Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Launch

My participation in the home buying purchase was as active as possible from 8,000 miles away. My wife was in Orlando for less than a week to meet her new team and start the process. By keeping me out of it (I didn't even see pictures before we made our first offer), she did an excellent job. One of the unplanned benefits is that our backyard (i.e., our pool area) faces east. I thought the primary benefit of this was that it's shaded in the afternoons which, I'm going to have to guess, can only make the humid summers somewhat more bearable.

While we were at dinner last weekend with our new neighbors, they mentioned that it was unfortunate that the shuttle program had ended because there were perfect views of launches from the back of the houses on our side of the street. I'm sure we could hold a grand debate over the viability of the shuttle program, but just about everyone has to admit; seeing a launch from your house would have been pretty cool.

Earlier tonight that same neighbor texted Lindsay saying there was a planned rocket launch from Cape Canaveral at 7:38pm. Since Lindsay was sitting at another aeronautical landmark, O'Hare International Airport, I decided to look into the eastward sky from the back deck, knowing neither where the rocket may emerge from the horizon nor how large it would look.

Sure enough, shortly after 8:38pm a small fireball appeared directly east out from my patio, slowly climbing up through the night sky. Since we're approximately 40 miles east of the site, it was a relatively small in the context of the entire horizon but still large enough that you weren't going to miss it. I tried to take pictures but was on an AUTO setting and taking them at night while holding the camera. The results weren't pretty and not to be published. Perhaps I'll consult with my trusty photography coach, Colin Howe, and see what I might be able to do for future opportunities (though something tells me it's going to involve the purchase of a rather expensive lens that I'm just not prepared to make at this time).

Chalk this up as one of the unexpected benefits of the move; at some point I'll need to get over to the cape.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stale Bread

I like a fresh loaf of bread as much as the next guy; however, exactly how long should bread stay soft and fresh? In India, a loaf of bread, which cost Rs. 16 (or about $0.30, I kind of miss those prices) lasted approximately four or five days before becoming completely stale and uneatable. I've realized that here in the states bread seemingly stays fresh forever. I had purchased a new bag of wheat buns to use for dinner tonight. I was surprised that the buns I had purchased over two weeks ago were still eminently usable. I've had pretty much the same experience with the sliced bread I've purchased (and I keep getting suckered into "buy 1 get 1" deals that would be ridiculous if not for the fact that the bread lasts forever).

Maybe it's how it's stored. In India, we stored bread in a ziploc bag on a shelf in a kitchen that was neither heated nor air conditioned. In my new house, we store the bread in a dark pantry seemingly protected from the elements.

The more likely yet completely unproven (because I'm simply too lazy) culprit? They put a lot of preservative and/or additive crap in American food. Actually, I'm not even sure what an additive is but just know that was the line of work Clark Griswold was in. Whether it be bread, produce, or other items, food simply lasts longer here. We knew that coming home and have tried to start buying organic, which I always thought was a little unnecessary. However, if anything might make you a believer, it's knowing that a loaf of bread tastes fresher after a week in my pantry in Orlando than it did coming off the shelf from my neighborhood Need's market in Gurgaon.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Migration Complete?

Yesterday morning I walked out of my home office to grab a quick cup of coffee in the kitchen. When I returned, I was surprised to find two huge birds standing on my driveway staring through my window. Figuring the number of photographs I've taken roughly equals the number of blog posts I've written since moving to Florida, I decided to grab my camera.
After doing a little bit of research, I was stunned to learn that what I figured was some sort of stork or heron was actually a sand hill crane. My experience with the sand hill crane is limited but still likely more than most. I grew up lucky enough to drive to Colorado to go skiing each year. When you drive to the Rocky Mountains from Moline, IL you follow Interstate 80 across Iowa and most of Nebraska. When you drive I-80 during February or March, you're often lucky enough to see thousands of these grand birds migrating.

While the cranes that appeared in my yard aren't those same cranes (apparently, there are only like 5000 of the Floridian sub-species left and from what I can tell they stay in Florida), I decided that one of two things had happened: (1) they appeared as a symbol of my migration south having come to a close and that it was time to stop using lack of time as an excuse for not writing about my repatriation (I mean seriously, we closed on the new house nearly a month ago) or (2) they simply had no better place to be at that time on Monday morning.

So there you have it, I'm going to attempt to do what very few have seemed able to do which is maintain a repatriation themed blog. Maybe "repats" find that others just aren't as interested in the life they come back to than the life they seemingly escaped in the first place. Maybe it's not exotic. If you don't believe me, Google "repatriation blog" (even without the quotes, the pickings are slim; the only currently maintained blog I could find anywhere near the front page was "I Was an Expat Wife"). I could be wrong, but it seems like there's more to repatriating than just hearing that "it's harder to adjust back to your original culture than it was to your adopted culture."

On the bright side, I've got this whole new Florida adventure thing working for me. Well, that and I'm really just writing this to entertain myself and maybe half dozen other people and to, you know, try and improve as a writer.