Yesterday was India Republic Day. Everything was closed! I mean everything. Military personnel were everywhere, but no cars were in sight. Not even a horn could be heard. The bustling Delhi that we have come to know so well was eerily quiet. We found a park online and took off on a hike to find it. 30 minutes later, we found a dusty park with kid's monkey bars and slides. The kids had a delightful time playing, but it really felt like Mt. St. Helens had just erupted here, as literally everything including every leaf, rock or flat surface was covered in dust. It felt so strange to go to a park and not sit on the grass, but you would have been filthy.
On the way home, we found one restaurant open for business...Dominoes pizza! Hilarious, I know, but they had probably 14 or more delivery bicycles at the ready and an equal number inside to take phone orders. Capitalizing on the holiday closures, they were incredibly busy and we were thankful for the lunch. We ordered room service for dinner and called our evening an early one.
Today we headed back to the doctor's office and as expected he saw no reaction on Treya's arm to the TB test, so with the final "healthy" report in hand we headed to the US Embassy to finalize the last details to legally be declared Treya's guardians. A long road has come to a close and it seems as though Treya knew and was smiling form ear to ear right with us. Treya has all ready brought us so much joy. Her smile is contagious and her laugh genuine.
A little about our newest family member...she is quite bright and we realize now that she understands far more English than we gave her credit for. To date her favorite new sayings are "all done" and "ut oh". When going to sleep, she sits criss cross apple sauce and then falls on her face or the opposite, laying on her back and then pulling both legs up to her chest with crossed feet. No doubt this is the position that she took while growing in the womb and seems to be that position of comfort today. When tired, she points to the bed, you lay her down and she closes her eyes. That simple, however, once asleep she is in constant motion all night. She loves white rice and probably has eaten it every meal since birth. She is quick to smile, once you know her and she eagerly gives the sign of namaste to everyone she meets. She also has the Indian head swagger for "YES" down pat. If I've not yet mentioned it, she is LOUD! I mean really LOUD! and loves to hear the sound of her LOUD voice.
Treya idolizes Devi and copies everything she does...both the good and not so good behaviors. Today they played dolls together with no adult intervention. It was darling to watch them wrap them up, kiss them, sit with them, feed them and then pretend to change their diapers. Then do it all over again and again. Treya loves to be organized so if you take something out, it quickly disappears as she has all ready put it away. If music is on, her head is bobbling. It is quite hilarious. The girls spent quite a time dancing together this afternoon and she seemed quite partial to Bob Marley. She is very excited about having a few of her own things, last night sleeping with her pride and joy...her leather moccasins! She also really likes her hoodie coat and wearing bows in her hair.
She also has a terrible temper when she does not get what she wants, that we are working on. She has been known to occasionally hit, kick, go limp and bite...tonight taking hold of my cheek almost drawing blood. I'm not certain of the reason, as she lifted both hands to be to be held, but when I picked her up she got me. The joyous times far far out way these struggles, and we are pleased for the progress she has made in excepting us in just a few short days. Her personality has seemed to blossom and we see a change in the tenseness of her face all ready.
Devi is really beginning to understand adoption. Today she chatted at length about birth parents, and the reason that they are no longer in her and Treya's lives. I was worried when the questions began, but she really was at ease with the whole conversation, reflecting on our time spent at SOFOSH with all those children, adding at the end that she wants another adopted baby because she likes babies and they need us. It was sweet, but I suggested another greyhound in a year or two and that brought the biggest smile!
Now a bit for a reflection about Delhi. This city is in constant motion. At a glance one would say it is chaotic and disorganized, but in truth, it runs quite harmoniously, just differently than the place we call home. For one thing, pedestrians do not have the right of way so walking requires one to be on their constant guards. No worry, as horns are used often and sometimes sustained to let you know to get out of the way. To make this a bit more interesting, the sidewalks are where cars park, so when walking, one walks in the streets, which are usually as busy as highways, with cars, trucks, auto rickshaws, motorcycles and bicycles and horses. Imagine walking down an interstate with no shoulder and that is what walking in Delhi is like. Add to this that there are really no lanes to speak of so every intersection is a bottle neck with as many vehicles passing through as humanly possible. No one waits in turn...you just go and look for an open spot.
When traveling to India, wear light fabrics, NOT light colors. Everything is dirty. Even touching a tree trunk will leave your hand covered in dust. An auto rickshaw ride around the block in a white shirt will leave it gray. We happen to be staying in a rather affluent part of town with house plaques listing most residents as doctors and their cars, mostly Mercedes, are washed daily, although we are asked everywhere to conserve water. The housing developments are called Pockets and most are gated. That said, we feel totally comfortable walking the streets even at night and have been taking a nightly outing always feeling the need to shower off the dust when we return. People are always milling about, but we have never been approached or felt uncomfortable, even when street dwellers are present.
One of the most odd things we've found this trip is that it is winter here, so everyone is wrapped up in warm jackets, scarves, gloves and ear muffs, but the temperature has not dipped below 60 degrees. The peanut roasters, flower stringers and other vendors, build small fires on the sidewalks at night, which is the funniest sight to us, as we are comfortable in a light jacket if we wear a coat at all.
Quite spoiled, I'll never get used to the constant power outages, although not great in Delhi, we lost power (known here as current) at least 4 times daily throughout the rest of the trip. No paper goods is another adjustment that is hard to get used to. No toilet paper, no kleenex, no napkins (unless cloth at nicer restaurants), no straws...becomes difficult if you've not planned for it by bringing a handkerchief etc.
Add to this a bit of every color in the rainbow and what you get is the vibrant city of Delhi. You end up loving and hating it all at the same time. The few outfits that we've brought are beyond dirty and no amount of hand washing could possibly get them clean. Socks? Well, I think we may just toss them. Even Devi has worn through one pair of shoes while here. Tonight for dinner, we ordered Mexican...guess that just goes to show it is time to come home.
Tomorrow we have a free day to pack and wander then it is off to the airport in the evening. Please say a few prayers that are journey home goes smoothly.
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