Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Jerusalem Redux?

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

India Afresh

Bangalore was home to me for a week two years ago, and in less than a month, it will be home to Pat and me for six months!

Getting ready reminds me of preparing to study in Jerusalem 20+ years ago, for junior year of college. Only this time, I've got a corporate sponsor, and an independent study professor who are looking for particular outcomes.

At 20, I was lucky to excel in the Ulpan firehose course and to have decent, native-born roommates in my Idelson dorm-apartment at Mt. Scopus. Having passed the Hebrew entrance exam for the university was a bonus and beyond what I thought I might achieve.

And managing to use the campus' library to discover Flannery O'Connor's "Good Country People" and "Nomad and Viper" by Amos Oz as two of the four short stories I'd compare the following year in my undergrad thesis truly was a find!

India and I need much more from each other, in half the time.

This morning, the director of Learning for IBM India asked me to send a writeup about myself that he could share in the announcement. Here's what I wrote:

I'm so excited to come to Bangalore for six months, to participate in the local IBM vibrancy and to learn more about Indian culture. I like to learn from people and to lead and inspire them. In July, I will celebrate my 17th year of IBM service, though I have been with IBM for 11 years and was with a joint venture prior.

In this Blue Pages [employee directory] photo, I am wearing a blouse that I bought at Shoppers Stop in Bangalore when I came to facilitate and my suitcase didn't come with me.

Like the Song Says...

"Always something there to remind me...."

People, or at least I, need to be reminded of places I've been and experiences I've had whenever I am somewhere, or with someone, very new and different from the default of what I'm accustomed to. When I first visited in 2005, Bangalore's weather reminded me of San Francisco's. And its terrain and foliage reminded me of Israel's.

The people I met reminded me of warmth, the feeling itself. The food was comforting to me and the hotel's atmosphere, and several of the accents, seemed British.

This time, I'll be with Pat, and we'll live in an apartment in the city. "Bangalore" means "Bean-town," but it did not remind me of Boston at all, except sometimes traffic-wise.

While in India, I plan to blog about my adventures, and am encouraging Pat to launch a photo blog.

If you went on assignment, where would you go and what would you do there?


Kayla said...

Hey Sarah,
Bangalore sounds lovely.
I happened to catch an episode of On the Lot tonight. One of the young directors was an Indian woman. She made a film about a gay Indian comedian in New York. It was genuinely, disarmingly affecting. I kept hoping you were watching, too, but I was too riveted to call you during its brief three minute run.
I read that you had a wonderfully recharging weekend. Dance can be magic, as I know well.
Hope to talk to you soon.

Sarah Siegel said...

Would love to know the name of the comedian. I'll look for "On the Lot" on the web; have never heard of it. Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

Great blog, Sarah! I hope you guys have a wonderful time in India. Did you see the movie "Namesake"? We saw it (yes we're still together and planning to get married) the other night. I sobbed at the end, though it was a very uplifting movie. It was a great lesson on India, too. Can't wait to read more stories.
Insanely busy here. Why can't I learn to relax? Well, that's the subject of a much longer story, and I love what I do, so maybe that's why.

Sarah Siegel said...

Jill, so good to hear your news of your planned marriage! Mazel tov! I'm in the middle of reading *The Namesake* and just finished *The Inheritance of Loss,* which was an Indian colleague's gift to Pat, but which I snatched and read first.