So we signed the lease today on the aforementioned awesome place! Pictures to follow.
We walked around Lajpat Nagar a bit before the lease signing, and found lots of delightful things: a Caffe Coffee Day (like a way nicer starbucks), a really nice convenience store that sells almost anything we would need day to day, a really cute little gym (for which we bargained down the rate — it was funny because we were trying to ask questions about the agreement, and the woman didn’t understand and thought we were trying to bargain, and then kept throwing in more free stuff and lowering the prices – this seems to be a theme). There is also a good chemist (drugstore) and hospital nearby (like two blocks away).
We went over to sign the lease and were given tea and sweets/snacks. I just love this part of india. You go to have a business meeting, there is tea. You sign a lease, tea. In the west, there is, on one hand, this kind of culture of dependence on caffeine – a sort of desire to show the hectic nature of one’s life through the necessity of consumption of caffeine. There are also times where tea is seen as a relaxing thing, a reason to take a break. In India, tea is just a way of life. Things don’t necessarily move faster or slower, or even change for tea. It’s just seamlessly integrated into everything.
We also met the maid/cook. Our landlord lives downstairs and she works for him, and she is happy to cook and clean for us, too. I must admit, I am very excited about this, because I can practice Hindi with her! Her name is Anita, and she seems really friendly. I spoke a bit in Hindi to her and the realtor today, and am already starting to feel more confident communicating in Hindi. It’s actually sort of a Hindi/Gujarati pidgin right now, but as long as they can understand me, it’s okay for now. At the beginning of this week, half the things I said were in Italian, so as long as I’m not saying va bene and grazie anymore, it’s already progress. On another note, I’ve also noticed that people who don’t speak english understand us better when we speak english in an indian accent. I feel sort of weird doing this, but it actually helps. I may or may not have asked where Seet-tee-benk was.
So we move in Monday. ‘We’ is actually a variety of people — there are three of us moving in right now, but we will all be gone at various times, and other fulbrighters will come and sublet. Sometimes just two of us will be living there, sometimes there could be up to five… it’s all part of the experience, and I think it’s going to be awesome.
Anyway, I am officially a resident of India! Yaaaay! So excited.