Madhu and I didn’t waste too much time to settle down at our new apt. The evening after we moved, we worked like maniacs to unpack ALL the boxes and arrange everything. And we did manage to do just that. There are still some plastic boxes in the patio that have some stuff in them but they are mainly things that we’ll eventually throw out or sell.
The apt looks good now. We put up some of our paintings and leftover decor stuff – it feels like a livable space. The location, though, is the biggest advantage. Every evening Madhu and I have been walking Shayna through the crowded downtown street of Mountain View. We have never walked her in such a crowded place before. She was quite hyper and excited at the beginning but settled down soon. India is going to be a far more crowded place, to say the least, so we really need to get her used to walking amidst chaos.
The location is working out great for Madhu and me as well. For me it’s relatively closer to work, which is great! Madhu can walk to the Caltrain station everyday for work, which has reduced our dependence on 2 cars. Now we can sell one of them (the convertible) quickly. The greatest thing about this location, though, is its proximity to the downtown restaurants. It’s great to walk there in the evenings as it’s always lively. The restaurants offer varied cuisines and allow all kinds of budget; we can choose from a cheap, ‘open until late’, Chinese place for a quick bite, cafes for light meals, bars, restaurants with live-music and fancy places to celebrate … it’s just fantastic. We are enjoying this so much that if we end up returning to the bay area for jobs after 2 years, then we would definitely try to stay in this area again.
The biggest accomplishment (and yet another milestone achieved) has been that we cleared our citizenship test yesterday – YIPPEE ! For the test they give you a 100-question-answer booklet on American history and politics. This is where our Indian education system came handy – Madhu and I were able to memorize all the answers quite easily. On the day of the test, we were first tested on the English language to ensure that we can understand, speak and write English (or other languages like Spanish, Mandarin, etc.) in order to give the test. Then we were asked 10 questions (Madhu was asked only 6), which were from the booklet – we had no trouble answering them. At the end of it, we were given a ‘You have passed!’ sheet. To celebrate, we went to our favorite Brazilian restaurant, Pampas, a churrascaria in downtown Palo Alto for dinner.
Now all that’s remaining is the oath ceremony, after which we can apply for US passports. We are hoping that we can get all this done by end of Sep … fingers crossed!