Tuesday, July 17, 2018

a month in belfast

a month ago, after a long wait, and as much preparation as we could do, my wife and i hopped onto a plane with four suitcases (and a couple of other bags... literally as much as we were allowed to carry!) and landed here. in a practical sense, it didn't feel very different from any of our past vacations, other than the greater than usual number of bags (yes, we usually pack tight and travel light!), and the fact that we didn't exactly have a budget - we just had to be careful with money until my first paycheck.

but as the days progressed, our behaviour and mindset changed from vacation mode to... i don't know exactly what to call it yet, so let's just term it "behaving sustainably". after about 3 days we realized we had to start sleeping and waking at civilized timings. cooking, house hunting, figuring transportation to work, buying stuff we needed but (intentionally/unintentionally) didn't pack, etc. by the end of the first week, i was ready to start work - we had figured our laundry, and picked up some semblance of a lunchbox and water bottle (yes, for some reason they were so hard to find initially!), gotten an appointment to get my bank account, getting a grip on my alcohol/protein/fibre/processed food intake, etc.

my first week at work started off rather strangely, with me forgetting to carry my passport (yes, that's literally the only thing i was absolutely required to carry on day 1, and i had to go back home and get it!). once i was at my desk, it was all the little things like getting my stuff setup and software installed on my workstation, figuring how the cafeteria works, getting company for lunch, finding my way to and from work and whatnot... but by the end of week 1 at work, i was ready to actually contribute and get stuff done - and granted that it's been 6 years since the last time i started at a new job, it's still a huge improvement!

meanwhile, we actually managed to get our permanent accommodation sorted sooner than expected... and our second sunday in belfast was spent moving to our new home. it was a big step, finding a place to call our own, and despite our initial reluctance to put our roots down at literally the first apartment we saw, we realized it was actually perfect for us! with a lot of goodwill and a fair bit of assistance from the guys moving out of this apartment (yes, we can actually call them our friends now!), we managed the move smoothly and i was able to get to work on the subsequent monday, still tired, but without much of a hitch.

as we got into the thick of things, time began to fly, and before we knew it, week 3 was done as well. we had mostly finished unpacking our bags, done another round of household shopping (my wife now jumps at any opportunity, however trivial, to head to ikea!). week 4 started with us getting home the last of the furniture and accessories we wanted, and moved on to figuring the oven, me getting annual membership to the cycle rental scheme, and by the time the weekend was upon us, we were invited over to two different friends' homes - a sure sign of having an actual "social network" of sorts.

and of course, our first month ended with my first paycheck here, and with it the relief that we're no longer living off our savings.

sitting on the couch, with my wife snoozing comfortably with her head in my lap, and looking back, it's hard to believe it's only been a month. life in india already seems far away. our home, my office, the weather, our parents, the food, my motorcycle... it seems like another life.

and as the days go by, time seems to fly even faster. like a movie reel, spinning up until it's at the pace it should run at until its end. and it already seems like we're at that pace. as i was telling a friend: we're pretty much done with our short-term to-do, and back to our long-term todo. the stuff we were working on before we decided to move.

it's been an amazing month in belfast.

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