The bumpy road towards adaptation . . .

One month already . . . that’s how long we have been in Delhi now.

I was going through some of the notes I made from our excellent course at our Training Centre in Birmingham and came across the graph shown above.

I think it reflects well what we have been through in the past six weeks or so as we packed, said our farewells to friends and family, arrived and have gone about our initial settling in. If the graph is to be believed (and I have no reason to doubt it!) it is a helpful reminder that we are still in the Honeymoon Phase, that there may be wobbles ahead and that eventually we will adapt to the new normal.

It was really helpful to be welcomed and guided by Paul and Ruth Roach in our first three weeks. They have now returned to the UK to enter into (semi) retirement and we are on our own.

And sometimes we really do realise how “on our own” we are.

We are getting used to the fact that very often we are the only two western people that we will see in a day. To some we are complete objects of fascination and are stared at unwaveringly by the person seated next to us on the Metro as if they have never seen the like! By most though we are greeted warmly, asked where we are from and what we are doing. We are getting to know and be known by our local subziwalah (vegetable seller), phulwalar (fruit seller), milk seller and others and think we notice that we might be getting local prices now as they realise that we are here to stay!

Every morning from Monday to Thursday we do our 50 minute commute on the Metro (which is excellent, not least because it is air-conditioned!) from Civil Lines to Lajpat Nagar to attend language school. We are being taught by the delightful Jyoti and now have 240 words of Hindi somewhere in our brains and yesterday began to string a sentence together, phonetically – Ruth hattie otarahehey – which translated means “Ruth is picking up the elephant” – now that should prove really useful, and yes we have seen an elephant, which together with its handler, was nonchalantly making its way down the inside lane, along with all the other traffic, of the Delhi equivalent of the orbital motorway!

For our first two weeks we were located in a small guestroom in a local hostel and it was wonderful to be able to move into our new house in mid May. We have spent much of the past two weeks establishing ourselves and making it home and soon we will enjoy welcoming neighbours and others into it.

One of the key questions that we frequently refer to and ask of ourselves is “How then shall we live?” Ruth has developed some photos that we are going to display in our entrance hall (that sounds grand doesn’t it!) that reflect this question and yesterday we went off to a printer to see if he could produce them in the desired format. This felt like we were experiencing a taster of the adaptation phase. All on our own, we located a printer, travelled via Uber (which is great!) half way across the city to get to him, arrived at the wrong office, but were guided to the right one, spent a delightful hour with Sandeep Seth and his staff of United Art Printers, as they very skilfully adapted the artwork so that we get what we would like, ate samosas (from the local street stall) and drank chai with them, travelled back on the Metro enjoying conversation with fellow passengers, arrived back in Civil Lines, bought vegetables from the local street stalls and Ruth, from scratch cooked dahl and roti for our evening meal – delicious! Now whilst those sort of things may not have been worthy of any sort of note when living in the UK, for these two newbies in Delhi, it felt quite an achievement and as if we might be adapting!