Adult Homesickness

Yesterday, Abi asked me who came to drop me off when I started college in 2005. I retrieved the memory from my brain effortlessly. I remember the day so clearly. I was wearing a really ugly red shirt (hindsight is twenty twenty), and my mom, dad, and K all came to drop me off. Dad did all the heavy lifting, and Mom set up my room (a single, because if you know me at all, you know I love my own space), and when they left, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.

I was a really social kid, and felt like I already had 50 friends at Miami because Facebook had just rolled out across the majority of colleges, but I was precociously aware that my parents and sister leaving my dorm room that day marked the end of something major. And I knew it would never be the same.

This all sounds incredibly dramatic, but take a second to think back to this moment of your life. Was there a single kid that was anything less than ecstatic to be starting college? If so, I didn’t know any…

I’ve always been aware – too aware – of closing moments. Those last time times. Like moving to my college dorm, like getting my first apartment knowing I’d never live at “home” again, like having almost my ENTIRE family together during the wedding, the majority of my friends, pretty much everyone in the world that I loved. Walking down the aisle with my dad, knowing that once that moment ended, my entire perspective on family would shift.

Not all of these moments are sad. Ends come with beginnings, after all. But they are certainly bittersweet. And sometimes, I still feel what 17-year-old Ambika felt when her family drove off campus that day. Impending homesickness. Or moment sickness? That imminent missing. That inevitable pang of nostalgia. Knowing that even if things are wonderful (perhaps MORE wonderful than they’ve ever been), they’ll still never be the same. And even as we grow our own families, and build our own homes, and create our own lives, we’ll still sometimes yearn for the moments that have passed, even if they’re now completely inapplicable.

I woke up today from a hilarious text from my uncle that included this picture:

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And it just made me miss home. Sitting at the kitchen table with my mom and aunt, having tea. Taking ridiculous photos with all of the Gautam Girls. Starting the fire-pit in the backyard with the dads. Talking sports with my grandfather. Hearing stories from my grandmother. It made me miss all of my old friends, from back in high school, and even before (sorry to those of you who have been getting ridiculous comments from me on Facebook posts from 2005).

I’m a month out from my 28th birthday, and here I am, wishing I was sitting on the floor in our Solon living room while my mom braids my hair, watching some crappy Hindi movie, that K is WAY too invested in, and Dad’s laughing at. Even though my home is now in New York, with my own husband, and my own puppy, and I love that more than anything, I don’t think I’ll ever stop being homesick.

xx

A

Being From Believeland

Tonight, we’re going to bed feeling broken in a way that we’ve felt before. In a way that, honestly, we have felt since we can remember. A dull ache in the pit of our stomach. Like watching someone you love suffer. A sinking heart mixed with hands trembling with exhaustion and exasperation.

The feeling of a broken heart from Cleveland sports.

We can handle the loss. We really can. Coming from Cleveland, one is raised tough. One is raised to be proud of effort, hard-work, determination, and fighting until there’s simply no energy left. We know Championships don’t come easy. We know that sometimes, great things that are important to a city, to a community, to a team, are snatched away. That’s just life. Life isn’t fair but it teaches incredible lessons on how to be the best one can be.

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What we can’t handle, is the people on the other side.

The jeering, the jabbing, the unfounded hatred. Hatred is a strong word, but that’s the only word we can use here.

What is the meaning of sports if not to bring people together? If not to unite us in the pleasure of Americas favorite pasttimes? Weren’t you all hoping for a game seven if only just to watch two incredible teams duke it out? Why has an internal appreciation for the sport turned into an external desire for putting each other down?

We can’t say we’ve never jokingly ignored our friends when they’ve rooted for the other teams. We can’t say we haven’t brushed them off, or made faces at them. But we’ve never gone as far as to hate.

Being from both Cleveland and Chicago, we’ve gotten the worst of this. Big sports towns with a lot of heart. Passionate fans with a lot of fire. And haters with an incredible amount of distaste.

But what saddens us most is that when Chicago has a win, Clevelanders let it be. We even applaud our midwestern brothers and sisters. We’re proud of where we come from, and since they’re our neighbors, we’re proud of them, too. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, we appreciate a valiant effort. We appreciate exceptional teamwork. But tonight, wearing a heartbreaking Cavs loss on our sleeves, seeing so much negativity and hate from people we spent so much time with in Chicago, at college, etc. was staggering.

They chalk it up to a long-standing rivalry. Which interestingly, very few Clevelanders even acknowledge. We reason with them. For Cleveland a championship is more than a win for a team. It’s a win for a city. We tell them they have no idea what it’s like to tell someone where you’re from, and have them snicker and say “Oh…I’m sorry.” (It is here we often want to say, “Oh really? Well I’m sorry that you have that big city skyscraper of yours stuffed up your a**.” But we don’t because that would be mean). We describe the power of believing, the attitude of persistence, and the zeal of faith. We open our hearts and share what a championship could mean for Cleveland. A skip that’s been missing from our step for years. An updated identity. A chance to prove everyone wrong. Isn’t that something we all want?

It’s moments like these that prompt us to wonder. What’s the point of sport? If it brings out the monster in people? The Cavs losing is tough enough. But the lack of respect from people we’ve broken bread with, and the respect that we’ve in turn lost for them, is tougher.

To Cleveland – thank you for a wonderful upbringing. You’ve taught us to hope in the darkest times and to persevere no matter what. You’ve given us a family that crosses zip-codes. You’ve taught us that East and West mean nothing. That when it comes to passion, we’re all one. Thank you for always lifting us up, and not even thinking of kicking us down.

And to the Warriors and all their fans out there. That was a killer series. Congrats, excellently played, and we’ll get you next time ;).

#AllinCLE #Believeland #Cleveland #Cavaliers

Love,

The Gautam Girls

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Goodness. TGIF, am I right? This week has been an intense one. Who would’ve thought 2015 would get off to such a crazy start! In honor of a weekend off to play, explore, and get inspired, we wanted to share a few things that we’ve been loving lately.

A

Since the only places I’ve been exploring lately are my work email inbox and my client’s conference rooms, I’ve been low on the Jointly-acceptable fun-stuff. But one thing I’ve still be on, is stalking my favorite personalities on Instagram (primarily during plane taxi-ing). Here are a few profiles I’ve been loving (both new loves, and old loves):

1. R.M. Drake brings poetry into the world of Instagram. He’s a writer and Etsy shop owner, and his work is just beautiful. Such a welcome interruption to the regularly eye-candy oriented content. Makes you stop, read, and consider life.

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2. Witchoria does the same thing as @rmdrk for me. Makes me break out of my idle scroll. Her content is just as haunting as it is beautiful. It’s dark, but I’m okay with that. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, and I appreciate people who can address the good and the bad.

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3. Protect Your Magic is actually an online shop with amazing products that all don the line “Protect Your Magic.” A friend of mine from Mother actually re-grammed a photo recently, and I spent the next hour (and stayed up way too late) looking at all of the awesome products in the PYM shop and pondering her message:

We all have a magic about us. A magic that we should project but protect at the same time. Mine is my loyalty.. thats my magic. Whats your magic and how do you protect it? 

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K

1. This face map that tells your exactly why you have that random breakout

2. Can you imagine cuddling in this sweater, wooo-eeee!

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3. This empowering article for women and minorities found on Cleveland Craine’s – it’s just a perk that it’s about my dad!

4. Thanks to my lovely friend R, yesterday I discovered that the Apple Store hosts a ton of great events. I switched my night plans around yesterday to attend Eating with Your Eyes: Chicago Food Authority. Basically this was a Q&A hosted by the super charming Samantha Roby. Topics covered included, but were not limited to – her path to creating Chicago Food Authority, how to take the best photos for Instagram, and how to not give a sh*t when you have to stand on a chair at a 5 star restaurant to get a good photo. As I like to say, #doitforthelikes.

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While I can’t say that I learned anything new, it was super inspiring and exciting to be in a room filled with many of Chicago’s finest content curators. That being said, I’ve already cleared tonight to attend another similar event!

Hope you find some time to get inspired this weekend.

Jointly yours,

A & K

How I Feel About LeBron James

With the Cavs opening game having been last night, and having heard that the fans were rather fair-weathered, I want to say one thing:

I understand LeBron James.

I too was born and raised in Cleveland. There is no other place I call home. Coming home, no matter where I’ve lived and for how long, means coming home to Cleveland. It means zipping down the long, winding roads of my neighborhood. It means sitting on my grandparents couch, being fed deep-fried Indian dishes I wouldn’t dream of touching elsewhere. It means running in circles in my backyard with my dog. It means my childhood, and it means my family.

But as much as I love it, I’ve realized that sometimes in order to grasp the opportunities I need in life, I have to be elsewhere. Yes, the city is wonderful. The people are welcoming and loving like people nowhere else. But how many of you can say you’ve put a city before your own life? Before your own success, your happiness (which often translates into the happiness of your loved ones). I bet not many of you, right?

Cleveland is the reason I am who I am. It will always be. But that doesn’t mean that I have to stay rooted there, never experiencing anything else. My absence in Cleveland does not translate to my lack of love for the city or the people there. It just means I needed an opportunity to grow.

So while there may still be some LeBron haters out there, I urge you to ask yourself why. Because he was, and again is, the heart and soul of our team? Because without him, your Cavs jersey wasn’t worth a dime? Because we were yet again deemed “the mistake by the lake”?

He’s the main character of his story, much like we are in our own. And personally, I think it’s unfair to tie a hero to just one story, especially when they have so much potential.

So, welcome back LeBron. You were right, there’s no place like home.

Love,

K

P.S. If I can forgive LeBron for leaving, anyone can. If you must know why, he was the first man I ever drunk cried over. That’s REAL.

Newly Married Life

I weirdly feel like this is my debut post. It’s been a while since I’ve been an active participant in Jointly, even though I’ve certainly been around. As you all know – if you’re one of our usuals – I got married just over three weeks ago.

Our wedding was somewhat of a miracle. We did a lot of planning, coordinating, and perfecting, but the weekend itself went off magically. Maybe it was the bride in me, I was obviously riding a huge, gorgeous, life-altering emotional wave, but I think others saw and felt the magic, too. It is cheesy for me to say that it all just felt right? Like it was meant to be? Maybe it’s the newly wed in me. (And now I’m rhyming).

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After our wedding, my husband (wuuuttt?), who will from now on be referred to as Mr. P, and I spent twelve days on our honeymoon. A big chunk in Bali, and a smaller bit in Singapore. I never realized how amazing it is to have nothing to think or worry about but the person you love. But it was incredible. My work email was silent (thank you!), my personal email was ignored, and my Instagram was only updated periodically. Silent, secluded, serene perfection.

Now that I’m back, people keep asking me whether life feels different. It’s such a polarizing question, because YES, of course. I am married. My last name on all of my social networks is Pai. Alongside my life-long family, I have a new family. And my “own family.” That’s the weirdest part. One day when people say “your family,” they will mean Mr. P plus whatever presently non-existent members we’ll have by then. That’s very different.

But it also feels the same. I guess after dating for a while you get into a rhythm that can’t really be undone. And I think that’s what makes committing to someone for the rest of time less scary. I asked Mr. P whether he felt like we were married the other day, and he said “NO!” And I don’t really either. We’re still young and in love and living life like it’s just one big experiment. Plus marriage is for old people…

Hugs,

A