Monday, August 31, 2009

The crack

Update..... the crack in the table has been fixed as best it can - by George, the Romanian jack of all trades.

Except, perhaps, the trade of fixing tables...

We keep telling ourselves that the mildly split joint "adds character".

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Telugu newspaper

In the garage today I found a strip of Telugu newspaper, perhaps brought here in a package or in luggage.

I think it's the only strip of Telugu newspaper in Montibello.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Day 59...

In the seemingly never-ending effort to get the house back in order (and improved nicely!), Tara took on installing a stone backsplash around the kitchen. Yes, she did it herself, once again showing me up!

^ This is the look of the stone.

^ This is segment under a window sill.

^ Almost done.

^ More....

^ Behind the stove.

^ Done!


To really see the impact, check out the "before and after" below.

Tomorrow afternoon - painting!!

Friday, August 28, 2009


Day 58...

An observation about America....

One thing we have seen a good bit of is the American obsession with stress".

A day does not pass in this country without someone putting stress in front of you. Either it is someone saying, "I am totally stressed lately," or people driving rushing to get through a yellow light before it turns red in a manner that puzzles you, or a commercial flashing the word on the TV screen and offering an antidote - to stress.

People are indeed wound tightly here in the US, for the most part. And a major question remains - what has us so stressed out?

We generally have plentiful food. Too much, in most cases. We mostly have ample shelter, especially when viewed with what many people have in places like India. We have - well, more of everything in a material sense than most of the rest of the world. So, what is it?

We also claim to be a nation of people following a faith, mostly Christian. But for many, church provides a brief pit stop from the wheel that everyone's running on.

So, what is it that has everyone in this land of faithful, prosperous people so very "stressed out"?

I am not sure I know, but I can tell you it may be the extra time to think about such things.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Day 57...

OK, an observation about America. It is definitely getting more diverse. We live smack dab in the middle of a multi-100,000 swath of Charlotte's white population and consider that to be.... well, a bit boring now. So, I have definitely noticed that our eyes gravitate to foreign people, of whom there are many in Charlotte - just not so many where we live.

The other day, Tara got a taste of the growing diversity of Charlotte - with en element of humor.

She was in Target. If you aren't sure what Target is - it is a box store with a slightly "above" edge to it. Not much, but it's different.

So, two women were walking through Target - both with full hijab on. They must have just arrived, because they looked a bit stunned, according to Tara, by the sheer volume of items around them. And the fact they were still in full hijab tells you they were probably new. That eventually gets toned down as Muslims live in the US.

Anyway, there were various kids with them. The kids spoke English pretty well. So, as these women and their children wandered through Target wide-eyed, a little boy looked up at his mother and said, "Mother, do you remember that bird I killed in Pakistan? I am sorry about that."

That's all Tara heard. She liked that moment.

So, more pictures are below.....

^ A bit blurry, but here are the boys on the first day of school. Liam has been doing well. So far, so good.

^ I was in charge of getting Jonah and Aidan on the bus. Of course, we missed it. I drove them. It's just around the corner. Ashoka came.

^ The picture of Iva Mayberry over the piano. Esteemed ancestor (wink, wink).

^ We like antique maps. This is of Bermuda, where we went on our honeymoon. The eucalyptus in the vase - from the yard. I grew it!

^ The porch has been put together, a bit.

^ Back patio, taking shape.

^ Computer now has a place in the library - and it doesn't have to be seen at all times, a key condition for Tara.

^ Library - art, seats, goodlighting. Coming together nicely.

^ In our bedroom - what will be forever known as "Sonali's couch". We now have a nice little lounge area. Good for naps.

^ Check this sentence out - "In India, we got used to having more television options, so we tried to get that many options in the US." This sentence is probably not uttered often.

To know us is to know our ambivalence to television. We watch it, but try to be selective and remember fondly the five years after Liam was born when we had no TV. Additionally, we never had cable before India. Nor a flat screen before India.

But - I'll admit, watching my iTunes-downloaded episodes of Battlestar Galactica through an RGB cableon this thing was cool. All sorts of options these days. And I have been DVR'ing "Punked", one of my favorite shows. So, technology isn't all bad.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Got the iMac fixed today! Pictures forthcoming!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

So, the first day of school was today

We have had some interesting events lately. Liam started tenth grade and they have placed him in honors classes, with the exception of math. We were pretty surprised by this, as the school advocated this.

Well, the last thing we were going to do was argue with them on it, so that is good.

His friends Ben has been coming by almost daily, good for him to have someone to spend some time with. As you know, if you followed this blog, his experience in India, academic and otherwise, was a big difficult.

He had a good day at school, seemed overwhelmed by the scale of it. I think there are about 2,000 kids in his school.

Aidan had a great time and Jonah did, too.

Monday, August 24, 2009

And so on...

Day 54...

I accepted a new role in the Bank today! It defies brief description (I always practice how to describe my role in an elevator ride), but the role is as the "Engagement Manager" between the Bank's Banking Center and ATM technology teams and the Bank's infrastructure and shared services division.

Yeah, it sounds too opaque to anyone who doesn't work at our company, perhaps. Will have to work on the description in layman's terms.

But I am excited, I know what the role is and where I want to take it, and like the people for and with whom I will be working.

And so life back here continues to evolve.....

Kids went back to school today. Pictures to follow - once I get a new power cord for the netbook. Which I will do here at a remarkably more rapid pace than would have been the case in India. So, I have that going for me.....

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Things we have said at this phase of repatriation....

Day 53...

Where is everybody?

Oh, wow - has that been sitting there for two years?

Oh, no - has that been sitting there for two years?

Where is the silverware drawer, again?

When does school start? They take a bus, right?

My Lord of the Rings replica ring!!!! I thought I lost it! Oh, wow. Tara, give me a hug, I am a bit overwhelmed.....

Where in the world is everybody?

So if we see in retrospect that every phase we have gone through has worked out into something beautiful and fascinating, no matter how hard it was at the time, can we get ahead of the curve and start trusting in the here and now?

Yes, we can get an XBox, but we need a TV first.

Do we have a [fill in the blank]?

Wow. That's alot of food.

They don't even know...

Check it out. Look, look, look. A giant.

And just where is everyone??

Clean. Green. Mmmmmm.

Has anyone seen Ashoka?

Remember Koyaanisqatsi? I think that movie was on to something!

How much did that cost?

Sweetie, you have to get rid of some of this.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Signs of Life

Day 52...

Our friends David and Lynn were instrumental in starting up Charlotte Tailgate Market. To be more accurate, Lynn had much more to do with it than David - ;-).

This is a farmer's market which focuses on locally grown items, where nothing is from more than a 50 mile radius from Charlotte. Lots of organic stuff, lots of free range meats, people who farm in alternative ways. Very good stuff. We enjoyed it.

Some snaps....

^ Lemonade with chopped mint floating in it. Mmmmmm.

^ Tara catching up with David and Lynn, vendors in the background.

^ More vendors, some skyline in the background.

^ This is Charlotte's "South End", a bit of painting on the buildings. I believe this place is a burrito shop - Phat Burrito.

^ Overall, a nice visit to a little corner of eclectia - and some good items. We'll definitely return.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 51...

We are finding life here too quiet.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

First hundred days - half way there

Day 50...

Well, returning to the rhythms of life is ongoing.... and the house is a major focus for Tara. As always, I have some snapshots.

^ My bookshelf. Not yet returned to its former glory, but it looks good. It'll be done when I arrange the books in that specific order which reflects my mind.

^ The dining room table fit just fine. It's funny we thought it might be too big. The room's bigger than we thought....

^ Look at all of the baubles we still have lying around. This is about as full as we like the shelves in the den, so we have to make a change, Tag sale!

^ Tara's right, the widening of the door does make a difference. Soon, we'll paint the kitchen. And Tara now "hates" the Shaker chairs that we used in the kitchen table.

^ Tara has made the living room a beautiful refuge, once again.

^ I wouldn't usually display our toilet on the blog, but the black paint and the new tiling are awesome and we thought we'd share.

^ Fireplace is shaping up.

^ In the library.

^ One of the next frontiers - the porch.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A glimpse

Day 49...

Had lunch today with a colleague of many years - she explained that it was like to be here America decided to live out Chinua Achebe's motif "Things Fall Apart". When the US economy was on the skids and close to shambles, she said it was a palpable sense of fear that was afoot in Charlotte and the US in general. It sounded almost eerie.

This colleague is from India. So, she experienced these things in my country while I experienced life in her country.


My friends Chris said every day was filled with shocking news about foreclosures and giant companies going bust - again, eerie.

I am sort of glad I missed it.

Tara had a funny thing happen today - she was carded when out buying a bottle of wine. To a woman over 40, that is a unique thrill. And one, frankly, that is long behind me, personally. It must be the grey hair.

Anyway, so when she gave her ID to the young girl at the register, the young lady blurted out, "Oh my God, you were born the same year as my mom!" Tara wasn't sure if she should be pleased or mortified. I think she was a bit of both.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I want a yurt

Day 48...

This process of repatriation indeed opens one up to a series of feelings and observations. First, life here is definitely hectic for many folks - there seems to be the constant rush that we knew before. It has not gone.

Additionally, the abundance is absolutely amazing. There's stuff *everywhere*. This is a land of endless options, materially.

But what has really surprised us as we have opened those things which were here in a US warehouse for two years, as well as those things from India, is.... "how'd we get all this stuff".

While in India, we developed the illusion that we had simplified our material schema. We sold our couches, a table or two, and various other things. But now.... we realize that we have an amazing amount of *stuff*.

As Tara unpacked a box the other evening, after I returned from work, she looked up and said, "I need to have a tag sale." It is now scheduled for the 12 of September. Now some other folks can get a slice of our stuff and make it theirs.

It seems that a major part of Tara's existence in this country was intended to answer the question - "How many different ways can you display candles?" We have more candle holders than any one family should have. Tall ones, short ones, one shaped like a reindeer for Christmas, one of glass, four of wood..... and so on.

So, I want a yurt. This is the Mongolian tent that is spacious and mobile. It can be packed up, put on the back of a pony and brought to another part of the Mongolian steppe at any time. It contains a hole in the roof for the fire's smoke to escape, might have a few carpets strung to and fro..... and that is it. Perhaps a TV in a very modern set-up.

But, until I get my yurt, I will return from the office to see my love struggling mightily under the weight of our material girth. And I will cover the tag sale on the twelfth right here - on CameronsinIndia.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Reclaiming the homestead

Day 47...

OK, so it is happening....

^ The last time we saw this package was in Whisper Valley - in a much smaller truck. I mean lorry. I mean truck.

^ I cut the back lawn, by the way. Still yucky.

^ Cabinets are looking good. Tara is pretty happy with the new look.

^ Here are the handles that she likes so much.

^ Aidan was a big help.

^ But these guys, Bryan an d Junior, were the biggest help.

^ Aidan and Jonah helping with the TV Room. We really need to think of a new name for that room....

^ We got some Asian food (Chinese) for lunch. Jonah ate it with Balinese chop sticks. He probably was the only kid in Montibello to use those today.

^ Our table - cracked joint! Distraught. Will tell you what happens....

^ All of the stuff packed in India looked like this....

^ This is what was in the voluminous packing. Small stuff.

^ The living room is getting some nicer attributes, although not arranged.

^ My bookshelf, receiving new life.

It has been notable that this blog has focused on the recreation of our physical environment since returning to Charlotte. My mind is running with many ideas, will find time to capture them....