I'm not very good at working from home at the best of times. I am at my best in a busy environment, surrounded by people whose work I respect and connected to them even when I am working on a solo project (this is why, even though I love writing, I've never managed to have a great deal of output on anything that's not being done as part of a team project or that's not required for my work). So even though I'm part of a very small team here, having a desk at the office of our Indian joint venture partner has been really important for me in staying motivated.
Now, due to some last minute glitches, I'm cutting it very fine to get my appointment booked at the Foreigners' Regional Registration Office - this is mandatory within the first 14 days of arriving in India. As a result I decided to work from home today and tomorrow, the better to be able to drop everything and hotfoot it to the FRRO at short notice if required.
Sadly, this coincided with a point with which I am familiar: the two-week wobble. It's that point when you've relocated to a strange place, when you've been there long enough (i.e. longer than the average holiday) to start feeling the absence of friends and family, but not long enough to have established a routine or made any real connections. It's not a nice time - you have to dig deep into your inner resources to avoid being overwhelmed by it. (Holland was an exception - 2 weeks in and I was already well into play rehearsals, and had no time for wobbles!)
So today was not great. I spent the morning fighting a horribly slow net connection and my own lack of energy and desire to pop down the pub with a mate (yes, at 10.30 am). I got a bit bad tempered with my maid, Vineeta, who kept interrupting me every three minutes to ask me what I wanted to do with one thing or another (not that there's much point asking me, since she speaks not a word of English and my Hindi classes don't start until the week after next). I shouted at my laptop (attracting some surprised glances from Vineeta, who already clearly thinks I am insane). I reorganised my email folders in the vain hope that it would speed the computer up. I made three cups of tea and sulked over them.
At lunchtime I decided enough was enough and relocated to a cafe in the Defence Colony market. I was instantly cheered to find that they were playing a chanson album by Wende Snijders, a Dutch singer who I thought was completely obscure outside the Netherlands. I treated myself to a cheese pancake (less healthy than my usual diet here, but I needed comfort food), got a coffee and managed to make the afternoon a whole lot more productive (even though quite a bit of it was spent trying and failing to get hold of the manager of the British High Commission club).
The lesson of today is that, even if I don't really know anyone here yet, there are times when I just need to have other people around me (Vineeta, though an absolute godsend, is not terribly effective as a sanity-maintaining companion). Tomorrow is the dreaded trip to the FRRO (the stories I have heard about Indian bureaucracy give me good reason to be apprehensive) and then I have resolved that I shall use the weekend to explore Delhi. Yes, I still have a hundred things I need to sort out in the flat, but stuff it. The weather has cooled down a lot, so I'm going to be touristy. And ask people stupid questions about historical monuments. And take photos of EVERYTHING.
Anyway, wobbles aside, I am fine. And this too will pass, I know.
Love to all back home.