My Trip Home (12/24 – 12/28)

A blizzard wasn’t exactly what I was looking forward to when I went home this past weekend but it sure made things interesting.

The drive down there Friday afternoon was really good since I guess not too many people drive down to the United States on Christmas Eve. The border, which didn’t have too many cars, ended up costing me over an hour because I was classified under “Document Control” which required further inquiry on their end. It turns out that since I am no longer actively residing in the US, I will need to apply for USCIS – I-131, Application for Travel Document or otherwise risk losing my permanent resident status. A slightly confusing point was the agent telling me I need to apply for any travel over 6 months (which will be in January for me) but the application instructions say the permit is required once you have elapsed over 1 year. I figure I should get that cleared up as soon as possible since I am traveling to Boston in February.

It was good to see our new house fully furnished for the first time and I did sleep in my bedroom for the first time as well. The huge driveway, which is quite useful for the tons of relatives that come to visit, is also a very big pain to clean storms that dump 18” of snow on you. My mom had prepared lots of good food which obviously included Kofta (of course) but we ended up eating out most of the days – Popeyes, Chicken Guy, Kabab Paradise and Sun Tavern. Let it be known for the record however, I did not leave New Jersey without eating Kofta at least twice – because that would have been unacceptable on my part.

I was hoping to see a lot more friends from high school on Monday but the blizzard took care of that. However, the day wasn’t a complete waste as roads cleared up a little so I saw a couple of friends from Milltown before wheeling and dealing decisions took place to relocate the 222 Secret Santa Tres over to Justin’s house so Jolly White Giant could also grace us with his presence because 30” of snow is too much for him to drive in. I will also neither deny nor confirm the fact that a vast majority of that time was spent playing/yelling/screaming at Mario Kart.

Work is pretty light again this week as we all anticipate/dread the YE stuff to start next week. One coworker next to me answered her phone this morning by saying, “Alien Headquarters, Guadalajara. How can I help you?” – all in joking of course, we don’t really host reception services for the Alien HQ… as far as I know.

Food For Thought

Here is another edition of Tooney Tales and this time I am writing on the topic of food as it is just after lunch here and food is still on my mind.

Depending on the person you ask, they will tell you that either I am very picky when it comes to eating food (that would be from Brian) or I am not picky at all, as I am eating all the time (my immediate family). I think it depends more on what type of available as I am definitely not picky towards South Asian dishes and I have recently opened up my repertoire to include East Asian meals as well – although I still refuse to try sushi no matter what anyone says.

Those who know me, know very well that I could eat kofta, chicken tikka or biryani or any other type of South Asian meal any time of the day without hesitation and there is definitely something to be said of eating a home cooked meal as opposed to the convenience of eating our or ordering in. I’ll be first to admit I’m rather useless when it comes to preparing such foods but that’ll probably have to change soon enough if I am afforded an extended employment opportunity here.

On top of that, I don’t mind the occasional vegetable dish that is usually present at the dinner table but I tend to stay away from broccoli, eggplant and tomatoes. I did however ended up an eggplant dish last week without knowing it was in there, got totally trapped by my aunt for it. So the veggies stuff is fine but as my uncle says, no meal is complete “unless some dead animal is on the table” – my apologies to the animal-friendly people out there (except for PETA) for that admission.

Even though my unhealthy snack consumption at odd times of the day has been significantly reduced in the three weeks here, the lunches and dinners have been awesome here so far, with pretty much a new meal every day courtesy of my aunts. However, I’ve always been a sucker for anything my mom made and she’s still the best cook I know and even all this great food here can’t replace that touch of home. Hopefully my sister will learn a thing or two from her (haha, just kidding).

One last thing: I am still getting readjusted to getting milk in liters and in a bag but such is life here. The different varieties of chocolate available here (such as Mars, Aero and Smarties) that are not available in the States is an awesome upgrade and once again, Halal Popeyes just can’t be beaten.

P.S. (and completely random): I set a personal gchat record in terms of line for a one-day conversation at 1,212 lines – previous longest was at 500-something. I think you have to be a little crazy in the head to talk to me for that long in one day and hopefully therapy over time will fix your nightmares. So if you have a birthday on 12/12 – feel free to celebrate the achievement appropriately.