Friday, November 28, 2014

On the move...Uncle Sam's backyard

Its been a long time since my last post. Things have changed a great deal since then. The Singapore phase was an amazing one and I am at crossroads again having to choose between a number of opportunities and each of them pulling me in multiple directions.

For starters, the project I took up for a new financial institution has come to an end and I have some opportunities calling me back to India and some opportunities pulling me to the lion city. While deciding between the lion/garden city, I decided to visit Uncle Sam who hosts my sister Kulsum's family.

On this sabbatical, I have been visiting some interesting places and meeting some interesting people I know from different phases of my life.

When I meet each one of them, it takes me back to the phase I was when they were with me. I connected with friends from middle school, high school, college and different phases of my professional career. Makes me look back how much things have changed and how much I have changed with time and yes explore this amazing country and its people. Now that I am exploring on my own, I miss Ruqaiya and Zunaira most of the times. But their absence also facilitates the flashbacks.

Being an Indian visiting USA for the first time, it amazes me how different life can be compared to back home. I've watched American TV,movies and worked with many customers from this part of the world but visiting this place is an experience one would cherish. Having lived in Bangalore, Kolkata, Atsugi(Japan) and Singapore and visited few other places I see each place is beautiful in its own way and has shaped up my thought process in a unique way.

What strikes me about USA is the low density of population in most places I've been and the diversity in terain but uniformity in planning. If you visit one American city, other cities are predictable but people, terain and weather is distinct.

Its a high consumption society, but I don't see a drastically different way of living here.

Based in Atlanta with my sister's family its been fun knowing my brother in law, her kids and her in-laws who Ive hardly connected with over the last 5 years. Ive connected with each of them like never before. Its been the best opportunity to socialize and explore.

So far, I visited Gatlinburg(mountain), Tampa/Orlando(Florida) and Charlotte(friends/uncle). Now I am on my way to San Fransisco to visit a cousin and uncle.

From what I have seen so far, I feel this is definitely a land of opportunity and also a land of diversity. However, it takes sometime getting used to this place. Especially driving, shopping and self help skills(not much labor at disposal) define how mucb you enjoy here.

Took me a while adjusting driving on other side of the road. Its the 1st country I visited, where we drive on the right. I still look over my left shoulder when backing the car and run to the passenger seat when I want to drive and vice versa.

Still I am getting to terms with the fact that a backyard in a home is not necessarily a luxury and the mile/gallon/lb measurement is keeping my mind working overtime.

While driving here, following the rules was the most difficult part especially having driven mostly in India.

Also I found people extremely friendly. Not what you hear from people who just visited this country once or twice.

In short my FOB(fresh off boat) diary so far has been very predictable for someone already visited this country and experiences have not been as outrageous as my earlier trysts in a foreign land. Maybe because of the luxury of a host taking me around. Perhaps I need to get out of my comfort zone in next few days to experience some unexpected adventure.

Talking about adventure, I was the last person to board the flight I am travelling on. I felt very important being called by name before the flight took off. But I know it was a result of a very silly mistake. I din't hop onto the right subway train though it was right in front of me and I lost 20 minutes as a result. But alls well that ends well.

I spent last month or so closer to the Atlantic ocean(east coast) and look forward to what the west coast(by pacofic ocean) has to offer. Looking forward for some fun.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Story continues

It has been more than a year in Singapore and lots has happened. Yet, I have been unable to put it on my blog. Call it a writers block or whatever, A lot has happened but was unable to blog. Perhaps, instant gratification of twitter/facebook got the better of my blog.

However, I felt like summarizing my thoughts on a flight back to Singapore from Bangalore after a short vacation. Especially the turbulence in this flight brings thoughts of what might have gone through the minds of those aboard mh370.

Anyway, life has been a roller coaster ride since I first arrived in Singapore on May 19th 2013. Coming on a deployment with an Indian Software services giant, I did not think my tryst with Singapore would be beyond 6 months. However, I felt a sense of stagnation doing same kind of work with the same  client for more than 4 years. An interesting offer came by and I decided to move on. 1st 6 months in Singapore were very challenging. Especially exploring a new place with a young family while almost working 24/7. But yes such experiences teach you a lot. Mainly adversity brings forth a raw humor within the team and the team spirit just takes off.

I enjoyed my 1st stint and it has left indelible footprints on my thought process.

Life in Singapore is very interesting especially for those who enjoy life outdoors. I have made the best of the public swimming pools to chill and flex my muscles and the public transport to explore this tiny island. But limited time and constraints that come with a family have made sure I do things keeping some constraints in mind.

Now that I am with a new financial instution representing another software services company, I feel more things change more they remain the same. I feel the need to diversify and choose an area of expertise to thrive. I have been very undecided on that front.

In between all these confusions on the career front, I have had some fun times. Especially the time when my brother in law Mohsin and my mom visited me in Singapore. Places like Sentosa(especially universal studios) and the central business district of Singapore make you feel no matter how much you explore, the city just keeps changing and entertaining you in so many ways. This post is small to pack all the info.

I look forward to the ride and being on the move and spirit to explore is what keeps you going.