But first, two pics of my trip (solo) to the Wagah border closing:
No but seriously, it was really fun and I highly recommend it.
I’m back in America now, for good. I’ve waited a while to post because:
1. I’m back in America why would I want to be doing anything other than wandering around staring at everything and eating All The Food, and
2. I wanted to get some perspective on the repatriation process to see how long it would take to feel “normal.”
The answer is four-five weeks to feel okay, and two months to feel pretty much Amurrican. It took about four weeks to stop thinking someone was going to kidnap me at any moment and put me back on Air India to Mumbai. It took about that long to stop stock-piling fresh berries and compulsively watching HBOGo. It took two months to realize I don’t have the right clothes for almost any occasion.
Obviously, living in India has had a permanent impact on the way I view the world and I’m thankful every day that I was able to have such an earth-shattering (literally?) experience. I’m also thankful every day that I get to leave such experiences.
I’ve made this chart of how the general adjustment period works (for me, at least), broken down week by week.
That’s the general flow of things. But you shouldn’t just take my word for it. I asked my friends who’ve immigrated back (only those who were in India for similarly long periods of time, although to be honest, I’m starting to think only 1yr+ is what matters) what their experiences were like. About twenty of my friends took a little survey I made, and here are their responses [I gave them the option of writing in their own answers at the bottom of each question]:
Good lord, I do miss the mangoes.
A lot of my friends left at the same time, and we’ve been trying to talk it out as we go through this weird transition. One commonality is that many of us still find ourselves perpetually geared up for a fight, particularly with people in the service industry. When I have to call to make a doctor’s appointment, pay for a taxi, or call the plumber, I immediately begin loudly yelling in basic English, ready to start cursing in Hindi. But my doctor’s office is really polite, my plumber speaks English, and taxi drivers always have change. Stores have everything in stock, places have addresses, and most things are done correctly the first time – but my blood still boils in anticipation of a battle of wills. When I wear shorts, I’m ready to passionately defend this “position on Western wear” but somehow no one cares.
I also have very few fears left – fear of being the only one in the room who [x], fear of being misunderstood, fear of being eaten alive by bugs, fear of being in a meeting that’s literally in another language, fear of something undefined streaming down my legs, fear of being stranded somewhere unsafe at night – been there, done that, horribly embarrassed myself, ready to move on. Bring your worst, business school and then the rest of my career, I’ve already seen some shit.
As for this blog, I think it’s mostly over. Maybe I’ll go back on and rant if I feel the need. I am going to be writing for a few other people though, and I’ll post some round-ups of those links. I think I’ll also post a round-up of my favorite angry commenters. How many times can people call me a whore on the internet? Let’s find out. TOGETHER.
I love you,
MMNFD, though not really that numbing since it’s what I saw every day:
Foreign Policy had some amazing short responses to the Great Indian Rumor Mill:
- India will be the world’s next great power: Not so fast
- India’s growth is inevitable: No
- India can help contain China: Hardly
- Tensions with Pakistan have eased: Not really
- India will be a good global citizen: Perhaps
- India will have serious power projection capabilities: Not quite
- Hindu-Muslim tensions are history: Unfortunately, no
- India can be America’s most useful ally: Probably not
Also, just what the hell is this shit?!