So in July of 2014, we decided to R2A for a little while and ended up spending 8 months back in the US. Those 8 months were probably the best time I have spent in the US, like, ever ;-)!! Here’s why –
- Location, Location, Location: We went back to the same state and county but lived in a different area. This place felt more like a community than the sprawling, f
ast-growing area we lived in before. My child started Kindergarten (yay for the public school system!) at a school that was 2, yes TWO, minutes walking distance away. I found a great temp job with the most pleasant commute I have ever had in my entire working life (except for the one I have now). The library (yay for the public library system!) was a five minute drive away as were numerous choices of great restaurants, malls, grocery stores and a fantastic community centre.
- Connections old and new: The moment we landed I reconnected with everyone I had gotten to know before we moved back. Of course it helped that they are all on my
Facebook so we knew what was going on in each others’ lives, but it was wonderful to see them in person again. And I made new connections through old connections … in fact the second day after we had landed, I got together with a huge gang of girlfriends and had a great time! No whining about like-minded people there! I met many non-Indians because of my child’s school and my work and it was such a great experience (the only non-Indian friends I had were because of work and that is so not the same). We traveled A LOT in those eight short months. I managed to visit family in Michigan and Washington State, both of whom I had never once even thought of visiting in my 10 years there and both States that I had never visited before! We took random road trips and for the first time ever stopped at a hotel without a prior booking GASP!! We took turns off the straight path and saw things we never would have seen.
- It’s all about attitude: I finally got the rid of the stick up my behind ;-). I don’t know what it was about working and having a baby in the US but close to our decision to R2I
the first time, I was wound as tight as could be. I stressed out about everything!!! My child’s routine, my work, my diet, my shoes, my marriage, my in-laws, the environment, my parents, everything!! This time I was on the chill-pill for the most part. I took time off from work without guilt, I went on a field trip with my child’s school (to a pumpkin patch; I was in charge of three kids and it was awesome!), we did pizza from the freezer whenever we wanted instead of cooking roti-sabzi every night (blecch!). I worked hard, but didn’t go crazy, at a job where there were actual human beings working rather than the shiny, always-on folks that I had met in the big companies (my job was with a government agency so it reminded me very much of India lol).
- Money is a means not an end: I don’t know why, but my attitude to
spending was so much more casual and relaxed than before. Maybe it was not having a mortgage or it could have been that I was reverse-converting and actually thought things were cheaper lol or maybe it was just because I knew there was an expiration date to my stay in the US, but I had fun spending! I bought the things I wanted, spent on vacations, ate well and lived simply.
- Home is where the heart feels happy: I think what surprised me most was that I actually felt like I was home, like I belonged. It was wonderful! Maybe if I had been able to capture this feeling before the first R2I, we never would have come back to India.
Anyway, I now feel like I have two homes. And I can’t wait to visit my American home again!