Monday, May 27, 2019

Not all things that happen are ...

Sometimes you have to just hold yourself, you may wanna speak a 1000 words but you wanna hold yourself, for your own sanity and to maintain that standard and threshold.
This post may sound a little cryptic because I may not discuss the details behind what's happening.

Siblings always came first to me, no matter what..be it work, be it money, be it me letting go and patch up, most of the times I don't let my ego intervene and take actions, even if it does its only for sometime and I come back like a small pet waging it's tail and apologize, because it's not in my nature to hold grudges and not talk. Ok, I will try not to glorify myself and make this post all about myself. But there's been some lessons learnt and I just wanted to write them down, lest I forget I can always come back and read this.

Somethings going on in the family, my younger sister aka Potter sister is kind of fleeing from us. Because I write everything here and it's my own space, I will express what I feel. (To be honest, I typed some stuff and deleted it coz hello ? Who cares? And at the end of the day you have to go back to your family and siblings, so why whine here and spread negativity?).

So, not all people are similar and we as siblings don’t share the same interest either, I talk to everyone in the family and so does my younger brother, unless you are being a pain to him or make him realize his mistakes - he will talk to you everyday, almost bug  you everyday 😛. Me and husband are the same, maybe we talk to everyone and not hide out and something happened recently and we are accused of back biting. I hate to say 'we' because unfortunately I got husband involved in this mess. I respect his time and I only take him as a reference in a lot of things I do, but when he sees me struggle and unable to fight the odds, he will intervene and literally put day and night to keep my point or make the other person understand what they're doing wrong in the most decent and delicate way. 

Social media has completely changed the dimension of family feuds, the conversation and message that a person can say and hear isn't just over a phone via a transceiver but it's all over, the whole world has to see it..from whatsapp status, whatsapp display picture to instagram post and statuses. Sometimes I wonder how much can a person bend? 

Maybe I am responsible of using social media and bashing too? No, I am just expressing what I feel, infact venting. Honestly, it helps me let go of negative thoughts, if I can't share it completely with someone, I just pour it down here in a constrained manner, through a funnel, to try not to hurt anyone from my words. That's always been my goal - to try not to hurt anyone from what I speak or what I write. Sometimes this may play against you, because people may think 'ohh she's week,' 'oh she's wrong,' that's why she's silent, that's why she has no words. I don't think I can let go of this quality anyways and I think it's a good quality? 




Saturday, April 27, 2019

It's snowing again!!

A Bollywood song in the background plays 'Kahan hoon mai..' means where am I? I instantly related to it. Being stuck at home all day on a Saturday sucks, specially when you make plans and cancel it cos it's snowing, snowing when it's almost may. It's happening for the second time in the month, we got snow all day, like someone was angry and lowered the thermostat, someone indeed is angry at us -earth, hopefully we only live for so long and I won't be able to see other disasters our generation and the previous generations have done to the planet.

As the song kept going I kept thinking where am I? Away from a lot of people I have known for years and close to some who I have formed new relationships with and far from some very close blood relationships though being so near. I think priorities change..

After moving to Chicago a lot of days I just break down when I realize how many people I have around me, how many people I use to be sorrounded with when I was in Detroit. Sometimes I remember a friend and feel sad misunderstanding her, she was married to a guy friend of mine, she then moved to Detroit from New York and she use to complain to me all the time how she feels lonely and bored, coming from NY to Detroit, I now understand how difficult it must have been for her, now that I know how it feels, me just moving from Detroit. I feel guilty that I thought she was overreacting. 

Anyways, I am now headed to husband's friends house, though it's raining/snowing outside, I sometimes self invite myself to random places just because i want to get out and see people and want to have some people to talk. 

Days like this can literally take a toll on you and today was one such day, hoping tomorrow will be a nice bright day.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Alaska

Returning to work is the toughest thing after vacation. Especially when you return home at 2 AM midnight. But I had to go to work today because my computer wouldn’t let me login. There was a ‘change password’ notification I kept getting, which I ignored and by the time I returned from vacation my password expired and I couldn’t change my password because I wasn’t connected to the internal network. Real world problems eh?

That’s why I had to come to work, just to check my emails, to confirm nothing ground breaking happened while I was gone and no one was waiting on me. Good employee! But after coming to work I only saw few cancelled meeting notifications and compliance training notification emails :/

Anyways, today I am writing to share my Alaska travelling experience. I wasn’t very excited to see Northern lights, I am not a science/space person, so it didn’t excite me much, though I hyped about it on Instagram posting pictures etc..just because it’s a onetime thing, you don’t get to see it every day.

So, this trip didn’t fit in any of the vacation idea category which interests me – it didn’t have beaches, no sun, no greenery, no amazing food..though I did think that I would get amazing seafood when I first heard about the trip from my husband.

Route of Dalton Highway to Purdhoe Bay
We headed out from Chicago to Seattle, husband’s friend lives there and he was going to join us from Seattle to go to Fairbanks, a small town in Alaska. After 7-8 hrs of flying, we reached Fairbanks at night 2:30 AM or so..and woke up next morning to drive to Coldfoot, as the name suggests the place will give you cold foot if you aren’t prepared and the name was derived because the truckers who’d go north for mining would usually turn around when they get cold feet and stop here, hence the name coldfoot. There’s only one highway that goes north or North east and the rest is forest. After driving all day, we reached coldfoot at night.  People didn’t live here, only the truckers stop every 250 miles and there was a camp kind of a setup which had small rooms, initially when I heard we’d be staying in camp hotel I was very worried about the cleanliness of the place, but surprisingly this place was well maintained and it looked like it had lot of tourist coming, specially Asian students, so they had sign boards everywhere written in mandarin. The hotel had the tiniest rooms, enough for a person to crash at night and take a shower and get going the next day.

Our car after all the driving on the gravel highway. The worst part was it would ruin my clothes every time I get in/ get out.

The sun did not set until 9 PM, I expected that we can see the lights from the camp but because there was some light from the hotel..we walked to some distance where there was absolutely no light, we did not know where we were going we just walked, it looked like a frozen lake with 3-5 ft of snow on it. We talked to the middle of it and husband and his friend set the camera. We did not know what to expect, we knew the aurora would come between 10 – 2 AM at night. We set the camera at 10:45 or so and kept waiting, we kept seeing stars till the lights started appearing. So, like I mentioned we were on a lake in snow..so we had to create a small patch stable enough for us to stand and for the tripod to fix the camera, we just stomped the snow to make it a smooth surface for us to stand, so that we don’t go inside the snow as we take a step. The boys did that work, I was just standing to be honest.

We didn’t know what to expect, but we were able to see some weird patterns in sky, an orange spot started appearing and on the other side a dim streak of pattern appeared in the sky, just like how it would be if a rocket would go in the sky but wide enough, we were confused, if this was it. We set the camera and there it was , the camera was able to catch what our eyes weren’t able to..the sky had green color patches as if someone painted it green with a brush. The lights did get a little intense and we were able to see it with our naked eye after sometime. But, the patterns kept changing every few minutes, they were just moving.

We kept watching the changing patterns for few hours, we were outside for 3 hrs or so..our legs freezing, hands freezing. We used the hand warmers and toe warmers, it was so hard to even take off my shoes and use the toe warmer, my husband did it for me. Once I was warm enough in hands and toes, my feet started freezing, we decided it was time to go back to the hotel and call it a day.
The next day we came to know the place where we set our camera and stood to watch the aurora was a frozen pond, I got scared when I heard that.

If you notice my style of writing changing at this point, you should know I am continuing to write this blog after a few days. The next day we went to a hot spring, a natural hot spring, I love hot showers, so there was no way I wouldn’t like it. It was amazing, it was a small pond of hot water, the hot springs are big, atleast the pictures of hot springs I have seen for the hot springs in Italy and other places, but this one was small, but good enough to relax us after all the crazy driving for 2 days.
Arctic Circle
Savage Lake and us :)
The last day before we ended our trip, we planned to go see Denali mountain range, I was excited. I fell in love with the mountains and snow on them when I saw the mountains in Seattle, so I was expecting something similar. But, the snow here had started to melt. I looked up a river to go – Savage river, after going there I found that you need to climb a mountain and climb down to see the river, I wasn’t ready for it, not just mentally but physically – meaning not trained to go on a mountain nor wearing the proper gear to go on it, but husband and his friend had their climbing shoes on and the jackets etc..more than the gear, I think mentally they were ready, unlike me. I was wearing my city snow boots bought from Kohls, they were wearing some heavy boots, I was wearing Jeans, they had their gear from Patagonia/Rei. I wonder if it was pre-planned, maybe not. I didn’t run my mind after that, I was trying to convince myself to do it. I did it, walking uphill was a little tough, I am not a fan of elevation or cardio. But walking downhill was fun and scary, there was a lot of stones and we literally had to scramble through it, but I liked the challenge and I learned the tricks from my husband’s friend, who is passionate about going on mountains etc. The tricks helped make the whole experience better and took it to a different level, that’s why they say, ‘experience matters.’

At few points during the downhill, I felt like I would lose control and fall, but I just kept my calm and kept going, kept telling myself ‘you will be down the mountain soon, you don’t do this every day, so just do it!’

The river was beyond describable when we reached there after the hike. We spent some time there and it doesn’t end here, we had to walk 1 hour to get back to our car, just because the roads were closed because it was winter.

While driving back to the Airbnb, we saw a moose by the creek, one more wish of mine was fulfilled, to spot a wild animal.

All in all, it was a good trip, but was more of an active/ adventure trip and not a vacation/relaxation type of a trip. But, hey I am not complaining – I got to go to the hot springs and I saw the moose AND we saw the Northern lights and we went by the arctic circle!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Bad days don't need an invite

Bad days don't need an invite, they come without invitation.

Not every day, I think of making an effort to stop somewhere buy something for breakfast and go to the office, but today I did..because I was craving a croissant, craving a flaky brown croissant, though I knew I won’t get a best one near me, I went to a super market near me, they pride themselves for selling European stuff, when I went inside I saw only three croissants and they didn’t look fresh, so I asked the baker where are the croissants she told me, ‘Can you wait for 15 minutes?’

In my mind: No, I cannot wait for 15 minutes, I don’t have all the time in my life to wait for you to buy a tiny croissant which doesn’t even taste perfect. But I just showed her the clock and told her ‘its 9:38, what time do you think people eat breakfast? Why is it not ready?’ then she told me that they’re busy baking Paczki’s. I didn’t stop, because this was not happening for the first time, I went to meet the manager, manager was the old lady who told me - let me ask the baker. I just yelled few fiery lines as if I was buying dozens of croissants and walked out. My intention was not to be mad at them but to tell them that there’s a time to bake certain things and not be like ‘I am putting it in the oven now,’ where as right across the bakery section they had samples of sushi out, at 9:30 AM in the morning, believe it!


If the first thing in the morning goes wrong, I don’t get what I want, I get a hint that the day is not going to be very productive and there will be disappointments and things that I will not get. For example, I went to the restroom – the first stall read ‘out of service’ and when I went to the second one it didn’t have the safety guard seat covers. Sorry for the unnecessary details, but every tiny disappointment counts in making your day shitty. I went and sat at my desk, I received a ‘Meeting Cancelled’ notification. Usually, I am happy seeing such notifications, but not when I am expecting something from someone.

Being positive ^ 
It doesn’t end here, I wouldn’t be writing if it did..half way through the day I went to warm up my lunch and ten seconds later the microwave’s fuse tripped off, I can’t express how fucked up things around me felt. I just followed another person who was going to the nearest microwave, waited for her to finish heating her food and opened the microwave and there it was the most antique microwave I saw, which did not look like it’s been cleaned since the time I was BORN! I then went to a hidden microwave spot and warmed my lunch and by the time I came back to my desk it was cold like it never went in the microwave.

Sometimes I don’t know if I am too picky or if things are not just how they’re supposed to be.
It is a kind of a day when I can write pages of bad reviews and I did, a day when I won’t hesitate posting nasty sticky notes – I wanted to, but I stopped. On such days I have a straight face and you can see it on my face that something is wrong. I keep doubting if something wrong is going to happen next, maybe when I am driving or maybe I will get into a verbal argument with someone, so I just stay calm and not tend to talk much and vent it out on my blog here.

I hope nothing else happens till the day ends, I go to volunteer and teach sweet innocent refugee kids in few hours who can be bratty at times..so..you never know.

Now, I hear you saying be positive Nameera..


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Unwinding

Sometimes it feels awesome by just not sticking to the plan doing something just because you did it or you started doing it, something out of your regular routine. It unwinds you, gives you  a break, puts your mind to peace and let it put a period to other worldly things, which by not doing them nothing is going to  change , numbers in your bank account won't change, you won't become dumb, to come to reality veggies in your fridge won't stale, they will still be there tomorrow, the inches on your body won't increase in a day  if you skip the gym or eat whatever you want, you will still go to work tomorrow and complain about the job you do if you sleep a little late. Today was such day!

After struggling more than half an hour  to park my car at a local busy Indian Pakistani
neighborhood to pick a to go dinner (rarely happens in my case, very rare- say once or twice in a year)..I drove home thinking I will hog on the biryani I got and crash on my bed, after such a tiresome day, I can't put myself to go to Gym or cook. We limit ourselves so much on weekdays isn't it? In short bore ourselves to death and routine. 

Today I came back and did my prayers, waited for husband to come back from gym, so that we can eat dinner together. I put things in my plate and heated up my food. I can't eat my food a degree less hotter than I need. The next thing I usually do is put on office and watch it while I eat till husband is around and then switch to game of thrones or some Asian drama. Today, I didn't play office, I played a Bollywood movie 'highway,' i watched this one long back, few years ago at a friends place..in a bachelor pad watched it projecting on a wall from our dear enthusan Bollywood movie streaming website. I thought I will switch to GOT once husband leaves but I got so much into the movie that I kept watching it. It's about a   girl (Alia Bhatt) getting kidnapped and she finds more freedom with the when she's kidnapped than in her own house..sounds very dramatic but it was nice, the story took turns slowly, not like the girl falls in love with the kidnapper at first sight.

The movie takes you through different towns in India..and the girl in the movie see's the towns and alway wonders if places like that existed really. She travels through farms, forts, hills and mountains. It reminded me of my tiny wild adventures I had back home when I was in college, me and 3-4 friends of mine would just sit in the bus and travel till the last stop, which is outskirts of the city, just to see some farm land, some small roadside shops. The fun and experience is very different when you have a 20 rupees note in your pocket as Compared to the trips you make in an air conditioned car.

As the songs on the movie played, because the girl was kidnapped they just kept going on highway in a truck, as they passed each place I missed India every time a new scene came, I wondered why did I come from such a culturally rich country to something so plain and white. Ahem Ahem! Then I thought, maybe I wouldn't appreciate what I am seeing today so much if I was not where I am. It's all a mystery. But I kept telling myself throughout the movie that one day I will go back, I will go back to my land, I will go back to where I started off. 
I hope I will...one day...

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.