Hi Everyone --
In case you haven't heard, we are back in the United States -- permanently! We had uneventful flights and easy transfers, which made the 36+ hour journey bearable. We have had terrible jet lag as well, but we seem to be recovering from that as well.
We are in Waterloo, Iowa at this time. Doug is working, and he has a desk and but no phone or desk computer yet. I have spent a lot of time running around. Hannah went to seminary every day last week, but this week she is in Omaha with Michelle and Ryan and Helen. Seminary has been canceled there every day this week because of bad weather. Actually, it's been cancelled here in Waterloo as well. We are expecting 6-12 inches of snow tonight with blowing and blizzard conditions tomorrow. It's sure not the 90 degrees and flip flop weather we are used to!
We have been looking anxiously for a house. We have probably seen 20 homes, but haven't quite found the right one yet. We did put an offer on one last week, but 3 other people put offers on it at the same time. Needless to say, we didn't get it. We're ok with that. It needed a lot of work and a lot of future investment (like a $50,000 roof) and it's ok that we are still looking.
We looked at cars yesterday. We drove a couple we liked, but we're going to see if there are a couple of different options on the same vehicle, just different amenities. It would be great to get some of these things checked off our list. It's hard to test drive cars when it is so cold and snowy!
I guess this is the last installment of this "Life in India" blog. We certainly had 3 years of intense adventure and excitement. It was a lifetime experience that we have learned so much from -- and continue to learn from. Thank you -- everyone -- for your love and support from far away. We couldn't have done it without you!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Hi Everyone --
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Hi Everyone --
We've spent the week trying to get organized. It seemed to all come together this weekend when Doug was home. We have sorted things into Luggage, Air Shipment, and Surface Shipment. We've been able to give a lot of things to the children's mission, throw away a few things, and give some large items away to members of the church. We've also been able to clean the dirt from a lot of things. The packers come on Tuesday!
I have tried to get all our last minute things done last week so they wouldn't have to be done this week. Hannah and I made our "last" trip to Clover Center and we bought some of everything. Hannah just wanted to wander through all the stores to say, "goodbye."
We went to 2 new restaurants this week -- a continental one on the top of the IBM building, and a new Chinese restaurant. The continental one was good and reasonably priced, but the wind was blowing on the rooftop and the noise from the street was deafening, even seven floors up. The Chinese one was OK, but we know a place that's better, but with less atmosphere.
We have our reservations for temporary housing in Pune. We'll be staying at the Oakwood Premiere Tuesday through Friday. Feroz will take us to Mumbai on Friday afternoon to catch our 1:50 a.m. flight. They have discontinued the direct flight from Mumbai to Atlanta, so we will be traveling Mumbai to Amsterdam to Minneapolis to Waterloo. We get in to Waterloo on Saturday afternoon. We don't have a reservation for temporary housing in Waterloo yet. Is it time to worry yet???
We will be shutting down our computer on Monday night and packing it -- so the last you will be able to talk with us by Skype is Monday morning (11/23). Doug will be able to keep up with email from work if you need to contact us.
We are excited to wind up our time here in India. It has been a BIG learning experience that we wouldn't trade.
See you soon!
Posted by Douglas & Lucinda Johnson at 5:13 AM
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Hi Everyone --
Well, the news has changed. Doug's boss said that we couldn't go back on Nov. 26 -- there was too much work to be done. But he said that we could go back on Nov. 28. So much to do in 2 days! We do have tickets in hand!
We talked with the moving survey people this week (Friday). They estimate it will take 3 days to pack and load our things. That will happen Nov. 24-26. I still need to sort into piles for "suitcases", "air shipment", and "boat shipment." Plus, I'm still trying to get rid of things that need to go to charity, things to sell, things to throw away, etc. It's coming along, but there's still more to do.
Things never fail to surprise us here:
Last week, the landlord decided he was going to redo the garden (British for yard). He had 3 guys come and dig up the backyard and take 10" of dirt off the top. They hauled it pan-full by pan-full from the backyard onto our driveway. They took a couple loads away by truck (loaded pan-full by pan-full). This week, they got 3 new guys to come and put all the dirt back on the yard -- pan-full by pan-full. I hope they bring the 3 truckloads back! They are planning to put grass back down. They chopped down one tree and pulled up a bunch of bushes. I think I am going to be sad that I'm not going to be able to see the end result of all this work. Maybe it will just be the same . . . .
We've been to a couple of Doug's co-workers for dinner in the last 2 weeks. They served us very nice Indian food (not too spicy) and were very kind and gracious.
We had 9 for church today. Everyone is sad that next week will be our last week. Ah well, it can't be helped.
Hannah finished her application for BYU this week. Her last interview was done over Skype with the Mission President in Bangalore. It worked out very easily.
We are all well and getting antsy to get home.
We love you and miss you!
Posted by Douglas & Lucinda Johnson at 2:10 AM
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Hi Everyone --
It seems like forever since I have written. I realized today that I didn't finish telling about our trip to Egypt. I still need Doug to get those pictures on the blog. Clearly, other things have been on our minds!
We got our date to return to the US! Our tickets are for November 26. We have spoken with the company that will take care of all the arrangements and things are moving ahead. We have a realtor. We will talk with the gal that takes care of movers and packers on Monday. Hopefully, she will let us know what housing arrangements will be made in India during the packing before we leave, and what housing arrangements will be made in Waterloo until we can move into our new home. All good things!
We drove to Mumbai for church today. Hannah needed a Branch President interview for her BYU application. Everyone was sad that it was our last day and that we were leaving. You would have really thought we spent more time there than maybe 4-5 times in the last year. We were still having church, but not in Mumbai. It was a pot-luck day, so I took egg salad sandwiches on homemade bread and wacky cake. Everyone else brought rice and dahl and curry.
I started washing large things this week -- the curtains, the bed ruffle, the blankets, etc. They seemed to be extremely dirty, and I think I will wash everything again in the US when we receive our shipment. I pick up the curtains at the dry cleaners on Monday. I think Hannah has packed all her bags and is ready at a moment's notice to take off.
We hope everyone is well and happy. We are happy -- sometimes on a roller coaster basis -- with all the ups and downs.
See you soon!
Posted by Douglas & Lucinda Johnson at 9:04 AM
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Hi Everyone --
Here we are in Egypt! We have been having a wonderful time and seeing some terrific things! We can't get the pictures on the computer yet, that will have to wait until we get back to India. We have been to Coptic Cairo, where the orthodox Christians were converted by the Apostle Mark long ago. We've been to many Muslim mosques in the city -- there are hundreds of them, but we only went to the largest, oldest, and most beautiful. We've been to the tent makers market and picked up a Bedouin tent. We've been to the old market place to find other treasures. We spent a whole day outside of Cairo visiting various pyramids and surrounding areas. Hannah has learned to read Hieroglyphics. What a marketable skill! We rode camels and horses to the Spinx and Giza pyramids. I think that was my favorite day. Like I said, we do have lots of pictures, but you will have to wait a bit for them.
Today we have a rest day. Our friends have been so kind to us here. They have taken us so many places to do so many things. I'm doing laundry and we'll get repacked and ready to head off on our next adventure. We board the overnight train in Giza tonight and head for Aswan. Tomorrow morning we are picked up at the station and taken to the Nile cruise ship. I had heard that it's very hot in the south right now, I hope it will cool off a bit. We have 3 nights and 4 days on the cruise, take the train back to Cairo, then fly back to Mumbai. We arrive in Mumbai at 4:50 a.m. Tuesday (Oct. 27) morning. Feroz will be there to pick us up. We hope everyone is doing well and that Amber's group can get better soon!
Posted by Douglas & Lucinda Johnson at 7:31 AM
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Hi Everyone --
Only 1/2 week until we leave for Egypt!
We have plenty to do to get ready, so we need the time!
It has been an interesting week! It started out normally enough, but then on Wednesday I went to Laxmi road with friends to do some shopping, and when I got home, I wasn't feeling very well. I just seemed to go downhill from there. Doug left Thursday for an Indian camping experience, i.e. team building exercise, with his group from work. (More on that later.) By Friday morning, I had had enough of the pain and I was worried I had a kidney stone and we were leaving in less than a week for vacation. I talked with Ryan and Michelle and decided it was probably best that I went to the hospital and find out what the problem was. I called the John Deere HR representative and he got in touch with the hospital and they knew I was coming. I went in to see a urologist and he sent me for an ultrasound. Everything in an Indian hospital must be paid for up front, so it was a good thing I stopped at the ATM on our way to the hospital (Hannah came with me). The Dr. was 250 rupees ($5 US), and the ultrasound 1,000 rupees ($20 US). The Dr. running the ultrasound couldn't find a kidney stone at all, only staples from my gallbladder surgery, a cyst on my kidney, and fibroids. She looked twice and came up with no kidney stones -- that's good news! I went back to the urologist, and he gave me a prescription for some antibiotic for a kidney infection and sent me for a urine test (780 rupees - $15.50). We were at the hospital for 2 hours only -- that's a blessing! We stopped at the pharmacy on the way home, but they didn't have the tablets on the prescription, but they did have a substitute. They said they would get the proper tablets and deliver them to the house that evening. I waited and waited, and they finally called and said they couldn't find them anywhere in town. I asked that they send the substitute. It came at 10 p.m. I've been on antibiotic for 2 1/2 days and I'm feeling better. I go back to the urologist tomorrow morning. We leave for Mumbai Wednesday afternoon.
Doug's camping trip -- well it was really a team building exercise with the group I have been working with over the last three years. The group included marketing, manufacturing, quality, supply management, and engineering people. We slept in concrete 'tents' on tile floors with a very thin pad underneath. We ate Indian food for breakfast, lunch and dinner - no toast or pizza. Actually, the location was very pretty -- overlooking a lake and surrounded by hills. Since the monsoon is over, everything is green. We went trekking in the hills, built things, and ran obstacle courses. Very similar to the way things are done in the U.S., except that everyone here wants to be the leader or a least monopolize the conversation during the activities. I've included one or two pictures.
When we were on Laxmi Road, we were heading to my favorite kurta (top) store, but when we got to where it should be, it wasn't there! I stood there on the road looking and looking trying to get my bearings and just couldn't see it. There are lots of shops in India that just come and go and that's it. Anyway, while I was standing out there looking, some folks came out of fancy store and waved us in. These were the store owners of my favorite store, except the store was all new and updated and air conditioned and there was a try-on room and it was totally different. They recognized me out there looking confused! We went inside and Shiney took some pictures because I know you that know the store wouldn't believe it! I also bought a new top!
There were 4 of us for church today. There will be no church in Pune the next 2 weeks since we will be out of the country.
It's time to get laundry done, lists made, and bags packed! We'll be on our way soon. Hopefully, we will have access to a computer and let you know how our trip is going!
Posted by Douglas & Lucinda Johnson at 9:01 AM
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Hi Everyone --
Only 1 1/2 weeks until Egypt!
Monday this week was another holiday, this time a Hindu one. It's called Dassera, and it's a time for poojas and asking blessings on homes and cars etc. The Hindus like to decorate with the flowers and give a prayer, incense, and break a coconut as they ask for a blessed car or apartment. I was out in the market on this day and took pictures of the various vehicles that had been blessed that day -- a car, motorcycles, a rickshaw, and even the police paddy wagon. The flowers are purchased along the street, where they are strung all day long. There are lots of these places set up all over to get the flowers ready for the poojas on this day.
I went to the market as well. I thought you would like to see my fruits and vegetables. These are what I got a Shivaji market for $7.50 US. I bring them home and soak and wash them in good water then put them away. I usually cut the cauliflower and broccoli and beans for the whole week.
Doug's US boss was here this week to see how things were going. He took us to dinner at a very fancy Japanese restaurant and we could have sushi if we wanted. This was our first experience with Japanese food, and Hannah and I weren't too adventurous, but we did fine.
Doug was off Friday for Gandhi's birthday. We wondered if your Google had Gandhi's picture or just ours on Google India.
We saw a fun movie too -- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. We thought the theatre would be full, but there were very few people there. We did have a new experience though -- after the Indian national anthem and the previews, a different movie started (an American movie popular now, rated R). Lots of people got up to go find out what was going on. They came back and said the theatre people were going to change it. They did, and so we watched Cloudy. I thought that each of you kids would really like it for different reasons. I hope you'll get a chance to see it sometime.
We hope everyone is doing well!
Posted by Douglas & Lucinda Johnson at 2:16 AM