A small dose of excitement

This has been an interesting week, and promises to continue that way. In a nutshell: our washing machine broke, we’ve set up a wardrobe budget to get some of the stuff we want made (since here, fabric and tailoring will be absurdly cheap compared to the west), our home leave tickets arrived in hand today, we found out Adam’s Indian tax return hadn’t been filed and I nearly marched into four different departments to pull my corporate “You did not do WHAT” rant out, I have a new ESL student that has resulted in me having someone to help run errands (he has a motorbike), I got to experience stirrups in LCH, Adam is helping with Model UN and won’t be home til eight or later tonight…

Fun times. ๐Ÿ™‚

The term is definitely kicking in with a vengeance – more people are ticking the “departure” box and it means Adam may be moved to full-time English next year (out of the 5 full time & 1 part time teacher in the department, 2 full time and the 1 part time teacher are leaving); we’re not certain, but that’s what he’s guessing. I’m doing the volunteer ESL workload of a part-time Woodstock teacher (3 hours a day) and would be doing more if I was comfortable with it: I’ve been asked by some of the departments to do employee ESL, and I just don’t have educator training or curriculum development experience. Adam and I have talked about sending me to a CELTA class, once his nice fat new salary kicks in this summer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

This weekend, I escape to Kathak and dance around with a kilo of bells on each ankle for two hours, and Adam will have his advisor group over to the house. Almost a dozen grade 7s – what can go wrong? They’re also asking for beef, or prawns. We have to remind them – not so gently – that our budget doesn’t run to those, and if they want seafood and bovine, they have to cough up the funds for it. When this was reminded last year, they seemed more than happy to… so who knows what Saturday dinner will be?

The weather still can’t decide what it wants to do, snow or warmth, and the bukari is going again tonight. If we had insulation, things would be leagues easier, but instead I’ve got jeans and a sweater on… with a thermal cami top, thermal pants, a t-shirt, and knee-high socks as well. Plus a fleece and handwarmers. And I’m less than a meter from the bukari.

The greatest excitement of the week has definitely been the tax return debacle. Adam initially didn’t want the school to do the return, but then changed his mind and requested they do it: this was all through “check a box on this webpage, and put in your name”. We have to file for the visa extensions right now, so this year (since we’ve been here for one year) the government wants a copy of the tax return. Adam’s (and my) visa expires mid-April… so when he e-mailed Accounting to ask for a copy, we were told they don’t keep them, and to talk to the tax guy. Adam talked with the tax guy, and was told they hadn’t filed one for him because he’d declined the service. We’d never received any communique to that effect – Adam had checked the ‘yes, please’ box… and we thought that if anything further was needed, we’d be told.

I was livid. My corporate experience dictates that you never, ever,ย ever let something which could affect an employee’s employment hinge on clicking a box. If there was a problem or a decline for it, you should make sure that all people are aware that by denying this service, your (visa extensions, exit permits, employment with the school, etc) are in jeopardy. Any staff member, especially a foreigner, who had not had the school tax person do it should have been confirmed with. I ranted about this for some time to Adam, and was ready to pull out my slacks, white blouse, suit, and be the Weapon of Corporate Destruction that Adam calls me. I’ve made CFOs, treasurers of global pharmeceutical companies, and nuclear scientists apologise to me when they’ve gone off on me; when dealing with that sort of people for a number of years, you also learn just how to apply the right pressure, and I can do that in India as well as in America.

It has since been resolved – partially. The tax person realised that they had not, in fact, updated the spreadsheet and that Adam’s change hadn’t been noted (despite it being only a handful of days after the initial email – and why would you chance something like this to email and a website!?) and they would be filing it directly… so hopefully we won’t be summarily ejected from the country in April, unable to get the visas renewed.

Now, we’re waiting for a technician to come and fix the washing machine (we’re fairly certain the pump died)… we’ll see how long that takes!

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