Friday, July 25, 2014

Amrikan Dreams

So, as it turns out I completed a year in Amrika today! :) Though my husband would argue with me that out of those 12 months, 2 months I was in India and how technically it is not a year in Amrika and blah blah blah. These engineers I tell you ;) Never the less keeping my husband's blabbering aside, I still consider a year in Amrika!

Oh...this year has been phenomenal with highs and lows. I still remember the day I landed in Florida. After 27 hours of journey, what I wanted was home food and a bed to sleep. That is it! After picking up my 2 heaviest bags, I walk out of the airport. And OMG.....I suddenly feel I am in Chennai again. What I had heard of USA is it is a cold country. For a moment I thought, did I fly into a wrong destination. But then saw my husband and was like ok, it is not exactly a wrong destination. It seems we were meant to be tortured with hot and humid weather in USA also. 
Although today I thank God for Florida as I do not have to hibernate in my home for 6-8 months of the year when it snows in rest of the US. Phew!

The initial days were difficult. Leaving a job you love and being at home is a haunting experience. First 2 months were horrible with tantrums and crying. Every day I thought I am wasting precious days of my promising career. To top it all, I was homesick. I had been home for 3 months before coming here. So the contrast was killing. No one to talk to and nothing worthwhile to do. 

And then it happened! I was speaking to my ex colleague cum good friend and it dawned upon me that people are ready to exchange places with me right now. With no outlook calendars or mailboxes configured on the mobile, this is the time of life when I should do what I have been wanting to do always but never could due to 'busy' days at work. I got the purpose of my life.

I started with an attempt to give the SPHR certification and started studying for the same. Invested 6 months of my stay here in studying, learning US labour laws and back to HR Management concepts and application. The result of the exam is another story, will have to write a new blog for it :P

So post the exam refocused my energies on the love of my life - writing. I am glad to be back to writing. After 5 years I went back to full fledged writing and poetry. Did a few online courses in creative writing and now thinking of doing some advance courses. Writing has kept me sane down here. It feels great to pen down your thoughts and widen your imagination horizons. It is like scoring the only goal which makes you win the FIFA World Cup Final - the Gotze Goal (having a football freak husband makes certain traits rub off to you). 
If given a choice of going back to my job or being paid for writing a novel, the alternative I will take is pretty clear to me currently. Maybe one day, I will publish a story. Pray for me on that! :)

I get so much time that I gulp 800 pages books in 5 straight days. The library is my favourite hang out here. I have read 61 books in this year, from different genres. The library here is humongous and enormous. I just love walking around and smelling through all books - old and new. And this luxury completely free. The dream of looking at rain from your balcony, sitting on a chair with a cup of coffee and a great book - does not seem unrealistic at all! I have done it so many times.

USA has done wonders to my culinary skills ;) I have become a great cook. On this my sister and husband will say, stop praising yourself let others judge it. But still, I will self acclaim that I am a great cook now! ;)
So much so that my mom finds it difficult to believe that I prepare such varied dishes and not just basic rice and curry. Even after sending her pics of my food, she will ask me the recipe of it and sometimes I feel it is to cross check if I have really cooked that dish in the picture. One day, she confirmed with my husband if I really cook at home and if I am taking good care of him! It makes me wonder sometimes who is the Mother-in-law for me exactly! 
So going back to my culinary skills - I have picked up both cuisines: My husband's bengali cuisine and mine konkani cuisine. Plus there is maharasthrian, punjabi and chinese stuff also. Never in my life did I ever imagine I will be doing all this. This is all revenge time for Sujoy, for ignoring the kitchen completely while working in Chennai. Today he is a happy man atleast in regards to the food he gets!

I talk with folks back home and for longer durations after coming here. I yearn to talk to them instead of hanging up on them saying, "I am rushing into a meeting now, will call you later". And that later sometimes used to be after 2-3 days. Being jobless in a foreign country has taught me not to take your loved ones for granted. And as for the longer conversations....Come on, you should guess this by now! Narrating step wise detailed recipes with exact quantities on phone is definitely time consuming ;)

Being in US is therapeutic in certain ways. You walk on the roads carefree with no judging eyes or staring looks. Everybody minds their own business and that is such a relief. It is a reveling experience. I remember a time when I was wearing my husband's shirt after a beach visit and it was too long. I was roaming in that and no one even bothered to give me a second look. 
People over here will smile at you and greet you when you cross their path. They will greet you at stores also. That is a dose of freshness for you! And the quality of life here is as everyone knows pretty high. So ya there are boons of being here.

My travel has been amazing. Its a year, and we have already explored most of the places in Florida. Disney - checked, Universal - checked, Animal Safari -checked, Miami Zoo - checked, Key West - checked, NASA - checked, Everglades alligator farm - checked, Sanibel Island - checked, Sea Aquarium - checked. So yes, this year has been great on travelling aspect and I look forward to more of the expeditions :)

Certain ways in USA are different though. I remember going to a mithai shop here and asking to give half kg of burfi. And the shop keeper ridiculing me and asking, "Kg?" People measure in pound here.
The day I was going to India and I was flashing my Florida learner's driving licence everywhere as we do in India at the gate and all. I showed my licence to a porter and my husband was like, yes I know you have a driving licence but you don't have to flash it to anyone and everyone. In my defense, the porter was so smartly dressed that I thought he is some security official at the door ;)
I am amazed at the trust people have here. Fedex and UPS will leave packages at door step and no one will take it. There are free libraries and people return the books honestly. There are self check out counters in most shops which believe that the customer will bill all the items honestly. 
There is so much open land here and lesser population that USA can afford to have extensive malls spread horizontally than vertically with ample parking space. There are parks everywhere. Everything is well maintained and so clean.

So ya overall, this year has been great! And I am looking forward to another eventful year of Amrikan dreams! Folks back home already call me a firang. A firang who loves the Amrikan way of living but yet deep under she is still rooted to her family, her culture and her country :)


  1. Great Read. One must do as you have done, make the most of what life offers us. Cheers! :)

  2. Thank you aywrites! :)
    It makes life simpler when you accept your conditions and make the mos out of it anyways!

  3. Pradnya - it was like looking into a mirror - it was like an autobiography for me.
    So nice to read something so positive in this regard.
    I felt the same way when I landed here 8 years ago - to top it all I am in the Northeast - so I am in hibernation for almost 5 months :)
    But - just like you - I took up to those long lost hobbies - and life has never been dull since.
    Kudos to you girl - keep up the positive spirit.

    1. Hey Samta...thank you so much for these kind words! :)
      In the end what matters is how you emerge out of the situation and try and do the best you can in the current scenario! think all of us who come here on H4 go through this life cycle, till we make peace with it and then start making the best out of it!
      And yes, I have special respect to hibernating folks in the US as I just cannot take cold kudos to you!!! ;)

  4. Nice presentation of H4 ladies life here... good writer u r..

    1. Thank you Lavanya! Your appreciation means a lot to me :)

  5. Hi pradnya nice read. Had a positive buzz to it. I am Konkani too and from Goa . Where are you from? - reema

    1. Thanks Reema! :)
      My native place is Karwar, but I am born and brought up in Pune.