Tearing into it, I discovered my invitation letter--the letter from the folks for whom I'll be working in Delhi.
It looked normal enough, but then I looked closer. The letter came on a size of paper that we don't have in the United States. I'd guess it was something like 9 1/2 by 11 3/4. Furthermore, the paper clip was all angles and points rather than our usual rounded loops.
And I suspect this is what life will be like in India. All the mundane aspects of life will be pretty much the same, but just a quarter inch different, or a little pointier here and there.
To return to my timeline, though, this Monday I took my invitation letter and put it in with my packet of goodies to submit to the Travisa Outsourcing office as part of my visa application. Two latest passport photos: check. Sponsor letter: check. Money order: check. Etc., etc.: check, check, check. I sent this off overnight and today received a call from the visa office asking whether they should use the enclosed money order or my credit card number (I had inadvertently supplied them with two forms of payment). With my overkill approach, though, I figure I have this whole visa thing covered. I'm just glad I didn't have to pay for it twice.
In addition to sending off the visa materials, I took the advice of Brendan Kealey, who just visited India on behalf of Pearson's IT department, and contacted my credit card companies to notify them of my trip.
I also applied for a debit card (the kind with the credit card attached to it), since Brendan assures me this is a good way of getting my hands on rupees when I am over there and I want to make sure the Indian ATMs recognize my card. I didn't have total faith in my regular Hills Bank of Hills Iowa bank card.
On Monday, I also heard from Ranjani who located some housing options for me. I chose the Ahuja Residency, which you can see online at: http://www.ahujaresidency.com/
Look under: Delhi properties / Service Apartments and you'll find pictures and information about my future dwelling.
The most scintillating part of this location is that under "Facilities and Services" it casually mentions that " ... An attendant is available to cater to all requirements of the guests, including cleaning and cooking." And that's included in the rent (which is 3,487 rupees--which translates to approximately 82 American dollars).
Nice to know.
And just today, human resources contacted me for help in assembling a cost estimate. So now I need to find estimated costs for:
- Visa & Passport fees (application, consular, photos, etc.)
- Immunization costs not covered by insurance
Stay tuned for a write up of my interview with Brendan Kealey, a quick review of City of Djinns and the status report on the surreal-o-meter (which I'm inventing right now as a measure of how real this impending trip seems).