I have opinions. Like it or not.

Posts tagged ‘USA’

Happy New Year!*

Iniya Putthandu Nalvazhthukkal**.

Wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year.

Picture from my very first Vishu arrangement.

*Today is the Tamil/Malayalam New Year day.
**Translates to “Happy New Year”
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Lots to say..

Yes, we are back. Can’t promise the original frequency of posting though, but we will surely try. I know, I know, you’re all burning with questions (all 8 of you) and I hope to answer all of them here.

I got married y’all! Yeah, with all the fanfare and the traditional rituals. SEV wonderfully expressed his thoughts at the time here. I haven’t been able to articulate everything I was feeling in such beautiful words. The one feeling I know I will never forget was that when the tirumangalyam was being tied around my neck. Everything I had been hoping for, planning for, culminated in that one moment. Memories of our times together were flashing past me intermingled with visions of our future together. The atmosphere at the wedding hall was electric. And as hard as I tried I couldn’t turn around catch the expression on my mother’s face (the videographer captured it perfectly though). Some day I think I will understand everything she was feeling that day.

The 2 weeks that we were in India post-wedding saw us both battling the flu. Of course that didn’t stop us from visiting our relatives or visiting the temples my mother-in-law had planned on taking us to. The feeling of being in a new home and adapting to the ways of a whole new family can be a little daunting at the start. However, the fact that I knew my in-laws very well even before the wedding (advantages of a love marriage you see!) made the transition really easy. I just wish I had a little more time to learn everything from my MiL!

And I finally made the decision to move to live with my husband – I knew I couldn’t make a relationship work with distance added into the picture. Many conversations with SEV, my parents, my in-laws and my friends (who were all very supportive, bless them) resulted in us making the decision to move. So we had a month to pack, dispose of stuff and move. We had arranged for movers and that made the whole experience completely hassle-free. I totally recommend my moving company to anyone moving across states – they were very professional and very thorough.

I must say, the experience of setting up a new home together is completely unmatched. Just watching everything fall into place like it always belonged there is almost magical. I was always told that knowing someone very well and living with them are completely different things. So I went in expecting the worst. But I have to say, I know SEV in and out and he’s an absolute delight to live with! His roommates were indeed lucky. πŸ™‚

That’s it for now. Ohh and I have some other super exciting news to share as well! But I will let my partners in crime do the honors for that one. See you around!

Interestingly…

I have not seen the sun in 2 weeks now. In case anyone’s keeping count, gloomy dreary winter days are another thing I officially hate.

I think I’m growing up. I went to a Diwali show here, fearing seeing the one person I have so successfully managed to avoid seeing or thinking about for more than a year. I saw them. And I did not feel or think what I feared. In fact, I felt really confident about going up and talking to them. I would have too, had they not disappeared completely after the show – and had there not been like 2000 people there!

I miss performing on stage. I wish I had some way of knowing that my last performance in school was going to be my last one.

This Diwali had to be the worst one in years. I spent it all alone, battling an unbearable headache, and working through the day. Oh and I ate pizza coz I was too sick to cook something nice.

BTW, do you guys have any suggestions (other than painkillers, which is what I had to ultimately resort to) to get rid of headaches? I tried everything – massages, cold compress, tea, coffee, hot shower – to no avail. Then I took my trusted ibuprofen/paracetamol and took a nap. When I woke up my headache was gone. But I hated having to take a painkiller for a simple headache.

The countdown has begun.

All this pressure!

Yes, I know the expectations are sky high and everyone expects me to post about the awesome weekend I had over at Raysh’s (I mean, it’s not like it was a honeymoon, you know!). But what can I say here that has not been said before? How do I keep it from being intensely personal, something I have tried to refrain from doing on this public space?

Everyone knows how much I adore and respect her. I believe the feeling is mutual. And hopefully it now extends to SEV too, whom I nagged and coerced into coming along.

The 3 days I stayed there just flew by in a whirlwind of mountains, lakes, hiking trails, forests and good conversation. I had the most amazing mozzarella sandwich on the way back (after which we saw the bear cub).

It was a fabulous weekend. I am glad I found such wonderful friends in her and Vin. I am definitely hoping they will visit me soon enough!

I do not really want to say anything else. I hope you guys understand.

P.S: .. and the next weekend is nearly here already! πŸ™‚

14th August 2009

This date marks the 3 year anniversary of my arrival in the US as a wet-behind-the-ears naΓ―ve girl with dreams in her eyes. The last 3 years have been an incredible journey. A journey of friendship, heartbreak, love, frustration, success, failure and so much more. A journey of growing up – of flying away from the protective nest that was my home. A journey of the eventual transformation of a girl to a woman. A journey of realization of one’s strengths and weaknesses – leading to some semblance of wisdom. A journey of the quest to learn and acquire knowledge – and the incidental learning of many other things. As I sit and reminisce about the last 3 years, I cannot help but wonder if I truly have a reason to rejoice and celebrate them. Or should I just think of it all as a bittersweet experience, something that had to happen because – such is life.

I guess I would like to begin by thinking about all the things that made me regret having made the decision to leave my country and my home. I still miss my family just as much as I missed them the day I left. I still wish I was there to watch them grow up and old – I wish I was there to watch my little brother cross one milestone after another. I wish I was there when my mom bought something she had always wanted, to see the expression of excitement and the raised pitch of her voice to go with it. I wish I was there to watch my dad punch the air during a cricket game and to get him started on a discussion on politics and stock markets. I wish I was there to help out with the household chores and even to get yelled at for not doing something right.

I truly miss the rush of activity, the sights and sounds of the different times of the day. The smell of the early morning coffee, the sound of the velaikkari washing the utensils, my mom cutting out the weeds in the garden and my dad trying to help and ending up shearing my mom’s beloved flowering plants instead, my dad going into my brother’s room to wake him up (after being yelled at by mom for snipping up her plants), the sounds of the autos and buses, the sight of the dust rising up and settling down in their wake, the cows assuming the world is their toilet – I could go on and on about every single detail that is such a part of India’s myriad personality.

But that is about all I miss and about all the reasons I have to be even if only slightly bummed out today. I think I do have more reasons to be happy about. I cannot even begin to describe the experience I had of living alone, away from home where there was no Mommy to cook food on time, no Daddy to take care of the bills and the finances. There was just me and my measly grad student salary that had to cover the rent, groceries, bills and so on. I cannot believe I managed to even save up a small amount every month. I realized just how well my mother had trained me to be able to run a household independently. I could cook and clean and not let the house be infested by bugs and roaches as I had seen happen with my other counterparts. I realized that I have a keen aesthetic sense and combined with my OCD, I managed to make sure our house was always hospitable – our house was like home.

I learned the hard way that people are not always what they seem. That there are people who will think evil things even if you truly meant them no harm. That there are people who expect the world of you and yet will not move a muscle when it is their turn. And should you so much as refuse them a favor that no sane person would do even for their own kith and kin, you instantly become the bad guy. That the only people who truly make you happy are the ones who have the good sense to understand your every action. No one else is worth it.

I learned that when your need is driven by money, no matter how well you do, you just don’t get the chance to prove yourself. And that quitting when I’m at the top of my game is how I usually operate. I also learned how much I hate loans. And how I have always made sure I repaid mine well in advance of the pay period. I learned how much I love to drive. And how much an inanimate object can mean to me. I discovered that I am not one to skimp on something I really want. And I am also not one to crib about something I don’t have – I am actually one of those people who make the best of what they have and pro-actively seek means to better their situation, if they so wish to.

I realized that going to grad school and getting your doctorate degree is no indicator of how smart you really are. And that smartness also really means nothing – how you treat yourself and others around you is really all that counts. That it’s better to know how lucky you are to be with someone than to wonder how lucky they are to be with you. That confidence is one thing, and arrogance quite another. That realizing the difference between the two is the difference between being smart and being thick.

That high heels actually make me look good. And that tall girls don’t need high heels is a myth. That in a few years I will not look like I do now, so I need to make the most of what I have. Especially since I live in a country where everything goes. And that convincing my mom of this has been some of the toughest convincing I have had to do in a long time. πŸ™‚

Looking back on this post and the last 3 years, I do believe I’m happier than when I started out. And I probably wouldn’t change a thing in these 3 years. But none of them can keep me from going back to where I belong. And if I ever forget that, I have this post to remind me of what is out there, and what will eventually take me back home.

Bleeaaaarrrrggghhhhh!!!!

Think things are easy in America? Think again.

So, you guys know I’ve moved. Well, I figured since I’m going to be here I should get my driver’s license transferred. I do all kinds of research, figure out all the documents I need, wake up bright and early and decide to set aside 2 hours from my work day to finish this off. I even put in 2 hours extra yesterday to make up for today. I get out of the house and it’s raining. Cats and dogs. Should have been my first sign.

I drive towards downtown in crazy ass traffic, visibility restricted to the tip of the rear bumper of the car in front of me, weaving in and out of the winding lanes and bridges and when I reach downtown, the stupid GPS declares that it has lost “satellite reception” because of all the high rise buildings. So I wake up a groggy and disoriented SEV and yell at him to get his ass on the computer and guide me to the DL center. Half the roads are blocked by construction, every time I want to take a right turn I see this sign.

 

I bet my eyes have this instead of the iris/cornea kinda like that Tom and Jerry cartoon. Hmph.

Anyway so here I am struggling to find the place, guided by someone on the phone, losing my temper rapidly when I finally find the damn office. Only to realize that there is no parking. And so begins the quest for Parking in the one-way streets in the heart of the city. I finally find one shady place that charges 10 bucks an HOUR, the bloody ripoffs!

And so I walk into the center hoping that it wouldn’t take me too long. I wait in line for 45 minutes and finally when it is my turn, the doddering old man (who can barely see, hear, talk or type and takes enormous amounts of time to resolve each query) looks at my documents and tells me ‘No can’t do’. I’mΒ  like ‘Excuse me?’

DOM: You’re on F1. And your I-20 is only dated until Sept 2009.

Me: Yeah, so? I’m on EAD. (whipping out my EAD card)

DOM: Yeah this one’s valid until October 2009. And you don’t have an H1. I can’t issue a product for less than a year.

Me: (blinking like Dexter when he confronts DeeDee) So you’re saying that I can’t drive here? But my out of state license expires in June. And my H1 won’t come in until October, if I am approved, that is.

DOM: Yeah, but there’s nothing we can do. You need to show me valid status for at least a year. Sorry miss. If you can establish legal residency in the other state maybe they can help you out.

Me: (stumped and at a loss for words) Thank you.

So, as it turns out, since I’m technically only in legal status until October (that is, until my H1 comes through, hoping, praying that it does) and since my license expires in June, I cannot drive until October 2009. 4 months, dammit!

The other option of course is to apply for renewal of my original license, but that means I’ll have to change my bank accounts to my old address , change my insurance to my old address (and pay through my nose) and hope and pray that the other DMV doesn’t act this dumb and issues a renewal at least until the time I have legal status, which is October. Otherwise I sell my car. Gahhhhhhh.

The next time

someone asks me what I have done with my life, I actually have something to say back to them: I have had a peer-reviewed journal publication within 2 years of my Masters, what have YOU done?