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Debating wether I should freak or not

As I sit on this bus and try to figure out what I still need to do I’m trying not to freak out.

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Do you know that in less than a week I’ll be on a plane?? That I will be hitting the streets trying to find somewhere to live? That in two weeks I’ll be starting a new job?? Something I haven’t done in five years!!? That I’ll be meeting lot of new people and starting life over?!

So much has been going on its a bit insane! I had my exit interview; the HR lady had quit the look on her face when I was done with that. I had my goodbye party, at which point I realized I had grown up and how much has changed since the first goodbye party I attended. I had my last day at work which was super emotional but I did pretty well at not crying at work (with one exception). I said goodbye to my co-workers some of which I have become great friends and perhaps even family.

As is customary I sent out my goodbye emails. I got some really really nice emails. Some made me cry from pride, some made me laugh out loud, but most of all, it was nice to see that people cared and were sad to see me go.

Truthfully as hard as it has been, and it has been hard at times, I’ll miss it. I’ll miss it a lot!

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Then I spent my first day of unemployment on the couch doing nothing:) It was a nice change of pace. To top the day I had dinner with Saba. It was fun and super yummy. It makes me laugh that I was talking about how hard it has been to leave a company I have been for so long and then he told me how hard it was to leave a company he was with for 25 years. Really put my five years with KPMG in perspective.

The next day started off with more tears as I had to say goodbye to Nell and Buddy:'(. I was able to find an awesome woman and her family to take them and give them a loving home but I still miss them. Not to worry, they like to cuddle. It’s hard to come home and realize that nothing was moved. More than anything it’s hard waking up and not having two loving cats cuddling with me. I still miss them and have a feeling I will for a really long time.

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Then after i dried my tears, I got to check something off my Boston bucket list, a sports parade (or rolling rally as the new people called it). Thanks to the Red Sox winning we had a parade and since I missed all the other ones while I actually lived here I made it to this one!

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It was… Ok. I guess since I don’t really care about baseball it wasn’t that exciting but it was still pretty cool to see people come together. But then again when big pappi (who is one of the main players on the team) rolled by I thought he was a rapper. Another check off my list.

The rest of day was filled with great people and great food as I got to say to goodbye to more people. Yesterday was filled with an awesome brunch with some of the girls from my Japan trip. Yet again I was looking around and analyzed how much stuff has happened over the past years. Mostly it’s just insane!

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Today I went to get fingerprinted for my visa which was entertaining. It was thankfully efficient, but I found it funny that the place where most green card holders come to get processed for their citizenship was staffed by mostly people speaking Chinese. After getting out of there I called the visa people who very nicely informed me that I will get my visa back on Monday which just happens to be two days after I’m suppose to already be there. So… to NYC I go to hand deliver my paperwork so hopefully I’ll get it back Friday so that I can actually make it to London.

Now that I am on the bus heading to the visa people, I have time to freakout! So much to do so little time! It’s insane! I haven’t even started packing yet and don’t have a flight and don’t have a place to live and haven’t sold the house and the big planner that I am this isn’t good nope not at all. For now, maybe I’ll spend the rest of the bus ride trying to calm down and enjoy the scenery instead of my giant to do list.

Cheers

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And… It continues

Get ready for quit touchy feely post.

Tomorrow is my last day. There I said it! What has been five years, one month, and 16 days in the making (not including intern) is happening tomorrow. Not that anyone was counting or anything. Tomorrow I’ll get up, hit the snooz for an hour, get ready, clip my badge, on and head into work. It will be the last time I’ll walk past that blue logo and swipe my badge. It will be the last time I turn my computer on and walk over to Priscilla and debrief because you know I haven’t seen her in 12 hours. And truthfully as hard as it has been and as horrible as I thought it was, I’ll miss it. Mostly the people but it as well.

As I reflect on all the lasts that have been going on over the last weeks I find it amazing/interesting/entertaining that it’s the small stuff that matters to me. It’s the morning coffee run and the cat hair removal and the snarky morning comments that I think I’ll miss the most.

Actually all around this has been a learning experience. It’s been interesting to see people’s reactions. Mostly positive, but again it’s interesting and it puts a whole new perspective on my relationship with people. People who I thought wouldn’t care, cared and have shown it in some amazing ways (Godiva chocolate yum!) And safely, those that I thought would care; didn’t:( I guess sometimes your give a lot of yourself and you don’t get it back.

Yet in the end, it’s all about me. I feel like when it comes to this, and this journey that I am about take, it’s all about me! And it’s ok:)

And the touchy feely will continue…..

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The first of the lasts

Saturday was the first of my lasts… It was sad to say the least. It was the first of many things that will be my last in boston😞. It was my last time at the soup kitchen. For seven years I have been going on Saturdays to feed the needy the people of Boston. It was fun at times, hard at times, and mostly just great all around. It was really sad that it was the last time I will be setting up the tables, getting the food ready, serving people, talking to people, and most of all meeting great people all around. It a kind of a wake up call to what is to come.

Yesterday I gave my notice. For weeks I haven’t been sleeping, getting nervous of what is about to happen. It all culminated in me walking into the big guys office and finally getting it done with. It was… Not what i expected. But I am glad that it is over. I was finally able to sleep. It was really nice to see peoples reaction, most if not all were really happy for me. It was nice to see and feel.

Now I’m ready to start what is coming ahead, to London I go😃.

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Last weekish in India – Part II

After getting back from the falls I was whipped out, but no worries I only had one day in the office (I know I work really hard). Unfortunately, during that one day the big guy (ie the partner in charge of the Q-center) decided to come visit. So I had to be nice, he also brought a group of people with him who proceeded to ask me a lot of questions about my time at the Q. It was weird to talk about everything. But I did get a nice free dinner out of it.

After a very long day during which I was really nice to people, I headed out for a nice weekend trip. Adarsh even agreed to come with me:). Our first step was the Gommateshwara statue. The statue is 12 meters high and is all carved out of one stone. The Jain statue was located at the top of the mountain. After climbing 567 stairs we reached the top and we got to see the full figure naked statue. About 20 min after we reached the top we were lucky enough to witness a Jain ritual in which a group of Brahmin (the priest cast) poured water on the statue.

After the awesome statue and the workout of the stairs we headed to a palace. One of the old kings had his summer palace near Mysore, it was pretty awesome. It was at this palace that I decided that I should be king, they know how to live it big.

After Adarsh very nicely explained to me that I can’t be queen we headed over to see a bird sanctuary. It was naturally India style. I mostly saw crocodiles at the bird sanctuary. Either way it was nice, we took a fun little boat tour. It was highly entertaining to see how annoyed Adarsh got when I, as a foreigner, had to pay waaaay more than him. I guess at that point I had already gotten used to it.

Afterwords we headed to what became my favorite part of Mysore, the KRS damn. Granted its a little outside but it totally counts. Next to this HUGE damn they created these beautiful gardens. Apparently, lots of Bollywood movies are filmed here. As we got there, the sun was setting and we got to see the musical fountain. They coordinated the fountain to music and lights, it was fun. Afterwords we walked and saw the gardens all lit up. I just kept on walking around saying how pretty it was to the point where I think I annoyed Adarsh.

The next day we headed to a train museum. The tour book told us it was a must, and it was! It was really fun to play on all the old trains. Afterwords we headed to the main palace. Let me tell you, it was kickass. Yet again I wanted to be king! Unfortunately they don’t allow cameras in the palace but it was just plain out amazing! After the palace we headed to the zoo:) I made Adarsh spend over thee hours there. It was amazing. The hippos were even kind enough to put on a little show for us. There were lots and lots of people at the zoo and the palace because the Dhasrah festival was that week and everyone was enjoying their time off. After saying goodbye to the animals we headed to the local market. It was really cool, just like you see in all the pictures of India. Off course right in the middle there was a nice cow just hanging out.

The next day, I headed out for a day bike ride of Bangalore. Well to be more exact, around Bangalore as the streets of Bangalore are very dangerous to bicycle riders. We started the morning with an ‘easy’ 35 kilometer ride on the side streets. It was so pretty! Most of it was through the rural part of Banagalore. It was just so nice to see the scenery! Just as I was about to pass out from the ride we headed out to lunch, and had Tali. It was my last chance to eat the classic south Indian meal. After our delicious meal we headed out for a little hike. We got to see a gorgeous view of Bangalore from the top of a mountain, it was great.

After my long weekend I had two days in the office. Let me tell you, it was hard. I really didn’t think that it was going to be this hard to say goodbye to everyone. I really felt loved,

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Last weekish in India – Part I

The week started out great by celebrating my birthday in the office. While celebrating my birthday on the road back from Hampi was not ideal I was really happily surprised when on Monday I was called to the doughnut room by Mani to find some of the great people I work with ready to celebrate. They were sooooooo sweet to buy me a cake and even a gift:) I felt so loved and a part of the group! It was really an awesome way to celebrate a birthday.

On Wed we got a day off from work because it was Dashara, a Hindu festival which is really big in Karnataka. I considered going to see the main procession in which elephants draped in gold walk down the street, but instead I received a much better offer. The some of the people I work with and I planned a nice little day trip to the Hoganikal falls. You are hereby warned that there are lot of pictures of the trip:) These falls are about two-three hours away from Bangalore and they are amazing!! Not only are the falls great the drive up there was also really nice!! And to top it all off I got to spend the whole day with really awesome people. We started the day off by picking everyone up, and since this is Bangalore that took at least an hour. Than we proceeded to the falls. We made a quick stop for some dosa and poori, which was a delicious Indian breakfast. Than we made the rest of the way there enjoying our time in the car kidding and singing along to the music.

Once we got to the falls I was just amazed! There is a series of falls that just converge so all together to a total of about 20 falls. It was so pretty! The falls are apparently where a lot of the local people go for holiday, which was great, except that at some points I was the main attraction and not the falls. Before we even left, I tried to explain this to the group but they didn’t seem to believe me, well that was until we arrived and everyone started starting at me. Either it was super fun!

After our mini photoshoot and staring at the falls we hired a little ‘boat’ to take us around the falls. The ‘boat’ was basically a big half circle that we sat and the driver took us around. It was really nice as we got to see more falls and see them from a new way.

After some hard peddling on behalf of the drive, we stopped to go swimming, Indian style. And when I say Indian style I mean with our clothes on. As I was explained, no one wears bathing suits, that is just not appropriate. And especially not for woman when there  are men around. Either way, it was sooooooooo fun!!! We had such a great time just splashing around and enjoying the water.

After drying off we headed back home as it was getting late. We stopped on the way for some Indian food which was surprisingly not spicy, perhaps I am getting used to the food. We made on pit stop to reflect on the day,

And than we headed home:) Overall it was a really fun day trip and I totally wish that I could do it again:D

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Hampi, humpi, we all be happy

Last weekend I went on my first solo trip to Hampi. Despite my co-workers shagrin I went alone. As many people have pointed out to me in the past, you are never alone in India. So despite all their hesitance I went ahead and headed to Hampi. I left on Thursday night and drove (well the driver drove) over night to Hampi. Upon reaching the nice hotel, I headed across the river and started exploring Hampi. Hampi is one of the oldest inhabited places in India and a world heritage site. There are lots and lots of cool looking rocks and lots of temples. I know, temples in India, shocking. It was really pretty and I took lots and lots of pictures!

I spent all day just walking around and taking in all the pretty sites. Well and avoiding all the annoying people trying to sell me things but that’s besides the point. I got home before sunset and headed out to my swing. Yup, I had a really cool swing right outside my room.

I laid down and started to read before the sun even came down, I was out cold! I passed out since I was so tired from seeing all the cool Hampi places.

The next day I headed to see the other side of the river. Which surprisingly had even more temples. Some of them were really old and super interesting. One was supposedly Hunaman’s (monkey G-d) birth place. It was really interesting and naturally infested with fun monkeys which LOVED cookies (or biscuits as they like to call them here). At one of the other temples, I all of the sudden became the main attraction. A group of about thirty kids started fallowing me around. It was entertaining as always. After visiting a few more temples, I was going to head over back to Hampi but then the skies opened up and the rain began. So instead I went an relaxed some more on my very pretty swing.

The next day I had a few hours before checkout to get my last taste of Hampi. I went for a walk around the ruins and rant into yet another old temple. Just like all the other ones this one was really really pretty and it gave me some really nice views of the main temple from far away.

After my quick trip I headed over to the bear ‘sanctuary’ where I was hoping to find some real life bears. After waiting for an hour, I got to see two bears from really far away after they fed him. Overall not a very gratifying experience, but I am glad I went. After the bear fest I started the long journey home. It was a great weekend overall and I am super glad that I went.

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Drink and be Sari

Last Sunday, on Casey’s last day in India we did what all normal people would do, we headed over to a winery tour. It was quit fun to see how they do wine Indian style. Mostly, it was the same as in the US except that as usual in India the whole tour was disorganized and it was as through they where surprised that we showed up. After figuring out what was going on we headed over to the vineyard, it was really pretty but very odd to see wine grapes appear out of no where right near Bangalore.

After checking out where the grapes come from, we headed to factory to see where to grapes turn into delicious wine. Unfortunately, high season for wine is in Feb-April so we didn’t get to see the whole process in action but we got to taste the yummy wine. After checking the whole place our we got to taste five different wines which Grover makes. Not only was the wine yummy the people on the tour with us were really funny. I have never seen people that knew any less about wine, but they were trying to learn so it was highly entertaining.

After the awesome tour and the even better wine tasting and the yummy lunch that followed Casey and I headed shopping. I needed an outfit for Nandani’s wedding. I finally gave in and decided to buy a Sari. Who knew that the whole Sari buying process was so long and hard. First I had to find the Sari, it only took five stores, and then I had to get the top stitched, then apparently I need a sari skirt and then bangles and then earrings. Who knew that one piece of fabric caused so much work. It was so complicated that on the day of the wedding, Madhura, one of my friends from the office had to stop by and help put the sari on. It ‘only’ took 35 minutes but no worries I looked really good afterwords:).

After the amazing photo shoot we headed to the wedding. Due to the great Bangalore traffic we showed up kind of late, but no worries they were still happy to see us! It was great to see how pretty the bride (and I guess the groom) looked.
Overall a pretty awesome wedding:)

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Kerala – G-d’s own land

Last week Christine and I flew out to Kochi which is located in Kerala to visit the other Q-center location while the secondees in Kochi came to Bangalore. It was really quit the week. It was interesting to see how things are done in another office, almost like living someone else’s life for a week. We arrived in Kochi in Sunday after a quick one hour flight from Bangalore. We headed to our new apartments and on the way we were happily surprised with lots and lots of green. When we got to the apartment we had another nice surprise when we noticed the balcony and the nice view of the water.

After adjusting to the overwhelming heat we went to a nice dinner by the water. The next day we went to the office, which was just like Bangalore only different. The set up is the same (down to the cubes and phones) but the people are different. The first thing I noticed was the noise. Usually the floor in Bangalore is very quiet, in Kochi however you often hear people giggling and talking. It was an interesting change of pace.

On Tuesday we got the day off:) Thank you Gandhi for having your birthday on October 2nd. Christine, Rob (a secondee from Kochi) and I headed out to Fort Kotchi. Its a nice touristy area near where the apartments we were staying at, and THE thing to do in Kochi. Mostly there is a beach (which naturally was filled with trash) and lots and lots of fishing people. The fishing people use an ancient finishing method which has huge nets. For every net, there were about 7 people who operate it. I can imagine that in the hay day of the fishing industry in Kochi this was the place to be.

After looking at the fishing nets a nice walk around the water we did what I never thought I would do in India. We willingly entered a rickshaw knowing that we would end up in an emporium. In my head “emporium” has become an evil world where clueless tourists are unknowingly brought to buy overpriced merchandise. The stories of tourist getting ripped off are countless. So you wonder why we pursued this? Simple, the rickshaw driver said that he would drive us around for basically free all day. After visiting two emporiums, we headed over to ‘Jew Town’. Not kidding, that’s what its called. It is the area of town where Jews used to live (they mostly moved to Israel) and where one of the oldest synagogues in India exists. Last time I was in India, we were suppose to come to Kochi to visit the very same synagogue, but due to terror threats we had to skip it. So naturally I was beyond excited to see it. And….. we get there and its closed. Its Sukkot, and they are closed on Jewish holidays:( I almost had a breakdown and wanted to yell that I was a Jew and they should let me in, but I restrained. After calming down we headed into a nearby shop (I know shocking) and after a lot of bargaining I bought a new addition to my family:

Isn’t he an amazing elephant? He looks really happy next to my hippo:D

The rest of the week flew by until we reached Friday on which Christine and I headed to Munnar. A hill station three hours from Kochi. Apparently, I found this out after we came back, it is the honeymoon spot in south India. The ride to the top of the mountain was one of the worst rides of my life. I don’t usually get car sickness and often times I am able to even read in the car, but this ride was the exception. It was extremely windy and our driver was insane and aggressive (albeit very nice). Once we arrived (finally) we were greeted by our host family and had a wonderful Indian meal. Yes, you read that right, I liked Indian good. Mostly because upon request it wasn’t spicy at all:). The next morning we headed out to ride elephants, Christine’s one and only mission in India. It was very fun although my butt did hurt by the end.

After we finished having fun with the elephant we headed over to the tea museum. As Munnar is basically one big tea plantation it was key that we see how tea was made. Who knew that there were so many steps to making tea? I just thought that it came from the tea fairy. It was interesting to see the different steps and we even got to see a very propagandy video on the tea plantation.

After the tea museum we headed to a damn and then echo point. Two really pretty places in Munnar. For the first time in India I felt like I was a local tourist. There were very few white people around but lots and lots of Indian tourists. I guess it is the place to be.

Just as we finished with echo point the skies opened up and the rain started. It was just what I thought monsoon season would be like. But at least we got home safely and got to enjoy the AMAZING views of sunset from our homestay.

The next day we woke up bright and early and went hiking. Yes you read that right, I went hiking willingly, and not only that I enjoyed it. Our wonderful host people arranged for us to have a trekking guide who walked us through the mountains of Munnar. It was intense! I really realized how out of shape I was! Then again we did walk almost straight up a mountain. After relaxing at the top we headed down through the tea plantations and the jungle. It was a really nice walk.

And thus ended my wonderful week in Kerala.

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Be the flower… feel the flower… take a snap of the flower….

On Saturday morning Christine and I decided that it was time to head to Bangalore’s Botanical gardens (Lalbagh). After a wonderful breakfast of omelets we headed out to try to catch a rickshaw. After five attempts we finally found one that understood where we were going and was even willing to give us meter:). After a very long and bumpy ride we reached the gardens. They were really pretty! The flowers were great and the garden was extremely expansive. There were not as many flowers as I expected but lots of space and unfortunately lots of trash:(. As many of you know, I am not a cleaning person, but just seeing all this trash everywhere makes me want to clean! Shocking I know. As we were walking through the park I noticed a major trend: public displays of affection. In India is is very uncommon to see people of opposite sex (men do it all the time) display public touching. But I guess at the park behind a tree is where things happen.

After we finished the garden (and even the nursery, savta will be proud) we headed over to the bull temple. It’s just like it sounds, a temple with a bull. And when I say bull, I mean massive bull!! It was huge!! I was told that it was made out of one stone (must have been on big stone). This temple was the least temply temple I have been too while I have been in India. It was a nice change.

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On spending the Jewish holidays in India… a reflective post

Over the last two weeks I got to celebrate both the New Year and Yom Kippor (and now Sukkot) in India. And it has been interesting….

When I agreed to come to India, I knew that I would be spending the holidays in India, and I knew it would be tough, as my family wont be there, but I didn’t expect it to be like this. I thought that it would be like it was when I was in Hong Kong, missing my family, but surrounded by fellow Jews. I searched for the Chabad house, as they are known to welcome all Jews for all the holidays. I really expected that in a city of 8million people there would be some sort of Jewish community. I was disappointed, the Chabad Rabbi was in Israel for the holidays as his wife was giving birth. Great for them, not really for me as no services where being held for either holiday.

My roommates really tried to make the New Year special as they participated in my festivities. But it really wasn’t the same as it would be at home, and as I called my family members to wish them a Chag Samech, I wished I was there with them. It was kind of lonely, its weird to feel like you are the only Jew around. Granted, most of the time I am the only Jew, but it feels different when people around you don’t even know what a Jew is.

As I took my various walks on Yom Kippor reflecting on the year and its events and my time in India a sudden depressing thought hit me. Do people in India (and the rest of the world in general) not know who Jews are because of the Holocaust? Could it be that Hitler completed his mission? And then I recalled my childhood where the entire country shuts down for Jewish holidays and where people walk around and wish everyone an easy fast and where when you call someone and its the wrong number they wish a Chag Samach. And I realized that Hitler failed, miserably, and I hope to keep proving him wrong. And I miss my family, and the Jewish community where everyone is welcome and knows the chags and the kosher rules without me having to explain it. And it is with that happy thought that for the first time in my life I look forward to Passover; even for the no bread thing.

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