We are in the second half of 2018, and the year seems to have whizzed by. December 2017 onwards, has been a blur of activity and busy-ness, and somehow, here we are, thousands of miles away from India, calling the United States home again for an unknown period of time. We knew the move was coming, but we didn’t know it was to the US. We had spent months considering a couple of options in Asia and Europe, never thinking the US was a possibility; when it was broached to me, it came as an unpleasant surprise as it had never been in my consideration set but there it was, suddenly popping up like an unwelcome visitor.
It took a few weeks to come to grips with the decision, and accept it. It took more time for Ads to accept it with some resignation, his biggest concern of course being - How will I play cricket there?? I went through months of second-guessing myself. Did we have to move to the States in the current not-so-immigrant friendly climate? Will my kids do okay in public school? Wouldn’t they be better off in an international school, where the teachers and staff and students alike are all used to transitions? How will Ads fare in middle school (about which I heard nothing but horror stories?). This and a million other questions and anxieties kept buzzing like worried bumblebees in my brain, incessantly.
But decision taken, there is little point in worrying and its time for action not reflection! A whirlwind of activity ensued. Give notice at work, find my replacement, hand over to her. Our house in Chennai needed renovation as my parents were moving back. We had other home renovation/design projects. Research schools and places to live near Washington DC. Talk to people for advice and tips. Pull out the relocation checklist (again!) and start working on each item. For a few months I felt like I was shuttling between Koramangala, North Bangalore and Whitefield every second day, rushing from one project to another. It was sheer chaos and definitely, I could not have held it all together without my parents. In between, the kids finished up the school year, Advaith went off to a hiking and mountain biking camp in Yercaud for a week and S and I managed a few days in Israel (more on that fantastic trip, later).
At the fag end, as we were rushing towards our departure date, I would have moments of sheer panic. Why were we doing this? Hurtling into the unknown, leaving behind all that is secure and familiar and wonderful? Why, indeed, have we done these transitions, over and over and over again? The husband would reassure me with the reasons I knew so well, and which I completely agreed with. Yet, even as my head knew the answer, the heart rebelled violently.
Now that we are settled into our new home, I have to admit that the transition has been hardest on me. Which I am actually glad about, because I worried most about the kids and how they would manage with the new environment in a new country. Fortunately, children are more resilient than their parents! I am very happy that they took hardly any time to settle in, make friends and now go off to school everyday as happy as can be. Y has even taken a Korean classmate, who speaks next to no English, under her wing! I, on the other hand, have done more poorly than expected.
Everything felt hard. Learning to drive on these roads again, getting a drivers license, setting up the house, getting our life organized…..mostly I just blame the fact that I am older now and simply don’t have the energy to do this any more. I also know, that a few years later, if we get the chance to move to an exciting country, I will be the first person to jump at it!
Yes, replete with contradictions……..but what’s life without some contrariness, some change and lots of new things to do and learn! One of the senior people I work with said, when I went to say my goodbyes - “I think you guys are very brave to move at this stage.” And I said - “You can call it brave or foolish, sometimes they are one and the same thing!”