A Full Circle

You understand what coming a full circle means at times like this.

Last year, we had been all excited, packing, planning and getting ready to move back to India. We hadn’t booked tickets, but pretty much everything else was done and dusted.

This year, I am getting ready to do the reverse. Packing, planning and getting ready to go back. I had never thought this would happen. My friends had been a little shocked that we had not booked return tickets as a back up. But then, I was super confident that we would settle in fine, and we did too. But fate, clearly had different plans. Husband’s job was the deal breaker. We had given it time till March, and now it is finally decision time.

We still haven’t booked tickets but the decision has been taken -kind of. There is really no option, as daughter puts it. So we have to just go. Do whatever it takes to get everything sorted and re-start the life we left there, but in a different city.

And how do I feel. Sad..but excited about being together as a family.. And all hope is not lost – yet. We can still try to come back here, only the next time, we are definitely moving back together after husband gets a job. That I guess, can count as a lesson learnt, I guess. And this time that we spent here, showed us that it is no big deal to relocate and settle down. It has reinforced our belief that we would not find it tough to resettle here. And this time, we have even more friends(family has always been there) to look forward to when we come back here. Actually, not just us, but daughter has her friends too. So yes, definitely more to look forward to, when we return.

For now, we pack our stuff, store our memories.. give away our plants and plan for a new life in the not-so-new country.

Parenting throws you a googly…

…every now and then, having you wonder about your choices and decisions. And for me these days, everything becomes a trigger to wonder if we made a mistake about relocating.

Not relocating actually, but probably having moved before husband got a job in India, adding to the confusion.

The last two days, daughter has been waking up – tired. She had been sleeping slightly later than her regular time, but I thought that she would be alright. Yesterday and the day before, she woke up – tired and weepy. That never happens. She is my sunshine girl, always bright in the morning, up with a bounce, cheerful and full of beans at 6 in the morning. The day before, she was a little less bright, but was fine by the time she went to school. She was her usual self when she returned. Yesterday, she woke up grumpy, despite having gone to bed on time. She claimed that she was tired. She did not seem unwell in any way. So I tried to cheer her up, acted goofy, tried everything – but nothing would bring a smile to my normally cheerful child.

I managed to get her ready and just before boarding the school bus, she burst into tears. I was taken aback. I asked her if she wanted to stay home – she never ever likes missing school. Not even when she is ill. Never in her life has she cried before going to school. She normally just waves me off, all excited about her day ahead. Yesterday, all she did was shake her head and look miserable. The teachers in her bus gave her hugs and told me that she would be fine.

As I walked home, all I could hope was that she would be alright. A hundred doubts ran through my mind. Was I too hard on her. Did she feel that she could not tell me what she was going through. Or worse, did I ignore some important message that she tried giving me. Was there something happening at school that made her miserable. Wracked by guilt and worries, wondering, questioning everything, going right back to the relocation issue. Should I have just sent her to an international school rather than the ‘middle class’ school that this one was. All sorts of worries and doubts. Finally, I made up my mind to go and see her at school at lunch time. Her school is quite nice in that sense. They had no problems with me dropping in to check on her.

Waiting for mid-day to come was another torture, but finally it was lunch time and I rushed into the school, and cast my eyes on the field. Where was daughter? Oh! There she was – cheerfully playing with a couple of her friends. I went up to her to surprise her. Was she excited! She came running, flinging her arms around me, at the same time, questioning me,’Amma, what are you doing here? This is school time!’. When I told her that I just wanted to check on her as she seemed upset in the morning, she says, ‘But I was just tired, I’m fine now’.

And that was it. All I could feel was relief washing over me. She was fine… I must have seemed like a mad, crazy parent, but those few hours really were torturous for me. Normally, I might not have worried so much, but with all the confusion that is our life right now, all I can try and do is be there for daughter, and that morning, I really felt that I had perhaps let her down.

Thankfully, she seems fine today. I got her in bed early and she woke her to her normal cheerful self.Nothing, absolutely nothing felt better than seeing her happy face in the morning, reading a book, while sipping her milk. All I can hope for is for her to have – sunny mornings all her life. And for this single parenting business to end soon. I so miss being able to talk to husband about these things. By the time it is his morning, the issues would get resolved.

Regret

‘I wonder if we made the right decision in moving back to India’, said somebody I had just met at my apartment complex.

The place we live in is full of people like us who have lived transitory lives, and there are quite a few who have relocated at the same time as us. So its really nice, in so many ways, having friends who are in the same phase of life, facing similar challenges and situations. The icing on the cake was the fact that daughter even has classmates who joined at the same time as she did. So it really has been great, mostly.

So when some one expresses regret(not one of my friends but someone else who has just relocated), I can’t help but thank my luck. Thankfully, we regret is the last thing on our minds. The only thing we really want is for husband to join us soon, everything else can be managed fine. As for the actual problems, yes, there are problems, there are things which are different. I could wish the traffic were more orderly, for instance, but if it affects me only if I let it affect me. I do get frustrated at times, but that is something I am sure would happen in similar situations anywhere. Some things are intrinsic to being in India, but then, I can’t expect every place to be exactly the same, can I?

So do I regret? Most certainly not. Things like being close to my parents, finally being able to share my childhood memories with daughter(more on that in another post) all makes our life so much more richer. I can’t even complain of not having enough books anymore. I’ve learnt to schedule my library pickups really well. That, my apartment library and flipkart are enough to keep me happy, very happy.

Daughter is busy once again with activities, which are all based out of our apartment complex, so that makes life slightly easier for me.

Regrets? Certainly, not for me, at least not at the moment. And let’s hope that it stays that way.

Daughter in India

Daughter has settled in quite nicely. She is happy in our apartment complex, with all the play areas, and the school, her new friends. What delights her is that even after rains, the play area dries up really quickly. Back in the UK, rains meant no playing in the park, as everything would stay wet for a while.

However, there are some things that get her goat. Mosquitos, for one. They seem to love her, which she finds rather unfair, because they don’t bite me half as much as they do her. She also gets huge bumps on her skin, which is just not pleasant. She has become obsessed with the mozzies, so much so that when asked, which is the most common animal she gets to see in India, pat came the answer, ‘Mosquitoes’.

The other thing(s) that she is absolutely petrified about are Ants. She is absolutely terrified of them, and cannot understand how they come all the way up, to our floor. ‘They must have a secret ant elevator’, apparently 🙂

The other day there was a baby lizard in the house. It had both of us in a tizzy, scaring the life out of the poor lizard. Finally, I had to coax the poor thing into a bag, and leave it outside before madam agreed to get off her bed.

She can’t understand that running on a wet floor can be dangerous. So used to carpeted floors, she sails across on the tiles, and sometimes lands on her bum, scaring the life out of her mum.

She is, however, a consummate road crosser. She is totally adept at it, while I still get palpitations of the heart. We need to cross the road, everyday to get the school bus, and we end up taking 5-10 minutes because I am too scared to cross the road, until it is completely safe by my standards 🙂

School is just as much fun, if not more. She had much more work back in the UK. Here she’s having a ball. The only thing she misses is the library in school. Touchwood. May she continue enjoying it. I, being an Indian parent, is slightly worried that she might forget everything she already knows. I know, I know, I am being silly : )

The one thing she misses is the pastas we used to get. For her, even the mildest pasta is spicy:( Which makes it very difficult for us to eat out. But that also ensures that she eats home cooked food everyday. And her low spice tolerance also ensures that she doesnot try out any junk food here 🙂

All in all, I would say that she’s quite happy to be here. If only her dad could bring the tv we had back in the UK, because she finds nothing worth watching here. I am, of course, delighted that whatever little tv that she used to watch has also stopped.

A Month

Sometimes a month just flies by, while other times, you wonder, has it just been a month? I’ve had one of those months, when I feel – has it just been a month? Last month this time, was I really in Leeds, just getting ready to fly to India(No return ticket – as my friends joked:)).

It has just been a month, but it has been a wonderful month, but for the fact that Husband is far far away. It would have been so much better with him around. But then, we’ve got to take what we get, yeah?

Normally Julys are months when school gets over and we head over for our summer hols, right in the middle of the monsoon. This year, it was for a whole new start, a new life, in a home that we had dreamt of for years. We had been apprehensive, with some of my friends being quite optimistic that we would be back in the UK soon – which I sincerely hope doesn’t happen. I don’t think I can handle one more relocation, nor can my bank account – we’ve spent way too much money and effort on the apartment here 🙂

Hopefully, that will not happen, given the fact that we are quite happy to be here. Daughter loves her school – that was my biggest worry, and it is such a relief to see the same enthusiasm in her to go to school everyday. The bus ride seems to be fun for her, and not too long. Over all, things seem to be in place.

I still have a lot to do in my apartment, the whole day passes off in a flash, and I am completely and totally exhausted at the end of the day, but it all feels worth it. Hopefully, I will have something to show for all the hard work I have been putting in, at the end of the day year.

As I put together our home, in a completely random way, I have to say, I just hope it turns out decent. Time to time, I wish I had the luxury of time and space to plan the flat better, to tour around Bangalore before deciding on stuff, knowing what to look out for… Times when I wish I had two of me to be in two places. Times when I wish I could just forget all that I need to get done, and just go and relax in a spa 🙂 There are times that I feel so lonely that all I have energy is to just sit down and cry. The only thing that stops me is daughter – that would be way too scary for her. But those moments pass, only for me to wonder what made me feel so desolate and lonely, when there had been so many things going for me.

Missing old friends, making new ones, finding help from unexpected quarters, getting a domestic help who is extremely sweet, a pleasant surprise after all that I had heard from friends, seeing daughter happy… I can only be thankful at the end of this month in Bangalore.

While there have been challenges, there have been far more blessings, and that is that matters in the end, isn’t it?