Thursday, May 13, 2010

Top 10 things I will miss about life in America

I resigned today. Everyone at work already knew I was going to leave the country soon, so it had an anti-climactic feel to it. It took me two minutes to type up a letter ("This is to inform you that ... I am grateful for ... Yours truly."). I walked up to my boss's office, and handed it to him with a self-conscious "The letter". "Ah, the letter", he said, having already spoken with me at length about this over the past weeks. He got up, we shook hands, I stepped out. I was done. Seven years working in this office, in this country. By next Friday, it will all be history. Very soon, I might walk out of these halls, and it would be the very last time I walk out of them.

Come to think of it, with just a handful of days left in this country, each everyday experience seem to pass by with a 'last time' tag now. The last time I go to this store? The last time I pass this toll-booth? The last time I eat a cheesecake? ...

Anticipatory nostalgia. There is so much about the US I will miss back in India. Or I expect I will miss, is probably more accurate. I don't know for sure, do I? I might think I will miss something, but in reality I might actually not even remember it, and something much more mundane might tug at the heartstrings. Only one way to find out.

Let me put my stake in the ground. Let me put out in the public domain what I think I will miss most about life in the US. Maybe a few months after I move to India, I can look back upon this list and see whether reality at all resembled my predictions. So here it is. My Top 10 list of what I most expect to miss about life in America:

10. Things: My 60 " flat screen TV. My 286 horsepower car. My $6 lint remover brush. TiVo. Dear things, I will miss you all.

9. Suburbia: Near a city, but away from the bustle. The peace of living on a lakefront. More rooms than I ever thought I would need. Walking in the woods after work. Suburban America, you spoilt me.

8. Saying hello to strangers: Smiling at people on the road. Cooing at strangers' children. Holding the elevator door. Saying please and thank you to waiters. Common courtesy, it was nice knowing you.

7. Football: The pre-season drama. The thrill of Sunday afternoons. Sweat, grunts and strategy in HD. Super bowl parties. Redskins crashing and burning. NFL Football, there is nothing quite like you.

6. Flowers: Cherry blossoms announcing spring. Daffodils in the garden. Azelias in a pot. Tulips in the park. Chrysanthemums everywhere. Flowers, it was nice seeing you growing in the wild.

5. Driving: Long hours at the wheel. Drivers keeping to their lanes. Interstates. Listening to NPR. A new audio book every other week. Road trips with the wife. Fiesta potatoes at Taco Bell drive through. Driving, it was fun while it lasted.

4. Doing business on the internet: Buying a printer, click. Paying my taxes, click. Getting directions, click. Looking for a doctor, click. Holding mail while away on vacation, click. Opening an account, click. Closing a service, click. Business without paperwork, you were a pretty neat idea.

3. Two day weekends: Watching Netflix movies on Friday night. Saturday comics with the Washington Post. Holidays that always fell on Fridays and Mondays. Two full days off. Groaning about meetings on Friday afternoon. Discussing plans starting Thursday. Asking 'how was your weekend?' on Mondays. Two day weekends, you are so much cooler than your one and a half day relatives.

2. Public libraries: Thousands of books, on every topic imaginable. Open till 8 in the evening. Allowing me to borrow upto 50 books at a time! Reading area for the daughter. Audio books. Placing holds on books I can't find. Access to 26 great libraries, just in my county. FREE! Public libraries of America, you should be proud of yourselves!

1. National Parks: The majesty of Grand Canyon. The stunning diversity of Yellowstone. The breathtaking grandeur of Arches. The birds and alligators of Everglades. The other-worldly quiet of Badlands. The fall colors of Acadia. The bears of Great Smokey Mountains. National Parks, you are truly America's best idea.

So Long.

9 comments:

  1. BooHoo BooHoo BooHoo, you did not mention me as one of the things you will miss in Amrika!Also, BooHoo, that you will be far away in India.

    Ok, now you will follow it up with things you are looking forward to in India...Chaat, more Chaat, lotsa Chaat, masala dosas, Mom's home cooked food during weekends in Pune, vacations in Goa etc.

    UCvasi

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  2. Ah well! #4 is pretty much possible in India too. Welcome back! and lets see if you'll find the time to take back brick and rope to its original theme in Mumbai. Yeh hai nayi India meri jaan, much more hectic than seven years back :)

    - Meera

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  3. I will miss you! After traveling to India. I can definitely agree with 8 and 5. Why are you leaving all of this glory? And, have you read Twilight yet? :)

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  4. I don't know how the situation in India is nowadays, but the ability to go on vacation without the "guilting" from office was a big difference for me. Knowing that you could take your 3-4 weeks off, without having to give reasons was a big deal. Reason-free-vacations, I hope you find your way to India.

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  5. @ UC Vasi: Point noted. Am working on a similar list for what I am looking forward to in India, be out with it soon!
    @ Meera: More hectic than 7 years back? Are you trying to scare me right back to the US??
    @ Anon: No, haven't reached my Twilight years yet. But soon, I am sure ...
    @ Smoke+Mirrors: Ah the vacations! I have many grand plans on this front for India, none of them realistic.

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  6. Numbers 4, 5 and 8 are the ones you will surely miss..as they were the top 3 points in my list of misses and I still miss them (cant say for how long though!!)

    One thing that might supercede all the above misses is the feeling of living with the near and dear ones, the family, a cup of coffee with a friend anytime u want or even at tea at the roadside (even after work), the feeling that people around you can do anything to ensure your well-being and most importantly, the feel of home country that makes us feel proud, may it be sports, economy, business, people and the list goes on ( please excuse politics out of this list)..

    I am sure when you look at this post again after a year, you would find most of the above are no longer missed..!!

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