12

New and Fresh as a Desi

*Desi = Colloquial word for someone from the Indian sub-continent.

I was transferring some pictures to my hard drive last night, and I felt like visiting those days back. Oh boy! I could see how my weight and roundness of my face has fluctuated from 2009 to 2018. I saw so many clothes in my pictures that have been donated away, that I loved, that I hated. I wore flared jeans! Of course the xBF featured prominently and so did Abhi, and I felt pangs of intense nostalgia and some pain(of totally different kinds).

There is a certain charm about coming to the US for the first time as a naive student. This extends to going anywhere abroad, but I speak for ‘Murica because, ah well, I came here. The first few days are very interesting when you figure out how everything is exact opposite to India, how quiet the cities and towns are, and how your clothes stand out in a very stripey-collared-shirts way. I remembered how starry eyed I was when I landed in San Diego! It was, just, so different! And eventually I realized that it is way different from any other city in the USA also. Free, liberal, culturally open, and so hippie! It was like breathing in a different, fresher kind of air, but with the same essence that Pune had. Those were exciting times. Trying to learn how to live alone, and navigating through intense emotional drama, and then feeling the first flutters of infatuation post India days.

I made my first non-Indian friend on the very first day of class, who is still one of my closest friends. The group from school(lab and associated friends) has stuck together through Thursday game nights, brewery sessions, camping weekends, dance nights, and now wedding shenanigans. They were my true representation of the whole ‘SDSU being a party school’ thing. I still get asked if I studied anything because of SDSU’s reputation and my answer has 3 points. 1. I was in grad school. 2. My major was Mechanical Engineering. 3. I am a true and highly stereotypical Desi. NOBODY invited us! I totally exaggerate. I had a lot of firsts with these guys that I can never forget, and they make sure that I don’t!

Yet, at every point, I felt that I did not fit. I just didnt mix in, and I still feel the same. With my nutty behavior, an accent where asking for water is a royal pain, my forever confused sense of style, overly frizzy hair, stuff that blurts out from my mouth, I still feel that I stand out as super Desi. But that IS the best part! I get to stand out! I still have a sense of belonging to my country and culture, while learning something new everyday about different countries. I get to retain my Desi-ness while I continue my explorations. How many people from other countries can say that?! And how many people from India can claim to call two countries home? We are the lot that gets the best of both the worlds! In my best buddy Adam’s exact words, I am weird and basic as hell, but yet they love me!

Cultural assimilation is a beautiful thing, but so is, standing out. Here’s a toast to all the self described nuts who feel like they belong, even when they don’t! Let the paradox live and thrive!

Advertisements
24

Dating Tales : Boy 6 : Date 1

Wanted: Very well educated, very high up in the medical field, cultured, extremely sexist, Obamacare opposer, self absorbed douche, humblebrag, homophobic Indian man.

Enter my last date.
It was awful you guys, just awful. To let you know the degree of the awfulness, I SKIPPED THE OFFER OF FREE ICECREAM AND BOLTED!
Without going into too many details, I will again list down some pointers on what NOT to do on a date, inspired by the douchebag:

Do not suggest a place, and then go back on it 5 times, making the girl to put her foot down on the pre-decided place.

  • If she says, she is okay not drinking and prefers to not have alcohol on weekdays, do not respond with “C’mon, dont be so old!”
  • Do not keep bitching about the parking situation. She f*ing walked a mile after parking her car, whereas, you drove around for 10 minutes, and parked right in front of the cafe. Also, while walking her to her car, dont be snarky about her parking far away. It is f*ing Little Italy! No easy parking!
  • Do not keep talking only about yourself, and do realize EVERYONE is working hard and has a respectable job.
  • Do not go ‘but that’s easy’ when she tells you about her friends being physical therapists, or orthodontists, etc. We get it that you had lots more to do, but dont be such a loser.
  • Do not say something stupid about same-s*x relationships and then follow it with ‘Not that I have a problem’ with a sarcastic laugh. You aren’t Seinfeld.
  • Do not ask more than 5 questions to the server about the menu. Do not ask him to explain the ENTIRE menu. Do not go over EVERY drink, specially when her food has arrived and has been waiting for 5 minutes getting cold.
  • Do not give a speech on Obamacare for 20 minutes, and do pay attention when her eyes glaze over.
  • Do not say these words: Ah well, I shouldnt say this, usually girls are Hillary supporters *Sarcastic laugh*
  • Just dont be an a**h#le, okay?
ANNNDDDD, if she hasnt responded to you in the last 2 weeks, DO NOT call her at 2.58 am on the weekend. NOPE.
2

Travelogue : Seattle, Washington.

I got to get out of town after a looooong time, and it was awesome!

I was planning on visiting Seattle for quite some time and I was quite inclined to make it happen ASAP, come rain or shine. And boy, did it rain! My friend SP from Minneapolis, and I booked our tickets, and so we started planning.

I did not plan a whole lot for this trip, which was both good and bad in a way. I got a few suggestions from Mad and DD but the snowfalls and road closure put a dampener on those plans. all for good though, because instead of Mt. Rainier, we covered the Boeing factory! The drive to Everett was quite nice. It was raining(but, of course) and the surroundings were so lush and green! San Diego is freakin’ awesome but I do miss seeing greenery in SoCal. The Space Needle turned out kind of sad because it was all fogged out and there was no view except from the elevator. It was mean of them to charge full price with the rotating restaurant shut for construction and fogged out view, but ah well. The Chihuly glass garden turned out to be a great show stealer and was one of out favorite sites in Seattle.

We saved the most interesting, and sort of pretentious(but I am all about it!) Seattle experiences for the last day. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room is a must have experience, even if you are not a coffee person! We tried their flight and chose three delicious coffees. We saw beans getting roasted and ground, and packed. We saw crazy brewing methods and hipster men in fun mustaches. We learnt that the menu is ever changing because these are small lot batches from different parts of the world. One of the coffees that we chose was from India! The whole experience is like wine tasting, but leaving you super caffeinated instead of drunk.

If you like Portland, you will like Seattle as well, though I prefer Portland more. Maybe it is because we both are weird?! I do have a travelogue on Portland. But I highly suggest visiting Seattle, maybe during better weather conditions.

My friend and I pigged out on food and drinks and each night, managed to return to the hotel in good time to catch up on sleep and experience total relaxation. We needed some rejuvenation to break out of the funk, and thankfully, we got that.

Leaving you guys with some pictures and tips for Seattle trippage.

  1. It will be helpful to get an idea about weather when you go. It was very cold and rainy when we went. I admit that I forgot about that when I booked my tickets. But in all honesty, I just wanted to go, come what may.
  2. Carry your good warm jacket, and thermals, and umbrella.
  3. Spend a good amount of time at Chihuly and do watch the glass blowing demo. It is quite interesting! It is every hour, am to pm.
  4. Buy your souvenirs inside the space needle visitor center and not in the little shop outside. Ha!
  5. If you are a Seafood lover, Seattle is the place for you. Hang out in the Pike Public Market and you will know what I mean. From what I hear, skip Mexican food.
  6. Commit on spending a couple of hours at Starbucks roastery. And also keep a few minutes spare. As many know, coffee is a friend of the digestive tract. ‘Where is the restroom?’ is a common question with some urgency, that the servers get asked. 😀
  7. The airport is kind of far from Seattle mainstay. There is a train from the airport to downtown Seattle and I recommend it if you opt to not renting a car. Also, parking charges are kind of exorbitant in Seattle. We used Lyft to get around and it was very reasonable. There are a bunch of bike shares too for a buck an hour or so!
  8. There is a beautiful Japanese Garden by Capitol Hill which was closed for the winter season, but I recommend that.
  9. I feel rather bad that we could not go to see Mt. Rainier and the reflection lake, but that makes me want to go back during summer. It is an hour and half drive from the airport, and can be covered in a day trip.
  10. Pick for a hotel or AirBnB in downtown to stay close to the action.

 

2

10 awesome Valentine gifts for your single gal pal.

So, you have a date for V-day? Good for you. I am going to sit here announcing how it is such a rubbish consumerist/capitalist day while inside I am boiling with anger and screaming ‘WHY, GOD, WHY?!’ But hey, congrats again!

Now, you definitely don’t want your single gal pal to feel sad and left out, and most definitely don’t want a third wheel. So, go ahead and make her feel better or this will happen.

screen-shot-2014-01-02-at-2-35-48-pm

I have written some solidly helpful posts in the past to raise awareness for single people on Valentine’s day, or Singles Awareness Day as I prefer to call it. This is a dumb stupid day, with the exception of being Mad-DD’s wedding anniversary.

Leaving you guys with some helpful gift ideas to help that single gal pal(obviously, me) get through this dumb day.

  1. Subscription to a dating app: Your gal pal needs to get out and start dating, if she isn’t already. I force myself to go on all these dates just because I fear that I am going to miss out. Major FOMO, and YOLO! Get her a premium account on Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, Bumble, Dil Mil, Aisle, etc. Maybe skip Tinder.
  2. New iPhone battery: For all those apps, you need a solid battery power. Without getting into the iPhone vs Samsung debate. let’s just get your gal pal(me!) a brand new battery for only $29. I forgive, but do not forget, dear Apple.
  3. Photoshoot: How about some nice display/profile pictures for her, eh? Get your DSLR out and shoot some nice candids for her so that she looks cooler and funnier and more vivacious than a drunk kitten.
  4. Uber/Lyft gift card: Sometimes, all she needs to get out and have a good time, is the option of not driving at all! Let her drink, but not drive.
  5. Urban Decay Naked palette: Just because it is my current obsession right now, but I cannot justify spending $54 on it. I feel nicely blended eyeshadow on my droopy hooded lids, will solve all my life issues. I will take a Sephora gift card, thank you very much. SP has fulfilled the clinique gel liner obsession already.
  6. Zip my dress: Look at the product for God’s sakes! The biggest disadvantage of being single is a mad struggle to zip your dress up. Let your gal pal have a moment of peace from crazy body contortions and get her one of these. A back lotion applicator wont hurt too, while you are at it.
  7. Mani-Pedi gift card: The nail bar lady says how will i find boyfriend if my nails dont have design on them. Maybe that will get us singles, doubled.
  8. Lip mask: Confidence is key for your gal pal, and she needs to be ready for all situations, as learned from The Bachelor where Mr. Pillowlips is a kissin’ bandit. Get her one of those Laneige sleeping lip mask or something, and let her become Miss Pillowlips. Never thought these words will flow out of me.
  9. Belgian chocolates from Costco: when nothing works, let your friend dissolve into divine sugar rush. The Belgian chocs are DIVINE! PB-certified. But just one box, okay? We don’t want that photoshoot look like it was done 5 years ago.
  10. Bottle of Pinot Noir or straight up Tequila: Just ignore all above and let her chill with Netflix, and some good red, or Margarita, or plain ol’ shots.

I accept cash/check/PayPal/Venmo and all courier packages.

8

Perils of honesty

I have been a yelper since a couple of years now. My yelp reviews started because I was tired of lack of information on vegetarian items. After browsing through restaurant menus when I looked up for pictures or reviews of meatless stuff, I would usually draw a blank. That led me to spend a lot of money on underwhelming stuff and I decided to be Yelp-woman! Say it like Superwoman to get the effect that I am trying to go for.

I would happily rate a place 4 star if I liked it, or even 5 star if I loved it. In my books, 3 star is for an okay place and a 2 star is not good. I don’t really go for 1 star. I would write honestly, and sincerely, and even mentioned positive points in a not-so-positive review. Fair enough, right?

But no! My big mouth and big smartphone got me in trouble last week. I had to open my big mouth while out for lunch, and my boss figured I am on yelp. He decided to follow me since he likes eating out, and likes many places that I do too. Coincidentally, a couple of days back, I gave a BAD review to a Mexican restaurant near our office. I did mention that I really liked their burrito, but it was literally the only good thing. The day my boss followed me on Yelp, my manager and some coworkers went for lunch to the same place. They got back and my manager(adorable older guy) comes into my office(yep, I have an office!) and tells me that the server girl asked for me! She legit asked for me and said she wanted to talk and discuss the bad review! I was shaken up, to be honest. I have been contacted on Yelp by business owners, but not like this.

The big boss then starts laughing and says that he did see that I did not review them well. Then he asked me, if I knew how bad it was for business. In the next 5 minutes, he sowed guilt deep into my heart by telling how he knew the family who runs the place, since his family home was in the same area, and how nice they are, and that he has seen businesses being shut down, and how he only gives 5 star to help people out or 1 star if it is really bad, or never under the average stars. He went on to say that taste is subjective. Well, I agree with that, but that is the reason why there is AVERAGE in the first place! And I am reviewing what I ate per my vegetarian taste buds and what my friends said about what they got!

But anyways, the seed of guilt was in. So I told my manager that I was going to stop by after work to talk to them. My manager got super concerned that I was upset because he knows I am sensitive and basically a nice person(if I may say so!) He asked me to text him back by 5 so he knows I am safe. Ha! But when I went, the girl who had asked for me was gone. I did not go back there for my Friday lunch, because I am scared out of my wits, and in-the-food spits! My fellow Yelper and friend also shares the same fears and suggests definitely not going back. Although, my manager said they were very nice, and the girl sincerely wanted to ask what was wrong. This story has spread in our tiny office, and the Shopfloor Manager tells me everytime they go to the place for lunch and I sense sarcasm. Admittedly, this area is very secluded and not too many options.

So what is the takeaway from this?
  1. It sucks to be honest as also explained here: Honesty is not always the best policy
  2. My office location is quite secluded and very few eateries around, and I must go out every Friday atleast. I should have thought this through.
  3. I also updated the review to mention that it is a good thing that they wanted to discuss, etc. and bumped up 2 stars. This guilt is less than the previous guilt.
  4. It is stressful being me.
10

Oh, snap!

Have you noticed a lull on my blog since a few months? No? you clearly lie. Because I have and the lull is so loud, its almost obnoxious. I keep thinking of going back and writing, but I feel like my fingers weigh a 100 pounds each and typing is way too much. How I wish we can get to the point soon that I talk, and the keyboard gets it and writes. I know the smartphones have that technology, but I dont have the accent that it requires! First world problems.

I wish I could just say, “You guys! there is so much to tell! But I am just being lazy!” Nope. Honestly, I have no material to talk about. There was a big change with respect to job and home, but that’s done and dusted. I wrote about it. How much more can I talk about a city and work environment change without sounding like a crazy confused person? It happened, it has been a mix of emotions, and that’s that. Should I write about my parents being here? But everyone knows how it is to be with parents for extended times. There is nothing much to talk about there as well! They were here for 5 months, and we had a good time. I tried very hard, and my behavior was marginally better than last time, which I kept on insisting and they nodded in agreement(or to stop making me shout anymore). Also, I was glad they were here, for the apartment change. I have WAY TOO MUCH stuff. But I am also sort of happy that all of us have our lives back now. They are at home, doing what they please, and same goes for me.

Do you want to hear about my life as a social butterfly? What do I even say about my friends and going out, and the fun nights to not sound like a ditzy chick? I had a good Halloween party, couple of dinners and brewery turns with friends, cozy evenings at home with family(parents + Abhi-Nish), a weekend trip with Shawn and Alicia, an anxiety attack at a party that I handled like a pro, and relaxing weekends by myself in this short time here so far. I am going camping over the coming weekend for our annual Malibu disco beach camping! Then there is thanksgiving dinner coming up in Orange County. My friends are also coming over for a Friendsgiving/Stock the bar party in December. I am atleast getting out of my home more than before and I deserve a pat on the back for that! But y’all know how that is. Everyone will be busy with the holiday season coming up so nothing to show off.

Is there any boy in sight? What a ‘haha’ joke. Don’t worry, I run away at the first sight of anyone interested. So nothing to write about here also.

So, if you have made it till here, nice! Here it is. my post about nothing. *Insert Seinfeld joke*

15

30 on 30.

  1. Chocolate is my best friend and my worst enemy.
  2. Financial investments and a saving plan may not seem cool, but are extremely important.
  3. I definitely love to be surprised.
  4. I crave, need, thrive on attention.
  5. I am way cleaner than I used to be when I hit 20.
  6. It is difficult to live with parents.
  7. It is difficult to live away from parents.
  8. My indecisiveness is going to kill me.
  9. I like ambitious people better.
  10. Independence is extremely important to me, be it financial or emotional.
  11. I have learnt that it is ridiculous to pick a side and stick to it through thick and thin. There needs to be openness to ideas.
  12. Politics is complicated and no one is clean.
  13. Flexibility is the key to happiness.
  14. I have accepted that ‘never say never’ should be my life motto.
  15. I am a social bird who loves to actually cozy up in her nest on Fridays.
  16. I am quite hypocritical and most people are anyways.
  17. I am a people pleaser a la Monica Geller. I am also materialistic a la Rachel Greene.
  18. Health must be a top priority and fitness and regular checkups should not be ignored. 
  19. Technology gives me a headache.
  20. I am not into the whole iPhone vs Samsung debate, and I am firmly in the ‘Its just a phone!!’ category. But my last 2 phones have been Apples.
  21. I am a hoarder and have way too much stuff for a single person.
  22. I am definitely not cool.
  23. I am generally cold.
  24. If I could have puppies instead of babies, I would pick that option.
  25. I am toeing certain lines and I really want to cross them, but I am too much of a chicken.
  26. I definitely need to work on being a good host.
  27. Coffee makes my tummy happy. 😉
  28. Steps are not the right way to get into a pool.
  29. Respect and courtesy go a long way.
  30. Life is not a joke, but also shouldn’t be very serious.

Just something that I thought of worth jotting down when I hit 30. Yep, bring on the ‘over the hill’ jokes. Well, my knees actually do hurt, but I am so glad to be alive! Let’s see what the ‘dirty 30s’ have in store for me. Cheers, you guys! Have a shot(alcohol, pani puri or pink lemonade) for me!

10

The next phase…

Gee, you guys!

I feel like so much has changed with a tiny step. A few months back, I was fed up of my professional life and I sat in bed at 10 pm applying to new jobs on Indeed. The next morning, I had a call for an interview! That process led to my move back to San Diego, with a U-Haul and my parents in tow. I cannot thank my folks enough because they were such troopers, staying in Orange County for a week and packing while I joined work, commuting from Abhi-Nish’s home. It took me 2 hours of driving everyday from their place to work to and fro and I was ready to drop dead. I had Kunal Nayyar’s audiobook for company and that may have saved me.

My parents had actually done most of the packing for me. I just had to wrap some loose ends, which were way more than some to be honest. Shawn arrived bright and early the next morning with the rental truck and we got to business. I could have tried, but would have failed to choose a worse day for the move. We were on the last and strongest day of the heatwave, and I had sweat pouring out of pores that I did not know existed. Shawn would shake his shiny head and sweat would fall off like rain from his head. He looked like a shaggy dog, except that his head is shaved. Also, I am amazed that I have so much stuff for a single person living in an apartment. The previous place had lots of storage, so of course, I expanded. The new place does have good storage, but nowhere like my apartment earlier. Every evening I find myself at my wit’s end trying to push a box somewhere in a corner. Yet, I have atleast 3 pieces of furniture that I need to buy. Even through all this, Shawn kept saying that I didn’t have too much and wouldn’t let me hire movers. What would I do without him? Big bro is the best!

We are mostly settled in now, but I still need to dot some i’s and cross some t’s. I don’t feel fully satisfied right now. All this is above and beyond the separation anxiety that keeps cropping up every now and then. OC was my home for 5 years. 2 years more than San Diego. It was my first job, and I credit many of my achievements, patents, owning a home to that job. However upset I got, my relationships over there did not sour. During my first week here at the new job, partly fueled by exhaustion(all that commute), I was close to tears, wondering what the heck had I done! This company is poles apart form my previous one. It is much smaller, is not highly organized owing to the fact that they are family owned, but they are ready to expand exponentially. They have never had someone with my job title before(no pressure there, girlie!) but they did not bail out after I negotiated and accepted my counter-offer right away. I guess there is no way of knowing if a decision is right or wrong, if you don’t live it, but you can always hope for the best and put in all your efforts. My last week at ACD was full of goodbyes. Every single person, from shopfloor and office, came in to say bye to me and we were a huge group for my farewell lunch. My friends and I celebrated my last weekend in OC with sushi and the big Mayweather-McGregor fight. It was the best.

Now about moving back to San Diego, I am living in a super central spot. It is close to practically everything and everyone and I am very excited! It is still far from office(from 3 miles in OC, to 22 miles in SD, gulp!) but it takes me exactly 25 min owing to the freeway and being in opposite direction to the flow of the traffic. I get to see SDSU everyday on my way! When I am driving around, or walking around in the malls, I feel this sense of familiarity from my grad school days shenanigans. I recall moments spent at those exact same spots with my buddies, and with the boy that time. Things do get bitter-sweet but mostly they stay sweet.

I hope this new phase brings a whole lot of positivity for me. Please wish me luck! Also update me with what is going on with y’all, since it has been forever!