Sunday, September 5, 2010

By popular demand:

It was a hit on facebook, and now it's come to our Blog, by popular demand! Here it is, folks: Our Refrigerator!

Recently, we've also witnessed a small, red car backing up to the tune of "Love me Tender"--the wonders never cease!

And many, many months later...

Okay, so I haven't been diligent about the blogging thing. I have traveled 18 hours by air across oceans and continents, found myself in an entirely new RL social network, spent 1.5 weeks without my husband, and 1.5 in a strange city in a hotel, spent four days wondering if my cats were surviving on an airplane, and started an amazing and busy new job in a completely tangential direction to any that my university studies could have predicted. Hello world! The Harveys are here.

We touched down in Mumbai on July 16th at 2am, from where our "social sponsor" (thank you, Mike!) drove us to beds. That's all we saw at the time--beds. When we woke up at 6 in the morning and headed in to work (what?!), we noticed a few things about our new home: first, it's humongous! We could live comfortably in half of this apartment. Second, the view is, um, interesting, to put it delicately. We were expecting a dirty Mumbai, certainly--even a smelly city; our 12 story building, though is flanked by three story structures that look as if they've been through about thirty monsoon seasons without having any attention paid to the facade. They look sturdy enough--although I'm a bit wary of the wiring going into some of them--they are simply not maintained. Some of them have tarp coverings to serve as a "temporary" roof or outer wall; others are being built upon--as in, the existing structure is going to have another, much taller structure sitting right on top of it. One building even has a tenant who lives, bathes, eats, and sleeps on the roof.

So, our first impressions of India were kind of shock and awe. But, that hasn't dampened our spirits any. Something else that we noticed on that first day in Mumbai was the color, the energy and excitement, and the vibrancy of the people here. The children can be heard outside our building playing cricket from dawn until dark every weekend; the fruit and veggie wallahs sing to one another from the trucks as they set up their stands in the mornings; the rickshaws play their cacophony of beeps as they wend through the cars and bullock carts on the street; when you turn a corner on a side street, you may accidentally step into a religious ceremony, with alien music and beautifully ornate clothing. Living here is like living on another, wonderfully strange, planet. That may sound cliche, but it's only because there is no way in the English language to adequately express this experience.

I do think that I've found a way to understand Mumbai just a touch better, for my own sanity's sake. It's a bit like looking at one of those optical illusions--you know: you look once and it's a chalice, you look again and it's two faces, staring at each other. For the city, you look once and you see this burgeoning metropolis with skyscrapers, a thriving nightlife, amazing shopping, a rich history, and all of the amenities that you can ask for (if you happen to have the means). When you look again you see a country whose infrastructure is still struggling to arise from third world status, homelessness and poverty that few other nations can compare with, traffic with no real system of control, and which struggles to meet basic needs of its populations, such as safe drinking water and clean common areas. It is amazing, and I'm so happy to be living here for the next couple of years, but I also see such need, and hope that I can be of just a little service to this amazing country while I am here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

We have arrived.

We wanted to let friends and family know that we've arrived safely, and we are settling into our new apartment. We love it. The kittehs are quite curious about the new digs. They aren't used to traveling, so we had to semi-sedate them; I'm not sure if they are entirely lucid yet.

Our "unaccompanied air baggage" (those items that were sent here by air for our stay in Falls Church) has miraculously already arrived in town and will be delivered to the apartment on Monday. As we were unpacking the car, I was amused by the particular items we felt that we couldn't live without for a few days: my Kitchen Aid, both of our laptops, my Peanuts wall calendar, allergy medication, five of my favorite books, and a bottle of Marie Sharp's Habeñero sauce. I would've also packed all of my art supplies, at least one whole box of books, and all of my shoes if Ryan had not talked me out of it--I'm sure the cats would've been perfectly happy on the roof of the car, but I suppose I can hold out until tomorrow on those items. Ryan only packed clothes and a laptop. I suppose that makes me high maintenance? I'm happy to be so.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


We're completely moved out of our old home (b'bye beautiful house), and are technically homeless until Saturday. The excitement of moving into our new place in DC is diminished a bit by all of the sad goodbyes. Although we know we'll be seeing everyone again, it's always a bit harder to leave not knowing when that next meeting will be. We are both exhausted from the pack-out and all of the business of moving, and I don't expect to have the energy for blogging again until Ryan's new position has begun. Happy trails!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


So, these were our fortune cookies from dinner the other day. We thought they were appropriate.

I've discovered that I'm not allowed to pre-pack anything before moving day, which makes the next five weeks a bit more complicated. Now, I find myself trying to get rid of all of the things we won't be keeping without first packing all of the things we will. It's a bit of a pain, but I'll get over it.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Giving away our old life.

First things come first in getting ready for our new life; we have to downsize from all of our humongous furniture to pretty much nothing at all. We don't want to store any of our furniture, so we are giving these pieces to whomever raises their hand first. If you are interested in any of this furniture and you live in the Boone/West Jefferson/Jefferson area of NC, feel free to contact us. You will need to pick up these items at our house, as we have no truck to transport in. So goes the list:

Bedroom suite: Bedframe, headboard, and footboard; Dresser w/mirror; Chest of drawers. All of these pieces are in well-used condition with multiple cat scratches, but no real structural damage. They would make a good refinishing project. We bought these as a set eight years ago, and would like for them to stay together, but if no one asks for all three, we may consider dividing them.

Folding love-seat/futon: Very small, very thin cushion, might be ideal for a dorm room or college apartment. Cushion could use re-upholstering. We got this at the re-store, and heaven only knows how old it is.

Retro rocking chair: I love this chair; it's a cushy, orange, retro-patterned armchair rocker. I'm sure it was made in the 70s, but it is in great condition. There will be tears when parting with this.

Sectional couch with ottoman: We bought these four years ago, as a mismatched set. One section is Black and the other is Red/Orange with a Red/Orange ottoman. Our cats have truly loved the ottoman (tiny patches of wear on the surface) but the sections are in fairly good condition.

Tall Kitchen Table with four chairs: These were bought at the same time as the couch set. The table is bar-height, but full-sized and has a pull-out leaf. It does have some cat scratches and a few spots of gesso (I'm a messy painter).

Desk and Table: These were purchased from a thrift store a few months ago and are in questionable condition. They do match, though, and the desk is quite sizable.

Three standard bookshelves: These are wal-mart style and are all over 5 years old, so...don't expect much. But, they are functional.

Update (one hour later): We've already promised the bedroom suite, table and chairs, the sectional w/ottoman, and the desk and table. This stuff's going fast.

Update (next morning): Everything has been spoken for except the dinky old futon and my retro chair (which I've decided to keep and have shipped over-seas). Thanks to everyone for their quick responses.


Ryan has accepted the offer of a seat in the upcoming orientation class for Foreign Service Specialists. Because we are beginning a new adventure which is sure to last the next few decades, Ryan and I have decided to chronicle our journeys and excursions here in this shiny new blog. We have been reading several other FS family blogs (both new and seasoned), and we are gearing up for all of the changes that are about to bombard us. We welcome all of our friends and anyone interested in embarking on the FS life to check in on us from time to time, and to hear about all of the joys, anxieties, and philosophical diversions of our little foreign service family. Also, please chime in with any comments that you may have about our posts.