community is an idea that has got me thinking a lot lately.
the fact that i'm from an individualistic society and and husband is from a community oriented one, i feel has given me a rare opportunity to kind of catch a glimpse into both worlds. the fact that many of my dearest friends are also not from the US has helped out as well.
community is like a buzzword lately. despite the fact that our society here in the USA doesn't operate in a community oriented way, still it seems as though everyone is trying to create community one way or another...from businesses, to churches, and even to facebook.
what i really want to know is, what would a community in the west look like?
here in the west we desire community...but we desire it on our own terms. we only like to let people see what we want them to see. we're not really interested if it means giving up our individuality, or our ability to make our own choices.
so i guess in the west you can see that people are hungry for community...but they're not willing to commit to it, so it leaves us in a bit of a conflicted state. i'm just the same. i love community...but i also love independence. so where does that leave me?
india is very community oriented like most eastern cultures...and that kind of value in a culture can be a really beautiful thing...except for when it's a really bad thing. the values of community are one of the things i love most about indian culture. however, sometimes you see community used as a weapon in societies that highly value it. if an individual decides to break the social expectations of the community, then they are threatened with losing their status and being an outcast.
in the west this only sounds like a mildly vicious consequence of independent thinking...but in a society where community is everything, it has the power to destroy a life.
however this power that community has over people's decisions certainly works for the good as well...people will often choose not to make a harmful decision because of the community influence. the problem occurs when the values held by a particular community become distorted.
so how do we create a healthy balance of community? especially in the west?
i feel blessed to have friends from such a variety of cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, so i really value all of your thoughts on this matter...
this may sound very basic...but one thing that i see being central to community is this...
i really don't know why, but eating with people seems to have a strange way of making them feel connected...especially if that means cooking for each other and sharing.
another thing that i think is central, but that also contributes to community being a challenge in the west is living space.
when people live in close proximity to each other then they have to either avoid each other or else form some sort of community.
a common set of beliefs or a purpose might also foster community. but not necessarily...
in the west we've definitely learned to separate the two...
what things do you think create community? let me know your thoughts!

so after several years of apartment living, shomik and i moved into our first house a few months ago.
it's been exciting...and special.
not that a house makes a place a home...but it feels nice to make a home in a place that we know we don't have to leave.
i dunno if that makes sense...but it makes a difference.
i guess that's what they call getting settled.
because as a teenager and then as you move into young adulthood, do the college thing, etc... you keep moving into places with the idea that it's temporary. and that home is some place where your parents live...even though it's not as much like home for you anymore.
so it's nice to have that feeling of coming 'home' everyday. i didn't realize how much i'd missed it...
to me it's like a feeling i haven't had since childhood...a permanent place. although now the feeling comes along with a lot more responsibility. i'm not complaining though. :)
anyways, i think shomik and i ended up falling for this house because it really did give us that homey feeling right off. not too big...not too small...but lots of room for possibilities.
i think all the possibilities have been a lot of the fun of it.
we live a wonderful, though somewhat peculiar life, and so it's been fun to have a place that really reflects this crazy multi cultural life we live...and to collect pieces from our adventures and special memories and place them around us.

so here's where it all happens these days:

 the living room

our bedroom
(notice our dog mowgli...who unmakes the bed everyday. hehe)

the office
(it's slowly coming together...
i love having an office space at home though! what did i ever do without it?)

the kitchen
(we looove to cook!)

breakfast nook
(notice our beaded curtain from india...i love it!)

front room/dining room
(at least it will be...eventually.)

el bano

guest room

guest room #2
(maybe a nursery eventually? hmm...)

we love to use our back porch!

oh, and can't forget our goldfish/turtle pond...
(that we built ourselves!)

...and our indian swing!
(i love to sit here and drink chai!)

oh, and here's the front...
i have some major landscaping to do...but i love the big trees!

so anyways...there's your tour of the place we now like to call home.
i hope we can make many memories here together...this place is definitely a blessing to us already. looks like shomik and i are the temporary parents of a 12 week old puppy.
shomik's been having to test cell phone towers in a super scary part of town lately. they have to go to work with body guards and all, and the other day some dead bodies were actually found out in a field where they test towers. scary. drug deals. who knows.
but anyways, this is relevant because someone dropped off the puppy out there, and my husband, being the tender heart that he is, didn't have the heart to leave it there.
and i'm not much better. i'm always a sucker for a sweet animal. though i'm trying to stand firm on the fact that we need to find her a home...that isn't ours! our dogs wouldn't be too thrilled about a new addition...

she's a real cutie though...and smart too. i was amazed when she slept through the first night in a crate without a peep....and she seems to be catching on to the whole potty training thing pretty well. definitely faster than any of our dogs did. so hopefully we'll find a place for her soon!
in unrelated news, today is our 30 month marriage anniversary!
it may sound silly...but we both thought that 30 months sounded significant somehow, and that a little celebration might be in order. so happy 30 months of marriage shomik! i love being married to you!

it's a crisp and beautiful saturday morning, and i'm sitting here enjoying a hot cup of chai as i try to turn out a blog for the first time in...well, quite awhile.
blogging and chai go together. at least for me. and by chai, i mean the full out indian treat with milk and masala in it. the americanized 'chai tea' is alright, but nothing beats the real deal. and since chai actually means tea in Hindi, chai tea is actually a little bit redundant. oddly enough, i'm the only chai addict in this husband and indian counterpart actually steers clear of the stuff, which may be for the best, since now my brain actually requires chai to run on. so here's to some chai induced blogging. :)
in this current day of facebook status lines and twitter, i've begun to fear that i'm losing my ability to think in full length sentences...much less paragraphs.
blogging is something i've always enjoyed as an outlet for my thoughts...diaries have never worked that well for me, and these days if you put a pen and paper in my hand the result looks like something out of a second grade classroom. there was a day when i prided myself on decent handwriting, but i guess typing is the new writing, and a pen is now like a foreign object in my hand.
so anyways, i'll raise my cup of chai to the return of the blog. at least my return. though i hope that this might inspire others as well since i miss reading other people's blogs as much as i miss writing them.

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