A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Reevaluating my life..

Posted by Pepper on August 3, 2011

I never laid out concrete plans for myself. I did things out of impulse mostly. I am okay as long as I have a vague idea of the direction I am heading in. But sometimes, I can’t see the road ahead from where I stand. And that is when I panic. Walking blindfolded into the unknown can scare anybody I suppose.

The people in my life matter the most to me, and as long as I have them close to me, the place I am in does not matter so much. For the most part, I let my instincts and my impulse guide me. When I was young, I was clear about one thing. I knew what I wanted to do in life. I wanted to become a Physical Therapist. I had seen my grand mom undergoing her physio therapy sessions, and I grew to love that profession. I loved the human body, I loved Biology as a subject. I was really good at it. I was topping my class most of the time. I had very little interest in Physics though, and Math scared me. But in order to secure a seat to study Physio therapy, I would have to clear (and top) the Physics and Math sections of the paper too. One fine day, I decided I didn’t want it. Al though I had filled out all the forms for my entrance test, I decided to not write it. Just because I didn’t want to deal with Physics and Math, not even momentarily. I had taken up Science, purely for my love for Biology, and in particular, Physio Therapy as a field. And now when the time had come to give it a shot, I backed out impulsively.

Most of my choices in life have been impulsive. I impulsively decided to switch to another very different field. I forayed into Media. Marketing and Advertising is what I majored in. Somewhere along the path of my life, I met my ex. As much as I would want to call the whole episode with him, a big mistake, I won’t. Because it taught me a lot of lessons in life. He did however rob me of all the faith I had. My faith in the male species. At another stage where I met Mint, I was terrified of the whole idea of falling in love, of being in a relationship, of trusting somebody again. At the same time, I felt like I was being carried away by the currents, being pushed towards him. I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t.

At this point in life, I was very confused and messed up. I held a lot of fears because of my past with the monster boyfriend, at the same time, I could not wipe out the faint ray of hope of a future with Mint. I decided to clear my head, by getting a new life. I applied for my Masters in UK, impulsively. I switched my field yet again. From Advertising and Marketing to Human Resource Management. I had my reasons of course, but it was not something I gave a lot of thought to. I did it mainly because I felt like doing it. That is how I operate, by feeling.

By the time I moved to UK, I had made up my mind to give Mint a chance. We were inseparable. I also realised I missed my family a hell lot. I was living all alone, a cold and lonely existence. I lacked what was most important to me. The presence of my people. Mint and I decided to get married soon after I finish my Masters. I knew I didn’t have much time to live at home with my parents, so I moved back to India the moment I could. And just a few months after I completed my thesis, I got married. So many people asked me then, if at 23, I was sure I knew I was doing the right thing by getting married. I was sure I said. I had no answers or reasons to give, but it just felt right. Mint and I really wanted to live with each other and start a life together. And once we were really committed, marriage seemed like nothing more than a formality. So like everything else in my life, I didn’t give marriage too much thought.

I got married and moved to the US. For the first time in my life, I questioned myself. Now what? What am I supposed to do with my life hereon? I was on a H4 (Dependent visa) that does not permit me to work. Yes, I was aware of this clause even before I got married, but at that time, I thought I could switch to my own work visa (H1) or figure something out. Like I said, I hadn’t given it much thought. After moving here, I didn’t quite know what to do. But either way, I was okay with whatever came my way.

I always viewed this phase of my life as a temporary one. Once we get our EAD, I will be allowed to work. The EAD, which stands for Employment Authorization Document, is a part of the Green Card that gives you a work permit. Our EAD would take another year or so to come through. I thought that was fine. I didn’t mind not working during this period. I’ve always led a very fast paced life. College, deadlines, interns, the works. I thought this would be a good opportunity to pause and contemplate. Also, this phase would give me a chance to do things I wanted to do, for which I never found time earlier.

It all looked very easy in the beginning. But I soon realised, the world I lived in was destroying my sense of self worth because I was not working. I’ve been a mess. I’ve had to hear all sorts of people. Some girls would make sure they rubbed it in by telling me they can’t even imagine not earning their own money. Some others would tell me how fiercely independent they were, how they would never ever be able to stay home, ‘doing nothing’. I do understand the purpose of those remarks was not to take a dig at me, but it did just that. Most of us today like the idea of being able to fend for ourselves. I’ve had to swallow a bitter pill  in order to accept my situation, even if it is temporary. But hearing those statements is the last thing I want.

There were others who would express shock when they found out I was not working, especially because I had just finished my Masters. I was told I was wasting myself. I wish I was confident enough to tell them what I wanted to. Instead, I kept quiet and sobbed silently.

All that was okay, what I truly dreaded was meeting new people. Because the first question I would be asked would be ‘So what do you do?’. I don’t blame them for asking me that. That is the most common conversation starter. But I have not been able to figure out an answer for that one. Ask anybody that question and they’ll tell you about their job, and what they do for a living. Or else some of them say they are a homemaker. I can’t even say that, because honestly, I am not one. I don’t really make a home. Maintaining my home tires me out and I barely manage to keep it going.  It would have been a lot easier had I had some domestic help. But doing every little thing by yourself takes away all my energy, and I don’t really do it well. So when people want to know what I do, I don’t really know what to say.

It never ends there. The moment I say ‘I am not working’. I am subjected to another lousy question. One I abhor from the bottom of my heart. Every single person around me wants to know ‘So what do you do all day long?’. It appalls me and makes me cry . Is there no other life other than work? Have we reached a stage where we can’t even fathom an existence without a job? Surely life is more than just being a corporate slave. There’s a lot I do during my day. But when I have to answer people, it makes me feel so futile, like I have to justify the purpose of my life to them.

I think I’ve now reached my saturation point. I can’t deal with people anymore. I can continue facing them bravely and ask them to ‘F*ck Off’ if they bother me, or I can hide in my own private world where nobody questions me. Either ways, I am done with this crap.

I’ve spent some quality time by myself, I’ve done some good reading, I’ve explored the art of cooking, I’ve traveled, I’ve taken a break I am thankful for. I was content doing all this, and didn’t think of doing more. We had other other issues preventing us from viewing this place as a permanent home. Mint’s MBA for one. We didn’t know if and when we’d end up moving to another coast. It was unsettling to live like that, and so I never laid any focus on establishing and planting my life here. I didn’t want to uproot myself again. But now, we’ve made our decisions and we don’t intend moving anywhere anytime soon. So I want to think of what I will do. I have a year in  my hands, that I don’t want to let go of. After that, I’ll have our EAD and life will revolve just around work and home. I want to do something worthwhile before I go back to the rat race. A lot of people ask me to study some more. I am open to that, but it is not a preferable option. I feel like I just got done with my Masters. I don’t have the energy and the money to invest in another degree, all over again. I can consider volunteering for some organisation, if anything interests me. It is time to look into all of that and reevaluate my life.

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125 Responses to “Reevaluating my life..”

  1. Bikram said

    Hmmm all I will say is you do what you think is right for you dont let idiots tell you otherwise. I always find it funny how cum other can tell us what to do or what is good qhy cant they do it themselves.. I think that is the reason they interfere….they want us ti live there life.

    You will be fine .. What you said abot ex and all well we all have something in our closet but yes I like it when you say you learnt a lot good now people like us know what not to do and peope like the ex will find it the hard way what they missed on…

    You met mint seeee one door closes other better ones open so heres wishing you both all the best.. Dont worry much god is great he has a plan if we dont….
    I am sure if you sit down and think calmly you will seee
    Take care pepper and best wishes all the best…

  2. dips said

    A terse ‘I am pursuing other interests’ should shut the nosy ones up. They have no business making judgements on your life…do they? And it is the truth, not everyone staying at home is a homemaker, people have other interests too.

    Don’t let them bog you down with the smug attitude of being ’employed’…not everyone who’s working is following their dream, it’s the paycheck that they consider their throne!!

    • Pepper said

      Dips, they don’t intend to make judgments on my life. For them, it is only casual conversation. But it is really hard for me to gulp down.
      I know most of them don’t want to sound smug. They think they are doing me good by telling me what is right for me. So I feel guilty being mad at them. And yes, it is the paycheck that they consider their throne. Who wouldn’t eye that throne? I know I do. So I do believe they are in a better position than me, at least right now.

  3. Sujatha said

    Hugs! Very honest post… Please enjoy this time you have, once you start working you can never take a break easily…
    When people ask you what do you do? Tell them that you are living your life and enjoying it, too bad they can’t do the same…

    Sujatha

  4. Sig said

    I was reading this and was thinking as I read each line – “Me too”. I’m not one who has a plan, a 5-year roadmap of the future. I just go by feeling. I did the same thing and transferred courses when I was at uni because I couldn’t see myself doing what I did for the rest of my life. I married Evs because it felt right to me. Then I joined a company that I like, but am at the point where I actually want to step BACK from the rat race.

    So, I say embrace it. Think of this – everyone on the other side is wishing for what you have. I know I am. I want more time to just relax and BE myself. Learn more cooking, spend time on my health, paint again.

    There is this saying – People either live to work, or work to live. I know I am the latter and see my job as a means to facilitate my other passions in life. So don’t give a flying fuck to people who think you are less because you are not working. You don’t need to justify your life choices to anyone. Use this time to do what YOU want and you will never regret it 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Perhaps people don’t think of me as less. Only I do. And I should stop.

      I know people who are on the other side, are dying to swap lives with me. But the point is, they have the choice, of either working, or living like I do. That’s all that matters. If they are so desperate to dump their corporate lives, they can. But if I am really desperate to take on that corporate life, I still can’t. And that is what sucks. The lack of choice.

      I know. I should really utilise this time well and do what I want to do.. 🙂

  5. Sig said

    Crap – don’t know why I comment using my wordpress account and it puts my blog as still being blogspot. Annoying!!!! 😀

  6. R's Mom said

    So whats wrong if you dont do anything…if people as me what I do..I dont say I work as an analyst…I say I am a mother to a three year old…Why are you worried Pepper? I dont think not being a homemaker or not working means you are wasting your time…

    Take my mom for ex…she quit her job last year (she was due to retire this year) and went to stay with my dad when dad got a job in Goa…for years they have lived separately thanks to appa’s travelling job..one day she decided enough is enough…I want to stay with my husband..then people started calling her crazy..giving up her career and her pension for her husband…the sixth pay commission would have increased her salary and pension…blah blah blah…Of course ma is almost 60 and you are 25..but thats not the issue..the issue is ma was sure what she wanted to do..she didnt care for ANYone…including me…(I was one of those stupid people who told her to stay back for an year) and now I am glad she did what her heart told her..she does cook for dad and all that..but she is not what you call a typical homemaker..she reads, watches tv..relaxes and enjoys and I think she has become a much better human being…

    The point I am trying to make is…your life is yours…you deal with it the WAY YOU want..dont let others bother you..want to stay at home and read go ahead..want to volunteer go ahead..what to get into the stupid corporate rat race..go ahead…

    hugs darling and sorry for the long comment

    • Pepper said

      It’s nice to hear about R’s Mom’s Mom 🙂
      My life is mine, yes. But I still can’t bear to deal with people who comment on my choices.
      And this comment space is your own, why apologise to me for using it?

  7. If there is one thing I understood from my past year, it’s just that *no body* can *fully* understand a situation the other person is in.It’s easy to pack someone else’s life into three sentences and offer a er, logical conclusion(as if we don’t spend months and hours trying to find a solution!). But the quirky circumstances, where we stand in the current phase of life, the internal struggles all matter(to us) and to others, they don’t exist. Even if you have your work permit, it’s still nobody’s business if you want to take a break. It should be as simple as that, but it isn’t.

    Some time back,I read a post on darkcomedy’s – “new age fundamentalism”. There is this disturbing attitude of wanting everybody else to make the choices that you would, and judging them if they don’t! A big middle finger to them. I think we can trust ourselves to figure our lives out.

  8. Anusha said

    Hi Pepper,

    I have been a regular visitor her and just love your blog……….

    You are lucky enough to have a year long time to yourself,enjoy n indulge yourself in whatever u love,do not give thoughts to what people say .

    Wishing u a great year ahead !!!!!! 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Hey! Thanks for delurking Anusha! 🙂 Always good to meet you folks.
      I know I am lucky in so many ways. But I should really work on the ‘not caring about what people say’ part. Each time I say that, but every remark made to me regarding this still stings me.

  9. First of all.. hugs to you pepper! dont let the zaalim society affect you so much.

    Second of all, understand that half the people out there, who are working are not even happy with their jobs. They like the money it brings, but not the work… And if given a choice, they would just sit on the couch, watch movies, read and pursue their likes. It is just that they are too afraid to say it aloud in front of other people. For the fear of getting tagged as not being ambitious and strangely, not being independent enough. I am often laughed at by my groupmates at work when I say that I would love to quit it all and just live.. doing what I like,,what I “really” like… and not what pays me. (its not that I hate my job… but I do it primarily for money, and not because I like it).. my mom is worried that I am not ambitious enough, that I would waste my degrees if I am not financially independent.. True, fin independence is a relief, but it is not everything. It does not guarantee happiness.

    And last but not the least… try not to let the way people are behaving affect your decision on how you spend your one year (and even after EAD) …

    ok, I know, unasked for advice, this is… but couldnt help blabbering …

    -neha

    • PS: I am blogrolling you.. hope that is fine with you 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Neha, thanks a lot for the hugs. And hugs right back to you. 🙂

      I know a lot of people who are working are not happy with their jobs. They like the money it brings, not the work. But so what? I know I would be one of them too. I will look at a job as only a job. Something that pays me. I can never view it as my path to a shining corporate career cos I am just not made that way. Today I resent the fact that other people have a go to make some money and I don’t. See, you said that yourself, you would love to quit, but you’re in it for the money, not because you like it. So many people, including Mint keep saying they wish they could quit, but nobody really does it. It’s primarily because we need to earn money to survive. And I am not much different from the rest of the world. I want a job mainly for the money. So when I am told by people that they don’t care about the job, but care about the money and that’s why they are doing it. it doesn’t provide me with much solace. I still feel bad that they can do it and I can’t.

  10. RS said

    Hey! How I wish I had time like that to just do what I want to do – Dont bother about what the others tell you – they will have something to say even after you start working. So, just do whatever you really want now – you might not get time for all that later – even if it means just putting up your feet and reading books/watching TV back to back! Who are they to say anything?

    Why do you need to be ‘productive’ all the time?

  11. Sona said

    Hi,
    Delurking for the first time,this post really resonated with me-especially because I am going through the exact crap you speak of.
    I get mad at well meaning friends/family who balk saying “what do you do all day”.And its only been 3 months since I quit :/
    I know i can probably get back to the very grind i quit from-but do i want is what i am still mulling over. Unfortunately for me,i don’t seem to have a clear idea whatsoever on what i want..I can shift seamlessly between things that are radically different in the shortest of time spans-in short,i am way way too restless /fickle-minded. Now this is hardly something i want to confess to, as it seems like(i know it is) a huge flaw in one’s persona to admit to being extremely fickle minded when it comes to work.But what do I do- that is just how I am and there is no changing that now.
    I get upset at people who speak about how independent they are ,how they simply cannot imagine not making their own dough ,the works.
    I know they mean well,but to me,its like rubbing salt over my wounds ..
    hey,i just realised i have taken up your comment space with this nutty rant of mine-i am so so sorry :O
    I just got a little too enthu about your post 😛
    You write beautifully,Pepper-I love reading you!
    sona

    • Pepper said

      Wow, people have been harassing you in just 3 months? Speaks of their small mindedness .
      I totally know what you mean, when you talk about being fickle minded. At times I love this slow paced, fulfilling life of mine so much, I wonder why I would want to trade it all for a pay cheque. And then I meet people who keep questioning me and I go back to wishing for a job. In all honesty, I haven’t been able to truly figure out what I want in life.
      I am glad you were able to make a choice. You have time to think about it, and you always have the option of going back to work if that is what you prefer. You can rant here anytime you want to.
      And thanks so much. I am vain and I love compliments 😀

      • Sona said

        Exactly my point,Pepper.
        The deal here being I am not regretting quitting.Not for one minute,I only wish i had the confidence to answer the questions that come almost immediately when I meet people.
        But my mind oscillates as well-when i hear the questions I almost want to start re-applying to similar organizations(just like the one I quit from) which is completely pointless because then I am coming back to the rat-race I ran away from.And whenever I do get back to work I want it to be something that’s definitely NOT fast-paced and deadline-crazy.That, I am, like you said as well,willing to take the necessary pay-cut just so I can enjoy my work is a luxury I know that I enjoy.But I still haven’t made up my mind and the demons come back whenever I get questions. And I just want to creep into a corner and tell them “go away” . So its not like I am not having fun now,but the questions make me think about how clueless I really am and in short,lowers my self-esteem a little more. While its easy enough for people to say don’t let people bother you-trust me Pepper,its so-not-easy!As RR below has said,I tell myself its okay to cry-but it is hard.
        Hugs,Pepper ! A whole truckload of them!

        • Pepper said

          I know. We all lack the confidence to face the world. I wish we weren’t accountable for our choices to this stupid world. But it is how it is..
          I do hope that your decision whether to work now or not is your own and not influenced by anybody else. It would be ideal to find jobs that let us retain our peace, but they are so hard to find.
          I always want to creep into corner, hide under my quilt and ask my tormentors to go away too. So I totally know what you mean. However its high time we stop letting others lower our self esteem.
          Big hugs to you too Sona. And thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  12. I think I have told you about my BFF who is in a similar predicament. The other day her mother asked her if she was planning to be a ‘housewife’. She hates every bit of it! She calls up and rants, screams or cries. I know what you are talking about. I know it makes you question your worth yourself. I know it sucks to hear others say such things. But you have only a year, and then you can do whatever you want 🙂

    But I would not let that year go waste. Maybe learn a new form of dance(i would love to learn belly dance had I been in your place :P), go for a loooong trip to india coz once you start working 2-3 weeks is all you get in a year, start preparing for interviews, travel like there’s no tomorrow, basically think what you might miss on once you start working and live it 🙂

    Hugs! I understand 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Oops. I am sorry to hear about your BFF and to hear that she hates it. Surprisingly, I quite like this life. I don’t even question my worth much. I know all that I am capable of and am wise enough to realise that my situation is primarily because of the restrictiveness of the immigration system. It is only the repeated questioning and prodding from people that makes me break. Its almost like they want me to question my worth.

      Even if I am not learning anything, I would still not call this year a waste. There’s plenty I can do to live the way I want. And going to India for a long trip is not an option. If I did that, my in laws would expect me to spend half of it with them in Chennai. And I can’t, CANT imagine living there for months, without Mint that too. It seems suicidal. Beside, I quite like my life here. We do travel, as much as we can..

      Hugs back! 🙂

  13. i know it’s tough to ignore the world. Even before the thought of a baby entered my head, ppl had evaluated whether i could/should or would work after i had a baby!

    Like SAB said noone can understand the situation we are in. And you are getting a chance at a new beginning..which is so fun. A blank slate…!!! I hope u choose wisely

  14. Jack Point said

    Yes, regrettably work does give life a sense of purpose.

    Are you allowed to work for yourself? maybe you can freelance in writing advertising copy, journalism (the Indian papers or magazines may appreciate an occasional piece from an NRI), or teaching perhaps?

    Volunteering would be a good idea.

    • Pepper said

      I can freelance as long as I am not being paid by any American organisation. So I can work for Indian companies from here. But what do I freelance in? Writing is the one thing that usually works. And that scares me. I question my capabilities and doubt I have the skill.

      • Jack Point said

        I think you write well. Do you have any friends in journalism who can put you in touch with a newspaper?

        The other option would be try and sell stuff from India – tea, spices, handlooms, fabrics. It needs to be something that you like doing and provided there is a market. Look at your interests and hobbies, can anything to be turned to trade? Just to get you thinking;

        For example, did you know that true cinnamon is only found on in Ceylon and on the coast of South India? Most Americans consume Cassia, it is a related plant but not cinnamon. Could there be a market for people who want the real thing? (Most of Europe knows its cinnamon so they tend to consume the real thing, although the cassia is sold as well). See also

        http://www.ceylon-cinnamon.com/Identify-Cinnamon.htm

        Similarly, tea. I was horrified by the quality of tea when I visited England. No wonder they don’t drink much of it anymore. There are people who know what good tea is and there is a market for that but the vast majority drink rubbish. If its the same in the US, then there may be market for Assam, Darjeelings and the like.

        • Pepper said

          I do have friends in Journo, but I lack the confidence to write.
          The other stuff you spoke about sounds interesting, but my visa does not allow me to have an income by selling stuff in this country either. So there.
          I think I will just consider some freelance writing work.
          Thanks for the suggestions!

  15. Ashwathy said

    Ok babe…here are my thoughts on this.

    I know you are an intelligent and sensible gal (a bit of a pampered brat too! 😀 but er…I am digressing from the topic 😛 )
    So lissen up.

    I know what you feel – to a large extent. I’ve been working continuously for the past 2 years before I took a break for my own marriage. I took 7 whole weeks (unpaid leave included) away from work and I was pretty sure I wanted it coz I needed a break. How my boss agreed to give me that leave is a different thing altogether. 🙄 :mrgreen:
    This was also primarily becoz my hubby did not have much leave, so the only way I could stay with him was to myself be on leave (since we work based out of 2 different places).

    I faced the same question myself for awhile. “What do u do thru the day” was the main one…and it was annoying becoz I had no real answer to it. I just enjoyed myself chilling….watching tv….surfing the net…making calls…going out for little shopping….all the things that I could not do while I was working. So I finally found an answer to tell them…..just enjoying myself relaxing doing nothing! 😛 But I guess why it helped in my case was that I was joining work in another month. So they would be like, enjoy it while you can.

    I faced a similar situation before I joined this job. I had finished my Masters bang in the middle of recession. I was done with my studies in the UK and wanted to spend sometime with my family. I purposely took a break of 3 months to be in India, travel to all my relatives, and also grandparents. Spent time with them. I still cherish those days. But after that when I tried to look for work, there was none….coz recession had blown up in full spate by then. So i spent another 6 months jobless before I got a break.

    Now that phase was difficult. Because I was looking for work and it was not coming through. And I tried to keep myself busy with going to a gym, occasional meeting with friends, the rare job interviews and also applying for a UK work permit. It was frustrating. And a question like “what do you do” coming at a time like that……you can imagine my difficulty at answering to it.

    In your case sweetheart, neither of these 2 apply. Yours is a temporary situation. You are just exploring your options right now. Mint wants to finish his MBA. You were thinking you might want to resettle so why take up work right now?
    It’s pretty simple. You are young only once, only now can you explore options like this.

    Take my word on this one. Enjoy this phase. For all those people clucking on omg tsk tsk bit, tell them to @#$% themselves. Seriously. They are just jealous they cannot have the option you don’t. Bas. Do not get bothered by others’ comments….do you really care what they think? They don’t clean your home or pay your bills. Why should it matter?
    In the meantime, you could pursue a hobby…like learning instrumental music, for example. Or working with an NGO. Volunteering. Odd jobs. There are truckloads of options you can explore, only if you give it a chance.

    And yes the world is a better place for those live by intuition (that works). I am one of them 🙂
    Too much planning destroys things, so don’t think too much!

    • Pepper said

      Thanks so much for the wonderful wise words. At times I think I need to hear them.

      I am glad you took the break. And that your boss agreed to let you take one. I didn’t think people would question you at this time! I don’t know what they expect really..

      You’re right on all counts. I do honestly treasure and value this time that i have. I know it will never come back. And I will work on the ‘not bothering’ about their comments part.
      I do pursue my hobbies. And I plan to explore more. 🙂

      Thanks so much once again.

  16. rupa said

    I am a silent delurker……love the way you write !

    And on what people say, thats crap …….And about being independent…I dont see how a job makes some body independent…I work full time…but even If I chose something else I would have been the same person….being independent is a state of mind….its one’s personality…..we can’t equate it with a paycheck……
    And just do what makes you happy….. thats all what matters…..we can never get rid of such people or negativity around …so have fun and be the person you can love…….

    • Pepper said

      Thanks for delurking Rupa. 🙂

      Being independent is a state of mind? That’s true to an extent. But all the same, if I were to walk out on everybody and start my life by myself, I would not be able to survive because I am not financially sound right? But you’re right. I do not really feel ‘dependent’ on anybody as such. Probably because I consider Mint and I to be one unit. Its only the other girls who look at me and keep rubbing in by saying ‘They can’t imagine not being independent’ that I even think about it.

  17. Like Sig said, I am now at a stage where I wanna take a break and do nothing. I mean I want to be the wife I promised my younger self, I’d never be.

    I got married at 23 too and I know a lot of them have said even more hurtful things because I had an elder sister who wasn’t married. I was called wanton and desperate for a man etc, but we know that our getting married was the only way to legalize things for our parents who were very uncomfortable with us traveling and making investments together.

    I say start some level of freelancing. Even mind-numbing data entry work will ensure that you have some amount of time dedicated to “work”! Or start volunteering some place like a library or NGO where you might not make money but you have a purpose every morning that you wake up!

    And your handling this wonderfully, don’t beat yourself up for being in love, getting married and making impulsive decisions. All of us have done it. 🙂

    Hugs!

    • Pepper said

      You were called desperate for a man cos you married at 23 while having an elder unmarried sis? Jeeez!! What stupid people!
      I am kind of confused about wanting to freelance. Sometimes I want to just savour this break and live by my own rules. Cos later I will have to force myself to jump out of bed at a particular time and run through the day anyway. But yes, I am weighing all options 🙂

  18. tinu said

    Pepper,

    Don’t feel let down by what others say…hmm..and let me tell u what i feel. when u r meeting new persons, obviously they need to be some topic,right. If u have kids, then all the conversation will be based on that. Otherwise it will be on ur work place n all. The ‘other “‘So what do you do all day long?’” could just be another way to start conversation ,right….

    • Pepper said

      Sure I agree with that Tinu. If you read my post carefully, you’ll see that I said the same thing. Let me quote myself..

      “Because the first question I would be asked would be ‘So what do you do?’. I don’t blame them for asking me that. That is the most common conversation starter”

      So there, I do understand why that comes up. Just that, knowing it doesn’t make it any easier for me.

      • tinu said

        hi…yday i was in a hurry, so i cudn’t finish what i wanted to say…

        It all depends on how you convey it….If you are happily telling them that it is a much yearned break for you and you are enjoying every bit of it, then no more annoying questions would follow…(u have read tom sawyer, right). Let them be filled with jealousy….Exaggerate a little…

        Love reading your blog….its very relaxed and comfy corner….

        • Pepper said

          Oh yes, it all comes down to your attitude and how you sound to them. If they sense a shred of uncertainty in your tone, they will dig further. I just don’t know how to sound totally confident.
          Thank you 🙂

  19. N said

    Hey, been reading your blog for a while now. Just had to comment on this post. I quit my job (an investment banking position with an MNC) in March and boy, have people had a field day with the questions since then. I quit because the hours were taking a toll on my health, I suffered a miscarriage and I could no longer whip up the enthusiasm to kill myself over work. I now have time to eat helathy, exercise, read, travel, learn new stuff (have just finished learning swimming and am going to join spanish classes now) and spend time with my family and friends. Heck, I can fly to my hometown in the middle of the day now and dont have to worry abt mondays!

    The basic premise is that a job is your status symbol/ identity/ your whole life and you are nothing without it. I find this really surprising, cos the same people questioned me on my work hours, travel etc when I was working. You are doomed if your working, doomed if your not.

    I totally understand your discomfort at the smug ‘I’m better than you’ attitude, I have faced a lot of it. All I can do is smile to myself and think that these people have no clue what life’s priorities really are. They have a misplaced sense of what’s important and these are the same people who will be ruing not enjoying life, down the years. Whereas people like you and me will be content that our time was well spent 🙂

    • Pepper said

      That’s amazing N. Very few people have the heart to quit their jobs. That too a coveted position like an Investment Banker. I am glad you found time to do all that you did. I’d say you are living life the right way.

      I don’t think I ever would want a stressful job either. I’d rather not be working, than leading a stressful life. I want a relaxing job, which is hard find in this day and age. But the fact that I am willing to compromise on the pay makes it easy to find a not too demanding job.

      You’re so right. All those people who talk like that don’t ever pause to think of their priorities in life, or have a misplaced sense of what is important. And I know for a fact that I always weigh my choices carefully, so yes, we will be more content with the way we spent our time. 🙂 Thanks for your wonderful comment.

  20. Kunal said

    As long as you are content with yourself, you should not care about what others say. No body has a right to judge one. Everyone is entitled to do (or not to do) what he/she wants. So, just take a deep breadth, be happy for what you have and what you have done so far, think, relax, explore. I.e as long as you are waiting for EAD. 🙂

    There are lots to do, btw..watching repeat episodes of Friends, Sienfelds and The Wonder Years and laughing till your stomach aches. 🙂

  21. RR said

    I left a comment on ur ‘Someday’ post because I felt our lives were similar…i also told u that me and my husband have decided to move back sooner rather than later… i have been working in the US for about a year now.. but before that even i spent 1 year on an h4… i too dreaded meeting new people… i HATED the ‘what do you do’ question… before that my whole life was spent being competitive… i even did my mba from one of the best institutes in India…worked for 3 years, fell in love and then came to the US on the h4 visa…
    I know there is one set of people that will make u feel like crap.. and another set that tells u to ‘smell the flowers and enjoy your break’… I just want to tell u that yes you should enjoy this year you have… but the lows will come… and when they do dont try to ignore them… all the bad feelings with just fester inside u and make u bitter… acknowledge the fact that your low, cry it out (i have spent many hours crying and feeling sorry for myself), talk to a friend, write a long post, take a deep breath and then move on… there is no point telling yourself that you shouldnt feel bad or low… you have every right to feel low because what kind of a system doesnt allow an educated woman to work, especially when her husband works in the same country and she has to live here anyway… just imagine… h4 women are anyway living here.. u let them work and the couple will spend more, move into a bigger house, pay more taxes – all of that goes into the US economy only right? Anyway let me not get started on that…
    btw just a tip – i totally get where your coming from when you say you dont want to study more… studying is NOT a form of timepass… but I have heard that the local community colleges here offer courses in dance, drama, music and a lot of other fun stuff… u might want to consider things like that.. once you are in the rat race again you might not get time for all that… i spent a few months helping a friend create a website for their company… i didnt make any money but learnt some new stuff and had a ready made answer for the ‘what do you do’ question 🙂

    • Pepper said

      RR, I can’t tell you how much I love your comment. You put in words exactly how I feel.
      Everybody either questions you on your unemployed status, or tells you to not care about what people say and to not feel low. But not feeling low is almost impossible when you have to battle the questions all the time, every instant. You do get bruised. You’re the first person to tell me that I have every right to feel low, and that it is okay to cry, and then accept it and move on. That works much, much better. Because this whole system is very unfair. It does make you feel singled out.

      Thanks a lot for your tips. I will check that stuff out. And once again, thanks a lot for taking the time out to comment. I truly appreciate it 🙂

  22. Sands said

    When I married the OH and spent a year and a half at home, I was exactly where you are today. On hindsight, I would do anything today to be back where I was back then 🙂 The grass is always greener on the other side. At the end of the day, if what you do makes you happy, that is all that matters. Enjoy every moment on now, because, I am almost positive you will miss these times in future 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Okay, a quick question. What is preventing you from going back to where you were then? Am just curious cos almost everybody says the same thing but nobody does it, despite having the choice to do it. You needn’t answer it you think it is too personal of course. 🙂

  23. Vinita said

    delurking here for the first time, have been following ur blog for sometime now… i too was one of the people who worked to get the money at the end of the month.. there were days when i just hated the work & the routine my life had become… but there were also days when i loved what i did.. so i was never really sure as to what i really wanted.. being doing something that i was good at gave me a real high on the good days.. but not having time for small things like going to shop for things that i wanted etc killed me on somedays.. i always had planned for one thing though.. that i’ll quit my job when i had my baby… and that’s what i did.. i resigned from my job one week b4 i delivered my baby.. but now one year down the line i again feel a little lost.. am i doing the right thing.. my counterparts at work are moving ahead leaps and bounds and i at times feel trapped by the choices i made..and ofcourse i miss the jam that i brought home… but ur post again is making me think.. maybe its time for me to re-evaluate my life as well…at times i wish that i was born a century ago, gender stereotype had made life’s choices a little simpler for men & women… we today are an extremely greedy lot, we want everything..:P

    • Pepper said

      Lol, I fully understand what you’re saying. I would be happy earning money, at the same time I would be unhappy if my work hours snatched away my other little moments from life. Which is why I always say, I’d take up a slow paced, low paying, less demanding job when I do.
      Sigh. Life is confusing really. I can imagine how confusing it must be after having a baby. Maybe you can consider working part time for a while until he/she grows a little and then take your call? I don’t know. Its a hard choice either ways. Good luck reevaluating your life.. Let me know what you decide.
      You nailed it. Our generation today wants everything. We’re way too greedy. Lol.

  24. SD said

    Hey Pepper! I’d like to tell you that I was in the same situation. H4, can’t work blah blah. I’m not a very good ‘housewife’ either…I used to get these annoying questions too… You’re right, the worst being ‘What do you do all day?. Some days are productive, some are not – what do they care? Now I’m working, and I look back and think, I’m so happy that I had some time off to myself, because you really miss that when you start working. Work and chores take up 90% of your time, especially when you’re a beginner. I’m sure you’ll feel the same way, that you had some time off to do things you wanted to do, deadline-free and hassle-free….after all, we have this life, and none of this is gonna matter when we’re 90!!! I suggest you enjoy being you and live life in exactly the way you want it. And when people ask you annoying questions, tell them that you are loving this short break and are able to do so many things (little or big) for yourself and your relationship which you won’t have time for once you start working. Say this with confidence and happiness and give a sympathetic look to the other person … That should shake up their thoughts a bit 🙂

    • Pepper said

      I know, I will certainly miss these days when I start working. Which is why I try and make the most of them. I really enjoy this deadline-free and hassle-free life I have now. I wish I knew how to answer people when they ask me. If I figure that out, then it would be all perfect. Confidence is what I lack. Hopefully, I’ll gain some along the way..:)

  25. A honest open-hearted post. * applauds *

    I have suggested this before and second you again on the option of ‘volunteering for some organisation’ – there are many in the area which would appreciate your help tremendously.

    BTW, if at all I have asked you ( cannot recall though) ‘so..what do you do..’, am sorry for that, didn’t mean to hurt.

    May you find a path more clear and may you answer people with unabashed confidence to whatever they throw at you.

    • Pepper said

      Oh no babes, you didn’t ask me that. I told you about my situation before you could throw that question. And even if you did ask me that, why should you be sorry? I wouldn’t blame you at all. If is perfectly natural to be curious about what somebody does while talking to the person for the first time. It IS the most common conversation starter. So I never blame the people who ask me that question, though it does put me in a fix. I start feeling sick when they persist beyond that, look shocked and ask me how I spend my day cos its so unimaginable to them, and at times give me their opinions that I don’t care about.

  26. Oh, BTW, missed telling you this.

    A close family friend got marries recently and brought home a very chirpy sweet girl as wife..again on H4. She worked in India , but stays home now. But, anyone ask her -“so, how do you spend time during the day?”..she smiles and goes confidently “Oh, a lot of this and a lot of that..you know, I cannot pin point one for you now”.

    I like that answer every time she uses it on people.

    • Pepper said

      I love her confidence 🙂 Wish I had some of it. I’ve used that answer too and all I’ve gotten in return are more questions, and sometimes, weird looks. And perhaps she feels so confident because she has in some way accepted her situation? In my case, I never imagined being this way and I keep lashing out at the unfair system, the lousy situation and trying hard to accept that I am the odd one out, the victim of this immigration framework and its crushing regulations.

  27. You know my situation, don’t you? 🙂

    When I quit work, I was imagining my life to be in the dumps. And also dodged many curious questions about why my company did not grant me a 1yr leave or why they did not place me somewhere in the US. It’s not easy when any new person asks the same question over and over again and yet your answers do not get any better.

    Today, however, when I think of my life, I can easily say I have been the happiest with my decision! I am getting the time to do things I love, relax and get my health back from the 4yrs I spent traveling and working odd hours and ignoring it and honestly, I have NO regrets whatsoever. I love my life with G and we get to spend so much time together which, I think, is key to your personal life.

    I wanted a break from work….I got it….and I love it !!

    I say Travel 🙂
    Take this year to travel as much as you both can. Experience the culture and food and take it from me, you will love it 🙂 That is the one thing G and I did the first 2 yrs of our married life that we absolutely enjoyed!
    Volunteering will make you feel you’re working some place. So that’s a good idea to meet new people and make new contacts. It might come helpful when you’re finally looking for a job.

    • Pepper said

      Okay, since so many of you have asked me to enjoy my time now, I suspect my message got lost somewhere in my rant. I do enjoy myself, I don’t regret my decision. I had to choose between having a job and living away from Mint, or living with Mint without having a job. I chose what I thought would make me happy, and I haven’t for a second regretted my decision. I live this time to the fullest, we do travel as much as we can. Last year, we took 6 holidays in a span of 3 months and even took 2 international holidays after that. So we do all that is within our capacity.. Each trip gave me a chance to explore. Had I been working, none of that would have been possible. So yes, I enjoy myself a lot, i love this period, I’ve grown as a person and I am NOT complaining.

      What I AM complaining about is the questions, the rigorous interrogation and the demeaning remarks people keep showering me with. That is what I can’t take. That is where my problems lie. 😦

      • I’m sorry if I came across as someone giving you advice on how to spend the one year you have on hand. I was only giving my example because I related to your situation about staying home without a job in the US. I also did not mean to imply that you were not already enjoying your time; I think my point got lost somewhere in my comment too! I’m also sorry if I’ve asked you the same question “so what do you do?”..

        • Pepper said

          Uff… why are you apologizing SnS? You didnt sound like you were givng me any kind of advice. And even if you did, what is so wrong about it? I know you relate to this situation and have in fact been in it longer than I have, so I would appreciate any kind of advice you give me on how to cope with it.
          I only clarified my say because a lot of people seemed to focus on my situation, telling me that I can use it to my advantage without realising that I do that in every way I can, without focusing on the problem I had. I just wanted to say that my situation isn’t the problem, the people are. I chose your comment to say that in cos it was the last one. If I sounded agitated in any way, I am sorry.

          And I will repeat, I don’t blame people for asking me what I do in the least bit. So I don’t see why you have to apologize.

  28. avymom said

    Each to his own and don’t feel you have to defend yourself to anyone out there. Do what you need to keep happiness, peace and sanity.

  29. A-kay said

    I can totally relate to what you are saying, as I was in a similar situation about 7-8 years back. I was working before I got married and hence took a break when I moved here and wanted to contemplate on what to do next. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the guts (or energy or patience, any one or all of those 🙂 ) to take the time to figure out what I wanted to do and also, explore options. So, I eventually caved in and got a job (and a H1) and went into the work/house routine and feel bad for myself for that.

    I gather from your posts that you live in the Bay Area (and so do I :)) and there are lots of voluntary based organizations (like yogabhati, samskritabharati) here both to volunteer and to learn new arts / skills that you can explore. Not to mention other organizations to foster dance, music and other forms. Explore based on your interest and don’t pay heed to what others think or say and take this time to understand/figure out what you want to do and don’t decide in haste. I don’t mean to sound preachy, but having gone through the phase, just telling you what I wish somebody had told me then 🙂

    • Pepper said

      You live in the Bay Area too? Awesome! 🙂 Thanks for telling me the names of those organisations. I do plan to seriously think about what I want to do. And volunteering might just be it. I am in no haste to make up my mind though. I plan to take it as it comes.
      And no you don’t sound preachy at all. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

  30. What an honest, thought-provoking post. Loved it. My two rupees:

    1. I have been in a similar situation – when I did not have a job and I did not have a clear roadmap of what I was going to do with my life. It felt like s**t. So I can totally relate to this post.
    2. That said, I believe every person knows in his/her heart of hearts exactly what they want to do with their life. It just takes some quiet sitting down, closing your eyes, and really, deeply thinking about what you love doing – what you can continue to do for the rest of your life – even if you were not paid. I realised I am not cut out to be a homemaker. I need to work. I need to write. I need time to myself. I need time for the family. I need quality time with my passions, otherwise I burn out fairly easily.
    3. It is sad, but work does add a sense of purpose in life. Not that work defines you, but it does go a long way towards adding to that feeling that you are doing something in your life. I guess everyone needs to feel that they have contributed to their family, the society in whatever little way they can.
    4. Being a working wife myself – work taking away a major chunk of my time – work is a casual conversation starter for me. Talking about work is not meant to demean anyone – irrespective of whether they are working or not working. Just that we spend so much time at work that it automatically comes out in our conversations. Your post made me realise that it might not be sounding good to someone who is not working. That said, if conversations about work are deliberately used to make you look down, you should definitely do something about it.
    5. If you are without a job only for a year or so, I feel that is nothing to really worry about. I myself would die to get a one-year break off work to pursue my passions. I have been working without a break for 3 years now. Enjoy yourself! Enjoy every minute of it!
    6. You need not ‘work’ in the classic sense of the word – that is, to earn. If volunteering or teaching or social service makes you feel satisfied, go for it.
    7. No one better than you knows what is best for you. Don’t let naysayers and so called do-gooders affect you.

    Hope I make sense, and hope I haven’t offended your sensibilities in any way. 🙂

    • Pepper said

      My response to pt. 4 – I never for a minute blame people for using work as a conversation starter. At some point, I must have been guilty of the same thing. So like I have repeated elsewhere, that question is not of much significance. I was talking about the deliberate prodding people do and then stab me with hurtful remarks because they believe they are better than me at this moment.
      Regd. pt 5. I am not worried about this one year, like I said. I like my life. I am worried about lack of confidence to face the world that harasses me.
      Nope, you didn’t offend my sensibilities in any way. I always appreciate all your thoughts and opinions 🙂

  31. anuthati said

    arey.. cheer-up girl.. people in this world dont have any other good job.. so they keep bothering others. if u ignore them, they wont trouble you.. u should know to smile to them and leave it.. u should never take others words to heart dear..
    people are really mad dear.. infact ppl around me tell me to quit my job as stay 800kms away from husband. they say that i need to take time to spend with husband. and if i quit my job, they would say, why are u sitting at home. so, just follow ur heart and nothing else..
    1.i just envy your independence to stay at home relax and do what ever you want.. not everyone are privileged..you can do what u like, ur passion.. looks like u love reading books, writing blogs etc etc.. do them. may be once u start working or have kids u wont have time for all these.. at that time u should not regret that u didn’t take a proper break..i think everybody in this world will take a break at one point or the other.. what if u take it now? i am taking a break right now in name of my daughter..
    2.who said working gives u financial independence? isnt ur money ur husband and vise-versa?
    3. is it a rule that u should work if are graduate? non-sense.. i studied only to make me more knowledgeable.
    finally just remember ur last post. would you have got that beautiful flower in ur garden if u were working? u would not have had time to cherish that also..

    • Pepper said

      Thank you Anu. People keep bothering us no matter what.
      I know I wont have time to do all that I do now and I really value this period of my life. You’re right. My husband’s money is my money, I was only talking about the opinions other girls try to force on me.
      And yes, degrees don’t have to translate to jobs, but I did (and paid for) my Masters particularly to get a good job..So when that didn’t go as per plan, it makes me feel lost.

  32. Preethi said

    People will always have problem with whatever we do. When my son was one year old, I quit my job to stay at home and enjoy some time with him. People had problem with that, I got sugeestions that I should be leaving him with my mom in India or put him in a day-care center here. After a period of 1 year, I strated working and again…people have a problem with it. I realised that people just like to comment on how others should lead a meaningful life.
    NOw that you are enjoying your life with Mint, dont let others comments bother you. I know, it is easier said than done. Good luck with what ever you decide to do in the future ! The key is to enjoy and lead a happy life.

    • Pepper said

      I know having a child makes it all the more complex. You really don’t want to be listening to unwanted opinions. Try and tune out at such times.
      I will try not getting affected by their comments too, however hard it is. The key like you said, is to lead a happy life.

  33. Chhavi said

    Just make a few changes to this post and it becomes the story of my life till now. I know what being indecisive is and how frustrating it can get at times. The feeling one gets when he thinks he is heading towards nowhere is extremely scary. At times I feel I owe an answer to friends and relatives for not having a clear idea about my goals and aspirations.
    Anyway, I have devised a solution to end this problem of mine. I just listen to what people have to say, filter out the stuff I feel is important for me and discard the rest as junk.
    Don’t worry dear. Things ultimately work out for the best.

    • Pepper said

      We do need to realise that don’t owe any answer to anybody, other than people who matter to us of course. The rest need to learn to back off. I will try filtering out and discarding the junk too.

  34. finally delurking Pepper.
    i moved to the US 10 years ago- i married an american citizen. my visa situation was a lot better than yours, didnt have to wait long (about 8 months) for the work permit to come through.
    its hard when people pass judgements, basically shows their ignorance and disrespect for other people’s choices.
    i know it can frustrating being at home..have you seriously considered volunteering while waiting for your paperwork to firm up? this is what i did and when i finally got the permit, it made it a lot easier for me to find a job. my background is HR too, with a concenrtration on training and OD. so i applied at a local hosiptal (Johns Hopkins) volunteer services and specifically asked for an assignment with the HR department. thats how my career in the US began. looking back, i think this was the best decision i made.
    good luck with your decisions…dont let other people’s remarks bother you.

    • Pepper said

      Hey Sukanya! Thanks for delurking. Why does your name sound so familiar to me? Either I have visited your blog in the past, or I have seen your comments on other blogs I read. 🙂
      Okay, what you say does make a lot of sense. I only think about volunteering at times, I haven’t seriously considered it until now. I probably should. It would be great, especially if I get some HR assignments.
      Thanks!

  35. Tanishka said

    I could relate to each n every word coz I had sat home for a long period looking for a job after quitting from my first job…. I have been through it and I was not as strong as you… There were times when I used to silently take all the non-sense people had to give me and just rush back home only to break into tears…. Thankfully that phase is over now but trust me those people still have something or the other to say… Now they say that I shouldn’t ave left my home town for the job…. So basically job or no job, these idiots will have some crap to say and so now I just ignore them and I make them realize that there opinion is NOT at all important….

    Hugs babe….

    • Pepper said

      I am not strong Tan. I feel bruised by their remarks. I rush back home to break into tears and cry too.
      You’re right. People will always comment on our choices. I just wish I could harden myself in some way.
      Hugs back!

  36. bini said

    You have so much to do..Like keep me entertained while im at work:P.Seriously ignore ignore. I never ask this question coz my Mom used to get asked all the time and it used to bug the hell out of her. But seriously its none of anyone’s business how you keep yourself busy:). Live in the moment,plan for the future a little:) and have fun !

  37. TPL said

    Why not take a page from the locals and say “I am evaluating my options” 🙂

    I read some of the comments about the unfairness of a H4 not being allowed to work. Er.. that is not entirely true!

    On H4, there are no restrictions to pursue education or switch to a H1 by applying for his/her own job. In fact, if one is really good, the US immigration law respects that by establishing the EB1 category where in you will directly get your green card within 2-3 months. The options are always there. Its up to us whether to pursue it or not.

    Sorry, this is a pet peeve of mine when people immigrate on their own accord and then complain about the local laws.

    As for the critical comments – I believe this is something you can handle once YOU have made peace with your choices. I wish you get there soon 🙂

    • Pepper said

      TPL, I should have mentioned the fact that I DID look for jobs, and still am. But I can’t even complete most applications online because of the same question – ‘Are you authorized to work in the United States?’. I’d have to select ‘No’, only to be told that I was not eligible to apply in that case. There was one single time when I did get an interview call and even got selected for the role. Before I could celebrate, they learnt of my visa status and then apologised for being unable to take me on board. I’ve applied relentlessly for a very long time and each time it is solely the H4 visa that has been a hurdle. Yes, in theory, an H4 holder is allowed to switch to H1. But in practice, it is next to impossible. I can’t help feeling the angst you know? Especially when I see my counterparts on the L2 visa (dependents of L1) being able to work with no restrictions.

      I looked you up, to see where you are coming from. I gather you are an engineer by profession. Had I been one too, getting my own H1 could have been easier than what it is now, only because USA is in need of engineers, software developers and other techies. For non-technical fields, especially something like HR, getting sponsorship for a visa is almost impossible .You probably wouldn’t realise that from where you stand. Had I been free of these visa hassles, I could have easily found myself a decent, if not a great job.

      As for EB1 – it comes into picture only after you are employed and the employer is willing to file your green card. The option is there to pursue only after one has a job in the first place. Moreover, for EB1 eligibility, being “really good” is a very big understatement. As far as I know, only folks in very research oriented jobs apply for EB1. Many of Mint’s friends, even though they are PhDs in science or engineering, have not been eligible because they were not in research heavy jobs. In a non-technical field like HR, how ever incredibly fantastic I am, I will not be able to pursue this option at all.

      Regarding your pet peeve – I should point out that I wasn’t complaining about the local laws in my post in the first place. I was complaining about the people who give me a hard time. It is other commenters who brought up the issue of how unfair it is. Irrespective of that, you might want to consider the fact that not everybody moves on their own accord and that one might not know or realize the full implications of all the local laws until he/she actually moves there. Just because you moved someplace, I don’t think it means that you have lost the right to feel that something is wrong there 🙂

      • TPL said

        Whether we move for ourselves or for a loved one, its still a choice that *we* made. Its not like the foreign country invited any of us on false promises. Thats what I meant by ‘moving on their own accord’

        We might disagree on if the H4 treatment is fair/not (:)) but I am with you when you say that its unfair compared to a L2 case.

        • Pepper said

          Yes, I agree the country does not give false promises. But as I said, one may not realize the full extent of the restrictions imposed (before or when they make the choice to move, or they could have chosen differently) until he/she actually goes there because theoretical possibilities and reality are different. Secondly, not everyone has made that choice themselves. It is often imposed upon them.There are a lot of young Indian girls packed off to foreign lands because it is a choice their family made for them, But anyway, I respect the difference in our opinion and we can just agree to disagree here 🙂

          Regarding the fairness of the H4 visa, I don’t have strong opinions myself. I can argue from both sides really. But now that I am at the receiving end of these laws, I do keep thinking of how different my life could have been had these restrictions not existed.

  38. Sruthi said

    I love the post…been there, done that! I was not working for year and a half after my marriage…again H4, dependent blah blah. But we came back to India, and I found a job soon after.

    But now I can’t tell u how much I miss those days of ‘doing nothing’…just be at home, watch TV and movies, cook at my leisure…I crave for such days! I understand that it all might seem frustrating now. And I had so many questions to answer – ‘u r educated, why r u wasting ur time?’, ‘how do u manage to stay at home as a housewife?’ etc etc…I used to detest them then 😀

    But people are a bit too curious for their own good…and all we can do is ignore. All u need is the confidence to say ‘yeah, i dont have a job, so??’. Don’t break ur head over this…its not worth it 🙂

    • Pepper said

      I’m sure you miss the good ol’ days Sruthi.
      I repeat, I do not find this time frustrating at all. Maybe cos I am not a very competitive, career oriented person. I am content with this life, especially because I know its temporary. But when I have to deal with the questions, I am all lost…
      I am told people will have something to say even after I start working, but I doubt it. Because almost everybody I know here is working, and they wouldn’t want to be speaking against their own choices. Either ways, I shouldn’t care about them. I know it’s not worth it 🙂

  39. Wow! You come across as such an honest person with this post. I am sure you’ll take a path that leads you somewhere good, like earlier! 🙂

  40. ajay said

    A heartfelt post. I agree with SAB’s comment. Nobody can fully understand a situation one is in and it’s all too easy for them to offer quick solutions. And precisely for this reason you shouldn’t let what they say affect you in any way. All the best, Pepper. 🙂

  41. Pixie said

    Hugs babe!

    I totally understand what you are saying! I chucked all my plans right thru the window and came here and as you know – its been fun so far!
    Dont let them get to you! As long as you guys are happy, thats all that matters! 🙂
    Enjoy each day and dont let the annoying aunties get to you! 🙂

    {{{hugs}}}}

    • Pepper said

      See. That’s what I meant. Living impulsively, on the edge is fun right? I’ve enjoyed my time too. If only these wretched people didn’t butt in..
      Hugs! 🙂

  42. Nitya Karthik said

    Ugh. Pet peeve this one. I came here on a L2 visa but I was content to be at home for sometime before I started working. I had my reasons. Being very laid back, having a spouse who just wanted to see me happy, in whatever way that happened and not being super competitive myself – I took 4 months to settle in this country, be a wife and just soak in the experiences. Sure I was lucky enough to have this opportunity. But the number of complaints, raised eyebrows, questions, relentless remarks – all left me feeling down. I never went up to anyone and asked anything or passed judgement on what they did, then what gavce thme the right to do so with me? Later, when i started working in a media company keeping bizarre hours as is expected in this field, again I was questioned. How could I expect my house to run smoothly, how could I expect the husband – always a better and a more enthu cook than me, to understand my hours…it went on and on. Then Adi came along and as you can guess, comments again about me being a SAHM.
    EB1 processing for the green card happened, I got my official work permit and started working and now I am the mother who leaves her 3 year old with strangers while she goes about gallivanting to work.
    Ugh. Where I am going with this long winded remark is that logon ka kaam hain kehna, I know it hurts. But its their problem. Not yours. Next time someone asks, give a fierce smile, say that I am taking time to pursue other interests and walk off. Silly folks.

    • Pepper said

      Oh Nitya, you’ve no idea of how jealous I am of you current or former L2 holders. 🙂 .. It really pains me when I think of how unfair the H4 is in comparison to the L2. But anyway, I am glad you were not trapped into this whole H4 mess.
      I know Media has crazy work hours, which is why I actually made the switch from Media to HR, because I was unwilling to live like that. But for people who do enjoy it and have made the choice, I can imagine how the world must be badgering them with questions. Add a child to this equation, and I know how messy this gets. I really wish people would leave us to make our own choices.
      You’re right. Logon ka kaam hai kehna. Stupid log.

      • Nitya Karthik said

        I know..its really unfair and slightly silly if you ask me about this H4 nonsense. Eh. Maybe someday..
        Hmm..you know what I forgot to mention before? I was in media..and now I am working in the HR department for a media company. Weird huh?

        -N

        • Pepper said

          Whoa. You work in the HR department for a media company? That’s been my dream job. I always wanted to do exactly that, because it would give me a chance to use both my degrees in some way. Wow. You’re a good contact to have then 😛 Maybe you can get me a job once my visa crap is sorted. Lol.

          Btw, did you say EB1? Did you, with a media background qualify for EB1? In that case TPL might be right.. So tell me about how you went about it?

          • Nitya Karthik said

            😀 Absolutely!

            And no no, where us poor mediawale will ever qualify for EB1? This is all coz the man has been working for the Fed Bank for sometime now.Apparently when you arent too keen on getting a green card is when the authorities process it the fastest for you.*rolls eyes*

            • Pepper said

              So I was right then. Fed Bank? No wonder. So you either have to have a big name under your belt, or a very technical research oriented job.
              Yeah.. looks like that right. ? 😦 ..

  43. scorpria said

    I’d just say ignore the rest of the world 😀 That’s what I do when I decide on something, am happy about it, and get questioned by others. I just take it in through one ear, blast it off through the other. It’s their right to ask, its ours to ignore 😀

    What’s right to me is always wrong to the other person. Just imagine someone telling me “I’m working with xyz company, and i’m quite successful”, and I ask “you’re working? why? how could you?” 😀 😀

    Ignore! 🙂 I can see that you don’t regret your decision — it’s just a confusion that’s come up as a result of all the questions 😉

  44. yaadayaada said

    I was exactly in the same spot some years back. And I am very much like you in the attitude. I never got bored at home for the first year or so and I love going with the flow. And I understand you at many levels, when you say, “the people who asks the questions are just making conversation and it hurts nevertheless”. Although the brain knows, there is no controlling of how the hearts feels/hurts and sends one to a sobbing or screaming fest. So hang in there! This too shall pass. Ranting, blogging or just screaming/sobbing it out helps!! Because, there is no way we can shut the people around us especially when they didn’t really mean anything by those questions!!!

    • Pepper said

      You really do seem to understand it Yaadayaada. It’s a very difficult scenario actually. On one hand, you are quite content with the situation you are in, on the other hand, people keep bothering you, though it always isn’t intentional. So you can’t even get mad at them. And their questions even make you start wondering if your situation is really that bad? Why else will you be given such a hard time. Your heart adn mind are in a constantly confused state.

      And hey, I am so happy to see you here. I do stalk your blog very often, you know? 🙂

      • yaadayaada said

        I am a stalker as well! Although I said this too shall pass in my comment, it actually doesn’t. It just shifts from one topic to another. First it is about studies, then marriage, then work, then staying at home, then work, then babies and it continues.And most people are just curious or making conversation and in spite of knowing that we get hurt badly. So when I said, this too shall pass, what I mean is this time will pass and we get mature enough with time to deal with this effectively. We will regress, get hurt, but get over it faster with time. Good Luck!!

  45. Deepa said

    Girl,
    I totally get what you are going through, I was there too 12 years ago.., a lot of people would ask me what I did in my free time, it was really irritating. I started volunteering for an organization called ASHA and worked closely rehabilitating battered indian women. It was quite an experience. I am not suggesting that you do the same, I was merely sharing my experience. I then went to school and got my masters, and then got a job. Have been slogging for 12 years, I am getting ready to leave all this and start my jewellery designing business soon.

    Good luck to you!

    Deepa

    • Pepper said

      Hey, I was considering ASHA as an option too.
      Sometimes, I wish i hadn’t done my Masters before I got here. Then I could do it at this point in life. It would have been perfect. Now I just don’t have the enthu to study again. Nice to know your plans. I wish you all the luck in your jewellery designing business. I am sure it will take off well .. Let me know once you’ve set it up. 🙂

  46. I am so late to your post this time, but well I have never been in similar situation, but I do have problems with this country’s immigration laws, it gives opportunity for not so good people to earn more money and good people to stay home. I feel its not fair. I never liked or wanted to settle in this country, was/is here for R. So when ever I get into any frustration, I blame R for the same, even recently I told him that I am doing a favor staying here far away from parents and my siblings. I am glad that you are clear on what you want which is usually not that easy. Did I tell, I was ranting how badly I want to go back few months ago, well things have changed a lot from then, we moved to a town home, we are traveling more, and generally we are happy as a couple. May be its the summer effect, I have learned to enjoy present and stop worrying too much abt future. I think that is what you have been doing as well..

    • Pepper said

      Lol. I always tell Mint I am doing him a favour by living here, away from my parents. And he always agrees with me.
      I’ve learnt to enjoy the present too. I quite like this place. Its just that I hate being so far away from my family.

  47. Deboshree said

    People say all sorts of things. I am surrounded by err, emotional people in my life and spend a considerable chunk of my time telling them that. But it is just a statement. It does matter what people say and none of us is so detached or even so sure of ourselves that we can brush them off like we would a fly. I am glad you have always listened to your gut feeling – isn’t being impulsive what life is all about? I have no idea what people gain by deliberating on something over and over and in the end, coming out with either the original intuition or a dead-end. I hope you continue to do what feels right to you and manage to get over this rather mixed phase in your life soon. Good luck. 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Perfectly said D. We’re not so detached or so sure of ourselves and that makes it really hard to brush them off like a fly. It does play on your mind. But its a learning process. I am trying hard to learn to be strong.
      I do think life is about being impulsive and living in the moment. But that is not how most others think.
      Thank you 🙂

  48. Gori Rajkumari said

    Ewww. Those people you were talking to sound like what we called back home “REAL pooterheads” as opposed to the endearing one of “my pooterhead”.

    I think it all depends on where you are living as to the response your going to get from someone to the answer of “I don’t work.” Some will be truly jealous (me when I lived and drudged…I mean worked there), some will be honestly curious (because they’ve never had that advantage) and other’s will be incredulous (what? why?).

    I’m in the same boat as you except I’m in India where it’s common for the woman to be a “housewife”. It used to drive me nuts because I thought, what’s my worth? What am I doing to contribute to my marriage? And that last thought stopped me cold.

    You see….since the feminist movement….saying you are a housewife has almost become a dirty word in the US. Either that or you are rich. Neither one can the average Joe understand and sometimes not even like.

    Now I realize that I contribute by giving us both a nice clean home, full of good things and smells and memories. I contribute by cooking healthy meals (or directly the maid to do so). I contribute by being really HERE for my husband when he comes home absolutely tired and wasted from work. I contribute in so many ways that are just as valuable as bringing home a paycheck. Now…I LOVE being a housewife! PROUD HOUSEWIFE HEAR ME ROAR!

    My husband likes to say that an Indian who takes his ‘Indianess’ with him to the US will do better financially then the average American. Why? Debt. Credit. Little concept of true savings. Companies that underpay and are allowed to get away with it. Inflation. High Medical costs. Blah Blah Blah. That’s why. And then there are those couples in the US who are both forced to work just to support their nice house in the suburbs with the 46′ flat screen, new dining room set, two new cars and whatever else fancied their eye. Not saying that ALL American’s are like this…just a lot more than you will find in India.

    ENJOY your freedom to decide what you do with your daily life and ignore the haters and jealous people who come along. Read a book, heck…you’re a fabulous writer…WRITE a book, join a group, volunteer, knit….the world is YOUR oyster girl!

  49. hAAthi said

    You are probably long past this phase, but I just had to add my 2-bit. I am a firm believer in the fact that everything really *does* happen for a reason. And most often it is not obvious at the time of the event. So if nothing else, it helps to just believe in this, and hang on to a little faith that soon this too shall pass and you will look back on this and know why life gave you this time to pause and ponder and reevaluate your life. Perhaps you were meant for bigger things than work and home. Perhaps a shift in life? Discovering a new passion? Foraying into areas you didnt know you could? The possibilities are endless 🙂

    • Pepper said

      You are very right. I am a firm believer of what you say myself. I can already see the good that has come to me because of this choice of mine. Like I say, I never regret it. I only wish others learnt to mind their business and not give people around them a hard time. 🙂

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  51. i am going through this phase now…i couldn’t have put this in any better words than you..it is just sad to see that the world has gone from seeing women as not capable of anything outside the house to now seeing them as not capable if they are not out and about running the rat race..

    • Pepper said

      Absolutely. We’ve reached a stage in which we can’t truly accept people for the choices they make, or are forced to make. Judgments pour out mercilessly. I hope you stay strong. Big hugs!

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