I finally got my own url!
See you there!
I finally got my own url!
See you there!
What a crazy beginning of the year it’s been. Some bad, some good–but all very exhausting!
My paternal grandmother passed away on December 30th, 2010. She had been sick for a while and we were all expecting it, but it still hit like a ton of bricks. Truthfully, I was never very close to her growing up, but when I got the news, I still felt the ground beneath me sway a bit. I got on a flight the next day and spent new year’s eve on a red-eye flight to New York. This was my first time dealing with the death of a close family member as an adult and I wasn’t sure exactly how to respond. Should I be openly grieving? Will I be able to express any emotion for a grandmother I was not very close to? How would I console my Dad? How would I feel seeing cousins, uncles, aunts that I haven’t for years?
Well, it all worked out naturally. My Dad dealt with it better than I thought he would. And though we were brought together for an unhappy occasion, it was nice to be with family for a bit.
But, no family event is without drama and there was enough of it to make me realize that I am really happy with my new life in San Francisco. I’ve finally gotten over the initial homesick period of 6 months, after complaining and whining about how I don’t fit into California culture. Being in New York for a week, without a lot of friends around made me realize that the only thing drawing me back to that city are friends and family, all of which are consumed with their own lives. I’m building a life for myself in SF; I’ve truly gotten to know myself here and have lots more to explore.
It also doesn’t hurt that while the Northeast is going through a snow dump, I am deliriously happy with California sunshine! I moved into a new apartment in a different part of town and I finally feel settled. I was previously living in Inner Richmond which is a cute and quaint little area, but a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco. Now living in Russian Hill, I am walking distance to Chinatown, North Beach, Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Financial District where I work. It is wonderful to be able to walk to work every morning (walking back however is a bit precarious because I live on top of a steep hill!). The views from my apartment are heavenly and while my new place is a bit old and smaller than my previous SF apartments, I am very happy here. My roommate is wonderful and exactly my age so we have a great rapport.
I also had two first-time San Francisco visitors; a close girlfriend and my younger sister and it was wonderful showing them my new town.
After 9 months, SF is finally growing on me.
A sudden yearning to put words on a screen that doesn’t involve anything work-related brought me back to my blog. My weakness is that I spend so much time planning, that I don’t spend enough time writing. If only every thought that ever went through my head could be magically recorded down somewhere; it’d be brilliant.
I went back home to Queens for a week-long sojourn last week. It was everything I expected and more. I invited one of my old roommates and close friend from San Francisco, to join my family for Thanksgiving. She arrived a few days after me and became fully immersed in the chaotic, dramatic, emotional screenplay that represents my life in New York. I went to Toronto first to see an old friend’s new baby. Once best friends, our relationship had become bitter and resentful over the last couple of years. But this year represented big changes for both of us, changes that have made us both happier. She got married and had a daughter, I moved and started a new career and these things seem to have helped shelve all the resentments that were starting to fester. The whole plane ride to Toronto, I was anxious; last time I went to visit her things ended disastrously. I missed the biggest event of her life–her wedding–something we had dreamed of planning together since we became friends 14 years ago. Not being there on that day was bad enough, I didn’t want to miss out on meeting her first-born, an even bigger event in her life than her wedding.
Things were awkward at first. She had this shy grin on her face while her two sisters and I were chatting in their mother’s living room where we were all staying for the weekend. We talked about everything else except the problems that caused a rift in our friendship in the first place. A few times, I thought about bringing it up but I knew that it was pointless. We each knew what the other had done wrong and even though we are both stubborn in our own ways, we silently decided to forgive and forget. At one point, when it was just me and her taking a walking outside, she suddenly hugged and me told me how much she appreciated me coming to see her and the baby. I swallowed back my tears and didn’t respond; I knew I didn’t need to.
Things will never be the same between us again. As teenagers, we used to pine for each other as lovers do. Wait the 2-3 months until we’d see each other again and stay up all night talking in either her house or my house. We had an unnatural bond and it was bound to crash as all intense relationships do. They don’t say moderation is key, without a good reason.
After that emotionally draining weekend, I arrived home in Queens. The first day was spent going to see my sick grandmother in the hospital. To see a powerful woman who ran a teacher’s college back in Bangladesh, bed-ridden and on life-support was alarming. She’s been sick for quite some time now and she probably doesn’t have much more time left. I have never been very close to her, I’m much closer to my maternal grandmother. In fact, for years, I was angry with her, she had always chosen my cousins over my sister and I. We always felt neglected by her and the rest of my dad’s family. She fearlessly played favorites and to this day, I never really could understand why. So yes, perhaps my sympathy towards her pain and suffering was not quite on the level that it should’ve been, but when I saw the tubes sticking out of her, I let go of my anger.
After the hospital, I took my family out to dinner, in celebration of my new job and of us all being together again. This is the second time I’ve been home, but the first time I saw my dad since he was in Bangladesh the first time I came home to visit for Eid in September. Sitting in the restuarant, my strong, independent parents seemed meek in comparison to what they used to be. My sister and I picked out the menu and they silently went along with it. Having just come back from visiting my grandmother at the hospital, my parents turned a decade older in my mind and it was scary to think that one day, one of them might be lying there in the hospital, while I look on helplessly. It’s a scary thought and one I regret revisiting, even while writing this blog.
I had one more day after that, to myself, before my friend from SF flew into the city. I went shopping with a few close friends in the afternoon and had dinner with an ex-coworker and good friend. After dinner, I met up someone I had met in Bangladesh earlier this year at a wine bar in Queens. The someone was a he and let’s just say, sparks flew. The sparks flew the second time we met as well (at least from my end). I don’t know what the future is going to bring, but I hope good things.
And thus the anxiety begins.
Among other interesting events during my first major trip back home was the comedy track that runs in almost every South Asian-American girl’s life; a seriously Fobby suitor. My mother had been bugging me to meet this guy for months and she forced it on my by inviting him over on Thanksgiving. I let her do it; I knew she would enjoy showing off the fact that I had cooked almost everything on our Thanksgiving menu, including the bird. He arrived while I was sprucing myself up in my bedroom. From my mother’s description, I already knew this was going to go nowhere (a full ten years older than me at 36, way more religious than me as he prays 5x a day and immigrated to the U.S. way later in life ), nontheless I still got nervous. So, when I laid eyes on him and greeted him with ‘asalamwalaikum’, my mouth instantly soured.
How in the world could my mother think I would be interested in him? Had she grown that desperate? I don’t mean to rag on the guy and I’m sure he’s a perfectly decent human being but c’mon, dude had his hair parted on the side, with oil or some other slick substance. He wore a full-sleeved black button-down tucked into pleated trousers that looked like MC Hammer pants but nowhere nearly as cool. I’ll stop the description here as I feel guilty belittling a person in this way. I caught him stealing looks at me anytime I was in close configuration and I tried not to look at him as much as possible. Thankfully, there were so many people around that we didn’t have to talk to each other much. In fact, I kind of felt bad for him because everyone was ignoring him. A few of my friends had come over later in the evening and I couldn’t help but tell them of my plight and we were all silently laughing in our head at the Fob that my mother dreamed would become my betrothed.
I feel like a horrible human being for even saying it like this; but what was the dude thinking? He knows my deets–born and raised in New York City, live in San Francisco by myself, work as a communications professional–it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I’m an independent, modern chick. How could he or my mother think we would have anything in common? Needless to say, I rejected him and I hope the case is closed with my mother.
The rest of the week flew by with sight-seeing, celebrating a few birthdays, etc. Saturday night was rough as some other drama ensued between me and an old friend, but I won’t get into that here.
All in all, it was a wonderful week; albeit emotionally and physically exhausting. An apt description for a visit to the Big Apple.
Before I log onto Facebook these days, I prepare myself for all the engagement, wedding and baby announcements that will inevitably bounce off of my newsfeed on a daily basis. It’s unrealistic for me to try to avoid Facebook, especially since my job involves social media, so I mentally prepare myself instead. I remind myself that I’m only 26-years old and despite what The Desi community might say, I have plenty of time time to build a family, if my life span allows it. I also remind myself that I am living out my dream; living on my own in a super fun city, meeting incredible people and have an amazing job that allows me to partake in something that does a greater good for the world. I know plenty of girls who would die to live the kind of life I’m living right now, so the least I can do is appreciate it. But, it’s still hard not to feel lonely or miss being in the cocoon of the familiarity that growing up in the Bangladeshi community in New York provided me with.
Being on your own for the first time is plenty tough and being a single brown girl makes it even more complex. If you’re a Desi girl like me that left the nest for the first time at 26, it might take some time before you learn how to do even the most obvious life tasks like paying rent, buying a mattress , figuring out whether or not you should let a guy come upstairs after the first date, etc, etc. Here are some guidelines that I follow/am trying to follow while living out my fabulous new life! Take note, it requires a high level of self-absorption!
A friend posted an old Janet Jackson video on my Facebook wall yesterday and I started you-tubing Janet’s videos from the mid 90′s to early 00′s. The “Got Till It’s Gone” video took me back to the 7th grade–the last time I was really content and oblivious to the world around me. In other words, innocent. I was socially awkward in my early teens (hard to imagine if you met me in high school and beyond) and didn’t have many friends. My frequent companion was music–particularly music videos; MTV, VH1 and BET were my major forms of recreation before the boys came knocking, before fashion become an obsession, and before body image issues started creeping up.
I remember watching “Got Till it’s Gone” and not getting certain parts of it; what did a guy getting his head shaved have to do with anything? But, the video did have a certain effect on me, despite the fact that I didn’t know the story behind it. It made me feel calm, cool and relaxed. I loved Janet’s funky hair, loved the mellow beat, loved how carefree everyone in the video was. But most of all, I loved the unique looks of everyone in the video. The song is set during apartheid and depicts 60′s and 70′s black culture, and while I didn’t find this out until later, the essence of the song wasn’t lost on me. I wanted to grow up and be like the people in the video–carefree, lively and happy.
This isn’t the first JJ song that defined a moment in my life. In the 4th grade, one of the “popular” girls in my class asked me to sit at her table at lunch. I was excited but scared–why would she want to sit with a geekazoid like me? As soon as I set down my lunch tray, the grilling began. Continue reading