Shopkeeper making Paan in an Indian store

Image via Wikipedia

It's still cold outside---about 7 degrees Celsius. In American speech, it's about 44 degrees Fahrenheit. It's windy. The cold wind can be felt in our faces as a touch of icy hands. 

Yet, it is relatively warm compared to a month or so ago when the temperature was below freezing point and there were snow storms. At least, the sun was trying to come out from behind the clouds.

We--my roommate and I--took a short road trip to Detroit. It was quiet on the highway, Interstate 96, unlike weekdays. After driving for about  half an hour, we got off the Interstate and arrived in a quiet Sterling Heights neighborhood. 

We drove through the neighborhood to cross into Troy. We stopped by an Asian market. The pungent smell of preserved Asian food greeted us (even from the parking lot). We saw some middle-Eastern-look-like men in the neighborhood. The place was filled with strange and exotic ethnic smells---of food and different perfumes not widely used in mainstream America. :) 

We went into the grocery and said hi to the owner. He looked like he was in his mid-forties. We chatted. His English was very good. We learned that he studied in Belgium for his Master's. He dropped out of the program to come to the US because he wanted to come to the "land of opportunity". After a decade of being in America and getting his citizenship, he is now a grocery owner. Yet, he wanted to go back to school for his "mental satisfaction". He wasn't sure of his making the right decision to come to the US, saying that he would probably be leading a successful family business if he stayed in Bangladesh, his native land. 

Now, he is caught in two cultures, neither of which he seemed to fit in. He couldn't 100% fit in the US. When he visited his family in Bangladesh, he seemed distant from his homeland and the way they did business over there. His kids were also born in the US and they didn't seem to have a connection to his former country.

To make a long story short, my roommate bought areca nut wrapped in betel leaves. I bought mango pickle. We came back home, ate our lunch and dozed off watching news in the afternoon. 


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