We've been waking up to temps in the 50's (10's for all you celsius folks out there) the past week or so, and autumn officially starts on the 22st. I've noticed the sun setting a bit earlier, and the humidity has all but disappeared for the winter. Farmers market stands are replacing ripe, red tomatoes and cucumbers with mums and pumpkins, and the signs for haunted hayrides have begun popping up out in the farmlands where I work. It's bittersweet watching the seasons change this year, but autumn has always been my favorite so I'm hoping this season will be more sweet than bitter.
Sigh....I will miss this place. Now, onto India updates!!
Marc's Indian Business Visa arrived via USPS ExpressMail, which means he could order his plane ticket for October. Unfortunately, since I'll have to wait a few days yet (5-7 business days) for mine, we wont be able to book tickets until then. See, I needed to apply for a name change on my US Passport before I could send out my tourist visa. Surprisingly, the application process for India was relatively easy. It consisted of a simple online form which you fill out and submit. After submitting you print the application, attach a passport photo, and mail it off along with a money order and return envelope for the processed application. They're processed by a company called BLS, which takes the applications and forwards them for processing at the Indian Consulate in NYC. All in all they set us back about $330.00.
We both went to the doctor on the 9th to see which vaccinations we would need but since our doc doesn't have our childhood immunization records, we had to go get blood testing so she could do some sleuthing and figure it out. As it turns out, Marc has everything he needs. I, on the other hand, needed to get the Hepatitis A and Chicken Pox Varicella booster shot, which I received yesterday. Chicken Pox wasn't so bad but I almost clubbed the poor nurse during the Hepatitis A shot! And, as an added bonus, Hepatitis A is a 2-shot series so I get to have the joy of a repeat performance in 6 months, after we move.
In addition to these standard vaccinations, we both have appointments at a place called Passport Health in the beginning of October to get additional vaccinations, or "exotic vaccines", as my doctor called them. According to the website these may include, depending on our previous immunizations: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis, Polio, Rabies, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever. The appointment will cost $55.00 for us both and we need to pay for the vaccines up front since they don't take insurance. The woman I spoke with mentioned that they provide a detailed bill for insurance purposes, so I will try to submit it for reimbursement.
Today we also received the number of a woman at the relocation firm that Marc's company uses, so I'm hoping that housing will begin to take priority in the near future. I'm anxious to be in touch with her and to start the search for our new home. This has become somewhat of a preoccupation of mine lately because the closer we get to the move, the more I realize that finding a job prior-to may not be as realistic as I had planned. And dammit, if I'm going to be a gori houswife for a few months, I'd better have a halfway decent house to do it in!
It's amazing how time flies! We're seeing the last of the New Jersey summer and the sycamore trees have begun to drop their leaves, one of the first signs of autumn around here. We got to travel a lot this month, visiting family in Maryland, attending a wedding for friends in NYC, and spending an awesome weekend with Marc's high school friends from UNIS at the Long Island house. Neither of us have to work on Monday due to Labor Day, and since we've been travel-heavy for the past few weekends we're going to take it easy and stay local.
We got some further clarification around our move date so I decided to tell my employer. I know that notifying them 6 months in advance could have been risky but I work for a large, international pharmaceutical company which I hope will be able to afford me the opportunity to explore roles in India. After breaking the news, my mentor and regional vice president were generous enough to reach out to their professional networks and provide me with introductions to colleagues who currently work or have worked in marketing and sales at our Mumbai office. This has led to a some great conversations and networking, and I'm confident that I'm moving in the right direction. Realistically speaking however, my thinking is idealistic and I have willingly left out, for the simple purpose of saving time and space in this post, a handful of logistical issues that could be game-changers in my quest for work. Time will tell.
We'll be going to Pune in October to find housing, tour Marc's workplace, and explore our new "hometown".
I'm excited to be able to see everything in person for the first time and also nervous since this is going to be our only shot at finding the place we'll call "home" for the next few years. In looking for info on housing and the expat experience in general, I came across Jeanne Heydecker, a marketing and business development professional who has had a blog since she moved to India from the US with her son, dog, and cat in '07. She writes about her work, travels, and her experiences as an expat living in different parts of India. If you haven't already, check out her blog, HERE. She was nice enough to give me a generous amount of invaluable, no-BS feedback on what to keep in mind when looking for housing, so I'm feeling confident that along with with her advice and the relocation agent Marc's work has connected us with, we'll be able to settle on something.
Before we leave, we need to make sure our vaccinations are up-to-date, and more importantly, I need to address my fear of practical footwear. Second, I need to get my name changed in my passport to reflect my married last name, which involves me filling out a form, and mailing it away with my old passport, a certified copy of my marriage certificate, a passport photo, and $175.00 (It's usually $110 but I need it to be expedited). Once I receive my new passport in about 2 to 3 weeks, I will need to apply for a tourist visa, which will take 7 to 9 days. Will also need to arrange boarding for Miss Stella and pre-pack another bag with all of my business stuff for a national sales meeting in Orlando, FL, since I will be flying our for that almost immediately after we arrive back in New Jersey. Should be busy, exhilarating, and absolutely exhausting.