A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Settling down

Posted by Pepper on April 26, 2017

I spent a large part of Feb and March in India. We moved to the Bay Area in such a rush, I knew I would have to make a trip back home to close some open tasks, sign off and wrap some things at work. But other than work, what did I really do in India? Get spoilt. That is all.

Life in India is so, I’m not sure what word to use, convenient? I have been used to getting things in hand. Let’s not get into how good or bad that pampering is for an adult. Suffice to say I was used to it.

Coming back to Bay Area has been hard. When we moved here at the end of last year, we were still settling in. It seemed like the onset of a new holiday. We visited friends in LA. My friend came back to spend a few weeks with me. We were in the process of setting up our home. There was Christmas and New Year and so much excitement. And before I knew it, I was off to India. Returning to regular life here has already made me feel utterly drained out.

On another note, I *finally* got my EAD. For those who don’t know, EAD stands for Employment Authorization Document, more popularly known as a ‘work permit’. I can finally work in this country without being trapped by a million visa restrictions. How liberating that mere thought is! Anyway, due to some personal reasons, both Mint and I have decided that it is best that I do not look out for jobs right away and instead stay back home and give myself a little break.

Unfortunately, I’m not entirely sure of what I want to do with my life. I’m not used to staying home all day. The idea of being by myself and being caught in a whirlwind of cooking and cleaning continues to be depressing. This issue stands tall whether or not I choose to work. Living in this country ensures you learn to survive by yourself. And I’m not very good at that.

I keep telling myself I don’t *have* to take a decade to cook a simple meal. I will get efficient and faster with time. Sadly, that hasn’t been the case so far. So the simplest meal will take a few years to whip up. I stand in the kitchen at times, staring at the onion in my hand and wondering how it can possibly take me a lifetime to dice this innocent looking thing? How can I be so slow? How did I unlearn so much in our few years in India?

If it isn’t cooking, it is the washing that takes up all my time. And let me tell you, this is despite all the help I get from Mint. On some days, I feel totally demotivated to cook or fix myself something because the thought of washing up puts me off. Just yesterday, I thought I should make myself some hot chocolate, and later decided against it cos I had just finished the dishes and who wanted to face the prospects of washing a mug once again?

For those of you who swear by your dishwashers, can you tell me how you do it? I usually rinse the dishes so thoroughly before I toss them in the dishwasher that I believe the purpose of the dishwasher is lost. I have already scrubbed the dishes clean before putting them in. Maybe putting the dishes in with some grime is okay? Am I missing something here?

I will find my rhythm some time. I’m known to pick things up at my own pace. Until then I will trudge along. One day at a time.


22 Responses to “Settling down”

  1. yaadayaada said

    Here you go. Try loading them with grime. That’s what I do. Most dishwashers are ok with that. Especially hotchocolate mugs can go directly. Also I bought a gadget that cuts most veggies for two. Bought it in India. But I believe it is available here. Ping me. Good luck.

  2. Meera said

    I was the same way like u were when I came here . Reg dishwasher , I have the same doubt as yours .so usually I start washing the dishes with hand and find it convenient not to use dishwasher . Here, house hold work is always difficult as u mentioned . I too hope one day I will learn all those tricks reg how to cook and clean faster.

    • Pepper said

      Good luck to you too, Meera. I feel bad that I had managed to build and acquire some skills over the years when I lived here earlier. All of it got unlearnt after moving back to India 😦

  3. Bhavani said

    Welcome back here Pepper!! I was wondering where have you disappeared. Good to read your updates. That sounds like a fun trip to India. Glad you had a great time. And honestly that’s very wise thinking. Sometimes we all need a break from this corporate jail.

    I am sure you will get used to the routine soon. One step at a time:) Regarding dishwasher I do the same I rinse and load it. I somehow like the clean dry dishes out of the dishwasher to stack it away rather than piling it on the counter after handwashing. And for a family of 4 we use a lot of plates, cups , spoons , lunch boxes etc. So for me it is a must. Cannot live without it almost:)

    Enjoy your time!!


    • Pepper said

      Almost everybody used to their dishwasher say they cannot live without it. Looks like I’m the only one on middle ground. I think it is a good thing to have but still can’t relate to the amount of effort that goes in before you use it.

  4. Nitya said

    be kind on yourself da..it is such a huge life change..with kids, without, it really doesnt matter because at the end of the day you are uprooted. And that kind of a thing takes time to deal with, get over, and move on. I know I am preaching to the choir here and I know you already know this but take it from an old timer who misses her home – you will find your rhythm. you will find your place and most importantly you’ll find your tribe.
    knowing you *can* work is a big thing too. So you always have that in your back pocket. in the meanwhile, amble around, potter around the kitchen, find what *you* want to do..ok va? *tight hugs*
    as far as dishwashers, in the 12 years ive been here i continue to scrub dishes and then put them to rinse in the DW. Thats not efficient really but i hate the thought of letting grimy dishes sit for a bit in an enclosed space. blegh.

    • Pepper said

      Sometimes, I get too mad at myself when I think of how long I am taking to ‘adjust’ to this place. Keep telling myself it shoudln’t have been so hard since I have lived here for so long in the past. But I guess a change is a change. You’re right, knowing I can work is a big thing.

      So my question, if you scrub the dishes really well, why do you use the dishwasher at all? Just to get them out dry?

  5. Smita said

    Awww!!! I hear you!! I can not think of not going out for work and though I love cooking the same can not be said for other gha ke kaam..I do them because well they have to be done!!!!
    Good Luck to you my dear in finding a charm in the routine 🙂

    • Pepper said

      I’m guessing you have domestic help for the sweeping and dish washing.. and you like cooking.. the rest of the ghar ka kaam doesn’t include much if cooking and cleaning and striked off na… lucky you!

  6. Divya Deepak said

    Hi, I put everything in the dishwasher as is – no pre clean. And it works fine – even vessels coated with dried idli / dosa batter.

  7. Pepper, I am catching up with your blog after long time. I remember reading a similar post 6 or 7 years ago. This reminds me you haven’t changed a bit. The only way to learn these household skill is to keep practice them. Between R and I we can run the house much better compared to our early days in US, but these days we feel we shouldn’t stress our self. We have outsourced cooking which means less cleaning too. I travel for work pretty much every week. Calling cleaners cost a bomb but that is a must if you hate cleaning. You are living in bay area , you will have lot of such options with cooking and cleaning. Why learn these skills , just chill out and enjoy.

    • Pepper said

      So good to hear from you LF! How are you doing?
      I agree with you about outsourcing the cleaning. Yes they do cost a bomb but it isnt even about the money. It’s about feeling so wasted staying at home. I keep convincing myself that I should ATLEAST cook and clean do something a little productive…

      Anyway, I find myself getting really exhausted these days, so I am seriously considering getting some help.

  8. Dishwasher thing is really tricky…I mostly wash it and dishwasher is mostly for rinsing. So on regular days I dont use the dishwasher unless I have guests and there are too many plates/glasses to be washed. Interesing to read that it cleans the grime too – didn’t work for me here 😦 despite the cascade pods…

    I agree with Little fingers – I am contemplating calling in the cleaners too sometime though so far, I have managed to do it myself and later feel like a maid and miss the luxuries of Bengaluru!

    As for EAD – congrats! I work on EAD myself and its given me work from home option that I am currently enjoying *touchwood*! Its good to have atleast so you know you can always go back to work when you want rather than feel depressed because you can’t…

    • Pepper said

      So after reading all the comments here I tried loading the dishwasher with grime and it just won’t work for us 😦 I mean.. the dishes don’t come out clean if they haven’t been rinsed well before being loaded. My conclusion is that our dishwasher is really not powerful.

      So glad you are using the EAD. It is awesome!

  9. Jayanti said

    Not sure if you d/w issues continue! I usually scrape food off and put the dishes in without washing or rinsing. For burnt on food, that wouldn’t work, but I use nonstick cookware for everything, so burnt pads are rare. Use a good quality d/w soap. For baking and roasting, line pans with foil that you can chuck out after the cooking. But for everything else, your d/w should do the job. If you are handwashing them anyway, you are duplicating effort and that’s pointless. If the d/w is really not cleaning your used stuff, you are either loading it wrong or it needs to be replaced.

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