Millennium Mom

Sunday, October 11, 2009

10/11 Blog: Back in the USA

I'm back...and not jet lagged thank goodness. For those of you who know me well, you will laugh and nod when I say the hardest thing about being away in India this past week was not being able to watch the Yankee's playoff games. Believe it or not the sports station on the cable in the hotel did get ESPN, so I actually watched some of the Dodgers - Cardinals game one night (or maybe it was the morning) but never got to catch any of the Yankee games. Lots of cricket though...which I love. We tried to get tickets to a match while we were there, it was a huge tournament that India was hosting and would have been a fantastic cultural experience, but it was sold out...a couple of days too late.

So now as I write this I am watching the Yankees live, in the bottom of the 9th inning trying to sweep the Twins. I should be in bed, preparing for the work week, but I just can't go to bed until I know it is over. An ironic story related to the Yankees to share. We flew back in JFK from Delhi. We left just after midnight Delhi time on Friday evening/Sat morning and arrived at JFK 6:30 in the morning. Rather than have a long lay-over we took a cab to LaGuardia to fly back to Cincy. We get in a cab and all I want to know is if the Yankees won the night before, so I ask the cabbie. He had no idea. I actually found a cabbie in NY who didn't know if the Yankees won. But, on the bright side, he was from India and we got to chat all about our trip :)

Because we flew through the evening and we were tired when we got on the plane, it really isn't too bad of a trip when it comes to jet lag. Though I should be up front and say I don't really get jet lagged. I have a system that seems to work, immediately trying to get on the "time zone" that I am going to. So that means if I am flying overnight to Europe, even though the flight leaves at 7pm, I immediately go to sleep, as it would be 1am there and they would be sleeping. In the case where it is a huge time zone difference, I try to think about what time it will be when I get there an prepare for that. So I knew it would be early AM in USA when we arrived which meant we needed to be well rested. So you sleep. We had a 15 hour flight, so if I could get 9 hours I knew I would be fine.

So far I am. My stomach is getting "adjusted" back to US food. I was the only person on our trip who did not get ill while we were there. I am blessed with a pretty strong stomach, but I tried to be smart with what I ate and it worked. The trip was fantastic. I am always bummed that we really don't get to sight see at all, because it truly is a business trip. Because it was so far for us we really packed every minute into the trip trying to talk to as many consumers as possible. Unfortunately the roads aren't the greatest so it takes a really (REALLY) long time to get anywhere, so we had to factor that in too. So no Taj Mahal, no Tigers in the wild, or white sandy beaches...all of which India has to offer. But amazing learning that will help our project move forward.

It's good to be back, hitting a fall festival with the family today, thanking God for every blessing I have as I experienced a different, less fortunate country this week.

Monday, October 5, 2009

10/6 Blog: Hello From India

Hello from Delhi everyone. I am in my second full day here, trying to stay awake and soaking it all in. This is my first trip to India, so I can't say I had any real benchmarks on what it would be like. I expected it to be crowded, have more poverty than I was used too, lots of construction (based on my visits to China, another growing economy), and nice people. So far most of what I expected has been true. It is amazing how many new "cyberparks" there are, on pot-hole filled roads, where donkeys walk alongside open air taxis with 10+ people piled on, next to school buses and automobiles. All three cars wide, with no stop lights, stop signs or lanes drawn on the road.

In fact it makes NYC seem quiet, even when you used to be able to honk your horn there. They are building a new metro rail system, hoping to have it open by next summer for the Commonwealth games, but for now it is just a monorail system under construction. My hotel is on "mall road" in a suburb called Gurgoan. This area was developed 10 years ago when GE came to start a tech center. Now it is filled with tech companies in complexes 6-10 stories high. This brought many educated people with money, so there are literally 13 malls on the road (maybe four miles long). One of them is the "longest" in the world at 1.5KM from end to end.

It is far less crowded than what I expected. Nothing like China or Japan. Perhaps it is because we are not in Delhi proper. We head down to Bangalore next which is larger so I think that will be more crowded. The hotel was very Western and quite nice. Just a bit eary as there were not a lot of guests, so the group of four American women got quite a bit of times too much.

I have been able to get adjusted to the time change ok. We left JFK 3 hours late, so around 8pm Saturday night for a 13 hour flight. It was the perfect flight, as you have enough time to eat and sleep before arriving. We landed around 6pm so key was to stay up a bit later and then go to sleep. I got a full nights rest Sunday night no problem. Yesterday afternoon was a bit tough but we rallied, had a nice dinner out and then hit the sack again. I woke up around 5am, but that was okay as I got to talk to Arnie and the kids before they went to bed.

Getting around is fairly easy. We have a driver to take us everywhere. In fact they sit outside and wait for the entire day. It is important to have people who speak English, so they always get arranged ahead of time. This afternoon we are "going to check out markets and more" so I can get a sense of the retail trade here, and how people buy shampoo, from whom and so forth. This will be a true adventure, but our agency will take us around in a van, so not too risk on our part. We will have men and women with us. I may have to barter if I find something, I am not good at doing this, but supposedly it is a must here.

For the next few days I will be in research with consumers and retailers. I can't wait to see the dyanamics and how they are different or similar from consumers in other parts of the world. The adventure continues...more later.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

10/3 Blog: "Mommy going on vacaton again"

Kids are so wonderful, and truly able to grasp much more than their age would often let on. My four year old last night said the following to me while I was tucking her in "mommy why do you get to go on vacations all the time and we don't?" To give background, I am sitting in JFK airport right now about to board a flight to Delhi, India for work. I will be gone one week, returning next Saturday. I was sitting on her bed telling her that I would be gone, to be good for daddy and so on. That is when I got her remark.

I guess in their eyes anytime you get on a plane we go to vacation, so it must mean that mommy is taking a lot of vacations. It is just so ironic because nothing could be farther from the truth. Not only don't I get to do any sightseeing on any of my trips, they are physically exhausting because on top of the long days, hours of traveling and jet lag, I often lose precious weekend days and run around like crazy making sure everything is done. Let's just run down the last 24 hours.

Because I would be gone for an entire week I made sure the laundry was done, sheets washed, kids clothes laid out for the next 7 days, they knew to pick an outfit each day, grocery list made for Amber, Sam's club list made for Arnie, mail sorted and bills paid, Amber's discretionary money draw was filled and on and on. So I leave thinking the family will be okay and survive I hope.

Even with all this it will be tough on Arnie. It takes a lot to prepare every meal, bathe the kids, clean up, make lunches and all the other stuff as a single parent. I really don't know how single parents do it every day in and day out. This is actually my first global trip that we haven't called in help. My parents were almost upset with me that I didn't tell them about it so they could have come. Arnie's parents are coming for the weekend next Friday, so officially he has help the last 20 hours before I arrive, but really he is on his own.

So, I tried to explain to Sarah that I don't ever take vacations without her, but mommy has to go to work. I think she got it...but likely not. I just hope what is means to her is to be on extra good behavior and a helper to daddy.