Painful and isolating--over many years she makes friends in the Indian community in Boston, and her children and husband bring her happiness. But when her husband dies and her two children are independent, Ashima can finally return home. She has never fully assimilated in America, but she has put down important roots, hence her decision to spend six months in India and six months in the US.
I believe it was a lonely experience. To Ashima, India would always be her home. It was warm and lively there, It was all she knew. India was where her family was, and the place where she had so many beautiful memories.
When she came to America in the dead of winter, everything seemed so foreign and strange. It was cold, first of all, something she knew felt growing up in hot and humid India. She did not understand the language well, which can be extremely isolating. The way of life was just different, and took her time to adjust to. She also did not like the fact that her family was so far away. The only family she had, Ashoke, had to work all the time, leaving Ashima home waiting for the time to pass until he got home for the evening.
It is always hard to move to a brand new country and culture without really wanting it. It can be so difficult and enery draining to try to assimilate to the new way of life. Feeling like an outcast, like you dont belong, is the worst. I feel Ashima did come to think of America as her second home, even enough to like living there, but her heart was always in India.