It was a Sunday evening that we landed here. We rented a car from airport and drove to the hotel, which we had booked in advance. The road which took us from airport to the hotel barely had any traffic. We checked in to the hotel and hit the bed. Now it’s time to relax, I told myself. We had collected every possible information on the net about this place. I knew this is not going to be easy. The change from a hot and happening place to this calm and quiet city hit me hard. I spent the first week sulking.
When Jay left for office, on Monday morning, I put on my walking shoes and set out to explore the area. I checked for nearest restaurant / food store so that I can grab something for lunch and dinner. There was a Pizza Hut and Dominos in one mile distance. Then there were 2-3 other shops – a sushi bar, an insurance company and a vet hospital. I spotted a food store adjacent to a gas station and walked in with little expectation. I could get a sandwich and some fruits. I hardly saw a few cyclists and 2 pedestrians.. and a few cars.. I came back to room and researched and researched and researched. As expected, there wasn’t nothing much around. Most of the restaurants are located in downtown, which is 5 miles away. The nearest supercentre of Walmart is 12 miles away. The one and only Indian store is 7 miles away. The public transportation was close to non existent. This put me under house arrest. I was so so so sad. I almost cried when I learned about the frequency of buses there, if at all it was present. We thought of buying a bicycle. But the temperature is gona be in single digit and then in minus in no time. So there was no point in buying one. The population in this whole city is as low as a crowded colony in India. You hardly get to see people. As the days passed by, I missed Bay area, India, my friends, family, everything more and more. Work was very hectic for Jay. He had to work even after coming to room. We tried all of the Indian/ Pakistani / Nepali restaurants in first week itself. We revisited two of them which was fairly good. For every tiny weeny thing we did, we did not end the conversation without a reference how it would have been if we were in Bay area. The city had an old look with old fashioned buildings and vintage type cars. I disliked everything about this place. We hardly cooked a proper meal in the kitchenette of the hotel room. We searched for an apartment simultaneously. The first available one was a month away. Sigh! That was the last thing I wanted to hear.
After spending a week in the hotel, we moved to an Airbnb, which was closest to Jay’s office. It was hardly 5 minutes drive from his office. This was nothing like the one we stayed before. This place was a bachelor’s den. The grass in the front lawn has grown way tall and was as high as little less than my knee. We were welcomed to living room covered with dust. The guest bedroom and bathrrom was neat. Thank god. The dining table hardly had space to keep a plate. It had all the veggies and fruits and eggs apart from the unwashed plates and glasses from a couple of previous meals. The sink was overflowing with dirty dishes. The countertops, the kitchen floor, the stove top everything had the remains of whatever was cooked / eaten for atleast a week before. I wanted to runaway. The next nearest available house is 7 miles away. That too at double the price. Since our stay is gona be for 3 weeks, it did not fit in our budget. Jay insisted that we should move out and should not be thinking of the budget at this point of time. I did not feel it as a wise thing to do. We had a lot of extra expenses in the previous weeks like lease breakage charges, airbnb charges, rented car charges, air tickets, hotel bookings, eating out and a few more is on its way til we settle down. Though some of them are reimbursable, we were financially tight at that point of time. This place was in a beautiful locality by the side of the highway. The nearest store was again 2 miles away. Walking both ways on those long summer days was not a practical thing for me. I had to depend on Jay on whatever grocery we shopped. We had instant breakfast on all days. Jay ate out for lunch. We cooked dinner 3-4 times a week and ate out on rest of the days. We could hardly eat properly as our stomach was upset with frequent eat outs and packaged foods. I could not think of anything past curd rice or khichdi to cook for dinner in that kitchen. Well, the host the house occasionally. But the whole place had a negative energy.
I am an optimistic person and always remain positive. But, I went all mad sitting alone in that room from morning til late evening. I tried everything to keep me busy. Jay bought me a Sharpie set and a journal. I doodled and doodled and doodled for one week. I watched movies. But one week was all it took me to go mad again. Jay leaves by 8 and came back by 7 only – all tired and exhausted. I picked up fight for anything and everything. Second week, I started crossstiching. Luckily, I had carried a cross stitch kit with me which we bought long back. I stitched day and night. But the dump feeling never went away. I felt sorry for irritating Jay to the core. We fought every single day spent there. Every morning, I promise myself to be normal; only to burst out that evening. We went out of town to meet a good old friend of Jay on a weekend. That was a nice change. Cross stitching and the FaceTimes to home kept me sane for the rest of the days there.
About moving to the apartment and rest of the madness in next post.