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What’s really been going on…

Ever have a time in your life where so much is happening, it seems almost unreal? As I wrote my immigration form a few hours ago to re-enter India from Singapore, I declared my travels in the last 6 days – Singapore obviously, but also India for a day, before that the UK and Canada.

And why so much travel? The real reason combines the personal and the professional.

On the personal front…

Lots of different things however the real big news is… drum roll here… my partner and I finally took the plunge to sign a piece of paper in Winnipeg with a wee wedding at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. We knew from the moment we met over five years ago that we wanted to spend our lives together, however took our time to get to this stage of bringing our respective families together in celebration.

It still feels strange when folks teasingly call me “Mrs Smith” – a last name I am not adopting but respect completely. I apparently even accidentally hung up on a consulting associate who merrily greeted me that way! (in fairness, the call didn’t connect properly)

Within a week of being wedded in Winnipeg, I was on more planes and found myself in Singapore for some work related meetings. Which is only the tip of the iceberg so to speak as on the professional front as much has happened over the last few months:

  • I was delighted to be back in Jakarta working on a project from September 2016 to December then back briefly in March and April 2017. Naturally this meant a few stops in Singapore in my crisscrossing back and forth between India and Indonesia…
  • January and May were pre-occupied with India projects that enabled trips to Kolkata and Kochi – it had been years since I was in Kerela so that was a particular treat!
  • February brought me to Delhi to co-facilitate a remarkable conference
  • More is unfolding in the technology space with the India company association… plus some new developments brewing that seem particularly exciting!

Beyond the personal and professional, everyday life in India inspired a few amused cribs about:

  • Ready or not, July 1st introduces India’s Goods & Services Tax with some absurd moments and migration migraines from Service Tax to GST
  • After a couple of years of effort, I finally successfully withdrew my last Indian Provident Fund. If ever anyone has tried to do this – foreigner or Indian – you will understand this is NOT necessarily a simple process!
  • After even more effort, a weird system error was finally corrected so that the Indian government was finally convinced I actually had paid my taxes in 2009. Really… honestly… I did… it only took 8 years for them to admit it!!
  • We also learned to survive the aftermath of November 2016’s demonetization in which cash was temporarily dethroned

So from newly wedded bliss, professional developments, to the everyday follies in India, life continues to be an amazing adventure!

There you have… a bit of insight into what’s really going on…

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“And she’s back!!”

I’ve lightly alluded to a pre-occupation with changing over my visa which has impacted the entire way I’ve approached continuing to keep India my base.

Do you love Mumbai too?

Back to Bombay / Mumbai…

Short answer – I am now the proud holder of an Indian work visa! (and there was much rejoicing!!!)

Even better, I am very fortunate to partner with a company that enabled the best of both worlds – primarily support their growth while not closing the door on relevant consulting assignments in India that can be routed via their firm.

Even more remarkable, the actual submission and obtaining was relatively painless. (more on that later!) (more…)

Travel time…

Not sure if you’ve noticed but I’ve been a bit pre-occupied the last while.

Lots happening behind the curtain with the upshot that in just a few hours I will be on a plane from Mumbai to London… enjoy the weekend there catching up with my partner, seeing him perform, hopefully meet a few friends!

Partner and I at BAFTA

Partner and I last year at BAFTA

Then hop on another plane to Toronto. Hope and pray everything goes smoothly with my Indian visa submission.

Hop on another plane to Winnipeg to spend some much needed time with family and friends.

2015 family reunion

2015 family reunion

Then hop on yet another plane back to Toronto where my sincere wish is that a lovely new visa will be ready and waiting for me. Pretty please!

And then, yes you got it… hop on another plane back to London then home to Mumbai.

Do you love Mumbai too?

My adopted home…

Won’t bore you with the details but this is a big change for me. Til now I’ve been terribly spoilt in the visa department. With a flourish of a pen all that changed. So now… my fate is in the hands of some random stranger. Just as it is for many people. Wish me well!!

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Bangkok – Going once, twice, thrice!

Do you have a place where you have never quite managed to spend more than a couple of days?

In fairness to Thailand, I’ve yet to do justice to this remarkable country in even one trip! Without a doubt, food is fabulous, folks I’ve met terribly considerate and I’ve only had positive experiences. It is my fault I have yet to truly explore… (more…)

Door No 2 – Bangla bound!

I’m getting back into travel times – so far all in India!

The trip to Jodhpur was delightful and I may eventually get around to sharing another post or two about our time at the palace or film set.

However right now, all attention and focus is on preparing for Door No 2 – Kolkata.

Kolkata (usf.vc)

Kolkata (usf.vc)

Good news! I did get the short assignment – yeah!

Even better news! It will take me to Kolkata for a few days – even bigger yeah!

Alas my client’s office is not exactly in the heart of the city. So scope to revisit some familiar haunts is minimal – not so yeah…

And, keeping my client needs paramount, I’ve put together a schedule that leaves nearly no room for play.

Naughty me.

I’m still hoping a friend or two can come rescue me for a small adventure on my one free evening.

No matter what – can’t wait to hear the music of Bangla in my ears, chow down on delicious Bangla food, dive into a good project and… let’s be honest… escape the Mumbai heat for a couple of days!

PS – Just in case you are wondering, skipped ‘Door No 3’ aka the Chennai trip. However have another Delhi / Gurgaon trip coming up soon!!

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Travel time! Door No 1, 2 or 3??

I booked a flight!

And there may be another one or two on the horizon.

All domestic.

All places I’ve been before.

Yet for each, it was long ago and the one constant in a country like India is change.

I can’t wait to board that plane… (more…)

Travel tales… How I got ‘hooked’ on going ‘away’

We’ve introduced ‘Work‘, messed around with ‘Play‘, clearly ‘Travel’ can simply be replaced with ‘Away‘!

So why bother with a post? Well… you see… it seems a good point to pause and share the journey… insight into ‘travel tales’  which help explain how I got from there (Winnipeg) to here (Mumbai).

And warning! This is a long post, so go grab a cup of chai, coffee or other liquid libation and come join me in a trip down memory lane… (more…)

Scrambled brain aka a bad case of jet lag

I’m no stranger to serious travel.

Landing in London

Landing in London (Everyday Asia)

As in hop on a plane, jump across multiple time zones for short trips, long trips and some in between.

There was a time when I practically dismissed the jet lag phenomenon. Sure it gets you, but there are oodles of ways to cope!

Top tips:

  • Arrive at your destination during the day/early eve, fight to stay awake til a ‘decent’ local sleeping hour and drop exhausted into slumber
  • Even if you wake up early, resist the urge to get out of bed… worst case read til your eyes droop
  • Keep busy and active during the day! Get out and about as much as possible – especially during the mid-afternoon “I’m dying to just shut my eyes for a min!” period
  • Hydrate, eat healthy, avoid / reduce alcohol, no late night eating

Yeah… I know the drill.

However right now I’ve got a serious case of scrambled brain. As in barely functioning. As in I’ve never had jet lag like this. (more…)

Sisterhood of the world!

Just before our big trip to Canada and the UK, the super cool “Sisterhood of the world” award swung my way thanks to  Travelgirl47 !

So a huge shout out to Jenn and now what follows is…

  • I get to answer a few burning questions from Jenn
  • Then nominate some more fabulous sister bloggers and….
  • And ask them some questions too!

Simple, eh? (more…)

So long, farewell!

As we prepared our home for the demolition gang, completed last-minute shopping, we struggled with the internet… Yes… living in Mumbai you cannot rely on having one internet alone!

You would think having easy access to four options (yeah that’s 1..2..3..4…) would be enough:

  • My so-called ‘high speed’ internet has been down for two days and counting…
  • My partner’s slow but steady MTNL internet was sorta kinda working but now has gone from barely functioning to not…
  • Our recently re-charged data card isn’t compatible with my MacBook Air…
  • So I’m on my back-up to the back-up to the back-up… using my phone as a ‘hot spot’… however the signal keeps dashing off leaving me intermittently ‘high and dry’ as the city drowns in monsoon floods

Because ultimately the monsoon is the real culprit in this equation. And the poor drainage conditions in this city that leads to regular flooding, damaging cable connections and more.

I’m not sure how often I will post over the coming weeks while we trot around the globe to London, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto and back to London… so quick before I lose this precious connection… ciao for now and catch you in a bit!

Looking to London, then Van-Groovy... then Winterpeg... T.O. and back to Big Ben!

Looking to London, then Van-Groovy… then Winterpeg… T.O. and back to Big Ben!

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