Monday, December 19, 2011

Going "home"

Well that was a busy week! I've just finished a week in Minneapolis, and am in a lounge in Dallas Fort Worth airport, waiting for a flight to London, then another to Bangalore. As noted in my last post, it's an incredibly long journey from Minneapolis to Bangalore, but at least I'm by myself and don't have the kids being all exhausted - I wouldn't blame them for being cranky on this length of journey.

The week was great, despite being away from Emma and the kids. I think I made the most of it - packed days at the office, and saw a number of friends too and let them know how we're doing. The first couple of days were pure culture shock, it was really strange to be back in a cold, dark place, but also to experience such clean shops and sidewalks. At the risk of sounding like a pure consumer, shopping at Target was frankly a joy. I think we forget to appreciate how difficult it is to run a store so efficiently, but when you're in a place like India and have to deal with even the more modern supermarkets here, they are years away from how well we do it. I might do a retail geek post sometime in the future where I'll write more about it. My bags are totally packed with stuff - I took an empty huge case, and have completely stuffed it with toys, clothes, towels and medical supplies. Fortunately it and my two other bags came in under the 70 pound weight limit, but only just.

Anyway, work was good - it was the primary reason for my trip after all. Lots of time meeting with leaders, my peers and former team, and my calendar was packed every day. I think I learned a lot by talking about my experiences - it was a good way to reflect and find themes in what I've been doing, and to hear other people's ideas. It did make things like time with my boss quite intense - we get on extremely well, but when you don't work in the same place as someone it makes interactions much more focussed than they would be if I could just drop into his office anytime. We had some great chats, and it also gave me the chance to let him know how much I appreciate his support of what I'm doing.

One of the strange things was that I wasn't staying in our house - I was at a hotel downtown. We have great renters in our place, and I didn't want to be nosey by visiting them in what is now their home. It was strange, though, to be at our neighbors' place and to see the house with lights on and other people living there, and to be around the neighborhood. But that's OK, and I'm glad the house is in such great hands.

So now I'm on the way back I'm trying to work out where home really is at the moment (made stranger by the fact that I'm travelling through London, another former home). I have to say that being in Minneapolis for a few days made me really appreciate it and (most of) the people too. And in fact one of my hopes for our time in Bangalore is for us to re-appreciate Minneapolis, and I hope that Emma and the kids will feel this way too. We're certainly really happy in Bangalore, but I'm not totally sure it feels like home, or if it ever truly will, but it is where our stuff is, and we've made a good lot of friends there. I know that I don't feel at home when I'm not with my lovely little family, that's for sure. We'll find out more this weekend - we're off to Hong Kong for just over a week, and we'll see how we feel when we get back to Bangalore.

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