viernes, 26 de septiembre de 2014

Lost in Translation

Between coli karai [don't mind the spelling] and ulavar chandei, I am learning Tamil, ha ha ha!!

Coli karai is like a shop where you go to buy your fresh chicken, like really fresh. You can pick it and they kill it for you. Not in front of you, of course. I guess, haven't gone yet. Watching that, tough, would be sweet. It would bring back memories of how I killed some rats doing research back in college. 

Ulavar chandei is the place you buy fruits and vegetables. Also, people don't look at me weird anymore, or maybe it's just my perception on things... I feel more relaxed. I can also run in the mornings, but I don't go to the beach as often as I would like because nobody likes going to the beach other than me. Emerson complained all the way back home the last time we went. The only time we have gone actually. Libby and Enzo don't like it either. I don't know what they expect. You go to the beach, you get dirty. But Emerson says he doesn't like the feeling of sand attached to your whole body, and you are sticky and itchy... so anyway, I just go in the mornings when I'm running to see it, and I run on a dirt road very close to it :)

Ready to hang clothes upstairs

So my neighbor Sugirda called today to ask me if it was okay if she could send Nikil upstairs to play with the children, since school had a holiday. I said okay. So I had three children 4 and younger for two hours. Surprisingly, there were no fights, no pushing, and no hitting. Libby and Enzo shared toys, and I was even able to cook... Thank you, Thomas and Friends!!

They watched the show for an hour, and then after that they made puzzles, and played with little toys here and there. Nikil is a sweet boy. He speaks English, but most of the time I don't know what he is saying. Nevertheless, he is nice to have around, especially because I can monitor how he treats my children. He is kind and a good friend, so I don't really mind having him over. And he will be at Libby and Enzo's school, so they might see each other some times ;)

My sweet boy :)

Also, Kannadasan is teaching me some Tamil. Words here and there, but today I began actually writing them on a notebook that I bought specifically for that. And I'm taking care of the groceries budget with cash this time. I think that in Houston I was supposed to take care of it, but I used to pay with the card. I spent more money than the amount I was supposed to spend every single week/month. I want to think that with cash that won't happen. Emerson has warned me... plus it is nice that I'm using cash because I am learning how a budget works in actual life, which I knew in theory, right? But the one who does the budget on excel is Emerson soI need to learn, too.

Life goes by slowly here. I don't have a lot of friends. The ladies I know who speak English, and that I can relate to since they have children, work. So it's not like we can have playdates. The other ladies that I'd like to hang out with and interact with during the day are the maids of the neighbors. Some times they take breaks, and they all sit down, and chat - in Tamil. I was helping them clean garlic the other day, and even though I try to talk, there is no way on earth I will be able to understand what they say. So we all talk like we understand each other, but we don't. It's really funny.

Not that I don't have options...

At first, I was madam, then I was ma'am. Then I told them to call me Karla. So now Pachamal yells when she sees me getting into the building. Aama!! Karla ma! And I go and sit down with her. The other day I gave her some olive oil because she asked for it. Somehow she understood that I told her to take it every day to loose weight, when what I was trying to say was that olive oil is good for cooking and yes, some people take a teaspoon every day. I also told her she needed to exercise to loose weight, and stop eating a lot of vegetable oil. She said I had thinned down since I got here, which cannot be true because she gives me food all the time, and tea with a lot of sugar. All this because the neighbor was able to translate for us.

So I went down to give her the olive oil she wanted, and she asked me how much she owed me, and I said it was free, that it was a gift. Then I changed my mind, and asked her for a tea. Ramia, her 13 year old granddaughter had to make it, of course. We sat down, and chatted for like 15 minutes. And the mosquitos ate my legs and feet :(  She also told me she doesn't like my food because it's not spicy, so fine. I'm not bringing her more of my almost Indian food, but I made her brownies with ice cream. Sometimes when I come back from running she has tea already made for me. And after running 8 miles without food in your stomach because you heard you son getting up, and you left the house as fast as you could, a tea with a lot of sugar is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

Daddy's shoe shine

Pachamal and Subraien (her husband), and Ramia and Kannadasan, they carry my children sometimes. And in a way they help. We went to the RTO the other day to get our driver's licenses. Kannadsan asked me if I needed his help. I told him no, that he could wait in the car. I mean, I had my husband, the tablet and the cellphone to entertain my little beasts. Emerson was taking care of everything, but really, all we needed to do was wait. Literally, as soon as we got upstairs, and I was sitting my children down on a bench, I looked up and there is Kannadasan with arms folded, standing still and very straight behind my children, like their body guard. I just laughed to myself, and thought, "Ok... never mind what I said."

After BSF on Tuesday we were at the restaurant we used to eat when we were living at the hotel, and Kannadasan was also eating inside, but I hadn't noticed. Then Libby tells me she needs to go pee, and there is no bathroom. So I get out, and Kannadasan asks me if I need the car, and I'm like Duh!, but then change my mind and took Libby out. I left Enzo with him for two minutes. When I come in again, Enzo is covered in ketchup eating Kannadasan's croissant. And I'm telling Enzo off for eating Kannadasan's food, but both are happy. One eating the food, and the other keeps on giving his food to my child, which I didn't mind. Actually Kannadasan laughed and in very good English, he said, "It's okay, ma'am."  

Cell foam

We left the table so Kannadasan could have time for himself without my children around, and I saw him ordering another croissant. So those things... Pacchamal making me tea, and bringing me dosas and puris, and super spicy food; Monjur asking me if Kannadasan's good (he is Monjur's husband's little brother); Monjur opening for me a can of cherries with a big-butt knife because madam doesn't have a can opener (apparently nobody knows what they are, I cannot find one at the stores)...

I do have friends. I do have people to care for, and who care for me. I want to believe they care. I repeat: I do have friends. I just cannot communicate with them most of the time, LOL!!

But it's okay. God, MY God, goes beyond language barriers. Being kind, and compassionate, and loving towards people translates into any language :)

Stay tuned... I bought my first saree today.

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