Monday, January 7, 2008

Ohio - So Much to Love

Moving from Bangalore, India to Fairborn, Ohio is quite the shift. There are things I miss - the adventure (on certain days this might read as stress), the independence (sometimes loneliness), the experience of being a foreigner - but we'll save that for another post. For now, I am mostly just enjoying My Home. I love it here - the ease, the pace, the friends, the space. Here are some highlights. I am sure you experience these too, often, so if you usually take them for granted, pretend with me for today that these experiences are new and fresh.

1. I haven't heard a neighbor fight. A baby cry that doesn't live here. A blender that is not plugged in in my kitchen. Most importantly, I have not heard a dog bark in weeks.

2. Meijer. Kroger. Target. Wal-Mart. Ahhh, the super-store. Yes, I know, taking over America with its long corporate tentacles, swallowing up mom-and-pops. I'm sure these stores, my new friends, are evil empires, but I can walk around calmly placing every item on my list into my cart. I can check out by myself if I'm having a don't-talk-to-me-day. I can have someone else do it, and that person has access to a computer and barcode system, so that she doesn't have to punch in 26 numbers for every item I buy.

3. My minivan. Yet another mark of my suburban existence, a life criticized by many, but thoroughly enjoyed by me. I can put all of those groceries into my car and drive them home. This means no more wrangling a two-year-old, a week's supply of food, and a broken stroller home on foot.

4. Cable. From the comeback of American Gladiators to the Real Housewives of Orange County to Elizabeth Hassleback's return to the View this morning, how much would I be missing if I was still relegated to Star World?

5. Nursery. I have sat in two entire church services without shoveling crackers into Simon's mouth or hearing him loudly plead "All Done?" as soon as the pastor says Amen. It's been good for all of us - he loves it, we love it, I'm sure the congregation loves it.

6. Eastern Standard Time Zone. I can call my mom anytime, assuming if I'm awake, she's awake. No longer to I cram all of my attempts at communication into the two most hectic times of my day when morning and evening overlap between two continents.

7. Space. Yes, the "bubble" of American Independence is a blessing and a curse - I'm sure I will have more to say on that later. For the first time in a year, strangers on the street don't care about me or Simon. They don't grill me about my life, give my toddler jawbreakers and candy bars, or chastise me for spanking his hand. On one hand, how sad - doesn't the world see how precious he is or how interesting I am? On the other hand, how nice - just me and him going about our life, minding our own business.

So, I get asked every day how I'm "readjusting." I love it. I surprised myself by loving India, and I'm surprising myself by how easy it's been for me to say goodbye to it as well. There's much to miss, but so much to enjoy and appreciate about this cold land we call America.

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