With heavy hearts and very light purses, after 5 years of marriage, we go back with a 3-year-old to the land of opportunities to begin the life all over again on a new slate both relationship wise and financially. Turns out the decision has been really good, our personal equation and the feeling of a family, togetherness and the nest became complete, everything felt better. Ta-da it would have been a happily ever after if it were to be a fairy tale but then this is life and man proposes and God disposes :).
OA suddenly develops cold feet and decides working in software is something that he is not really interested in and US after all is not the destination. Yours truly beginning to enjoy the bliss of being a parasite (not earning and dependent on the OA) and being able to do what I wanted to without the pressure of bringing the bread to table, a.k.a. volunteer and just laze around, is shocked, depressed, in short hates moving back.
The reasons are plenty and more, the known fear of too much of interference from my family (mom), relatives poking nose into everything, the fear of unknown (inlaws), the practicality of it all given that the OA wants to quit working completely and slowly decide what to do next or even if he wants to do anything at all (uncertain phase), the kid's future, our financial position, our respective dysfunctional families, our quintessentially nonexistent support system and a whole lot of things. It took me a lot of time to come to terms, my own fears about what next, what would be the impact on the family in every which way, etc.
The stress levels so enormous that the body starts showing physical symptoms, after running around from pillar to post, there comes a call that it could be a brain tumor (seriously, how can one say that over the phone) and they need some tests to see if it is cancerous, the usual scheduling delays and everything else compounded the stressors.. The hyperactive, bolly, tolly, kolly, holly all wood watching brain does all the imagination and the symptoms gets worser and worst. That scare shook our entire family and the decision was put to halt. After further more running around, it is decided that these are the most benign prolactinoma, very slow growing and most common and at times need not even need treatment, which is a huge relief but what went through our minds during that phase is inexplicable. Keeping the kid in the loop as to why I was sick and stuck to bed all the time, why I did not want to do anything and why I just wanted to give up (tooooooooooooooo dramatic), addressing her fears, it was heart breaking to see her getting scared as more and more tests happened without conclusion and the day the result came, it was like a new lease of life and it in deed is.
That phase made me realize what a bad shape we were in in terms of relatives and relations, there was not a single soul I could trust in my immediate family other than OA, friends were everything and had become our family over time but the child had no one to turn to in her bloodline if something were to happen to both of us.. To me, that was the starting point, to mend it, to make her strong and settle the stuff out here and come back to the homeland. Thereafter decision was simpler, it seemed the only way out and no more resistance from my end. The more I thought, the more it seemed right. It was like all the pieces of the puzzle suddenly came together. From a forced, no other option, It was a wholehearted decision from then on.
All the things I had ignored earlier for the so-called undisturbed life out there away from relatives began to surface, one prominent one being the "sense of belonging", that nagging feeling of okay we own up US, the life there, the people culture everything but will the locals ever accept us as one of their own. With my increased interactions with people from various walks of life during my experiences as a volunteer and otherwise, there is almost always the undercurrent of being an outsider. While people now blame Trump for increased racism, I strongly feel he just voiced the opinion of majority and that is how he connected to them and won. It is definitely not as bad as media projected out here but out there are no matter how much you try to mix up, we are still the browns in blacks and whites and will always be an outsider period. This is relatively easier for us to handle as adults but the kid is it the right age to understand overcome such feelings.
One striking incident that kept nagging me once in a while was one of the kid's friends was crying to take Indian food in her lunch and the kid very casually said yeah some little kids make fun of us every single day, make faces at the table, make hurtful comments, we should just learn to ignore.. if our food is yucky, theirs is yuckier, their food stinks much more than ours so if they comment give it back. I was happy the kid felt that and not only was she handling life outside but she was confident enough to help out her friends to be confident. I kept hearing these stories and saw a lot to know, these things exist, not just to Indians everyone else. The kids following their parents, show these feelings as they cant hide them like adults do. This incident got me thinking, so this and many more that I saw as a volunteer, nothing serious, all trivial, will these kids ever grow to be confident growing up under so much ridicule, is it just this school where the school climate is bad.. but heart of hearts, we know but want to make them tough and face it right from beginning. Is US the only place where bullying happens, nope it happens every where, much more so here in the name of ragging and all that..
While I completely appreciate the concept of diversity and global exposure, I begin to think the sense of belonging is very much important for an individual to grow up with confidence, to face the world.. This might seem silly at some point later on in life.. but for now, everything aside, heading back home is not as scary as it seemed. Life is good in a foreign land until the time we are in good health with a good credit record and no legal hassles. By the end of 2 years, I not only come to terms with the choice but also looked forward to it.