Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My journey in the US so far...

It seems like yesterday... I was in my office mustering up the courage to put down my resignation. My husband was getting relocated to US and the obvious choice (then) was to join him.

I stepped out of my boss’ cabin and it seemed as if everybody knew about it... Like some ‘breaking news’ on AAJ TAK!

‘Congrats!! You’ll be going to US; which place? New York? Great; it’s the best place you could ever go to; finally you’re out of all this; enjoy your life; it’s like a dream come true; and so on… The next one month at work was flooded with similar comments, feedbacks and advices.

Probably the time in between was the best time... Meeting parents, relatives, friends, shopping, packing, planning… Lots of excitement in life... It was a welcome break from the usual routine life I had been leading for the past 4 yrs. Home-office-home.

With such a lot of hustle-bustle, I didn’t even realize the days passing by and I was in US. Even the flight was Air India and the time went by listening to Indian music and having Indian food.

Stepping out of the airport, I started realizing that I had finally landed in US. The streets, roads, high rise buildings were things that we had always been seeing in movies. Though it wasn’t a huge difference as these days we have a lot of similar buildings in Bangalore too.

Our hotel was in New Jersey. Jet lagged, we preferred to take a little more rest and then step out somewhere in the evening. There was an Indian street situated next to the hotel. I’m sure no one could ever say that it’s not India. I remember telling my hubby 'we get to see a lot more foreigners in Bangalore than we are seeing here'. New Jersey has a huge Indian population and you can find everything that’s remotely Indian. I felt like I was strolling in some street in India in my dreams.

A couple of weeks went by just roaming around on the streets of New York, getting to know the place. There are lots of big malls but again these do not strike us a lot coz the mall culture has come up in a big way in India too.

The biggest difference I found here were the roads and infrastructure. New York and New Jersey is well connected through rail. There are mostly wide roads, well maintained and very convenient to drive on. The traffic rules are quite stringent and people do not dare to break them.

Days went by and gradually all the initial excitement starting fading away. When you’re used to working, trust me being at home (homemaker, housewife... call it whatever you may) seems to be the most difficult thing on earth.

Now the most important thing for me was to get a decent job wherever possible.
Working in US is also not easy for everyone. Most people on dependant visas are legally not allowed to work here. I was lucky, as I was allowed to work here but had to get an EAD (employment authorization document). It took about a couple of months to get that too and my job hunt began.

But before I could get confirmed by any company, thanks to the recession, all the jobs seemed to disappear from the market. I can’t say about others but this recession did hit me badly.

Having given up all hopes of working here, I decided to have fun as long as I could and then go back to India and work. The rest of 5-6 months went by shopping, travelling and ‘chilling out’.

I’m glad I came here, as staying in another country for a substantial period of time changes one's outlook a lot. There’s a lot of personal growth, some known to us and lots unknown to us. It’s actually like coming out of the well and seeing the world, watching/interacting with people from almost every community/background/religion etc.

We had come to US in Aug’08 and decided that I’ll go back to India in sept’09, get a job and settle down there. My hubby would join me by the beginning of 2010. This was our next plan of action..

While we were all busy planning out all our shifting, selling household stuff, getting tickets and various such things, I suddenly got a call for a job interview. To my luck, it went well and I got selected. Now I have to join by Sept’09.

Once more, all our plans have changed... Now I’m gearing up for a new job, getting jitters every now and then, preparing myself for a new beginning (or will it be the beginning of the same old routine??).

Whatever it is, I really feel that strange are the ways of life. You get things when you least expect them!!

There’s a quote which I often remember...

“A man was walking on a shaking bridge. He prayed for help... he saw God on the other side of the bridge and asked God to come near, but God didn’t come. Man got angry. With great difficulty he crossed to the other side and saw God holding the broken bridge! Trust HIM. HIS ways are amazing!!”