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California Dreamin’!!

Tiny Lot is becoming a lot more tinier. We are moving to San Francisco. Soon.

Lot of questions that we have been asked since we announced it to our group of friends and at work.

Didn’t we just move to India?

Do we hate Hyderabad?

Do we love US more than India?

Why San Francisco and not Redmond?

For the record, we don’t hate Hyderabad or our life here. Infact, Vipul and I think there is no other city in India we could have moved to and have a good life. We can afford a large house fairly close to work; have a cook/maid/driver and can go to any good restaurant/pub in less than half an hour. The city is mostly safe. A luxury by Mumbai or Delhi standards. Sure the weather is a challenge in April, May and October but with most of days being spent cooped up in air conditioned office it barely makes a difference.

Then why leave this all and move?

We moved here to be closer to family. Both sets of parents visited us fairly often when we first moved. But over time they visit only if Varun is not well or if we need help. They don’t really want to uproot their lives and move here. Also, due to our fast paced work schedule, we barely get much time to spend with them when they are here. Even when we visit them, Vipul is glued to the phone/email/laptop.

Also,we miss US – the open parks and gardens, libraries, museums, trails etc. I know lot of people who miss these aspects of life in US. They get hang of everything else – products, traffic, commute, social commitments, dressing etc but this is something we reminisce about.

But most importantly, we are expecting another baby and I want to deliver the baby in US.

Varun had a natural un-medicated birth with the aid of midwives. It was a wonderful birthing experience  (as far as birth stories go) and I want the same again. I don’t want to go with traditional OB model but go with midwives. Certified trained midwives operating out of a hospital is not possible here. Plus the rate of Caesarean birth is very high.

The care offered by midwives in my first pregnancy is incomparable to what I am getting here now. The hygiene level, the empathy, the long wait times for appointments, scans etc is not up to the par.

Why SF and not Redmond?

We were actually all set to move to Redmond. We both had offers from our teams. We reached out to our midwives and set an appointment with them. We had started looking for a house. We knew which daycare to send Varun too.

Everything was lined up, when Vipul got an offer that he could not resist from Sony.

Luckily Sony offers a comprehensive relocation package on par with Microsoft.

So, here we are off to Sunny California.

Excited!

We are very excited to move to SF.

New city, old friends, new challenges.

Cant wait to be there!

Reality Bytes: Ten Months Later

Vipul came back from his 10 day long trip from US and reminded me that its been 10 months since our big move. Wow. The last two months have gone by swiftly. It’s no surprise given that we did a little bit of travelling ( Andaman islands and Hampi) and also met with friends in Lonavala.

We made an impromptu road trip with friends which was exciting as it was our first road trip in our car. We ( as in Varun and the car) fared well  so we are looking forward to more road trips. Luckily, per Times of India,  there are more long weekends this year that 2012 to allow us to explore around Hyderabad!

Over the last couple of months, we have met at least 5-6 other folks at work who have moved back from Redmond to Hyderabad – it is comforting in some sense. One of our dear friends from Redmond, Sushil – Athika  have moved here and we met them over dinner one evening and just chatted – like old times in Redmond.

The best thing that happened in last couple of months was my recent stay in Mumbai – thanks to the relatively easy workload. It was fun being in Mumbai. Familiar places, shops, restaurants, language, mode of transport. I knew where to go, what to do – unlike in Hyderabad where I have to always find out my bearings. It made me wonder if we had moved to Mumbai ( or any city where you have lived in the past) would it have been an easier transition? On one level that would have been awesome but I don’t think Vipul would have loved it one bit. He hates Mumbai, its traffic, pollution and is allergic whenever we visit 😦

Working at IDC

On work front, there have been several changes at Microsoft, including folks moving back, charters changing and new opportunities coming up – some exciting and others ho-hum (IMHO). Some of the charters that moved back were the ones Vipul and I were considering to opt for when we moved so we felt relived that we didn’t choose those teams then. Else, we would be back in US by now without much of a choice.

The trips and dinners with friends and family offer a way to not think about the day-to-day life and just chill. Vipul’s work continues to be crazy. He barely has any energy left to do anything other than plop in front of the TV which drives Varun and me crazy! Varun wants to play with Vipul, Vipul wants to watch TV and I want both of them to leave me in peace for a few minutes – which rarely happens 😉

Life with Varun

On top of that we had to go through Varun’s nasal procedure, change his day care, find a school for him. Its stressful on the school front. Almost every one tells us to enroll him in nursery next year in a school and curriculum of our choice as its easiest to get into in nursery than in later classes.  We were trying to defer this to next year but seems like at least in a couple of schools that we are interested in, we may be in for a surprise if we defer. In fact, I met a little girl on the flight from Mumbai who was about 3-year-old and attends a pre-school in US. It got me thinking that if Varun was in US, I would have probably enrolled him into a structured school there, so shouldn’t I be doing the same here? Lets see, we will think about it for one more week and then decide.

To Stay or not to Stay

Being here for so long, everyone wants to know about our plans. Be its friends, family or colleagues. Some are more discrete than others. Will we stay here? How long will we stay? Will we return back after two years? Will we go back to Redmond or some place else?

Will we buy a house here? Apartment or villa? When will we know when we are ready to commit to India? We have received advice to move back as schooling is better in US, lifestyle is better, savings are better. Yet, we see more and more families moving back here. Sigh.

At face value, all of this makes it hard to want to stay here. But I don’t think things are much different from what would have been in US. Except for less traffic on the roads and more variety of food/ wine, and frequent meetings with friends, things would pretty much have been the same. Additionally, we would have had to do housework and cooking. So yea, some days we are all in favor of moving back and others we want to stay put.

In Two Minds

We are constantly in two minds – which makes it real hard to live in the present and be at peace. That manifests itself in squabbles over little things or in fleeing away from it all. I really envy people who actually had a solid reason to move back to India ( practice a religion, being closer to family and family moving in with them, moving to the same city where they lived and easily adjusting). They have moved on with their lives buying a home, customizing it and enjoying it. Or the ones who realized this is not right for them and moved back.

It takes us months to commit to buying a piece of furniture. Design, style, color, pattern, height, firmness …the reconciliation of what we both agree on takes forever. This is much more complex than that – we have Varun and his future to think about, save for our retirement and plan rest of our lives!

All I know is that whatever we decide, will be binding. We are not moving again after this decision. I had my share of change. I think I am craving constancy now. And a house with a white picket fence. I wish we could make up our mind as well. But it’s so freaking hard!Lets see what choices we make this year – either ways will keep you all posted!

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