Help a California girl spending 9 months in India feel connected to family and home?
August 31, 2010 8:17 PM   Subscribe

Genius MeFi Brain Trust: my very sweet, very sharp fiancee will be conducting the bulk of her PhD research on a Fulbright in India this year (Delhi and points beyond TBD). She's been once before for a couple of months and she's asked me to get her a birthday present that helps remind her of home and her family.

Because the program appears to limit her outside travel to a total of two weeks, and because I may be stuck with my regular Tourist visa that seems to limit me to two months between visits, I am extra motivated to come through on this one in a big way.

We are both former designers with computer science / engineering backgrounds, so my mind naturally drifts to techy ideas like digital picture frames, printed pictures, buying her Skype-worthy internet service, etc. Those might be good options, but I was inspired by this thread on homesickness that recalled how evocative smells from home can be, and wanted to throw the door open a little wider. Did someone find you the perfect thing to help you feel connected when you were away? Did you find a great way to connect with family abroad?

She leaves in about a month. I've got an open budget and a lot of passion and would love your suggestions. Thanks!
posted by chrisco to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
That 2 week rule varies in enforcement IME.
posted by k8t at 8:28 PM on August 31, 2010

The two month gap rule can be relaxed by the Consulate/Embassy. Ask for the relaxation and give them your itinerary with dates and flight details etc.
posted by placeholder at 9:07 PM on August 31, 2010

It may not be a "big" enough present, but get her a hat. I so wanted a hat in Delhi last year but could find none to buy. I asked an Indian man wearing a nice Panama hat where he got it, and it was in London. Really, a nice hat to keep the sun (and/or rain) off would be a good reminder of home and very useful there.
posted by anadem at 9:26 PM on August 31, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks k8t and placeholder! I'll start investigating how flexible some of those travel restrictions really are ...

And thanks, anadem! I'm guessing a nice hat would go a long way toward making Delhi more comfortable rain or shine.
posted by chrisco at 11:03 PM on August 31, 2010

skype skype skype skype skype. connect her acct to your credit card and tell her she can call anyone she wants.

a laminated cheat card of emergency information (consulate, etc), buy some calling cards and stick the access & pin numbers on there (skype-worthy internet is not always available). Also, your and other family phone numbers -- in this day in age, she might not have them memorized.

Generally in asia, western deodorant/antiperspirant isn't available, and cleanliness products are really hit and miss. Send her off with enough of her favorite brand, as well as a good stash of her favorite stinky lotions, and girly products. When I am out in the wilderness, smelling the way I always do (and not badly) matters more than it probably should. this goes triple for the Mrs, who doesn't go anywhere without her Lush products. It's not high maintenance, it's knowing that you're clean. that really matters.

Really, it's the little things, keeping long standing rituals going + knowing that no matter what, there's help and support available.
posted by markovitch at 6:36 AM on September 1, 2010

From a friend who spent about six months in India recently (September - February):

a couple of *well-sealed* cans of Deep Woods Off, a dozen rolls of charmin with luxurious cushiony texture, a box of really fucking good chocolate, and some real antibiotics for "stomach issues"
posted by ymendel at 10:14 AM on September 1, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks. You folks are, as always, amazing.
posted by chrisco at 10:42 PM on September 1, 2010

Any follow up on this one? how did things go? tips, suggestions for someone (and her beau) who is about to head to Delhi for 8 months?
posted by specialk420 at 2:47 PM on July 7, 2011

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