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apartment hunting

did you know there's a craigslist Delhi? well, now you know. i found out about it because i'm back on the housing hunt. unlike LA's overwhelming craigslist community, however, there have been no new Delhi apt's listed since Friday. so that means i've told everyone i meet that i'm searching for an apt:
  • i told friends Sunday morning
  • i was added to a list serve for expat housing
  • i have a friend e-mailing contacts from when she lived here four years ago
  • another friend gave me a contact of someone in the States whose sister is renting a place in Delhi
  • i met a fatherly man in the park today who introduced me to his friend that has apts available
in short, i've got all the feelers out & i'm just waiting for the right one. at first the task of finding a place in such a big city was daunting, but now i'm getting into it.
all this begs the question: "why is Sarah moving to Delhi?" great question! i'm shifting NGOs and my new NGO works out of Delhi for the winter months until the area in which we work thaws out. that means three months in Delhi and three months in the mountains - sweet deal if you ask me.
enjoy your new year's celebrations, wherever you might be and be in touch in '08!


I'm still on the road, traveling, so this is yet another reflection on life in India. Here are a few seemingly large differences between life last year and this year:
-Instead of my weekly "tall, non-fat, sugar free, cinnamon dulce latter, no whip," I now consume more Nescafes than I can count
-I used to work in a cubicle in SoCal where my computer was wallpapered with mountainous views but in Palampur I stared out my office window at the real deal
-Dressing was a chore with too many trousers, shirts, and shoes from which to choose. Now it's a matter of properly rotating my few salwar kameez suits.
-30km took 15 minutes to drive but now it's at least a one-hour ride through mountainous terrain or traffic
-My Dad, brother, and I summited a mountain in NH a couple days after Christmas last year. This year it's the Taj Mahal. (No, I'm not attempting to summit the Taj.)


So I was on the long bus ride from Shimla back to Palampur today (9 hrs without toilet or chai/meal breaks – read on to learn more), as opposed to the short bus ride (8 hrs WITH toilet and chai and meal breaks) and my eyes went into snapshot mode. My brain started capturing myriad images of quintessential Himachali India. It began with the salwar-clad man riding a horse-drawn cart loaded with mud bricks. Then came the cow patties drying on a stone wall as nature's fuel source to heat homes. We passed a motorbike with a woman riding "side-saddle" in back, her goldenrod scarf called a dupatta flying behind. I caught a glimpse inside a temple dedicated to Hanumant, the monkey god, who stood at the door with his brilliant red-orange coloring. On the grosser side, my fellow travelers left their own technicolors on the side of the bus owing to the winding mountainous roads. And while I'm at it, I know you're dying to hear how I survived the nine hour bus ride without toilet or meal breaks. Well, at hour 3.5 there was a traffic jam due to road construction. The driver shut off the bus and stepped outside - I saw my chance. I, too, stepped off the bus and, at a loss for toilet facilities, found an abandoned building to crouch behind. And then, the buses began to move! I rose to my feet as quickly and gracefully as possible and high-tailed it back to the bus. Desperate times call for desperate measures. On the food front, we had a 10 minute layover and I was able to grab some biscuits, fruit, etc. to tide me over. This, my friend, is Service Corps!
But just so you don't think it's all work and no play (or vice versa), I was in Shimla, the capital of my Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh (HP) to meet with people familiar with the Himachali NGO space. Sometimes the first NGO placement just doesn't work and I'm living proof of that. My original host NGO and I came to the table with differing expectations and areas of expertise that led to my current search for a replacement. I do love the mountains so and I look forward to working with a second HP-based NGO. Next time I write, I anticipate sharing exactly which NGO that will be so stay tuned.