Thank you for all the comments asking me to write. And thank you for continuing to check my feed. It made me feel guilty that I haven't reciprocated your feelings by checking my sitemeter in return. But there is a very good reason for that. Now that we have applied for adjustment of status and have a fairly good chance of staying on in this country for a longish period of time, we decided to finally put down some roots in this community. Maybe even extend a branch here and a shoot there. Sprout a couple of leaves. Perhaps develop some kind of pitcher-like contraption designed to attract insects, which would then fall into an enzyme pool at the bottom, get digested and assimilated into our fibrous stems. Those pitcher plants are fucking awesome.
Anyways what I am saying is this. We are buying a home. And we've been looking at homes for the past month or so. It is a hard business, but totally worth it. I've been in this country for over ten years now and I still do not have a place here that I can call home and which will, in turn, call me homeowner. For the past ten years, we've been following education and employment wherever they would take us. One Christmas I remember being asked by a colleague what I would be doing for the holidays and I replied, "I'm going home". He looked confused. And then I had to explain that when I said home, I did not mean the apartment I was living in at the time but back home to India.
But this exchange led me to wonder if there was something wrong with my mentality of apartmented homelessness. I went to another colleague, a British guy who's been here for about ten years now and asked him, "Brian, if you were to use the word "home", would you be referring to Philadelphia or England?" He replied "What?". It turns out he wasn't British after all. But if he had been British, I am sure he would have replied "England".
So we've been looking at a number of potential dwellings. We have not had a lot of luck so far. The problem might be that we are far too specific in our requirements. For example, my primary requirement is that the home be multiple-storied and have a back patio or deck facing woods that are densely populated with a variety of animals such as deer, bears, tigers and dolphins. There do not appear to be many homes in this area that pass this test so I will probably have to be satisfied with a back patio facing a tree clearly visible through binoculars.
My wife, on the other hand, has her own requirements. She wants her home to be spacious and well-lighted. As we go through the process of home-buying, we are adding other requirements as we come across them. For example, there's this radon gas that appears to make its home in American basements and causes lung cancer. We have decided to buy a home that is not full of this radon gas that causes lung cancer. It was a tough call but we made it. Then, the other day, it appeared that we had found our perfect home. It had a huge wooden deck facing a meadow full of trees with a stream flowing through it. The home was newly refurbished with a huge basement without any radon and it had hardwood floors in every room. It was the perfect home. In fact, it was all I could do to keep from writing a check then and there and the only thing stopping me was the fact that I did not have a check book with me, or a pen, or any money in my bank account, also there wasn't really a table in the house that I could use to support the checkbook while I signed my name.
So we decided to return the next day with a checkbook and a pen and a table. And then, on a whim, I decided to go to my trusty friend Google Earth (as well as Microsoft Live Maps who is still just an acquaintance, but is fast climbing the buddyship ladder) and survey the countryside that surrounded the home. Nice, it looked beautiful and green and leafy and beyond the green there were fields and beyond the fields there was a pretty little nine-sided structure that looked like a castle. I made a note to myself to go visit this castle after we moved in.
And then I zoomed into the castle and the castle turned into a number of squat fortified buildings surrounded by barbed wire with guard towers at all its nine corners and I had the curious feeling that I was parachuting into the Graterford Correctional Facility. For that is what it was. A maximum security prison, a place that is apparently home to the cream of Pennsylvania's criminal community, the best of the worst. Bye bye perfect home. I hope you get a good owner and I hope he buys a gun and I hope he keeps it loaded.
So that, I guess, was that. This weekend we will go see some more houses. Hopefully we shall find one and call it home.