Though I landed on this foreign shore of US exactly 2 years ago, the memory of my first step is still vivid and clear. With luggage of sweet memories and dreams of a new life, as I started my journey abroad, every single moment was filled with loads of excitement. While chalking these experiences in my mind, I was greeted with variety of feelings. Happy, sad, good, bad, exciting, boring, adventurous and unique – each of these experiences meant a lot along the course. Though this journey of several months seems old and routine now, it is still laced with some novelties. Life abroad shall always form a unique chapter in the book called ‘lifetime’, as there is some uniqueness that keeps us fueled in a home away from home.

    While I am still not used to recognize myself as a ‘NRI’, I realize that lot of factors have shaped this phase so far.

     From new friends to new surroundings, new culture to new habits, life aboard is marked with several things that make it ‘foreign’. Though my dreams, aspirations, hopes and wishes continue to be the same irrespective of the land I reside in, this aspect prompted me to write my novel experiences. Living abroad has been an upgrade for my system. Between nervousness to communicate with local folks to strong confidence of networking within my freelance work profile, I have seen myself evolve. This stint of life has showered me some valuable lessons that will stay close to me forever. The confidence to adapt within a novel environment would not have been possible, while being confined within the comfortable boundaries of my motherland. Though support of my husband made every aspect smoother, the journey still demanded knowledge, flexibility, willingness and determination.

    A lot has been said about the ups and downs of living abroad. Somewhere between disconnection and reconnection with motherland, as people struggle to find a base in the foreign country, the entire experience seems unique in every way. A life filled with adjustments and comprises, there is some exciting fun within these elements too. Unless one experiences it within close proximity, it is difficult to explain every aspect that goes behind it.

    While framing this article within my mind, I realized that life abroad is nothing less than a colorful story. Though excitement and novelties occupy your mindset for the initial few months, you soon realize that it is just a matter of residing over different latitudes and longitudes of the earth. All your happiness, joy, sorrow, insecurities, behavior, worries and responsibilities continue to remain the same, as after all we are humans on this mother earth.

    Be it overseas or within your own country, life continues to shower its challenges and rewards. Yet, life abroad changes your perspective in many ways. Instead of considering myself as one individual in my home town, I see myself as a global citizen. Suddenly, the horizon expands, as many elements attempt to make their way into the story. What appeared as an insignificant incident far away from our own motherland till yesterday seems significant today as we are a part of the globe. Responsibility in a foreign country takes the place of carelessness within comfortable zone of motherland, as life abroad demands careful conduct in every aspect.

    Though one may argue that carefulness has no connection with your address, it surely has something to do with a safe network of family and friends in your own homeland.

   Each of these aspects are extremely subjective, depending on an individual’s unique point of view. Life abroad translates into different things for different individuals. Somewhere between opportunities, obligations, financial stability or passion, each one finds their own way.

   Moving back to the title of this article, penning down some resemblances and dissimilarities between both these angles of my life will be interesting. Each of these aspects are purely subjective with an aim to draw some humor. Though I may have load of opinions about life abroad and back at home, I am too small to comment about the good and bad of these two countries that are truly great in their own way! 

 

  1. Home is still a ‘home’ after all

Though surrounding and environment of the building does change with a ‘foreign’ feel everywhere, home continues to be the same. While living within the comfort of walls and roof, everything about our apartment resembles the factors of ‘home sweet home’ in my own country. Similar arrangement of shoe rack, kitchen, living room and cupboards add ‘Indianess’ to our house, as we strive to stay close to our roots.

 

     2. Patriotism on the rise

This does not mean that I was not patriotic back home, but there is something in the air that rises the patriotic spirit all of a sudden. How else will you explain the happiness of seeing an ‘Indian’ restaurant, though small and unpopular or reading an ‘Indian’ name on a car number plate? Why does a non-famous Indian brand of food item lying alone on a rack of Indian stores seems so special?

 Suddenly routine activities like shopping for groceries or listening to ‘Desi’ radio station seems exciting as there is some ‘Indianess’ all around!
 

     3. Update of data base

Though this experience has nothing to do with living abroad, I realized that there has been rising expansion in my knowledge base. Depicting the fact that practical knowledge has more value than theoretical one, my stay abroad has brought me closer to geography, history, international trade and politics. While talking to people of different nationalities and listening to diverse languages all around, it has certainly made me more ‘sound’ today.

 

     4.  Feeling of being ‘human’

Not that I considered myself as an animal back home, life abroad taught me that religion, caste, creed, language, nationality has nothing to do with your life. While these little differences did mean something back home, everything erases in a foreign land. As every individual is just another human on earth, I am happy to call this ‘globe’ as my address. Instead of focusing on my own caste, language, religion, suburb or city, as I find myself in a totally foreign location there is lot of difference in the process. As I look back, my silly fights with friends about staying in ‘suburb’ or ‘town’ of Mumbai seem extremely insignificant, as the co-ordinates are totally different today.

 

    5.  Monotonous vacation plans

Once you shift abroad, vacation means ‘flight’ back to home country. As soon as slight possibility of a long vacation opens itself in the calendar, mind and heart are already engrossed in their plans to visit family and friends back home. Vacation plans do not mean wondering about a foreign country, but visiting one’s own homeland, after all how much more ‘foreign’ can a NRI get!

 

 

These are just few interesting pieces from the stock of my life abroad. As I read the final draft of this article, I realize that there was so much more to say, yet words fall short. With its set of resemblances, differences, adventures and experiences, this phase is truly unique in its own way.

 

So, whether you are a wandering ‘NRI’ like me or a settled citizen in your home country, I hope you enjoy this article, delivered straight from the heart!