Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Homesick for Bangalore

Those of you that have been reading this blog for a while will remember a blog I wrote about 2 years ago about homesickness. I compared it to the flu. While you think homesickness will be more like an allergy (sort of a constant irritant but something you can live with) the reality is that its like the flu. It hits hard, unexpected, takes you out for a few days and leaves you going...'wow, what was that?!"

I had that experience this week, but instead of missing Minneapolis, I am missing Bangalore.
What brought this on? I'm not sure ... I think it was spurred by 2 things.

One, I am reading "I am a Stranger Here Myself" by Bill Bryson. Its an hysterical account of his move back to the US after 20 years in Britain. I cant even begin to describe how accurately he describes american life. Not in a degrading or complaining sort of way, but in a way that makes you realize how lucky (and "falsely" entitled) we truly are. If you have ever spent more than 3 weeks out of the US, read it. Its a good ego deflator.

Then, I had an incredibly vivid dream in which I was having to say goodbye to all my girlfriends in Bangalore. I was SO sad, my heart hurt and I am sure I was sobbing in my sleep. Its bad enough to have to have had to say goodbye once and know that while I'll keep this group close to my heart, we'll never physically all be close again (or even on the same continent at the same time, again). Too sad. This got me thinking of all the things I miss. (besides Radha, Stuti, Carol, Angie, Francis, Petra, Stacy, Allison, Angelica, Jessica)

~ Vivid, crazy, detailed, psychidelic dreams (see above) - there is something about living in a totally foreign experience where you are out of your comfort zone everyday that amps up your dream meter. My dreams here are nice, but they are more the modest cozy suburban middle class dreams of hot dish and snow pants.

~ The stars - I was walking Nikki last night and realized I miss looking up at the stars from the villa and seeing a million bright little dots and the totally disorienting sense of not recognizing a single constallation. Talk about unnerving. Its amazing how reliable/safe it is to look up and see the northern star and big/little dippers. It grounds you. (not to mention that with the glow from Mpls, you really cant see many stars)

~ The colors - I now live in the world of black, grey and brown attire. I walk through the halls of Target and its a sea of conservativeness. No oranges or turquoise, no red, yellow, blue or gold. No shiny sparkly shirts. No beaded flip flop (chappels). No big dangly earrings and tons of bracelets (bangles) and rings on every finger. Stepping out here is dark blue, burgandy and MAYBE red (if you are wearing team colors that day)

~ The food - Its cheap, fresh, offers a ton of variety of fruits/veggies (that actually taste like something other than the hothouse they were grown in) and spices that would set your hair on fire. You can go to ANY buffet for lunch, eat for less than $7 and gorge yourself on 17 different dishes that dont all taste like they were made in the same pot with the same spoon. (Indian food here is NOT my favorite)

~ The adventure - While our day to day lives could be as routine as they are here, there was a sense of unpredictability just around every corner that added a spring to your step. Along our many drives around the city, we encountered.... a woman hurling her feces at a bus, a goat being decapitated for a ceremony, beggers that were missing teeth, fingers, etc (many children), donkeys riding in ricksaws, camels pulling carts on the highway, an elephant lumbering up to a temple for a puja, etc etc. Now, our trip to Duluth last weekend was fun, the trees gorgeous and the predictability of gas stations, modern comforts soothing; it didnt quite have the same sense of adventure we had come to enjoy.

~ The coffee/tea - yes, I even miss that stupid Coffee Day machine in RJU. I miss that I had to walk 2 flights of stairs to get to the machine that made a decent cup. I miss the tablespoon of jaggery (sugar) that you had to add to make it drinkable. I even miss the fact that 1 cup was all you needed (literally, more than that you had to take anphetimines to come down). I miss the chai at the jewerly stores. It was so amazing. I have a craving to go jewerly shopping just to drink the tea.

So, while I have been missing my friends, the food, the experience, I just got socked in the stomach by homesickness. I'll get over it. I have so much here that I love (people food experience) but I also know that homesickness is like the flu; you never know when it'll hit and no one is immune.