Repatriating. I’m not a “true” expat in that we weren’t moved abroad for a short term by a company. We had some family support, my husband grew up in India, and I’d been here before. But, it was still a lot of transition, and likely my husband went through a bit more culture shock early on than was expected. He was in the US for almost 2 decades and no longer holds an Indian passport. People expected him to know how things worked (like you don’t stop on a red light) but looking at him people just thought he was being a jerk for not following the local rules. (Now he has yoga and doesn’t get irate when someone is coming the wrong way on a divided road and then curses at HIM for not letting them go down the wrong way). So, he found his thing.
Now we need to do it again.
We need to figure out American culture again.
For my kids there will be a few things. Culturally, my kids will not have someone to hand feed them (because unless they’re ill, that’s not something I do.).
Veg or non veg?
My daughter, who declared herself vegetarian at around age 3 and has had meat a dozen times or so since then, has been enrolled at schools which followed vegetarian guidelines. When we’re at a “mixed” table, she doesn’t eat next to meat eaters, and generally restaurants will serve veg on one side, non-veg on the other. In the fall, she’ll likely head to a public school and most kids will be eating meat. Right next to her. She thinks the schools should have a “veg” table. I am not sure that they will appease her request. Instead, we’re trying to get her to not make faces or make comments about people eating dead animals. Yeah… she’s almost 7, but at that age, kids aren’t exactly shy about letting their feelings known on topics.
Seat belts, carseats and following traffic rules
It has been almost 2 years since I’ve driven, but my husband drives daily. On the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road, with no written traffic rules to follow. The rules of the road are something like this: 13 seconds left on the red light means go. No one around except the traffic police and the light is red? Still speed through. Triple park? Its okay! Yeah, we’ve decided the first few weeks will involve me driving. And kids remaining buckled the entire time we’re in the cars. We use our Radians in our cars, but my inlaw’s work car doesn’t even have seat belts!
And of course, we spend plenty of time in rickshaws (ha, don’t forget my announcement post where I let you all know I totally forgot that in the US I do drive cars, by myself, to get where I need to go!) where there are no seatbelts at all, so yes, while I don’t think it is a major transition, transport, over all is something that will take a bit of adjusting.
After school activities
I am actually excited to enroll my kids in regular after school activities. We’ve tried a few here but none really worked out. Soccer was fun but the timing wasn’t the best for my son. Dance was okay for my daughter but Bollywood dance is more about just following the teacher and not about technique, and after a while that also fizzled out. I’ve been in contact with a few places and we likely will keep up the kid’s Hindi. I may need to a private tutor because most places in Michigan seem to follow a CBSE format, which means mugging and daily homework and no fun at all. Yeah, I’m not sure I want to waste Saturday mornings on that! I figure a year or so of my husband attempting to keep up language, some tutoring from perhaps a college student, and purchasing movies in Hindi will keep them going in the language for a while. I’m excited for ballet, skating, and such for the kids… and me to have zumba! Yes I have a class here but we head out often enough so I don’t get there consistently. My husband is fine doing his yoga alone but may want to find a studio environment for other serious folks!
I hear that people go through a reverse culture shock, likely as my husband had when we first arrived for our move here. We’re busy these days – between packing and figuring out how “life” is in the US, and still saying our good byes here… we have to think of our kids. We will be moving just days before V turns 7, and if we were to NOT celebrate her birthday, she’d remember it. I know for a fact one of my aunts knows that she missed out on trick or treating as a child. So while it didn’t kill her, there are things that kids remember. And really there is no point in not celebrating a few days early so she can celebrate and have a last hurrah with her friends. So, we will do a combo birthday/going away gathering. Yeah, that still remains to be planned! I’m sorting and destashing. I’m worried about making the wrong decision, again. I feel bad for the lady who does our sweeping because she will have to find a new place to work, since 3 others moved this year, she’d be down to one house in our area, so she has to try to break a maid mafia somewhere else. Our current live in, though we’ve had small issues, is trust worthy, educated (for a maid) and will also need to finalize a place to work.
So yes, that reminds me.. I just posted about it, but yep, I’ll be doing my own dishes. Cooking dinner every night. Doing all the laundry. Scrubbing out stains.. ACK! Yes, there are plenty of things to transition back to. But this is our life. We’ll need to keep focused and TOGETHER. We’ll arrive in the US and have just a few days before the next chapter of our life begins. Jobs and house hunting!
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