Gina writes:

We live about 3 km (1.8 miles) from the office. That's too far to walk, especially during the hotter months (right now) and especially since we lug our laptops to and from work with us every day. Fortunately, the SOVA driver picks us up and drops us off at our house every day. However, the vehicle isn't an ideal solution for us, since it picks us up anytime between 9 and 9:45 in the morning and rarely leaves the office at 5:30 p.m. when our offical work day is finished. That lack of control, combined with new employees who brought the total number of possible passengers up to 10, caused us to consider other options.

After our experience riding scooters in Puri, we decided to ask our boss if SOVA by chance had an extra scooter for us to use. Imagine our surprise when he said that he did have one for us and that he would have it taken to the shop to be prepared for our use! We were so excited! That excitement waned over the four weeks and ten or so requests that it took to get it, but was renewed when we were presented with our new moped last week. Our happiness was short-lived though, since we soon realized that the little, old moped was not built for two fat Americans people our size. When riding home from the office the first day we got it, we just barely made it up the hill near our house and the engine died on every single speed bump (four times). We were laughing and frustrated at the same time. It wasn't a pretty sight, but we've gotten really good at laughing at ourselves. (Imagine it, you'll laugh, it's okay.) Corey continued to ride the moped to and from work for a few more days, but we decided to give it back.

Last week, we went into work on Sunday. Afterward, we were walking to town with a coworker (to get some exercise and because the vehicle doesn't provide service on Sundays). I remembered to ask where the footpath near SOVA led and she said, "It goes to the hospital." Well, we live right next to the hospital, so decided to explore. 20 minutes later and we were home! It may not seem like a big deal to have discovered this path, but the distance was cut by more than half, to only 1.4 km (.8 miles), totally doable twice a day. The photo below shows our house (G for Grone) and the SOVA office (S for SOVA) and the two main routes.

Another benefit of walking is the beautiful surroundings and the peaceful feeling of being able to be out and about in India, but somewhat anonymous and isolated. There's a herd of cows, sheep, and goats that share the area with us in the morning, but the one time when they were running past me, I just stayed still and giggled while they rushed past! There's also a slum area that we pass before getting to the open land, but the grossness of walking through their latrine area (literally) is mitigated by the kids rushing to say hi everytime we pass by.

In India, patience is always a virtue. In this situation, patience is truly a third option for us. If we choose to accept that the vehicle will not arrive at exactly the same time every morning and will never leave when we are officially done with work for the day, perhaps we won't get so frustrated. Our wish for independence and control is not always granted.

In the end, we've decided to wait patiently for the vehicle in the morning and walk home at night. Unless it's raining, like it has been about 1/2 the days lately. Then we'll just be patient...endlessly patient.