Last year when we came to Minneapolis in USA, I had no idea that there would be an addition in our family of three – I, My husband and our two year old son. We moved in winters, when the climate is severe…savage I would say, and a zero degree day is supposed to be a warm day. Coming from India, a warmer place, I felt like crying when I stood shivering at the airport waiting for a cab.
The first few days, I would move around my house in a snow jacket and socks but gradually, I got moderately acclimatised. It was not long when I discovered that I was going to be a mum again…new place, new people, new way of life and a newborn! I was unsure how I would manage everything. But I must say Minneapolis has a beautiful way of treating its people, she makes everyone feel at home despite having a very harrowing climactic conditions.
I watched the first snowfall of my life through a window. It was like meditation and I knew everything was going to be alright. Slowly, memories from my childhood in a small town in India, started getting revived as we passed along the beautiful lakes and rows of long trees. The small town feel, the ever smiling faces and nods of passers by, the laid back life transported me back to my childhood days when the world was ‘not in a hurry’. I would share the wonderful pictures with parents, siblings and friends back home.
Target was the first store I visited in the US. It was huge! Weekly visits to the Walmart and the Indian store (TBS) became a part of life. Then there was daily chat with sis in law through phone. I started liking the place. My spirited two year old too had a playroom of his own to mess up. One gets such adorable stuff for kids here in ToysRus. It just brings out the child in you. I admit, I was cowed down by the vastness of the Mall of America initially, then it was sheer fun going there. And in the dollar tree you could get any stuff for a dollar! Everywhere my son was treated very well..my father in law rightly says…a child is a king in USA!
In the mornings, picturesque sights greeted me through my window. In Minneapolis, when the ground is white, nature uses the sky as a canvas and when it is summer, the place is in blooms…colourful, vibrant, vivacious and to say the least,…it revives you from within. Visits to the Fairview clinics for my pregnancy check ups were fun too. My toddler befriended nurses and the doctor there.
However, life threw challenges now and then. I was often sick and with a two year old and the cooking and cleaning, I felt really tired. I missed India then. In India, you get help and maids are available but here, it was a pain to work even when I was sick. Also, one misses family, friends, festivals, marriages, social gatherings, the chaos, the heat, surprisingly, even the negative things…everything. There are two things I would wish I could really import from India – beauty parlours where eyebrow is plucked not waxed and second, underground enclosed parkings so that one doesn’t have to brave the brutal cold.
My son turned three and soon after I had my newborn baby boy through c-section. I thought I would crack up…as my parents in law could not reach on time and the baby came early. But the hospital, the staff everyone were just wonderful. I cannot express how gentle and caring the nurses were! And at this critical time of my life, our little circle of friends supported us like rock. We were provided with care and unconditional support. I am very thankful to each one of them…and I pray to God to keep them blessed always. My hubby was like a one-man-army throughout this period.
It was a nice family time when parents in law arrived and we heaved a sigh of relief. One of our closest friends brought a swing for our little baby boy, and it was magic through and through! My baby just loved swinging in it, leaving me free to do other chores. The fall season in Minneapolis was pure wonder…we enjoyed family rides, get-togethers and outings.
It is winters again here. My preschooler has started going to school and loves it. At home, we speak Hindi because of the fear that he might forget his mother tongue, so picking up the English language is a bit tough for him…but how he enjoys blabbering in English! My baby has outgrown the swing and loves to independently move around.
Whenever we go out…it is like going back to my childhood days in a small town in India, snugly sitting with my father…passing long trees on a wide road, stopping occasionally to look at a beautiful bird and just chatting away. I think this is what my boys will remember when we go back to India.
It has been one amazing year in Minneapolis for me . President Obama rightly reflected recently that there is a natural affinity between the two democratic nations…India and USA. I think, it is because both the countries love reaching out to newcomers and acceptance level is high.
I cannot help saying..now..I feel ‘at home’ in Minneapolis.