Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas from India

T'was the night before Christmas
When all through the house

Not a light bulb was shining
Not even a [computer] mouse

The appliances all sat
With their power not on
In hopes that GSO
Soon would be anon

The child was nestled
All safe on a chair
While shadows from flashlights
Danced here and there

Uuuuh, this is getting hard to maintain... so...

But I heard them [GSO] exclaim
As out of sight they were driving
Happy Christmas to all
And we'll be back in the morning

Ok that was pretty strained. It seemed easier in my head when I was driving home from work. Anyway, it's our first Christmas in the Foreign Service, and on paper it was pretty lousy. In reality, it was quite pleasant, TAKE THAT PAPER; you're always lying to us!

I should start from the beginning, and I'll recap at the end. So we have some family visiting and after 5 days of traveling (standby, and being bumped from flights several times), they arrived at our house at around 2:30 AM on Christmas Eve. I had an extra long day at work, but an hour or two before leaving I got a frantic call from our housekeeper saying that one of the AC units was smoking and she'd turned it off. Thinking she'd done well, but might have been overreacting a little, I planned to submit a request to GSO that it be repaired, and just not use it for few days. (One missing air conditioner is not really a big deal when you have 7 in the house, and we were coming up on several holiday days.) Shortly there after I got a call from my wife... Apparently the AC unit had caught fire and my housekeeper had turned off all the power to our entire house. This seemed a little more serious, so I called GSO to have them look into it immediately (yes... fires are always an emergency). When the maintenance guy got to the house, he attempted to turn the power back on. Approximately half of the house stayed dark, and the light bulbs from the other half started making popping sounds and turning off. (Hooray?) He quickly turned the power back off and had the landlord call an electrician. Long story (a little) short(er), the electrician left with one AC unit and most of our lights working. However, our refrigerator and microwave were not so lucky. We moved most of our chilled goods to the freezer (separate unit, still working) and the rest to our upstairs neighbor's refrigerator. The GSO guys came the next day (Christmas), conveniently arriving shortly after we finished opening presents to continue repairs.

To recap, my Christmas eve was a sleep deprived work day, with overtime, where my house caught on fire, our power was out for several hours, our refrigerator and microwave broke, and we had only one AC unit to cool the house, all while having guests from the States. Sounds pretty bad, right? Well... not so much.

The positive side. We had several people (even the CG) offer to let us stay at their house if needed. We had upstairs neighbors who could store our food and let us heat up meals. Christmas day we had (previously arranged) plans to be at a friends house. The GSO folks were fantastic: they came quickly, fixed as much as they could, and had no issues with coming again on the holiday day to continue working. Best of all? I don't have to pay for any of this. Having just gotten rid of my old house, I can truly appreciate how lucky I am to not have to replace every major appliance in my house... as well as paying electricians overtime (and/or holiday pay) to come fix the faulty wiring in my house.

We've been jokingly saying "Welcome to India" or "Welcome to the Foreign Service," but honestly we still had a great Christmas. We opened presents (most of which were shipped half way around the world by our family), we spent the day with friends, and had good food. We're quite lucky; many of the locals here would have never had any of these problems, since they live everyday without air conditioners, refrigeration, or even power.

Merry Christmas!

No comments:

Post a Comment