When we arrived in India, we had four bags. They all fitted into each other. Our clothes were in the two bigger ones. Accessories, shoes and books were in the medium sized one and the girl’s special toys and books were in the smallest. When we drove from Goa to Mussoorie, we had a jeep-full. When we moved from Barlowganj to Dhobi Ghat we had a community of twelve, two big truckloads and a few trips in the jeep. We had grown in more ways than one.
We moved on the 2 Dec 1997. It was cold but sunny. The truck arrived early for it’s first load. We could see it was going to be a challenge to get up it up the steep hill once it was full, so it parked twenty metres away up on the flat.
When we had emptied the house, the kids and I went with the first jeep load. We walked around our new place, deciding where everything should go. It was so exciting.
The road into Dhobi Ghat was too narrow for the trucks. Everything had to be unloaded onto the Woodstock School field and the jeeps took it all from there. They drove down along the steep, narrow roads, through the washer man’s village and stopped where the road ended. From there, everything was carried along the narrow five to eight minute path to our house. We were amazed at how strong the guys were. Small built Jyoti, carried the generator all by himself. Fridges, cupboards and furniture were no problem for the Nepalis.
Our place was on the first floor. It had two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen (with cupboards!) and a lovely lounge and dining room. The windows were big and when we stood on the balcony, all we could see was forest and jungle. We were in our elements.
I draped autumn coloured fabric over the curtain rods. All our furniture fitted perfectly and it looked so pretty. Our favourite spot was the balcony where we hung our much loved and well-used hammock.
The trainees were downstairs. There were five bedrooms, a kitchen, dining/living room and a beautiful courtyard. The trainees had three rooms and we turned the other two into a teacher’s room and a study for Tony. We used a small storage room above the stairwell for the girl’s classroom. There was another storage area under the stairwell; which we turned into an office. It was there that Guy Emery taught us about computers. We thought we were the bee’s knees.
The bird life was amazing. Our favourite birds were the Red-billed blue magpies also called Himalayan Pigeons. Another little bird, which I nicknamed “Wagtail”, sang the longest and loudest songs in the morning.
We couldn’t believe all the space we had. Tony loved having a study and could walk out of the gate and into the forest to be with God whenever he wanted to. Jordan would take his bow and arrow and walk with him, looking for leopards. It was as if we had landed in Paradise and we wanted to live there forever.
The kids woke up early the day after our move. They wanted to make sure they hadn’t dreamt the house up. We could hear them shouting on the balcony and went out to see what all the noise was about. Everything was white. It was snowing.