From Bombay to Boulder
Geeta Jadhav, a visiting postdoc from Bombay, India, is just one of dozens of staffers who have come here from overseas. This month, Staff Notes Monthly begins profiling a few of these visitors and long-term staff who have noticed striking differencesor, in some cases, similaritiesbetween Boulder and their homelands.
For Geeta, who arrived in June for a six-month assignment working with HAOs Art Richmond on magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling, the main thing that has impressed her is how similar people are in Bombay and Boulder. Even though they dress much differently (women in India are more modest, she says, eschewing revealing clothes such as summer shorts), they communicate in much the same manner.p> The way people in both places express themselvesI dont find any difference, she says. The conclusion of my stay in the United States is that human beings are basically the same except for a few cultural differences. They like to share their feelings.
Geeta also has appreciated the hospitality here, both in HAO and throughout Boulder. People have helped her with such routine tasks as opening a bank account and asked her about Indian food and culture. Before coming to the United States, I was very scared because for the first time I was going to stay alone in this country with a totally different cultural background. But very soon I realized that my fear was completely wrong. Now I understand why America can accommodate people of so many different countriesit is due to the friendly nature of Americans.
That said, she misses the festivals back home, such as the Navratra celebrations in October, when people gather outside and dance for days in honor of the harvest.
One of the most pleasant surprises has been the relative lack of traffic. Here in Boulder, we may complain about backups on Highway 36 or Foothills Parkway, but Geeta says thats nothing compared to Bombay, where she has to commute two hours each way to her job at the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism. Often, that daily odyssey consists of leaping onto a moving train as it enters the station to be assured of getting a seat.
Before it stops at the station, you have to get inside. Everybody does that, she explains. Here, I dont have to rush. Since I spend much less time in commuting to the office, I get more time for my work and extracurricular activities.