My Quora answer:
I started working for an Indian IT service company 11 years back. Had no idea about importance of on-site travel until one HR tried to downplay it and say life is not all about money...bla bla . I was not getting it, why would anyone want to leave their place to work ? so my friend then explained the $ numbers.
After 4 yrs, finally I got the opportunity. What a time, I had 3 personal loans on me by then and supporting my family that is not the usual nuclear type, have 4 siblings. Had my crush engaged with someone else recently then.
I loved America, all the infrastructure, order, public services, most importantly the vacation options to travel around the many states. I made it to most of them except Florida in my 2 years. Especially when you start driving yourself, America is a triple awesome place. I saved just enough unlike many other colleagues who saved every penny possible. Like I never cooked on work days, spent at food court, took 2 coffees at office daily, weekends at an Indian restaurant or cooking with friends for fun. But I had no booze or smoking habit.
Every 9 months l took 3 weeks (total 2) vacation to India, am very sure I was probably one of the 100s to travel home like that who worked for an Indian IT at onsite. 9 months gap so that I get good 3 weeks, I didn't even bother when some colleagues warned me about possible end of my onsite trip if I took vacation. Most of the stay, I shared my apartment with only one other person so that I got enough privacy.
All was well, even work wise though I had my rough times like spending 15 hrs, I got comfortable later. And then the emptiness slowly started swallowing me. Your friends keep changing, though I never worried, I could not understand what am doing for my life at US and why am doing it. Because once the original debts were done I had no idea why I was there. Most others planned about saving for buying a house. Fortunately or unfortunately I never thought about that till then. And there were problems at home as well, so I had to plan my home trip. But the dryness was so high, I decided I will not come back again. I didn't tell you, had felt so bad to stand in line at the US embassy for my VISA, had not realized it until I went and stood there in line and all the stories you hear about the VISA allocations and approvals go around your brain bothering you. Never once I felt it as home. Its only a place for vacation.
I planned to come home and take a better paying job so that I could earn enough to pay the seed money for the home loan.
After I returned, with no money at hand except a cheap plot for less than 3 lakhs at home town as the only saving, it took more than 3 yrs for me to buy a home on loan, while my other friends had got second by then. I have no regrets anyways, life is all about living not about accumulating wealth. A friend after spending years at US says, he couldn't imagine living in India, the garbage, public apathy, infrastructure deficiencies ...I can understand him, I don't have a problem with his choice. To me, life is not about living the most comfortable way, its about how you survive/live every moment . There is no way I could take my parents and live in America, I have to face the challenges living with them in India. That's what is worth living to me. Life is not just about me. While I had watched how my parents burnt themselves every minute to grow the 5 of us, it is naturally the choice for me.
Every moment I missed sitting at US was indeed a loss , but for a reason. And that reason doesn't exist for now. Its not just the family, its the soil, the sun light, the air everything I missed, I realized my yearning for the land whenever I landed at chennai from US be it vacation or for good.
I do miss America, for a vacation