A Full Circle

This day last year. I do that a lot. Just a way of loiking back at stuff, I guess…

This day, last year, 26th of June 2012, was the day when we packed off our belongings, to India. We were in the middle of wrapping up our lives in the UK. Daughter and I were to go ahead, and move to Bangalore, because we didn’t want her to miss a lot of the school year there. Husband was supposed to join us later, but unexpectedly, there came up an opportunity for him to be in India for 6 weeks. That meant that he could come with us and keep visiting, while he was in India. And if we were lucky, he would be able to join us permanently soon.Too good to be true. And it was. That didn’t happen, at the very last minute, it got cancelled, and he had to stay back.

To cut a long story short, we moved to India and moved back, all in the span of a year. We just got our shipment from India. A full circle. Back where we started from. Not the same location, but back in the same country. How does it feel? Weird. But good weird. It was not in our fate, to be in India just yet, I guess. But it is nice here as well, back to being a family, back to everyday life like it was. Do I miss India. Of course! And hopefully, the next time we do this, we do it together, and stay there:)

Until then, I’m just glad that my shipment has brought me the things I was so missing. My grinder, I’ve had dosas after ages. And finally some of the curios that we had picked up, and kept safe, for when we live in Bangalore have seen the light of the day.

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Isn’t this gorgeous? I love these Liliput lane cottages!

If there is anything this whole exercise has taught us, it is to live in the moment. To live fully. And not wait for the time to go back to India, and then do stuff. Even if it is silly stuff like putting up the curios we picked up.

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From the oven into the freezer.

This had been sitting in my drafts, for a week, and I just can’t do without publishing it. Lots of things have happened since we landed here, and there is so much to write about. While I type it all out, do read about out first day in Glasgow:)

That’s what our situation is.

We had been in hot, sweltering Bangalore and Wayanad in the last three weeks. Daughter claimed that she could feel herself melting away into water. Suddenly, we land in Glasgow where we are almost frozen into ice.

We came here with light, summery clothes, with light spring jackets, only to be jolted by the cold. We were greeted by icy winds and cold rain! So cold that the first thing we did was shop for warm jackets. Which wasn’t easy either, seeing that most shops were filled with spring/summer clothes. It felt rather silly, searching the racks for winter clothes. But looking silly was far more acceptable than freezing to death.

Thankfully, we did manage to get warm clothes that did their jobs. Glasgow was so cold that it had us wishing for warm weather. Almost. Actually not, because the heat of Bangalore was a bit too fresh on our memories:)

We certainly did not let the cold keep us indoors, though. We drove around, walked by Loch Lomond, went to almost all the shopping centres in town, searching for warm clothes, things that we needed for Solihull(that requires a post for itself), and enjoyed being a family again.

Memories and Yearnings

The place we live in for a number of years, leaves it’s own mark on us. Marks that may fade, marks that may become faint memories or just photographed memories in the years to come. Initially, however, they remain fresh for a while, and come back to make you yearn for them.

Christmas time is probably one of the times when we will miss UK a lot. All the lovely winter weather in India, doesn’t seem to make our yearning for the Christmas fervour any less. The lit up high streets, Santa’s Grottos, Christmas food, the school Christmas play, writing out Christmas cards… So many things… I’m hoping that by next year, we would have moved on, and forgotten about it all.

Daughter especially seems to be missing Christmas and snow! The other day, while talking to husband, I casually asked him if it has started snowing there. Only to find daughter in tears. Apparently, she’s been missing snow the most. She even wanted Daddy to cancel his holiday so that we could travel there instead! Just so that she could have Christmas there, and play in the snow. Some expectations some people have, eh?

CR’s comments on this post, made me yearn for all the trappings of winter back there. Coats, scarves, hats and boots! I miss my boots! And there is no way I can wear them here, unless I want to look really pretentious and crazy 🙂 I would be happy enough if it got cold enough to wear some scarves.

Although, I have to say, Bangalore has been trying very hard to make me feel at home. So what if it can’t give us snow, its sure very successful in making us cold and wet! Now, if not boots, how about some wellies?

Back to Square One(almost)

In other words – we might just have to go back to the UK.

Returning back was something, I was confident, we would not end up doing.

Just goes to show how unpredictable life is, and even the best laid plans are not enough – sometimes. We might need to go back to the UK. We might have to return, not for the usual reasons, but because we can’t find a job here!

Eight years in the UK, we refused to put down roots there. Mainly because India always felt like home, and there was nothing we looked forward to more than coming back to Bangalore and living the dream we dreamed. Everything was as per plan, when we moved back in July. Or rather, until Daughter and I moved back – husband was still there for a while, until he got a job in Bangalore. How difficult would it be? Not too difficult, is what I had assumed, husband was far more realistic, even then. But clearly, I assumed wrong. Apparently, most companies just want him to go back abroad on projects. That doesn’t exactly bode well for our, ‘End of nomadic existence’ plan, does it? If we have to be abroad, we would stick to his current job, and stay in one place – UK, rather than be shunted back and forth on projects while being an India employee.

So right now, we are wondering if we took the decision too quickly, if we should have waited till husband got a job before relocating. At that time, this seemed the best thing to do, to come here at the start of the academic year, so that daughter would not have to miss much, so that she could settle in easier. And it worked too – to that extent. Daughter is comfortable, well settled in school but missing her Daddy terribly. She just cannot understand why he can’t get a job here, or why he can’t just come here and find a job.. It’s taking a toll on all of us but hopefully, we will be able to look back at this phase and smile, in a few years time.

Hoping for the best, here we are gearing up for the worst – having to pack up and head back. After a year apart – we plan to give it a year – until the end of this academic year, and lots of money(and effort) spent on the apartment(and other things), we might just have to head back. The mere thought of that make my heart sink. While it would be wonderful to be back with husband, I only wish it were him joining us, rather than the other way around. The main reason we decided to move back – parents, would still be a reason which makes it tough for me to go back. It feels really bad to be so far away, at a time when they might need us… I so wish we were living some place closer to home.

On the positive side -I do believe that daughter would have it better there – in many ways, education, opportunities. And most importantly, safety. Every time I read the newspaper, it scares me. I know, its silly to worry like this,but one can’t help worry. As I have mentioned earlier, I had/have my doubts if India is the best place for daughter, but I was still hopeful that we would be fine. Every country comes with own set of problems, but being in India had so many things we were looking forward to. Being close to family, the fun, that feeling of belonging, and to be finally able to set down roots. For daughter, it is those simple things like being able to play outside everyday. Not having to worry about rain spoiling her playtime. But after the first few months of soaking in the new place, the new atmosphere, now, she has started missing her old school, and friends and also comparing them. Although she hasn’t been very upset, she does wonder why they don’t do some things in the school here, like experiments. But she’s alright, and I suspect she will be perfectly at peace here, once husband gets to join us. Right now, I think the situation has started to unsettle her, just a bit.

Being in a situation like this is annoying, and frustrating, to say the least, the uncertainty, killing. ‘Suspended equilibrium’, sort of situation. No idea which way we go. I’ve stopped getting work done on the flat. We had been looking forward to so many things, not knowing that what we would get is uncertainty and confusion. Right now, I would settle for some definite plans – either way, it would just be good to know which way.

Taking one day at a time, doing just what needs doing, at the moment, keeping our fingers crossed, and hoping that whatever be the outcome, we have the strength to face it, and make the most of it. And if we do go back, one thing is for sure, we would not be doing any relocation, unless all of us move together – lessons learnt, eh?

Joys of not being in the UK

– Shops don’t close at 4. What joy that is! Not having to rush out at 3:30, hoping against hope that you might just slink past the security guard, one minute before the store closes. Once we’re in, we’re safe, as husband says. Not quite, because we have that voice telling you that you need to get your stuff to be billed in 5 minutes time. What pleasure it is, to be able to stroll out and shop when it pleases you on a Sunday evening.

– I yearn for the rains. I never thought that would happen to me. Not after living in a place where it rains all the time. I guess there is truth in the saying,’Never say never’, after all.

– Not having to carry a jacket – just in case it rains or it gets too cold. It’s true freedom, I tell you.

– Getting someone else to do all the housework – what joy! Although I can see it adding to the inches on my waist.

– Being able to call a store and ask for provisions to be delivered home. There’s nothing like it when you are home alone with a sleeping child and urgently need something before the shops close for the day.

Despite all that, I can’t help feel a tiny bit homesick when I read Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island. Especially when he mentions the familiar places like the Yorkshire Dales or Harrogate. It makes me sad to think that I will probably never go on a drive there, on a Sunday evening, just because there is nothing else that we can do.
Or plan for that holiday in Lake District where all we plan to do is relax, and walk around – which never happens, by the way. Both of us can’t just do nothing on a holiday. Or go back to North Wales and hike up to Snowdonia. Or complain about the rains, the never ending rains – that is fun too, you know. But what I miss most is to be able to walk into a store and get a packet yeast, just because I fancy baking some bread.

See, I told ya. The grass is always greener on the other side.

Notes from a Big Country by Bill Bryson

All through the book, the one question that kept pestering me was, ‘What kept me from reading Bill Bryson for so long?’ Seriously, I cannot figure it out. But then, I’ve done it before as well. I kept away from Harry Potter. No idea why. Just stayed away from it. And then when I did read one, finished four books in four straight nights. Sigh! But better late than never, right?

I picked up this book on a lark, as this was the only interesting book I could find in my apartment complex’s library.

After living in England for twenty years, Bill Bryson moves back to America, his home country. He finds himself a stranger in his own country. The book is a compilation of articles that he wrote for a newspaper about his experiences in America.

I found it extremely funny and loved his sense of humour. A lot of his sentiments, I could identify with because when you move back into your home country after some years abroad, so many things seem different. The things you enjoyed and cherished might not even be part of your new experiences. The reverse culture shock that is part and parcel of moving back to a place after spending time away from it. Having gotten used to the British way of life and terminology, he struggles to remember/find out the American equivalent of things. His British wife and children, though, seem to love America while he seems to be the one having the most difficult time. Rediscovering America with it’s joys and it’s trials, all the while poking fun at himself and others around him, it was a fun read. I chuckled through the book.

Some of the chapters, though did seem dated, after all , this book was written in 1999. Some chapters about computers for instance remind you that this book is of another time. But for most part, it is Bryson’s style of poking fun at the things he observes that stands out. The sentiments and the humour, I have to say, are timeless. Reading the reviews of the book, I realize that this might be one of his not-so-great books. If that is indeed true, I can’t wait to read his other books.

I miss..

.. loads of things, if I am honest. Nothing that I can’t manage without – but just some things which were different back in the UK. And some things which have more to with the phase of settling in that we are in, more than the place we are living in.

– I miss living in a house where there’s nothing that needs doing. I hate having people doing stuff in the house- and being trapped in here, until they are done. Waiting to reclaim my own house 🙂

– I miss the library! Being able to take 20 books, and never worrying about running out of books – what a pleasure that was!

– I miss my car. Miss being able to drive around, get out when it suited me. Hopefully that will be rectified soon. Fingers crossed.

– I miss the weather! Never thought I would – but I do. Especially when it just refuses to rain here! Who’d have thought that I would yearn for rain! Hitchy, your revenge is complete 🙂

– And most of all, I miss husband.

On a gorgeous summer day…

– You actually get to use the sunscreen that you bought in spring, in the hope that the weather will be kind to you.

– You walk out confidently without hauling around jackets – just in case the weather changes

– Your dosa batter rises like never before.
– You go on diet just because its too hot to eat- that doesn’t last too long though 😦

– You get to drive with the car windows down. What bliss!! And you get to switch on the AC instead of that perpetual heating!

– Your daughter comes home with an empty water bottle.

– You can see neighbours dining in their garden.

– For a change all the windows in the house are wide open and the house is still warm!

Oh, for summers like this! All I need is a cool, cool mojito on a hot summer evening like this to make it totally  perfect!

Random thoughts while packing.

… for a weekend away in the UK.

You are never sure of the weather so you end up packing,

– sun screen and swim wear. Just in case the weather god takes pity on you and grants you good weather. This, by the way, never, ever happens to us. With our luck, the sunscreen comes back – untouched, most of the time 🙂

– you throw in warm layers, because you never know, in this country!

– you dare not forget that water proof jacket, because you can rest assured that the one time you forget, you can guarantee bad weather.

And you will always have pictures on the beach, wearing multiple layers, with winter hats and boots to boot. That is a different kind of fun too, you know, after all how many people in those warm, sunny countries would have done that?

– The car is full of all sorts of emergency clothing, which we might have thrown in at the last minute, but comes to our rescue when adverse weather hits us.

And finally after all that preparation, some people like us, land in a totally different place for our holiday. That is soon to come in another post 🙂

Breaks of all sorts…

Term break time again! And two weeks at that! Torture, I tell you!

And I don’t even have the luxury of turning to my laptop for comfort! It had to go and get broken at the right time.

Even the weather seems jinxed against me. Last week we had glorious spring, summer weather. Absolutely gorgeous. It felt like summer had come early.

Only for it all to change overnight. So we are back to grey skies and cold, cold weather. Not just cold, they are even predicting snow! Just in time for the Easter holidays.

We are now, back to checking weather every 5 mins, in the vain hope that something will change – for the better. But knowing our luck – California and Florida hit record lows when we visited, I don’t have much hope.

The sad weather also means that all our plans to be outdoors is now out of question. We do plan to do some gardening though. We have some sunflower seeds waiting to get planted.

I do have a lot to talk about, but can’t type on the phone anymore. I so need a tablet 🙂 Did I tell you that daughter is in love with the iPad? Well, she came across one in a shop, and ever since, all she wants is a iPad. Now, she has resigned herself to the fact that she isn’t getting one, so she ‘plays’ with it in malls or shopping centres where they try to lure us into buying one.

So how have you all been? Weather better at your end?