Saturday, November 29, 2014

Indian Driving License

Lock up your children and hide your pets, because I can officially drive in India! After many months of waiting (read: procrastinating), I finally applied for and got my "India Driving Licence (Tamilnadu)." I immediately flexed my newfound power by driving to work the rest of the week. 

My first impression of driving in India: Holy Crap! It's a heady mix of terror and exhilaration as you pretty much drive like a maniac and magically everyone around you anticipates your movements and casually drives around you. Don't get me wrong, it's not like there are no road rules. There are obviously tons of them, they're just unspoken... and I don't know them all (yet). For example, in the US you would never make a person going straight stop to let you turn onto the road. Here, there's no need to come to a complete stop before your turn... essentially ever. If that makes traffic stop to let you in, so be it.

Honking has different expectations here also. Motocycles ("two wheelers") regularly honk just to verify that you know they're there. With lanes being a fluid concept here, it makes sense that the 'little guys' are the most vocal. The cacophany of horns is a little confusing at first, but makes sense pretty quickly. Flashing your brights here means the opposite of what it does in the US, which was also confusing for me at first. It essentially means, "I'M GOING FOR IT!"

Writing about driving in India always makes it sound so bad, but honestly it's not. After five months in country, I have yet to see an accident! I'm told they're mostly caused by trucks and buses, generally at night, and in less urban areas. That makes total sense to me, because traffic does not move quickly here. I almost exclusively drive in first or second gear, and I rarely have the occasion to make it all the way up to third.

It's strangely liberating to be able to drive again... next challenge: getting gas!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Jury Duty

I imagine it's pretty rare to be super excited when you get a summons to jury duty. Don't get me wrong, jury duty is an integral part of our legal system and it is a civic duty to participate. I mean, if I am ever on trial, I know I'd like to have people like me on the jury. That being said, it's super unexciting to get summoned while overseas. Supposedly you can file for exemption... which I did and was denied. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday and massive time difference between India and my home state, I got to spend several stress-filled days thinking I'd have to book super expensive flights home. Fortunately, my denial was just a misunderstanding and I ended up being released from the committment, at least as long as I'm living overseas. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Why We Skype

"This is why
Why we Skype
Why we stay up late
And this is why
This is why we Skype"

It might sound weird, but since we moved half way around the world, we actually seem to talk to our families (via FaceTime and Skype) more frequently than when we lived in the same time zone. That being said, we've come to realize something. Other than our parents, everyone wanting to Skype with us has an ulterior motive. Engagements and pregnancies seem to be the prime suspects. Don't get me wrong, we're flattered that people want to tell us and that they're willing to go through the effort of arranging a 'face-to-face' meeting. Of course, at first we thought they just missed our charming personalities and wanted to hear about India from the horse's mouth. Maybe I'm just underestimating the awesomeness of my blogging, but apparently that's all people need! :-D

The song has nothing to do with this post, but I like it, and writing a post named "Why We Skype" got it stuck in my head. 

PS: The video only plays in the US, sorry people elsewhere. You'll just have to go buy the album or something!