Tag Archives: homesickness

the crazy dance.

18 Oct

a strange kind of thing hit me today as i was sipping too-sweet tea (india – god) from a too-small cup (double god) and listening to my tunage. as i often do to drown out the 40 bajillion decibels of bengali yelling that surround me each day. (as a further digression, how this country is not filled with deaf people, is literally beyond me.)

there is this line in a city and color song that goes: “i’ve seen a palace in london, i’ve seen a castle in wales – but i’d rather wake up beside you – and breathe that old familiar smell.”

it made me realize that, for probably the first time in my entire ridiculous life, i want complete and utter normalcy.

i know exactly what you’re going to say: “al, listen, you’ve been gone for a while and we all know you’re going kind of crazy. you’re totes homesick, so stop being so drama. lord.”

you’re perhaps right. and yet – while i am admittedly eager to get home for a number of reasons – i’m not sure you can sum up how i’m feeling to just missing the familiar.

i think i’m just really tired of being a complete wack-a-doo.

specifically, i’m tired of running around making exciting, exuberating, extreme choices that cause ripples – then big-ass waves – through my personal and professional life.

and this goes beyond the insane india factor, trust me. this is about the last 5 years chasing a  career path that, while super exotic, is consistently challenging from every possible angle. relentless, actually.  (blah blah blah – i know not the first person ever to feel this way, but hey, it’s about me al, remember?)

so yah, i can honestly say that for the first time in my entire life of always wanting things to be radically  non-standardized –  all i want right now is  unadulterated, inexplicable dullness.

frankly,  it’s making me kind of vomit in my mouth to admit all of this,  but what’s the point in holding back from you now? we’ve come so far together, kind readers.

within 2 weeks i’m going to be prancing around my kitchen at 11 am in a mink hat screaming at the top of my lungs to marvin gaye, drinking champagne (chardy after 12, where do you think i was raised – a barn?) while the diabolical dog perform his newest – and perhaps most highly anticipated – tap dance routine.

yup, normal.

eyes on the prize

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my imperfectly perfect sidekick.

29 Jun

you may or may not have noticed that india and i have been in a small fight for around three weeks now.  india has been hurling metaphorical dinner plates at me and i have been responding with snide and well-timed insults. like a minx.

how is it possible to be in a fight with a whole country, you ask? well if you take a gander at this, this and this – you may be able to read between the lines, and understand.

so i figured that india and i should have a temporary separation while i work on drawing up a peace treaty for the next eight months.

and because i can’t actually escape this crazy country of mud (formerly dust) and spice, i will do the next best thing: ignore it on my incredibly popular and widely read blog for a while.

take that india!

so today i will discuss my sister.  my beautiful, strange and unknowingly strong sister.

my mom tells these stories about how i was enamored with my little sister from the moment she waddled into our lives. while i feel like i was probably a skeptical and somewhat scheming child, one look from my chubby-as-hell baby sister – with her eyes that looked like 1/2 moons and giant smile – and i’m sure i was melted beurre. (that’s french for butter, i’m feeling fancy today, ok?)

what i remember from her as a kid was that she was always happy. you know, one of those kids to whom you could give a box and she’d be pleasantly mesmerized for hours? while she was never the most outgoing, she would almost always go along with whatever activity was the gout du jour with a spring in her step.

(cat fights between barbie and her bitch friend midge – check. swinging around on blankets on our basement floor – check. making a chalk city in our cul-de-sac – check. check checkity check check.)

but more than just happy-go-lucky, my sister was/is also wonderfully quirky. as a kid, she did awesome things like wear underpants on her head and play ‘office’ incessantly for days – days i tell you – on end.

and as an adult the tradition of quirkiness continues. while she has retired the underpants-on-head routine (as far as i know anyway), i have frequently caught her walking around wearing a garden bag engaged in controversial political discussions with my dog. (ok the latter is a lie, but it could happen. everyone knows my dog is very political. and sister does wear garden bags a lot.)

at this point, i’m sure you’re thinking: “al, so she’s a bloody ray of sunshine, we get it.”

alright, fine you caught me – while she is a ray of sunshine – there is a flip side: the girl has a temper. reddening face, semi-violent outbursts, screaming matches  – she’s probably the only person i am actually scared to see angry.  i like to call it her propensity to  ‘rule with an iron fist’  – or (the less politically correct) ‘stalin chic’.

she can be overbearing and outrageously irrational and she’s wildly stubborn and unwavering in many of her decisions. and sometimes, just sometimes,  i think she wears her hair too slicked back.

but hey, no one is perfect. like most things in life, my little sister comes with the good and the somewhat less good.

but what i want you to know about her, more than anything else really,  is that she’s got unquenchable inner strength.  she’s so strong, that she often doesn’t even know it.

and yet, she always finds a way to harness her power within and come out on top.  sure, the path to get there never seems to cut her any slack, but i am always amazed that she navigates it with a sense of humor, integrity and kindness. (she’s a much nicer person than me, let’s be honest.)

so sisters are weird. we love them, but they drive us crazy. they make great sidekicks, and the worst enemies.  and through it all we somehow can’t help but wonder if they’re not the most imperfectly perfect reflection of ourselves.

so i’m thinking about you sister, in the country-that-will-remain-nameless. because man, you’re pretty cool shit.

gangsters

i think she's fun

how she is really doing.

6 Jun

so while i am living in self-imposed exile in this godforsaken country of dust and spice, life is continuing on quite vibrantly back home.  and though i’m mostly ok with the fact that people’s lives are moving on without me, there are days when my heart breaks a little bit.

mainly when i see things like this:

sienna elizabeth caroline - born may 18th, 2011

bootsy anne (with mom + dad!) - born march 13, 2011

the adorable babies in my life are just one of the many oh-so-sneaky things tugging at my heartstrings  from home. and while logic implies that these babes will never remember the 1 year absence of their auntie al,  i still miss them.

and sitting around missing the babies turns into missing my dog, which turns into missing readily-available toilet paper, sour cream, freedom from jc and nachos.  and then it’s all over.

so when bootsy’s mom asked my husband (who i also miss, calm down people) this weekend: “how is al really doing? because her blog only tells us hilarious stories and not really how she is feeling.” (i may have added the ‘hilarious’ in there for emphasis…although let me be straight with ya’ll: i am hilarious) – i could only think that maybe a few more of you were wondering about this.

and so i answer you that how i am really doing is ok. alright. fine. so-so. medium-rare.

are there days when the pictures of your daughters and sons make me both smile and sniffle? why yes.  but do i still understand why i’ve exiled myself here and why i have to stay in said exile? yes.  and does that sometimes suck? affirmative.

so like many other things in our crazy lives, how i am really doing is complicated.

which is why i choose to write about a mélange (you like that word?) of things on this blog: a bit of life in india, some friends and family and a buttload of stuff from my past that makes me so uncomfortable the only solution is to share it publicly.

and it’s this freedom to unload (usually pointless) shit on you, my kind readers, which is truly getting me through the complicated-ness of being so far from home. so thanks – and make sure to tell your friends about me – because i’m hilarious.

onion tartlet.

27 Apr
well chickens, there are times in your life when you feel like this:

feeling ready to party.

 and then, unfortunately for all, there are these times:

feeling (and looking) not so awesome.

sidenote: if you read the comments to this blog, you know that bra-head al is a little infamous around the team goodtimes family. in addition to being a stellar .jpg, bra-head al is a computer print-out popsicle-stick puppet that lives with hannah in florida. it usually makes an appearance in conjunction with one or 40 bottles of tequilla. ugh, sadly that’s not even my bra – just so you have the full effect.

anyway…

so weirdly enough today was a little of column a and a little of column b: feeling both like party dress al and like bra-on-head al. the good goes first.

starting early this morning i spent all day in the field experiencing microfinance in action for the first time ever.  what this meant is that i went to observe field officers collecting repayment from the clients at their homes or businesses well as visiting the microfinance institution’s branches.

at the risk of overdoing it (“the hills are alive with the sound of music…”), there really is no way to make anyone understand how amazing today was. and frankly i’m too lazy to try and you’re likely too lazy to read it, so let’s just call it mostly even for now.

ugh, on second thought since i can literally see my dad’s head exploding at my lack of detail, let me at least say the following. today i truly saw the depth of life here – the colors, smells and noises that define the people.  they were curious, warm, smart and really funny – which was wonderfully endearing.

today made my choice to come here seem that much more validated and i hope this is only the beginning.

but then…shit got sour.  “it’s like there’s rock bottom, then 50 feet of crap, and then me.” – well said, rachel greene. (although i’m maybe not at the below crap level quite yet…)

i’ve been feeling kind of funky the last 48 hours – and no, not jesus funky – as a weirdness creeped up on me. (and a further no, i’m not talking about juan carlo, although i should be because that bastard is one creepy creeper.) i’m talking about a round of homesickness.

this affliction many a traveller faces materialized today when mr. s called to say that because of the elections in west bengal tomorrow, i won’t be able to get my gas connection (read: cooking fuel) until thursday.  added onto this is the fact that both my bathrooms (read: toilets) are now not working – so i have no way to do my duties. doodies. doodles.

the alternative.

at home, people would care if i didn’t have access to a toilet 24/7 – here, not so much.

in the words of phoebe, perhaps this is : “part of, you know, the whole them-not-liking-you extravaganza!” really, is it possible they’ve figured me out already?

so i’m not sure where all this leaves things for today: feeling good or…not.

regardless, i do know this: my tv still works and i have 2 hours of syndicated “friends” episodes to look forward to each day before work. their lovable hijinks are always there to help me sort out all these complicated emotions.

and thank goodness, because seriously how else would i deal?