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past places

  • remember
    these are memories from places in my past


  • sadie jones: the outcast: a novel

    sadie jones: the outcast: a novel
    what is it with me picking really dark books at the moment? isn't there anything out there that is happy? (***)

  • andrew bavidson: the gargoyle

    andrew bavidson: the gargoyle
    dark, dark and more dark. i should have figured this out from the blackened book spine. good, thought provoking. not sure i would recommend it. (**)

  • stephenie meyer: breaking dawn

    stephenie meyer: breaking dawn
    didn't go to the usa as planned so had to buy this in hardback. (****)

  • rohinton mistry: a fine balance

    rohinton mistry: a fine balance
    my friend kelly warned me this was sad. without that warning i'm not sure i could have taken it, but knowing this, i really loved this book. mistry has an amazing ability to help you see why it's important to try to view things from another person's perspective. (*****)

  • stephenie meyer: eclipse

    stephenie meyer: eclipse
    yep still enjoying these. (****)

  • stephenie meyer: new moon

    stephenie meyer: new moon
    once i got started, i had to finish the saga...i saw someone say this made them wish they were 13 again and i have to agree. it's very well done. (****)

  • kate furnivall: the russian concubine

    kate furnivall: the russian concubine
    while i got a little confused between the characters for the first half of this book, and i wished i had a little more political context, i enjoyed this. set in pre-revolutionary china, this looks at a russian girl who falls in love with a chinese communist. (***)

  • stephenie meyer: twilight (the twilight saga, book 1)

    stephenie meyer: twilight (the twilight saga, book 1)
    i had four people recommend this over a two day period so when i saw it in the airport bookstore i picked it up. having liked buffy, i really enjoyed it and have now bought book 2. (****)

  • jane harris: the observations

    jane harris: the observations
    despite a relatively distracting voice, bessy--the protagonist in this story--grows on you and i enjoyed this story despite its flaws. (***)

  • sara gruen: water for elephants: a novel

    sara gruen: water for elephants: a novel
    four or five friends recommended this book before i wrote off to amazon to order it. i can understand why it has a viral following. it's great--good writing, gripping story, solid characters. well worth reading and my favourite new book of 2008. (*****)


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As an American living and working in Finland I can relate. Except here, there is the added dimension of a learning to speak the second hardest language in the world, the Finnish slow pace and the attitude of "its the way we've always done it!" Going back to the States makes me feel like I'm returning to the Twilight Zone!


As an East Indian living in the US, I can completely relate and so far I have been afraid to say it publicly. I have always felt grateful to the US for having let me come to the country and make it my second home. And, so, I have been afraid to express anything but that gratitude, lest I should be considered an ingrate. I cannot however deny that I feel desparately stuck - stuck, between two worlds. What makes it most hard is that some of the most basic values and emotions that make up, anoo, are stuck in India. I feel like I cannot express them or feel them fully while I am in the US. What has been interesting is the realization that I have felt more and more stuck as the years have gone on. Isnt it supposed to be the other way -- so you feel more and more comfortable in your new home as the years wear on?

I need to get unstuck in some way and I have come up with a plan ... the only way I can do that is if I spend some time of the year in India and some time in the US. So, thats what I am working on now and am hoping I can start with this year. When the ground freezes in Nov 2005, I am hoping to be sipping a cold pinacolada on the beach in Goa ...

More as the plans become firm ...


Despite the oh-so-common assurance from my American friends that there are no differences between Canada and the US I went through a lot of culture shock when I moved down here. I think that the fact that the differences were so subtle made it even harder – I could go for days or weeks without noticing anything different and then all of a sudden be blindsided by something, well, foreign. I do much better in situations that are completely unusual – at least then I can set my brain to ‘expect to be surprised/confused’.

What differences did I run into? There were lots of little things. Not being able to buy my favourite breakfast cereal. Or beer. Or brand of jeans. Everything milk-based tastes different and less flavourful. I have an accent. It was at least a year before I could remember what the ‘mph’ speed limit was on the highway. I still don’t understand Farenhight temperatures.

On a larger scale there are a lot of social differences. Even in Seattle people seem more conservative. Social gender differences are more pronounced. My Canadian-bred tendency to apologize and thank people constantly makes me seem submissive. Canadian humour is different. My jokes often fall flat.

That being said, I’ve started feeling much more at home here over the past six months. I’ve replaced many of my old comfort foods that aren’t available here with ones that I won’t be able to get in Canada if/when I move back. I’ve started to understand the subtleties of social order – though I can’t say that I’m comfortable with them. The idea of moving back which was once ‘soon’ is now ‘someday’. I also feel much more comfortable with the idea of moving somewhere else. Maybe I’ll find myself writing about UK culture-shock next?

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