May 27, 2012

On moving and settling down.

So, we moved to Alpharetta almost 9 months back. We have gone through excitement, boredom, denial, almost-feels-like-home, jeez-we-have-no-friends...and many more phases representing a range from emotions from the totally anticipated to the entirely unexpected. I thought I should note down how I feel now and revisit after a period of time to see if anything has changed.

The first 3 months: were about saying good bye, nostalgia, remnant excitement from arangetram and from quitting IBM and moving on to a better job, adrenalin mixed with exhaustion from the move and the staying in a motel and the move again to an apartment.

The biggie was getting r~ settled into a preschool. I was definitely more apprehensive about that than my first day of work. The initial months were about figuring out where to get food (What is a Publix?!), where are the Indian grocery stores (we get chat here, paav bhaji with Tamil movie songs playing in the background!), beauty parlor (right next to HotBreads, now renamed Cake World) where I don't go any longer -- that's a long story, where to get clothes (there is a carousel in the mall and cup cakes and a train!) -- this we had to figure out as soon as we realized r's school required uniforms (was I back in Chennai?) Around this time, I met my friend from Bits, Pilani, A~ who filled in the gaps for me. An Indian co-worker of mine gave me the inside info about restaurants in the area and such. 

During this time, we went to Atlanta almost every weekend and tried to get a feel for the city (if we weren't in Atlanta, we were in Lex!) We didn't have any friends to speak of, so might as well get to know the city, right? We were regulars at the Children's museum (rocks!), Chatpati and related Indian restaurants in the area. We checked out the puppetry center for arts, an art studio for kids, a farm with animals to pet + a bonus art class...

r~ celebrated her first birthday in school (with Simba)!

There was not much time to think. The moving was done but the momentum didn't slow down...yet.

My artist at Purple Hippo Art Studio

Simba and Nala chilling out at our apartment!

The next 3 months: r~ was well-settled in school and I, at work. k was all set with his home office. Our trips to Atlanta had slowed down and we had info about all the essential services we needed. We continued exploring, went on a wild animal safari...That's when it usually begins right? The urge to change things just when everything seemed to touch a semblance of sanity. We started discovering small annoyances with the apartment -- the dish washer coughed up black gook every now and then (the apartment service folks rocked though), we were lucky to get a ground-floor apartment with an attached garage but there was hardly any sunlight in the living room -- and I thought I was running away from minor-SAD-symptoms in Lex. The reduction in living space didn't make much of a difference (surprisingly) and I loved the single-level layout but I felt the need to decorate the apartment so it was more home-like. We had friends visiting us from Lex and that was fun but we missed 'hanging out' -- something that k and I had an insatiable appetite for, in Lex. I got to know my office colleagues better and A~ better, attended a bunch of school birthday parties with r~ (where I, like my daughter, did not manage to make any new friends). I got to know the pani-puri aunty well ( we were there almost twice a week). 

r~ decided to join a paatu class -- my little girl was taking her own decisions! Another friend from Bits, also A~, told me about a bal vikas class that r~ might enjoy. So, we took r~ to Atlanta every Sunday for the class. She refused to stay alone in class which meant managing her for 2-3 hours without hopefully too many embarrassing moments. By the time, we ate and came back, it was 4-5 hours taken from our Sundays -- which was a nice way to spend Sundays since there wasn't much else to do anyways except house hunting! Around this time, I decided we had to buy a house and so the rest of the weekends and a considerable part of our work lunch time was spent looking at ranch houses. We needed a single level home, close to work and close to school, at least 3 BR and in reasonable condition. Turns out, that was not easy to find because not many people built ranch houses nowadays! Finally, we did find one soon after we decided to take a break from house hunting :)

Wild Animal Safari

And that brings us to now: we moved yet again, celebrated the new year and my birthday. I was at home, at work -- you know what I mean. r~ was at home at school. k~, well, he is at home, at work, anyways :) We talked a  bit about r2i and m2b (move to bay area :p) but decided we needed against it for the next few years. I liked my work and r~ liked her school. The place was definitely more happening and had access to a lot of fun things to do, the weather was what's the catch, you ask? Friends, of course. Making friends, when you are no longer studying somewhere, it turns out, is hard. We met people we could hang out with but that's different from hanging out with close friends...

k's parents are here to visit us and that always helps w.r.t home sickness (where is home anyway? India, Lex, here?) We finally joined the local library and I felt like I could breathe a little bit easier -- felt like a missing puzzle piece fell in place. We went to a neat build your own car class at Home Depot..met a few more people, who could potentially become friends, and felt better. k, though, misses friends at Lex, the swing in our backyard, the sand box he built for r~...

We went without TV for 8 months and hardly noticed the difference, we bought a TV and then returned it, bought another and returned it and are now TV less again and surprisingly still not missing it but I think this time, we will buy a TV and not return it.

r~ made some almost-real friends, I saw her initiate and ask questions to her teacher (by herself! Huge deal...for me), today she asked me if she could go to school (either she likes school or k and I have become boring versions of ourselves here!)...

And we are back to spending inordinate amounts of time about trivial enhancements to the house -- which means, we are almost home...

Time will tell.

@Home Depot -- that week's show & tell for school!

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