We’re back in the States baby! And my apartment in New York was not destroyed by fire and brimstone despite the earthquake a while back, the plants are all dead (naturally), the milk has turned to yogurt and I now have a Verizon bill that’s close to a thousand dollars.
Other than that, everything is all Hunky Dory. I actually got back before Thanksgiving because I wanted to avoid all the fuss of the holiday travel. This is the first chance I got after catching up on to a boat load of work.
It’s very easy to get love handles
I’m actually shocked at how quickly I went from dry twig to a whopping 127Lbs all because of craving Sri Lankan cuisine for 16 years. I was considered “underweight” for most of my life by Western standards for my height (I’m 5′-5″), so technically this is an “improvement” of sorts. Maybe now I can stop shopping at kids’ section for clothes… Oh wait, I don’t shop.
On the down side, now I really look like a hairy 16-year-old girl at a distance… minus boobs.
I’ve had a couple of Customer Service jobs and customers were generally convinced they were speaking to a girl over the phone. Maybe I should start smoking and grow a full beard again (I shaved mine after 9/11 to avoid unnecessary attention).
Spicy Sphincter Syndrome
Speaking of Sri Lankan cuisine, I’ve been lulled into a false sense of confidence in my tolerance for spicy food due to the lack of any appreciable heat in Western cuisine and watered down Indian food (catering to Westerners).
It’s been a very long time since I felt the need to tumble an ice cube on my tongue after a taste test and even longer since I had to suffer in the toilet after an afternoon splurge (TMI?)
Rampant software piracy
This one sorta caught me off guard. I expected a bit of torrent activity here and there in Sri Lanka, especially since most people don’t have the cash to throw around right after buying a new PC, but my God!
It’s even more surprising that certain computer stores implicitly encourage customers to buy more horsepower than spend money on the software. It makes more business sense for them to sell more iron anyway, so I guess it’s overlooked by management. The average private computer in Sri Lanka is almost guaranteed to contain a pirated version of Windows (if it’s a PC) and definitely at least one of the MS Office apps also downloaded from somewhere. This would also explain why I was fixing computer issues at the houses (tech support on my vacation… heh) I was visiting since Windows Update has been turned off and the majority were infected with rootkits and backdoors.
The good news is that more and more young people are switching their home PCs to Linux and free software alternatives.
I got dumped… again… by the same woman!
And “we should see other people” is just another way of saying “I’m seeing people other than you” so why not just say it? Can’t say I didn’t see this coming and it was not being immediately available for txt and calls for several months that really pushed this over the edge.
I was still checking email though and Skype was still an option, but I guess some prefer avoiding eye contact for fear of arousing baser instincts, especially when feigning fidelity. This on-again off-again is pretty well off now. In fact the switch has been pulled out of the wall this time.
I’m feeling an odd combination of mild sadness and relief.
Door men and security guards
I can understand the need for a guard at the bank and even the jewelery stores, but even supermarkets have door men — many of whom are women — and security guards. I’m very pleased at the sophistication since the supermarkets now also have very helpful clerks at checkout and even in the isles.
This is very far cry from anything in the U.S. unless you’re visiting some high-end stores.
What’s more pleasantly surprising is the number of women being employed as security guards and clerks these days. Sri Lanka has had traditional gender biases as many other South Asian countries, but looks like they’ve made great strides in the past few years to change that. I hope they’re getting the same pay and treatment as their male counterparts.
I’m a little torn as to whether I should be happy or sad — perhaps some combination thereof. Something about me was giving off a tourist vibe and it’s not features or skin color (nor my fanny pack, cowboy hat and shorts). I can’t put my finger on what it was exactly, but toward the end of my stay, it started to bother me.
Don’t get me wrong; I grew up in the U.S. and I’m very proud to call it home, but the thought that when I’m home, I don’t even have to open my mouth for someone else to start speaking to me in English is a little unnerving. This is a change from how I initially felt being a stealthy native.
Verizon still sucks
Never get a phone without a sim option and never, ever, agree to accept a new phone just for international use. You will be charged equipment fees regardless of what’s promised even after sending the new phones back. Suffice it to say that I’m sans-cell for a little while at least which is oddly comforting. I guess I’ll be sticking to Skype for a while.
So there go the details that I wanted to share. There were lots of other stuff that I can’t post here (I’m not into Facebook for a reason). I may get back to my old schedule for posting once I get caught up with more work.