Split Personality

(Originally written on January 4)

It’s finally thawing out today. I do not like temperatures that are flirting with single-digits (Fahrenheit). 2008… almost 12 years since I first entered the US. Having lived in the US, I have been very aware of my “split personality.” This is definitely not a new concept to those who know me or those who have spent a significant time overseas, away from their home. I termed this cultural schizophrenia and have been quite self aware when it comes to symptoms manifesting themselves. For example, when I am in the US, I can drive on the right-hand side of the road, speak with a mid-west American accent, negotiate my way though the firm hand-shake and eye-contact rule, eat easily with a knife and fork, etc. When I travel to India, the Indian-persona takes over. I am able to speak English like a South-Indian. My Indian languages lose their rust almost immediately, I can drive my motorcycle on the streets of Bangalore, and I even begin to dream in different languages. I become acutely aware of this switch when my wires get crossed. This happens when I watch an Indian movie in the US, or speak to an American in India, etc etc. I have always been fascinated by this unique phenomenon but I am even more intrigued now. In a little over a month, I will travel again. This time, however, my destination is not India (at least not initially). I travel to the islands of SE Asia, to the Philippines. I am going to be attending a conference there for a week before making a stop in India on my way back to the US. What I am intrigued about most, besides the joys of entering a new culture, is finding out which part of my split personality will make an appearance.

Will it be the “American” JP or the “Indian” JP? I am excited to find out. My prediction is that they will both make an appearance… at varied times. Lots to journal about as I wonder!

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