Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Like dis and like dat!

I know its been a long time. Well maybe all the blogging I've done for more than 2 years is finally getting to me. I just don't feel like typing a post. Its not that I don't have anything to say. In fact I have a list of topics hanging on for a while now. Yet, somehow I'm just not able to make myself to get off my lazy butt (:-D) and type stuff. Maybe the lazy bug has bitten me for good. Or maybe I wanted to be bitten bad ;-). Anyways, now that I have recovered a bit, I thought I'll finish atleast a post before I get the next laziness dose :-D.

Today, 13th May 2007, is the 2nd anniversary of my coming to US. Last year I actually celebrated the day by being in India! :). This time our trip to India has been on hold due to some reasons. Hopefully we will be going sometime soon. But this post is not about that. When I first came here to US, I had written a post on my likes and dislikes about this place. Have any of them changed for the better? Or have they persisted to be the same? Find out in this new edition of "Dis I like" " :-D.

1) Cost of Stuff:

I've stopped converting dollars to rupees. Well, last year when I was in India, I was actually converting rupees to dollars ;-). It still sucks when you have to pay 4 dollars for a guava here (they are a bit rare) and I do start calculating that I'm paying more than 180 rupees for a stupid guava :-p. Well, I guess, old converting habits never die ;-) :-p.

2) Sunset at 9 PM:

When I actually mentioned this in June 2005, I still hadn't discovered the miraculous "effects" of day-light saving yet. Just 4 months later I was complaining about the sun setting at 5PM!! Isn't anything normal here?? Even after 2 years, I can't claim to have gotten adjusted to such a major fluctuation in daylight every 6 months. And nope, still don't like it :-p.

3) Restaurant food:

Hmmm there have been a bit of changes in this area. Mainly because of 2 south Indian restaurants that have cropped up in our area. Moreover whats very surprising is that we are able to find Indian restaurants most places we travel to. So that means good food for atleast once a day ;-). I also love that the Tacobell people replace all meat with beans without raising their eye-brows, or that the Fazoli people (Italian food chain) mix various kinds of pasta with vegetarian sauces/toppings though they do raise their eye-brows at the "no-meat" instruction :-p or the basic fact that the Burger King people actually have a veggie burger option unlike the infamous McDonalds who don't have any whatsoever (except the plain bun they give you when you say "no meat" :-p). My all time favourite is the Pizza Hut's Veggie Lovers pizza, but it still sucks that you don't have varieties in any of these :(. Its still not like I can go out and eat a bhel puri on road side. But atleast I have some options when I do want to go out. Summing up, it means my opinion is sorta neutral now :).

4) Ulta (reverse) driving:

I've done a full 360 degree turn (ulta myself :-D) on this. I don't really mind it anymore. In fact I like driving here more than I do in India. Yes, there are accidents here too when some crazy people don't follow the rules. But most of the time rules are followed and that makes driving a pleasure than a guessing game of death. I like it that people leave space for emergency vehicles rather than follow it like mad to get out of the traffic. I like it that if God forbid, I'm in an emergency situation, I'll get medical help as soon as possible. I like not having to change gears and cruising at top speeds on highways which are probably still unattainable in India :(.

5) Self help is the best help policy:

I absolutely hate it, though I vaccum only once a week. The dish washing gets to me, so I try and push that work to Sri all the time and I consider myself very successful at that ;-) :-D. Not only that, but whats worse is that, you have to put the petrol into your car, you even blow air to its tyres! You haul your stuff when you are changing houses. You mow your lawn, trim the bushes and dig up earth for plants. I don't really mind the last part too much, because I'm the one who wants to garden :). But I still get mad at people in India who complain about their maids and don't know how lucky they are :-p.

6) Wooden Houses:

Yup, now I'm totally scared about this! I mean what with the mad tornadoes which demolished whole towns in Kansas and the wild fires in Florida and California, I wonder why people even bother building wooden houses. I mean, are you crazy?? Maybe a brick and stone house will surivive a tornado better than a starving wooden house! Oh well, maybe they will fall faster and cause more injury than the wooden houses, who knows :-p. But there has to be something else than a wooden house, surely!

Thats it! Those were the dislikes I had. I really don't have anything to add to that! My likes haven't really changed. I love the State resort/recreation parks, the hugggge shopping malls (though I usually only window shop as the prices are wayyyyyyy crazy!), the fresh fruits, veggies, milk, curd, the strangers greeting each other policy, the traffic rules, the radio stations, multiplexes and planned roads. I have to add the libraries to this list. I have read more books than I ever have and have had all kinds of helpful books for my TOEFL as well as GMAT studies :). The best thing is that if a book is not available in the Government library, you can actually ask for an Inter-library loan. They'll get it for you for some time! How wonderful can it get :))! I also like it that I can wear anything I want here without being afraid of being constantly stared at. Not that I cross any limits ;-). No American stares at you, but there are Indians here who still do, especially older ones who are visiting. Whats with old Indian men and all that staring?? Crazy, I tell you :-p.

One more thing I like is the safety factor. Well, it maybe limited to my town, but it is extremely safe here. There are no robberies as far as I know and its great that you can just lock up and leave unlike India where you have to have somebody sleeping over at your house even if you are out for a day :-p. Also its really wonderful to have the emergency help 911-dialling if you are in trouble of any sorts. Though I don't really have a personal experience, I have heard they respond very quickly and are there in your house over a matter of minutes (as the nearest police officer/ambulance/fire engine is displatched). This is the reason most old people also have no worries here. They don't really need children around as they have 911 for all emergency situations. I do like the way the elderly live here. I mean, in India, as soon as they get old, they start saying Raama-Krishna and begin their theertha-yaathras ;-). Here its totally opposite. They have their new stylish cars and couples go for long vacations. They go shopping on their own, go to gyms, workout and basically lead a life free of responsibilities :-D. And somehow I love the idea of the sheer ability to do that :).

One more thing I like is that you are able to find everything for anything you want to do. For example, I like gardening and most malls have an entire section dedicated to gardening. You get everything, but you have to do everything yourself. Same is the case with plumbing/car repair or whatever. If you are really into the self-thing, then this is the perfect place to be. In fact some people here like to build their own houses (I mean, everything literally) and you get every item thats required in home-related malls! You don't really have to go to a hardware store for some bolts and nuts and then head over to a paint store for paint. Everything is available under one roof and there are even knowledgeable people who can help you out :).

Looks like my likes have gone up pretty drastically ;-). But what I still dislike most about US is not having my family and friends around me and that kinda negates all that I like about this place. I miss not being able to land at my parents house whenever I want though the technology is so great that I am able to see them online one or more times a week. But just seeing is not enough. I want to touch and hug them whenever I want which is still not possible technologically :-p :(. I dislike not being able to walk into a friend's house. I miss just catching up anywhere with a friend and talking for hours forgetting all sense of time. I still am not able to go out and make friends here in US for making-friends-sake. I really don't understand this rule of deliberately making friends just because somebody is from the same country as you. I mean, do you go and introduce yourself to everyone you meet in a market in India? Why then you do the same when you are in another country? Suddenly a fellow countryman stranger is better than an American stranger? Weird!

Sri doesn't have any Indian colleagues and I'm not a very social person. Though I have met a couple of Sri's American colleagues, they are mainly acquaintances and not friends really (for one thing the age difference is usually too much :-D, for another we do not share common interests). Moreover due to my intense dislike of making friends with Indian strangers here, I don't really have any so-called "friends" here. Except my real friends who are spread over the country so wide that I cannot really visit them. Maybe that'll change sometime. Maybe I'll change. Maybe next time I write a post on this "came to US" anniversary, I'll have some more good things to say. But right now, here I am, this is me..