance - some more than others.   Keeping up on my relationships while I am 8,000 miles away from home proves to be challenging as I am normally ready to collapse from my day when it's time for a phone call home.   Blogging helps, posting pictures on facebook is another easy way to be connected.    All these items become "to dos" for me necessary for keeping myself presentable and on acceptable terms to those around me.   I have realized lately that I have neglected the upkeep of myself in a few ways:  exercise and hobbies.   As Doug says, I need to give myself time to re-create with some recreation (what a wise guy).    I am making some goals for year 2 in India and one of them will be at least 15 min a day of something non-work related (which includes home and kids).   A walk with the dog, reading a new book, jumping on the treadmill, sun salutations or meditation seem like manageable ways to re-create.   I will keep you posted and am hoping this puts more time and energy in my day.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Many people have a work side and a personal side to them.   Behaviors displayed by their friends and family may not bother them as much as a colleague who does something strange in the office or vice versa.   I have developed an Indian side.   I am pretty such the same at work and at home, and thank you to my family for allowing me to program manage our life, ask for collaboration during long plane flights and keep things BAU (business as usual) when I leave them home alone.    For my colleagues, please find some solace in the fact that my husband gets just as many emails and SMSs as I send to you and he also is required to produce status on any number of open items.  It sounds crazy but it works for us. 

A couple of things have happened over the last 4 months that are proof of my transformation since coming to India.    When shopping at Hyper City (our local version of Super Target or Wal-Mart) on a weekday, we approached the seemingly endless row of checkout stations.  Out of the thirty possible lanes, only one was working and the queue was 10 deep.  To the left of the only working register several employees were chatting avoiding eye contact with any customers.    Doug and Javeed were pushing the cart along the bank of registers aimlessly hoping someone would come to their rescue.   Not me.    I approached the gaggle of employees and in my loudest voice without yelling asked "Why am I waiting, are you on a break? I am a customer, get a register open for me."    All this while typing away on my iPhone.    A minute later, the manager looking person called "Madam Madam" and I was in a checkout line.   Doug and Javeed admitted after the checkout, they both looked at each other wondering who the crazy lady was yelling in the store; they were shocked to see it was me.

Schmitts in Rome at the Pantheon
Fast forward to Rome. I am frequently approached by street vendors in India either while walking or sitting in my car at a traffic stop.    I  have developed a smooth hand flick that let's them know I am not interested.    In Rome we were bombarded with street vendors offering glow in the dark toys, replicas of the Colosseum and fake Gucci bags.   One evening near the Spanish Steps, a persistent vendor kept offering me roses.   I directly told him to go away and gave him the hand flick.    Our friends from Michigan, the Zaks, were traveling with us and they were mortified that I would treat someone that way.    They felt so bad for the vendor they almost bought the rose.    Doug explained that this India Becky.    The rest of the trip I was reminded to be nice as this is Italy and people are not begging but actually working selling things.    It took me about a week to revert back to my regular nice Mid-western self but only about 30 minutes of being back in Bangalore to bring back the attitude.

I think I can give Sybil a run for her money.  Here is the link if the reference is obscure