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.