Sunday, December 30, 2018

Being sick during holidays, not a coincidence.

This almost looks like a ritual, falling sick few days before new year. It happens to me every time, if I am in India when I am fighting jet lag and the immune system failing to fight the germs or when I am here in the States. This time of year is usually so cold, that my body gives up and I fall sick right around the new year time, when everyone's partying, planning vacation and other stuff I am sitting here with my glass of warm kadha (concoction of dry ginger and other spices).

I had a week off this time for Christmas, prior to which I was working from home for a week and I had a lot of goals before the holidays started, in which watching TV wasn't the main goal, but it looks like it prevailed. 

I wanted to get better at my skating skills, so much that I bought skates the second day of my holidays, I am at a very beginner level and I want to get better, I just used the skates once and the rest of the time it was either very cold or I had things to do with other people. Looking back at the time I had off, actually it wasn't that bad, I did some pending stuff I had to do, I took my car for an oil change(took me half a day, wonder why!), I went to dentist. I went snow tubing, which was super fun, I felt like a 10 year old and I tagged along with sister to a desi wedding of her friend who I never met before. It was a very thandi (boring) shaadi by the way, my hopes of entertainment were high but got crushed when the groom arrived and they played 'Mahi Ve' from Kal ho na ho, the movie is 20/25 years old now I think, after attending the wedding is when I fell sick, my sister said ' nazar lagi' (means to be afflicted by the evil eye - thanks google for the translation).

I was already feeling stuck because I did not have any vacation plans, I couldn't travel outside the country because of visa issues, now I feel more stuck being sick :(

More plans were made in the time I was sick and all of them were cancelled, I cancelled a brunch last minute with my husbands colleague, cancelled skiing trip (I did not want to go to this one, skiing isn't my thing, so I am glad I was able to play my ' being sick' card here), cancelled the breakfast plan I was supposed to make for sisters friend who came from Denver, didn't go to husband's friends house who just returned from India and invited us to his place, skipped on meeting a friend at the airport who came to drop her mom who was leaving for India. So, a lot of things were said 'No.' 

One thing that is still on is the New Years Eve Bollywood Night we want to go to, we booked the tickets for it today, it's going to be two different groups, sisters friends and husbands friends, hope it doesn't get chaotic and hope I get well by then.

Also, I kept remembering how I fell sick after my trip to Toronto in the end of 2016 and spent new year just at home. I don't want it to happen again, though I am not very hyped about occasions like this, this year I want to celebrate because I am in Chicago, one of the nicest cities in US, so I want to experience it and not just be like, 'lets do a house party.'

To end, this is probably the last blog this year, I am glad I am back to writing, bus commutes got me back to writing and I hope I continue it regardless of number of people reading it or number of comments I get, because that was never the criteria. This blog is more of a journal to me, which I would always look back to and laugh at myself and my stories.

Ciao 2018!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

A trip to remember or forget?

What better time to pen down your thoughts when you are stuck with 23 new people in a conference room for 8 hours? 
Grammatically, I am not sure if I am right in my first sentence, but the intent is to sound different, kind of persuasive writing. (defending myself before the grammar police audience starts bombarding me).

This is the first time I am going to write about work, infact I wanted to write this in disguise, start off the blog with something and reveal the main plot later, but I think that needs some special skills which I lack and I definitely cant do it now, like think of something else maybe a beach in Miami, because I am in Miami, but I am in a conference room with all new people from different countries trying to jot down standards, make sense out of words that are in the standards to guide the world to make a better equipment. I won’t get technical and bookish, I promise, at the same time I will try my best to not make fun of anyone because the individuals I am sitting with right now are from different countries, so I will try my best not to get into being racist or..whatever. This is probably the first time, I am with a group of people from different countries and I get to interact with them, there are people from Austria, Italy, Japan, London, Germany, Australia, India, Bangladesh (I guess haha) and US, because these people are working towards developing a standard which will be used worldwide, it is important that each nation voice their opinion, there are small groups of people from different companies but they are addressed as ‘ Austria thinks that …’ instead of addressing an individual’s name or even the company.

So, I was asked to attend this 4 day session of 9-5 meetings and represent the company, I had no idea what I was getting into nor did I know the standards, infact this standard is for Construction Equipment and I work on Agriculture equipment.

First day was not bad, the part of the standard my ex team member was working on was completed on the first day and the rest of the agenda was nothing I was going to be involved in, but because this is a workgroup and you have to voice your opinion, I still had to participate on the rest of the days. I did not talk much, apart from time in lunches and break, sad but true. :/

Second day, I woke up with a worst throat than the previous day, the day was long, there were verbal battles in the conference rooms for the settlement of words to go in the document.
My plan after work was to go to downtown and spend some good time outdoors walking, but to my dismay there was chilliness in the air and downtown didn’t feel as happening as it used to..probably because a. it was a week day b. it was not a tourist season c. now that I have migrated to a bigger city, it takes much to get excited to see a downtown or a sight with tall buildings. The palm trees could have got me excited only if there was sunlight, but unfortunately there were clouds all 4 days.
After sitting in downtown for some time and having a dozen of mussels I was still hungry and I decided to hop in to a  restaurant near my hotel, it was called ‘Desi Grill,’ it had both Peruvian and indian food, my plan was to go and have something Peruvian but I realized I had a strong urge to eat something Indian, so I bought  a Biryani, which was half like a Biryani is supposed to be, what would you expect if someone sells you that saying ‘ Biryani, its yummy and fresh.’

Day 3, I resented  waking up. I wished I could call in sick, I wanted to just not go, but spending the day in a city like Miami didn’t feel as delightful without the sunlight. So, I decided to just get stuck with the folks creating standards and I also promised myself that I will work from home and take a good break next week.

I felt bad to think about skipping because on day 2, a guy from Japan came into the meeting at 3, when he flew into the city at 2. It was surprising, I don’t think I will ever do that. Infact, I feel bad to torture myself physically to force myself to go to these meetings when I am sick. Infact, I think my sickness exaggerated being with people from different countries, in the conference room there were atleast 5 people who were sick and I felt my body was like a magnet attracting all the germs.

One good thing that came out of the trip was, I tried Peruvian food and I loved the 4 pieces of meat they gave me..very tiny like kabab on a stick, but so flavorful and the sauce they had was so nice and right amount of tanginess and texture, not runny nor very chunky. The other day I had a very good looking a small round cup size, nicely molded potatoe mountain haha, inside there was 2 pieces of shrimp and a slice of avocado, it was kind of dry, though there was a yellow sauce, I realized whatever you eat in downtown does not offer flavor, the place might be lit, but at least in Miami downtown, so far I didn’t have any luck with the food, specially with the kind of cuisines Florida has to offer, downtown does a bad representation of that sadly.

Also, on day 3 evening after the meeting, I took a desi lady from the meeting to shop, not to forget the only lady with me in the meetings, she  lived and worked in Sweden. She told me she’d finish in an hour but she took about 3 hrs to finish her shopping, I initially enjoyed showing her around, Macy’s JC Penney etc..but after sometime I got impatient. She looked like a young mom; looked like she had kids at early age, because she had a 14/16 year old daughters but she shopped good like a 30 year old would...bought fashionable clothing for her daughters, the one which I wouldn’t even look at because they always looked uncomfortable to me, but I was surprised by the way she shopped, she said ‘ In Sweden the girls are very independent,’ also she said ‘they don’t like flare and frills,’ because they want to show that they’re independent, still trying to think about the flare and independence correlation but…  

Alright, I am here finishing my blog on Day 4, can’t wait for the clock to show 3 O’clock, so that I can get out of here and go home, sleep on my own pillow, the pillows in hotel rooms are very uncomfortable to me, especially because I am used to a little bit hard mattress and not so very fluffy pillows. I would like to go back and enjoy sleeping on my thin pillow tonight, also do nothing for the next two days on the weekend.

One thing I liked in this meeting was to notice people’s accents and the way they behaved, everyone was so different, so many people from different cultural backgrounds, I liked that part. Last night, I was sitting in a restaurant and I randomly asked a guy if he was Italian and he said ‘Yes.’ He was surprised and I was proud of myself to be able to guess it right. I think the last few years I tried to always figure out in my mind which country people were from whenever I saw people from middle east, if they were from Yemen, Saudi or Lebanon, because I had a small middle eastern friend circle, so I always use to get excited when I’d see people from the middle east, to play the quiz in my mind. So, now that I work for an Italian company (wrote this so many times on my blog already, I think) and there are significant number of Italians in the company, outside work I try to find out if a person is Italian if his/her manners are different than the guys in US and obviously when they speak, you can find out if your guess is right, most of the times.

This part of the blog is post edit after I landed and after few weeks, when I saw this blog, I realized I never ended it. The best and dramatic end to it is that, I thought I wont make it back on earth on my flight back from Florida, there was a very bad turbulence, the plane shook up and down, the kids started crying, the air hostess just sat in the middle of the isle and requested everyone to maintain their calm. I reminisced all the movies, news I read about plane crashes and how many people survived and even if you survive, how you face the post trauma from the crash, too many thoughts went in my mind, I wrote few lines to my husband on whatsapp, hoping he will get it when we land/crash whatever. (Astaghfirullah!), then my phone switched off suddenly. My sinus problem drove me crazy on the other hand with pressure increasing in my head, there was an indian couple sitting beside e, who I totally ignored throughout the flight, they told me how to get rid of the pressure in my head, by closing my nose and pushing air through my ears, something like that. Anyways, after an hour we landed, I came to know that the rain caused the turbulence. I was so thankful that everyone was fine and I came home and ate the comforting dal chawal husband made, thanked God for bringing me home safe.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Post vacation blues

Alright! I can't start another blog saying a lot has changed, it has..but, I will take a turn to write about post vacation blues. 

Post vacation when you come back from India is worst, post vacation feelings when you travel locally are bad too. If you read my last post you know I was going to Seattle for Thanksgiving. I have been back for a week now and only now after a week I feel comfort in my mind about being myself allowing myself to digest the way I am. Is it just me or it happens to everyone, that it takes some time to be back to the routine.

Tomorrow when I will wake up and go to work and welcome a new employee, I will feel back on my feet. Yes, another reason it's been slow on my side past 2 weeks is because one of my colleagues I use to manage/mentor quit. Not because I was bad, because she wanted go back to her country. It felt sad, investing so much time and emotional support for her to adjust in the company and off work and then suddenly one day she sent a text that she resigned. It felt like the first student I had gave up in my class. Anyways, tomorrow will be a new beginning and new challenge with a new will also help me get back to my routine, I least at work.

It's holiday season and winter isn't very encouraging me to be active, the kitchen in the house is slow, the refrigerator isn't very full. Most of our meals are bread something, egg something. I experience this every winter, I am lazy to cook, I lose my appetite, I am mostly in front of the TV or on phone. The screen time widget puts me to shame every time I see the time I spend on phone each day. Good tracking tool apple, it's eye opening how much we can be with a machine.

Me Currently ^

Coming back to recovering from vacation, I always feel I pick up few things from the people I meet on my vacation trips and try to be like them unconsciously. Pick up the same interests or act like them, you don't feel yourself when you are back from vacation, you want to be more than what you are..that's what it means when they say 'you look fresh after the break,' inside  you are fighting your thoughts if you really want to be where you are, geographically, professionally and in personal life, if you have what you need, if you meet your goals/dreams of what you had thought you will do or be, in short too many thoughts.

Right now, I am thinking where to go next, cant travel outside the country, I have so many interest to explore..but I am stuck in the US because of visa constraints. I wish boundaries did not exist, I wish we all were free to go wherever we want, without visa or a passport. Didn't I right on this topic before?

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

It's Thanksgiving Time!

A lot has been happening and a lot of times I felt like writing in the last few days..but I was just too lazy to blog. But, today, I am excited. Because, today is the last day of work before the holiday begins for thanksgiving, tomorrow I will work from home, but today is the last day to at least drive to work.

I am excited because I am going to Seattle, it has been some time we got out of Chicago, been 6 months. Thanks to the visa status, cannot travel out of country for some time, until next year spring/summer, otherwise I would be writing this blog saying 'I am going to India.'

This time of year is always dedicated to India travels, also this year I feel like going to India, because last year was hectic and challenging in India, because of Dad's health and the wedding, not to forget I was there for 4 months.

I feel, once my visa is sorted, I will go to India every year, like my colleague, he's a Punjabi, he goes to India every year and also does a side tour like seeing Bangladesh, Nepal etc..every year. (Sukh, if you are reading the blog, yes, it is you..haha).

I am getting excited for the Seattle trip, because a. We are going to meet husbands best friend and b. We will be living in a cabin for a day. c. I just discovered a very cool lake near the place where we are going to rent a cabin, in Leavenworth, its called Lake Colchuk. It takes a hike to go there, so I am not sure we will do it..but, I wish to find other lakes around like Lake Colchuk.

When I wrote a lot has been happening..I meant a lot has been happening, good and bad. Bad - there was a shooting yesterday in Chicago, infact a block away from my apartment, it was scary and sad..I was driving from work and the exit I take on the freeway was closed, there was a lot of cop cars, huge area was shutdown, there were helicopters and ambulances, there was tension in the air, I managed to take a few detours and get back home. I got worried and texted husband, he didn't tell me what was happening. Few hours later, I went to the gym and asked Toma, the maintenance guy if everything was ok, he told me that a guy shot 4 people. I was very scared, this was something that happened just next block from me. I returned home and told husband i doubt if I want to live in the southloop. After few hours I saw my sisters messages, she sent me the news slink to what happened, a man fired rounds in the hospital and killed 4 people, injured many..and killed himself too. This reminded me of the Grey's anatomy episode which I saw last week, where a man with Gun enters into the hospital and puts the whole hospital to a stop. I was in tears after seeing the face of a cop who was killed while on his watching duty, he was just 28, there was no returning home for him, there might be no thanksgiving for his family :(

I felt sad that decisions of a stupid man, can impact the society to this level. A man fighting mental issues has  freedom to go get a gun and just kill anyone? that's not the freedom we want. That's not the freedom anyone should give, that's not how the Gun control Law should be.

The next moment I read the news that there was a mass shooting in Denver, in a hospital. Are these incidents not visible to the law makers? It's sad to live in a society like this, it was sad to live in a society where bomb lasts used to happen in the name of religion and communalism..I thought nothing close to that would exist in the western world..but I guess it exists everywhere..

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

That sound in the background

It's 1 AM at night, my eyes refuse to shut and I go to the kitchen thinking maybe it's just the hunger and I take a box of one of the snacks I got for husband (My snacking habits are getting worst because of him), I was really a minimalist at buying food but now because I live with the husband, I have to consider him and stock something at home to make sure something is always there when he's hungry. Anyways, I am not writing to complain about food habits.

As I took the snack box and looked out from the window, I saw there was some tension on the street, there were few men crossing the street in random patterns in the middle of the cross roads, they kept going back and forth and at another corner I saw a cop patrolling. If you live in Chicago or been to Chicago, you know what's the constant background sound you hear...the alarm sounds of the cop vehicles and periodic fire truck alarms. 

I am bad at using East,West, North, South directions but moving to Chicago I learnt where South is...its sad, but it's the truth, because south is considered as a bad area because of more crime rate in that area. 

The place where I live is an intersection of two big roads and the famous ones, Michigan Ave and Cermak and I am on the South of Michigan Ave, not that south but South enough...its where you see noticeable difference on one side of the street and the other, I see Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and a newly opened Starbucks right from my bedroom and from the hall I can see Harold's chicken and Jerkville, Windy City bar. Harold's chicken is like the cheaper version of KFC, not that KFC is good but..just comparing. Jerkville is a Jamaican bar/restaurant- this is where most of the stuff initiates I feel.., it's in the south side of Michigan Ave and about there on the west is the windy city bar..both the places are open late night maybe until 4 AM..hence the chaos. 

When I was  considering moving here, I didn't expect any of the bad stuff in this area, 2 blocks away on West is the Chinatown and east there's a big convention center and a lot of hotels where people come to attend conferences, shows etc and in South there's all the stuff you are reading about. So, we are really on the border and I can see that within two years or so...people from north will soon push the people in South further south, in other words painting the town more white as  people move south.

So, the street looked like something was going on, you know something is going on when you see three cop cars randomly around the same street circling around one by one, hiding out in corners and keeping an  eye on the street and suddenly after few minutes I hear 4-5 cop cars stopping in one spot and they stood there for a long time, I don't know what was happening..a drug deal, some fight..I donno. Then about the same time, as I started writing this blog I heard sounds from another corner..from the bar in the west side...there's lot of traffic..there are cops and few men are yelling 'Let go! Let go!' On the other side few people are just standing watching the show and laughing, I don't know what is happening. To consider it just as a regular/casual fight between a bunch of drunken people at the bar or consider this place as really unsafe and be scared as I am right now...I am scared and at the same time thinking - there's so much action on these streets, you don't have to look at instagram or Facebook to fall back sleep, just sit with a snack and follow the cop cars going around...follow the hints, it's really an action, mystery scene. 

 I Googled if we can hear the cop chase live, I found broadcastify. I don't think I will need to listen to broadcastify..there's always some action happening on the streets.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


There has been some Italian touch in life past few weeks, because I am working in an Italian company now. You can hear Italian all the time in the company, I can now correlate to my friend who used to complain about hearing Japanese all the time at work. I used to just shut her up linking Japanese with their food - sushi, hot pot gnocchi icecream..all the cool stuff. But how can you assume everyone being cool /chill linking them with the kind of food you like? Talking about food, I now know carbonara, the kind of cheese Italians munch on and what is coffee to them. The coffee I drink and the other Americans drink is just water for italians also known as Americano. Being very observant which comes naturally to me... In the past few days I have noticed few things like... Italians can have a shot of espresso after finishing dinner with a dessert. I don't know how that is possible, I would be awake like an owl whole night if I do that.

I always wanted to go to Europe, but didn't know wear to go in particular, because people I know mentioned Paris is expensive and French are not very friendly. Now, Italy is on my radar.

I also wanted to learn the Italian, to know what the Italians talk in their own language, but it didn't happen because the classes that were offered at work were too late in the day, the passion and curiosity is not that high to learn the language yet. So, maybe next year- if I still stay in the company. sshhh!

I was writing  this blog and left it mid i rather post it than letting it get lost in my Evernote.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Hi, from the new City!

Alright! I have been thinking of writing (just wrote writing as righting, who does that??hahah) but kept postponing. 

The best timing to write is when you steal time from something else and you are lost and in mood to write. When I say lost I mean, you don't know what to do next. Isn't that the best? Not having to do anything next and not knowing what to do next? Your mind runs at the speed of an ant. That mode is perfect, the ant mode when you are 3/4th awake and still trying to not be a sleep head and trying to ready yourself for the worldly things. Ant mode is the best cos it challenges you to do things like work from home and sit in a cafe and sip coffee for hours and sometimes can also make you write, like me right now. But the coffee slowly kicks in and you think what you should write about.

There's a lot to write about, I just finished one month in Chicago and one month of living with husband. It's really a challenge with everything new, new city, new job and an extra person to live with... Living alone for so many years, it will take me time for my brain to consider an additional person around me while doing things. Right now I think, I do things at my own pace, operate without planning and sharing what I am going to do next or what I am going to cook. Those are few things I need to improve, think about another human being living with me aka husband. Haha. Will get there soon, I hope. 

Anyhow, to share the new friends, acquaintances status - I made zero new friends and attended zero events, with so many events happening in the city, because it's summer..I was always occupied with something stupid where my mind wanted to do something and I was doing something else.

Acquaintances, I am yet to make familiarize with people around me, like neighbors, maintenance, leasing office guys (these are the important people, because they're the ones having power when you need things done). Because, everyone is into their own routine, it's difficult to barge in and introduce yourself, for a person like me- it's a task. I was pissed when I got the meeting invite at work just the morning of the day I was supposed to introduce myself to the giants at noon. I didn't even get ready that day, I don't think I even showered that day, cos the previous day was Eid and I was still trying to come out of the food coma, I didn't want to be at work that day and planned to leave by half day and then in the morning I got a meeting invite for a meeting where new hires introduce themselves to the leadership. It was a disaster, we were told to introduce ourselves, mention our favorite color and hobbies. Mehhh!! I am yet to figure out both of those. I don't think I can, it's useless, what will you do knowing your favorite color? Some colors which you find in India don't even exist here. So, no point! 

I am new to the city, but I have toured it enough with the family and friends families that I can be the primary tour guide for someone. This past weekend, one of my friend from Michigan was here with her mom. I was kind of sick, but I didn't want to say 'No' to be the tourist guide. So, I said yes and started my day at 11 in the morning, only to come back at 10 in night, husband smartly bailed out and attended a fun stand up comedy show at which his friend was performing, I wanted to attend too..but...

So, this time Sears Tower broke the record, it took us 4.5 hrs to go to the top. When we were buying the tickets the estimated time for regular admission showed 2.5 hrs and city pass- which is a quick way to get around was 15-20 minutes. We thought, they just want us to buy the city pass that's why they show numbers like 2.5 hrs and 15 minutes. We didn't know when 2.5 hrs turned into 4.5 hrs..we were so dead we just sat in the line, without caring what people around us thought and just crawled some of the distance. Did you ever feel like ' why do I exist?' That's what I felt..I am sure the aunty who was visiting felt the same ( my friends mom, who's visiting U.S). I was scared that I will pass out and I don't have health insurance. I am yet to transfer that from old work to new work place, will do that today. So, yes...I was feeling like i will pass out and I was thinking I wish I do pass out, at least I will get out of this madness. It's been two days past that trauma and I still feel my eyes sunken and skin dry coz of all the walking in sun whole day. (Picture on the left for you to see what I am talking about, I don't look much different in general, but little better) I promise, I promise I will never do that kind of toursisting again. I was counting that everyone in the family has seen Sears tower, so I don't have to ever go back there again, coz this was my fifth time, then I remembered..sister and my nieces would come next year and I might have to go do the Sears tower Darshan again next year. I will do it wisely next time. 

Reminds me about my old post where I was complaining about being a tour guide in Hyderabad..

Here's the link if you want to read about me complaining more..

Post above is from 2009, feels like a different me, also laughing at my writing style then.