H - a very close friend from my grad school days and her husband visited me recently. They were very keen on coming to India for my wedding, but somehow couldn't pull it off. So they decided to do the next best thing- while visiting the US for a conference, they made a special stopover in my city just to see me and spend time with me. I went out into the city and met them the day they landed. They insisted on putting up in a hotel, perhaps not realising that I had a big enough place to house them all. When I met them after their 10 hour long flight, the kids - aged 4 and 6, although tired and jet lagged were some of the most pleasant and well-behaved kids I have seen in recent times. We enjoyed a wonderful evening in the city, and it was so good to catch up with them - I was seeing them after 5 years or so- and we enjoyed reliving old memories, discussing our current lives, and even though neither of the kids spoke English, they were still such a pleasure to play with because they were so warm and open and friendly.
I thought they would prefer to spend the next day looking around the city, especially since they had brought their kids here for the first time- however, it was very clear that visiting me and spending time with me was the focus of their trip, as they made plans to get on the subway and make the trek to my place the next day, after I was done with work. It was an absolute pleasure to have them at home - we ordered in food, watched the wedding video, with their six year old girl wanting to know all the details I was narrating to her parents in English, and the four year old boy wondering why the groom doesn't have his shirt on at his wedding. :)
To me, it felt very warm and nice to see people - foreigners in the country at that, take the time to be with me and make me a priority. Having just returned from India, it felt great to hang out with people close to me and who knew me from my old days. I couldn't stop marveling at their superbly behaved very low maintenance kids- these parents didn't have a cartload of stuff lugging their kids toys/books/foodstuff wherever they went. The kids just had to make do with whatever they could find where they went and they did so without any tantrums. Although, none of this should come as a surprise- H and I, for as long as I have known them, are extremely easy going and warm people, and the same attitude is reflected in their kids.
I had been seriously contemplating moving out of my apartment to a smaller place- to save on costs- and because I felt like I was overpaying for a very big place - perhaps too big for a single person. The money I could potentially save would translate to a fairly decent sum if I thought in terms of taking it back to India. But I finally decided against it. For what its worth, I am probably not going to find a much better place - just that it will be smaller and save me a couple hundred bucks per month. I don't think I need any more surprises/inconveniences at this point, - I am not going to be here for a full year even. I have gotten used to the minor irritants in this apartment, and enjoy several comforts, including the ability to host people, even if rarely- is something I love doing. I also don't think I can go back to living with strangers in the same house. With the help of B, I have made this place home, and its the least I can have in my favour for the next several months.
I need to get back to a gymming routine and a cooking routine even if by taking baby steps....