Friday, January 13, 2012

What Do I Have to Come Back To?

Out of sheer selflessness my loving husband purchased a ticket for me to go home and visit family recently. We had been discussing it and we had both agreed that a few weeks to a month would be good so I could go see all and do all that I wanted to do and get some much needed relief from the complexities of life here in Amritsar. Well, hubby was checking tickets one night and kept playing with the dates to see when we could get the best rates and then he got all excited over finding a fairly inexpensive ticket ($1400 lol...OMG) and he hit the purchase button and told me he was going through with it. I got excited, not knowing the dates he had selected and he didn't offer to tell me. I just finally felt relieved I would have a date to look forward to.

I started having dreams of Chick-Fil-A Chicken Minis and Baked! Ruffles and there were stars in my eyes for sure at that moment. Oh the things I am going to do. I'm going to have a real and decent oil free breakfast for a change and I plan to eat one almost every single day I'm home to make up for a year without a decent breakfast. (No, I don't consider kulcha's slathered in ghee or poori's or parathas fried in ghee a decent breakfast and with all the grease/oil/fat my body can't digest them anyway.) I'm going to Cracker Barrel and partake in the chicken and dumplings platter with all the fixings on the side and God willing I'm going to burn up my favorite outlet mall with one of my best friends.

Then all of a sudden hubby panics. He got the email confirming his purchase and he had messed with the date so much he didn't realize he bought me a 3 month vacation! I must admit that scares me a little too lol. Due to some upcoming events we have a tight timeline to work with of when I needed to go and when I needed to be back and this is cutting it very close. Of course, I wouldn't dare try to change it but now we have to be careful with a few of our ventures to make sure I'm back here to participate and complete them and all that. But what scares me the most is what if I get there and can't force myself to come back but I'm worried I may have to fight with myself to get on the plane.

So then I start thinking about how I can take an empty suitcase with me and bring back all the comforts that will help me stay happier for a little longer when I do come back. Oh man....customs is going to have a field day with my suitcase full of chips lol. Damn you Lays for making those things so appealing to a lonely and geographically single woman on a boring Saturday night! But of course, I'm sure these emotions are fairly normal for someone who has been through the  culture shock nightmare I have been through and they aren't even my main focus of the day.

Since he purchased this ticket, I have noticed a change in my attitude again. Now I have this "give me a reason to come back" attitude. I've managed to keep that phrase from coming up in conversation but I've noticed a couple of times that when it enters my mind I become more assertive. In some ways this is good but it is very strange new territory for me. It's also very confusing. I know that I have actually been afforded a very good life here in many ways. But in others I have not. One thing that pains me is that MIL and Chachi continue to go out without even inviting me. This just makes me feel as if I'm not really part of the family at all. Another is the fact that hubby still routinely refuses to take me to the subzi wala (veggie vendor) so I can pick my own foods.

This past Sunday was the first time he's ever taken me and I had to pull some stunts to get that trip. He wasn't happy and gave me attitude as soon as he parked the bike in front of the vendors stand. Of course, I snapped right back because he hit a nerve. He actually told me this wasn't a grocery store and I couldn't look around and take all day finding what I wanted. And he wonders why sometimes his mother and I are both getting after him. So my food lasted all of one day even though I purchased enough for a few meals and he openly and outright refused to take me again on Tuesday and Wednesday even though we drove right past it while we were out. (Side note: the tomatoes I purchased then actually cut with a knife easily and they were so firm and made me want tomatoes again.) So the b*tch in me is back and I'm again fussing at every meal time that I have no food. (Except of course tomatoes and pasta...there aren't even potatoes and onions today.) FIL didn't even bring home cauliflower or brinjl this week as he usually does. There is some green veggie in the fridge I can't identify and hubby couldn't translate so I guess I have to leave that to MIL.

Sure I know I just about pretty much hate it here most days but I do love my husband I don't want to just leave him alone forever. I know I have to come back but why should I if I can't even have proper access to fresh food (as opposed to the half rotten bazaar food) or be included in family activities beyond being the after dinner entertainment that I have spent this year being. I've been making a list so I can try to clear the confusion in my mind of what my life was like in the US vs. here and what things really bother me. I'm just surprised at how this ticket has changed my behavior yet again. For those of you who went abroad and then came back, what are your stories of your first trip home? Did you have similar feelings of uncertainty or thoughts you may not leave home again? Any recommendations for my trip? (It's months away but I always plan ahead.)


  1. This is great news!! I know how much you have wanted this and for how long! It is a shame Rohit isn't going with you, it would give him a taste of what his life will be like there.

    I hope that at least the trip reminds you the reasons why you left the US for India and how much you adore Rohit.
    2012 seems to be going well for all!

  2. Well my dear, I am going to be in the Atlanta area for 2 months in March!
     I hope you have your PIO card or you will definitely NOT be coming back to India for at least 2 months.
    You know-I always buy suitcase(s) in the US as they are cheaper & better quality there. Actually I buy 2 suitcases with the fancy wheels that roll in any direction &  a HUGE extra biggie jumbo duffel bag from the camping dept at WalMart. I usually stuff all 'soft' items such as clothes, shoes etc in the duffel bag (My husband has taken a serious liking to American style mid length brief undies & Tommy Bahamas camp shirts)
    Then I shove anything 'breakable' in the suitcases. By the way, WalMart had 'American Tourister' suitcases (27") for a great price last year when I was in Florida. Discount places like TJ Maxx & Marshalls have suitcases at good prices too. Suitcases make such great 'under the bed storage' in my storage deficient house.
    Yes, I do have to pay the $150 for having extra/overweight luggage at the ticket counter. Yes, the airline staff at the check in counter does look at me like I've lost my mind with all my extra/overweight luggage.
    Yes, I'm going to NEPAL where you absolutely positively will NOT be able to find even halfway decent undies/bras/sweaters/socks/cosmetics/cooking equipment/etc at ANY price.
    I fly through Delhi all the time & nobody ever stops me at customs.
    Indian Immigration is always a pain, I've never had anyone working in Indian Immigration ever welcome me to India. Not sure why I should be surprised by that, I think those folks in Indian Immigration must be relatives of Ms McLoving?

  3. I'm hoping so too! I really need a break from all that I've been through here. I need a chance to get a fresh look at India and it's hard to do living under the stress I'm living under. I wish Rohit could go this trip but he will go with me in time. And it's not too late to try again for his visa so we will see.

  4. Well damn. I'm not leaving that soon or maybe we could have caught up. I won't have my PIO card before I leave, I'm going to apply at home because it's quicker and easier and there's not BS coming from the FRRO (who has already let us know he didn't want to be bothered to file for us.) But I will be gone for 3 months and I'm going to make sure I have a re-entry waiver just in case anyway.

    I have a really good set of luggage at my moms. I purchased it before coming here to accompany an old set I was bringing. I picked it up at Goodwill though because I know what kind of treatment it would receive. It was an older set of Samsonite and's fabulous! Not a single rip, tear or worn seam after my trip. So I'll bring back the rest of that on this trip. I only paid $10 for a 5 pc set and I only brought 2 pieces. I fully intend to come back loaded with stuff (at least enough to get me through until a potential visa interview which I'm praying won't be longer than a couple months after I get back here).

    My hubby's like yours. He's all about the American brands. They hold up much better to the Indian sun than the same products purchased here. Even Polo and Tommy Hilfiger purchased here don't last as well or keep their color like the exact same brands from the US. I find that really odd. I'm guessing it has something to do with dye regulations/laws or something. I paid $223 for overweight luggage coming here last time lol. It was well worth it because I still have the clothes I brought (see...they last longer somehow) and I have quite a bit of comfort items that I am very thankful to have.

    Nepal must be similar to Amritsar in the undies department. If I buy the expensive brands they start falling apart at the seams after only a few washes. If I buy the cheap jockey brands they fade (and I dry them indoors). Now my items brought from the US are still looking almost brand new and I haven't had a ripped or broken seam yet. Well...except for some Bali I picked up - lesson learned.

    I agree about the Delhi airport. I get nothing but trouble and rude guards coming through there. I bet they are kin to Ms. McLoving for sure!

  5. 3 months, wow :) 

    I know you love your husband, but reading this I find his attiutde really disturbing! You're not a posession - you're a human being, an adult. If he won't take you I also find it absolutely ridiculous he'd have a problem with you going yourself (even if you don't want to, it's the fact he would get pissy about it). Even if its a cultural thing about not wanting you to take care of yourself, in those cultures usually you are taken care OF and it doesn't sound like that's happening.

    Anyway, I hope this gets resolved and I wish you a marvellous vacation!! We still wanna hear all about it :)

    Jasmine x

  6. Hey, I heard in Amritsar they have some wholesale membership store like Sam's Club/Costco? Is it true?
    I'm glad you told me about Indian 'Jockey' underwear being subpar. My hubby refuses to wear the Indian underwear at all anymore. It's funny, Jockey & Van Heusen are Indian owned brands now- but the Jockey & Van Heusen clothing in India isn't the same quality as in the US.
    I have found Levi's jeans to be the same quality, but not their shirts & sweaters.
    The 'Adidas' brand stores in India have really nice quality sports shirts (like golf, tennis & soccer) that my husband likes.
    Great buy on the Samsonite luggage! I've found Samsonite & American Tourister to be the best. I have one piece left of a very expensive 'Delsym'  brand luggage- costs twice as much lasts half as long- looks 'expensive' & therefore attracts thieves!

  7. I agree with you. That's why I give him hell back. He doesn't get away with it. I do tend to dismiss some of his behavior because I know quite a bit about how he was raised but I do let him know it's not right and that I expect a change and we talk it out eventually and things get resolved. 9/10 he will go get stuff for me but right now I'm in a mode where I want to do or at least see for myself. To his defense, the veggie wala didn't have much of anything interesting. I think I was hoping to find something I didn't know they had here but that didn't happen.

    My vaca will be marvellous! I know because I'm already making plans, I will have a full sized kitchen to create whatever mess I want etc etc. If nothing else, it will at least be familiar and that's like a band-aid for this open wound called culture shock lol. I will be in full blog mode from a shiny new Vaio while home as well because the ones in the US come with more features and less price tag so I'm waiting till I get there to buy...well, or order and have it shipped. :D

  8. There is a Best Price (Bharti venture with Wal-Mart) that operates very similar to a Sam's Club. We go about once a month and, just as with Sam's Club, some things are cheaper and some are not. I do find though that I can get more things there that I can't find in HyperCity or other stores that I like. (Like the Vanilla flavoring I scored a while back!!) My only protest is the aunties that shop there are bitches who can't drive a shopping cart (I've been hit many times and I do hit back) and they only sell mens clothes and no womens! Such a disappointment. Of course, that keeps Rohit busy while the girl cousin that lives here and I go pile the buggy full of all sorts of foods and goof off in the freezer rooms. (Instead of a cold foods section they have individual rooms to keep everything segregated - one meat/fish, one fruits & veg, and one dairy products.) Thanks for the heads up on Van Heusen, I loved them in the states but everything at their stores here is too long for me (and I'm taller than most of the women I know!!) I like Adidas too. ;)

  9. Hi 

    Same story here. You are not experiencing real india my dear. I agree with jasmine totally.  and oh my god, the guy does not gets you food of your choice from the local veggie vendor!!!! Come on!! Thinking about this is making me crazy. And do the women in your family really approve of you?? 

    One more thing, you write about your MIL being starved and you yourself aren't complaining your husband about his callous attitude towards your nutritional needs? I mean why?? Please get out of this, and stop calling him loving and caring atleast. No loving and caring person will disapprove his wofe just cause he is gori and quickly take her off from the marketplace. I will be sectarian here - but amritsar people are only talk and no action. 

    I will be posting no more comments, since you are not practicing what you are preaching. 
    Happy escape. yes, make it count. Please :) Just let me know on my mail -  I wont bug you in return, but I need to know.

  10. You are both right, I know this isn't what all of India is like. And no, I've only been out to the veggie wala once in the last year and that happened recently. I'm not sure whether the women approve of me or not. I can only go by what I see/hear. I know they don't take me anywhere with them but I know my MIL and I have some strange bond. She even picks on her son on my behalf and says things to him about how she wants me to do something for her because she doesn't trust him to do it right. It's confusing and I really wish I knew the language better but I haven't been able to learn enough yet to be sure. I often find myself confused and wondering if things really are as I am told they are.

    I don't remember saying not complaining about the food. I do complain quite a bit. Almost daily actually. I have learned that people here are all talk and no action. That took me awhile to catch onto but that is what they are. The worst thing that will happen to me in this house is that I will be ignored for a few days - which actually doesn't bother me at all. So I've been doing quite a bit since I learned that. It's just a delicate balance between not going too far and still being able to survive because I don't know all the boundaries yet. I'm still learning.

  11. I think your DH must have faith in you to buy you a ticket to go back home and he must be in love too. I think I told you before, my DH's trip alone to India last summer probably saved our marriage. He got sick of living abroad, he was starting to blame me for all that was wrong. When he came back he looked so sexy and he was sure he wanted to spend time here. The one who stays home has a difficult time, trust me.

    I think this little time out may do you both a lot of good.

    I don't understand why for you being assertive is like being a b*tch. Well yes actually I do because I feel the same only I sometimes shrug my shoulders and go with the b*tch attitude. Basically it's a matter of R-E-S-P-E-C-T. 

    Just a little question when you say "What do I have to come back to" to you mean in India or in the US ?

    Take care.

  12. I think you're absolutely right. I do find times I start to blame him for things beyond his control. Luckily I've been able to stop myself before voicing it though. I know I need the break from India that being in the US will provide. Also the trip will help give me some much needed clarity. I'm looking forward to it.

    When I refer to being a b*tch, I'm meaning more than just being assertive, though sometimes being assertive feels b*tchy as well. I've never nagged or been a pest over things in my life like I have to be here. I've also never had to use harsh tones or such negative wording to get basic things either. I really feel like I have to sometimes get down right ugly to get a resolution to the problems I face here and I hate it. That's what I mean when I say I act like a b*tch. I'm referring to times I have passed assertive and reached my angry place and had to be selfish or rotten to get equal rights. Unfortunately being assertive is just not enough here for many things.

    My topic refers to what I have to come back to here in India. In many ways I feel my husband is the only thing I have to come back to here. I certainly don't have a happy family atmosphere, good friends, a job or anything else to come back to. I have a house where I have to put up with a jerk I can't stand (uncle ji) and a years worth of health issues and stomach infections awaiting me here. Those things keep creeping into my mind and clouding what has been good about being here. In reality, I know this hasn't been all bad and this situation or my circumstances could hardly be considered bad but it's hard to see with a ticket to get out in my hands lol.

  13. I see what you mean. Actually I have one colleague from India who acts the way you describe and it looks quite weird in a European context. Maybe it would be easier if you took this as an acting game ?

    It's a pity you got so much sickness, I hope you get better. And I hope you make new friends soon ! Anyways as you say your trip back home will help you to put things into perspective. Who knows things may be totally different afterwards...

  14. I do play the game some days but it gets old and tiring from time to time. I have a couple of western friends here now and that's been a huge blessing. I'm hoping a trip home will be the break I need. I know a lot of my frustration is due to so many small differences at once and in reality where I live is not so bad and in many ways is good. It's just hard to see that when you're going through culture shock.