Welcome to India: Why I Moved

This will be the final Welcome to India post, as I have now been here two weeks and it is time to deal with living here rather than first impressions. But before I move to living here, I want to reflect on why I came.

There seem too many reasons to count, and it appears the work of a perfect storm of events rather than one profound event. As with so many decisions, the timing was perfect.

Merideth and I applied for the position after a horribly run meeting with our Principal, a meeting that left a group of educators with proven abilities to succeed at the all important standardized tests demoralized and angry. The meeting was poorly run, poorly managed, and when I brought up concerns over the tone and tactics of the meetings, my concerns were pushed aside. It was an attempt at leadership by fear, which flat out does not work on me. So, we applied for a job we were sure we would not get.

Then we got the job.

I have already discussed the stresses that decision caused in the short term, but I have been less clear on why we decided to move. And honestly, I am not sure the reasons were (or are) 100% clear to me.

First, it was now or never. Well, now or sans kids. Merlin would have entered middle school. If we choose to stay in India three years, they will be the three years of Merlin’s middle school, and she can return to the States triumphantly for the beginning of high school. Had we waited, either we would have been there until Gavin graduated from high school, or we would have had to uproot them at a time when such transitions are especially traumatic. If we wanted an adventure with the kids, it had to be now.

We wanted to live overseas. This has always been on the radar. We wanted to experience other ways of life, other cultures, see other places. It seems a more practical education than sitting in classrooms learning about people far, far away. And I must admit to enjoying the novelty that is a small tourist town in rural India.

We were stressed. Money has always been our Achilles’ Heel, admittedly through no one’s fault but our own and the money situation was weighing us down further and further. Our student loans have mushroomed from 15 years of non-payment to more than many people’s houses. We doubt we can ever actually pay them off. But more immediately, we were always broke in Austin, and I especially hate to be broke. I feel like I work hard, very hard. I put in long hours, weekends, all-nighters, and the fact that working 60-70 hours a week still did not afford me the opportunity to go to a movie when I felt like it was making me depressed. I realize there are more important things than movies, but they are my escape, and my inability to see movies or grab dinner or have a beer with someone always reminded me how financially unstable I was (am). I have moved to a place where the nearest movie theatre is an hour and a half away, and those movies in Hindi. But they are no less distant than they were in Austin. We get paid very little here, but we have a nice house, food, and provisions supplied by the school, so the financial worries are somewhat lessened. We can’t afford to pay for our student loans still, but at least the fact that we make $600 a month is a more reasonable excuse for non-payment.

Our house was kind of killing us. We loved our house, but it was falling apart. We had no money to fix it, or renovate it to suit our needs better. Our terrible credit meant we could not get out from the 10% monthly interest and every mortgage payment felt like throwing good money after bad.

We were restless. This is probably the biggest reason of all for the move. Life seemed stationary. Even though I was surrounded by the greatest batch of friends a human could hope to have, and as close to my ideal of a communal family as I am like to see, I needed to shake up my life a bit. India may have been too drastic, but I needed something. And so did Merideth.

In the New Delhi Railway Station, I jotted down a list of things I wanted to accomplish in India.

-Spend time with the family. This was the big one. Merlin is hurtling towards adulthood at the speed of light, and will soon be pushing herself away from us to begin figuring out her own life. This is good and right and proper and makes me very sad. So this is it. If I want to savor the last few years I have with her, then we wanted to go somewhere with no distractions.

– See things. I am big on Seeing Things. I love the feeling of exploration, of discovery, of adventure. I am like a chubby Indiana Jones. And being in India puts me closer to a great many things I would never have seen otherwise.

– Read more. As a teacher who assigns a lot of essays, and summer Grad school student, reading for pleasure had almost gone out the window. I missed it and had dreams of sitting on my mountain in India with my Kindle and a cuppa. So far, this one has actually worked out. I have plowed through all of the Game of Thrones books, a new Neil Gaiman, a Tim Powers novel and am wrapping up Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, a 5th century text that uses the personification of Philosophy to prove that God just wants us to be happy.

– Write more. I am under no illusions as to my writing ability. I can act, sing in a pinch and believe myself to be quite a good director, although I almost never get a chance to direct something. But I have ideas galore, and they need to be on paper. I figured coming to India would require moving all of my creative expression to writing, and again, so far this has worked out as well, although only with the blog. My zombie script is no where near done.

– Like myself a little more. This is always the trickiest, given my penchant for mood swings into the far reaches of self-loathing, and I thought a complete change of scene would give me a new perspective. No news yet, so we shall see how this one goes.

So there we have it. India. Part escape, part restlessness, part family, part me. Reasons as diverse as the country I find myself in, and honestly, just as tricky to figure out.

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About the Author

I moved to India. I mean, why the hell not, right?