Reflections on Cross-Cultural Living

Where’s Home?

Residing elsewhere away from your ‘home-country’ has its challenges, but when you are second-or-third-generation to be born-and-raised there, that ‘new’ place soon becomes the only home you truly know and love.

You are your own kind of person – a hybrid.
You carry traditions and beliefs of both places.
But now you are to live abroad – a third ‘new’ place.

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” ― Anita Desai

 

Living and Traveling
When I decided moved to Chicago to pursue my post-grad, I was a mix of emotions; which drove me half mad by the time I actually moved there. Being a frequent traveler, I thought “How hard can this really be?” I had forgotten that I wouldn’t be a tourist any longer, no room service, no bed-n-breakfast, etc. Here, I’ll have to cook, clean, and study – and most stressful aspect- for me personally – to live alone.

Cultural Shock
I found the first three months to be an educational-adjustment experience. I created my new routine. I noticed how many things I had to finish myself before they piled up and ruined my weekend. (And I found out how much a bad cook I am). Regardless, no matter how excited I had been in the first few weeks, slowly, slowly, the excitement was washed away. I started feeling homesick. Missed Home and Family. Missed having dinner conversations and planning the weekend.

Soon, I was counting down to the next holiday when I’ll be flying back home.
The remaining time, after the first three months – that had been super slow, continued at a normal pace. I got accustomed to my routine – almost to the point of boredom. But somehow started liking it, this had become “my time” – doing what I wanted – when I wanted.

Same yet Different
Soon after a better part of the year, which included often going back home on holidays, the lines blurred. Rather than finding differences and adjusting, now I found similarities between my lifestyles in both places. How the life would go on even if you aren’t in the city. The little differences in language and currency would make me adjust again to my home country, but it got easier with time.

Returning Home
I hate saying goodbyes, and it still makes me teary  when I think of my friends and the moments we shared. Even the bad days are a sweet reminiscent of the time spent there. Home, remained exactly the same. I knew what to expect when I return. The time spent in Chicago seems a distant past, like a good book or movie I lived. But readjusted was needed – to move on – back to normal life.

“When traveling becomes routine, Home becomes Luxury” – FTK

🙂

Photo via Visual Hunt

Six of Crows: Review

29975820Outcasts? An impossible heist? …Say no more!
This book was pretty much an auto-buy for me. I’ve read the Grisha Trilogy, and having another book set in the same world was a delight.

[To answer a common question, No – you needn’t read the Grisha Trilogy first in order to read this, but some of the characters will be mentioned, and if you’ve read it, it’ll only make you smile, and also you’ve have a deeper understanding of the Grisha World]

Okay diving into the review..

I really enjoying the writing style and how Bardugo intertwined the past and the present in such a beautiful way. Usually, when a flashback is involved, authors tend to alternate the chapters of present and past. Six of Crows alternates the chapters from the POV of all six characters, Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper, & Wylan; and are in third-person tone. Each chapter seamlessly joins their current circumstances with their past lives, giving more meaning to their thoughts and decisions.

Furthermore, the way the flashback was incorporated to the present storyline was the best part for me – it didn’t give away too much, but it made you gradually like the characters and actually worry about them towards the end. This character development was flawless and the story never felt like it dragged or slowed. The impossible heist truly felt impossible, and I found myself cheering the characters on and holding my breath when they would fall into mishap.

The ending caught me off guard, as I was too involved with the character to see the incoming plot twist. Nevertheless, I absolutely loved this book and I do recommend it!

Looking forward to the second book: The Crooked Kingdom!

Overall: 4.5 (0.5 extra for Kaz) out of 5.

Workforce Equality: A Fleeting Dream?

According to World Bank Data (1), female participation rate in Labor Force has dropped from 52% to 49.5% in the last 20 years. Furthermore, based on Deloitte Board Diversity Census (2), Women in C-Suite Roles of Fortune 500 Companies are a mere 20% in 2016, of which only 3.8% are minorities.

It’s the twenty-first century and female representation in workforce is this weak.

Several reasons contribute to this problem on larger scale:

Cultural Norms
The ideology that women are the ‘house maker’ in conservative cultures and developing nations, often leave women less accomplished then their male counterparts. In some cases, women aren’t even educated enough to do even the least skilled job, and that is “if” they are allowed to even work in the first place.

Industry Stereotypes
Some industries have become highly male-dominant, such as Accounting and Finance, or Technology. In these industries, a career path for a female worker is often riddled with roadblocks and managers’ bias. Even if women do enter such field, they are likely to be harassed into quitting their job sooner or later.

Laws and Regulations
Issues like Wage Gap and Paid Maternity Leave are still an existing issue in many countries. Businesses aren’t doing enough to address this.

 

World Economic Forum (3) stated in their Global Gender Gap Report 2016, that it could take 170 years to close the gender gap.

 

So here’s hoping to a future of workforce equality.
Here’s to the girls of tomorrow that will break that glass ceiling.
Here’s to the girls of today that challenge stereotypes.
The world is waiting…

 

🙂 FTK

 

Credits:
(1) The World Bank, “Labor Force Participation Rate, Female (% of Female Population Ages 15+) (Modeled ILO Estimate),The World Bank Databank (2016).
(2) Deloitte and Alliance for Board Diversity, Missing Pieces Report: The 2016 Board Diversity Census of Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards (2017).
(3) The World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2016 (2016).

Photo via Visual Hunt