2017 – What a year it has been!!

We started 2017 on a very healthy note. My resolution for the year was to get fit and fit back into my clothes. Part of the deal was to quit alcohol, with the understanding that cutting out alcohol would automatically also cut out on all the junk that’s consumed with it. Little did I know how easy life was going to make it! Somewhere around the second or third week of January, I found it that I was pregnant. Oh, the joy and the surprise!!

Elsa Announcement

(She was due, end of September, but she came early October)

I was bursting to tell the family about it when we visited SD early February for the niece’s third birthday, but we decided to hold off till the heartbeat is identified and the eight weeks scan is done.

From SD we went to Seattle where I met a dear old friend.  Amongst other things, Seattle is a culinary city. A cousin who had spent a number of years working in Seattle happily provided us with a list of places to places to eat and items to order. Isn’t it wonderful to play virtual guide to someone visiting a city you love, and re-experiencing everything you love about it twice over – once while reminiscing, and coming up with a plan and once again through their eyes as they execute it. Let me also remind you that recreational marijuana is legal in the state of Washington and I will say no more about it.

When we got home, the pregnancy got confirmed and we started our second greatest adventure ( the first one being our marriage), our journey to parenthood.  The next thing I remember is Amma coming to stay with us in May, all excited – both for the new baby and for my graduation. My sister and nephew also flew in from San Diego for my graduation.

The nephew helped us put up our first little vegetable garden. We grew tomatoes, cucumbers, egg plant, okra, watermelon, pumpkin, strawberries, bell peppers,cayenne peppers, ghost peppers and herbs. We had a bumper harvest all through summer and a good part of fall. This summer my new thing to do with a tourist friend in NYC was “walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.” This item has been on my list for a loong time now. My list item is actually cycle across the bridge, but never mind. Maybe someday we’ll get to that too.

Our big trip for the year was our “babymoon” to Scotland via London. We were originally planning to go to Banff, but Banff was so expensive that time of the year that we may as well have gone to London and we did. Our flight  was overbooked and we got $400 each to reschedule..to a more convenient flight. The new flight was delayed due to bad weather and we ended up spending an entire day at Reykjavik airport. When we finally checked into our hotel in London, it was a tiny, but comfortable burrow. No windows! We only had to spend two nights in there, so no worries. We were out all day having the time of our lives. In London I met two of my best friends and they took time off to show us around. Best way to see the city. We missed meeting other friends (and babies) due to the flight delays, and that’s my only real regret about this trip. We spent a day at Wimbledon, catching up on the Championship live. A major part of our holiday was spent in Scotland. Dark grey clouds rolling across lofty hills, looming over verdant valleys; bizarre landscapes of conical hills dotted with emerald green ponds and scattered waterfalls; sea, sky and the space between coloured in every shade of blue imaginable – Scotland is a bit of a drama queen like me! We had heard that the weather would change faster than my pregnant moods, but it stayed gorgeous for us the whole time. When I say gorgeous, I mean cloudy, cool, with occasional drizzles.I have come to realize this is NOT what most others find beautiful, they call it dreary and dull.

In all of summer, we managed only one evening at the beach and a couple of barbeques at home. We squeezed in one terrible IIFA pre-awards night. The last weekend of summer was spent in Vermont, having the kind of vacation we never have – slow and relaxed. The next week was absolutely crazy, we went to the US Open quarter finals, took a our of the hospital, welcomed Amma back and had our baby-cue over the weekend. We had our traditional Indian “babyshower” early summer with family and then early fall we had this more fun one with friends.

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Our baby made us wait a week past due date and even after that she wouldn’t come. I had a very easy pregnancy, but caught up on all the drama in labour. My body just wouldn’t go into labour, no matter what they tried or how hard! Finally, they had to cut me open and get the baby out. She came out shouting as loudly as her little lungs would permit. Then they  put her cheek against mine and she heard my voice, and calmed down instantly. This was also the instant I forgot all the trauma of my delivery. It all just vanished. Just like that. And just like that our journey changed from “the road to parenthood” to parenthood.

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My sister and her family visited the little one over Thanksgiving. What a blessed Thanksgiving it was!

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While the little one had been around the block, to the pediatricians, to a near by park, the neighbours’ homes, the local zoo, her first real trip was to Cape May for my birthday. As always it snowed (and made me very happy). This being our first big small trip with her, we weren’t well planned and prepared . We left home later than we had anticipated and with enough bags to make us look like a nomadic family on the move. We drove around Cape May that evening taking in the holiday lights. The little one let us have our dinner at a restaurant, another first ( hopefully not last!). Yet another first was seeing snow on the beach the next morning. In my mind snow and beaches are opposites of each other, so it was something of a wonder seeing them together. We stayed just one night because we weren’t sure if the little one would be up to it, she was a champ though. For now, she HATES her car seat, but hopefully that will change. In all our fluster as new parents, we left behind her co-sleeper. She had pretty much outgrown it and we were still using it only because we (read I) were not ready to move her into her crib, in her room; a room that we had so lovingly and painstakingly set up. With no choice now, we moved her into her crib, with me next to her on the bed. Again, she slept beautifully. I, on the other hand worried in my sleep all night.

I made it back to the gym at the end of the year. I feel fitter than the end of last year, I’ve not had a single drink all year and while I have not lost any additional weight, I am back to  my pre-pregnancy weight. I’ll consider that resolution kept.

2018, surprise me 🙂

For 2018,

I want to go home and introduce my family to my little one. My grandfather is ninety-four, and I really really want him to hold her and bless her

I want to stopover at Paris and make it the little one’s first “foreign” destination

I want to go to South East Asia, Bali perhaps

I want to go to the Yellowstone National Park

I want to invest in a telescope and a good book on astronomy, and stargaze

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Flashback 2016

December 31, 2016

diwali-2016

This year has been very eventful in many ways.So eventful that travel had to take somewhat of a backseat. The first half of the year feels like it happened in another lifetime, but we did go enjoy cherry blossoms locally and camping in summer. We saw a snow leopard at the Binghamton zoo. We even saw bald eagles and flocks of migratory waterfowl at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. This was the trip of spectacular sunsets. This was actual the year of gorgeous sunsets, we were blessed with some soul stirring sunset vistas this year.  There was the trip to Montreal. So many people – so much fun! Sometime in between, we spent a week in India, flight tickets courtesy Etihad. Yours truly won those tickets in a contest last year. Soon after, life caught up with us and a million things happened, including a new house and a new job.  We spent almost all our spring weekends looking at houses. Most of our flower viewing this year was checked off outside prospective homes. Between jobs, I spent a few days with the family at San Diego. I didn’t go to Tijuana, instead I took the kids to the park where we rode a train, went on a carousel and splashed in the fountain. Best time off ever. The husband’s parents visited and we took them on a disastrous bus tour of the West Coast. I call it disastrous, but I think they had a good time. I got highlights – first time ever. Mum visited us for a few weeks and made our first Navratri and Diwali in our new house truly special. I completed my Masters (in Sustainability Management) this year. Working around the school calendar and both our work schedules left us with very little travel time, but it is not so easy to beat us. We still managed to squeeze in a trip to Death Valley and Zion. We even threw a couple of (oh wth!) fabulous house parties, made it to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and shopped over Thanksgiving. We set up our first full size Christmas tree and had a blast decorating it. We browsed the Christmas markets and bought ourselves one of the many/few things I have been eyeing for the past three (3) years. I never got around to baking that cake, but we did fire up the oven and make lasagna.  I tried my hand at making apple cider (non-fermented).I discovered Buddha’s Hand and made Buddha-Cello.  I finally pulled an all-nighter – we stayed up playing board games till 5 a.m. I made it to the ice rink. I am by no means a great skater, but just being on the ice makes me so happy. We will ring the old year out and the new year in, surrounded by friends in our own home, in this far away land.

So much more was supposed to happen in 2016, but that year is gone.

January 1, 2017

For 2017,

I want make a trip to London, Scotland, and continental Europe

I want to go to the Yellowstone National Park

I want to go back to Kashmir, our first post-wedding destination to celebrate five (5) years of togetherness

I want to go to South America

I want to see gorillas in the wild

I want to ride a camel in the Sahara Desert

I want to invest in a telescope and a good book on astronomy, and stargaze

 

2017, be kind!

2015 – Recap

ice hotel1We started 2015, freezing our toes in Montreal and Quebec. Both cities are perfect summer destinations, but winter has its own charm! Next we stopped over at Istanbul on our way to India. London was our first choice, but Turkish Airways offered us such a sweet deal that we had to take it. As much as we would have loved to see more of Turkey – Cappadocia, Pamukkale; we had just about  enough time to cover Istanbul – one city; two continents. Shortly after landing in India, we rushed off to Kutch for a spot of bird watching, and to enjoy the white expanse of the salt flats under an almost full moon.

Vermont -Leaf Peeping1Back in the United States, summer started in the mountains of Maine and ended on the beaches of Cape Cod. Every weekend in between was spent grilling and chilling. We managed to squeeze some kayaking, row boating, hiking, wine tasting and two camping trips including our camping debut before we went leaf peeping in Vermont. We saw bears (and elk, and other wildlife) in the Great Smoky Mountains. We ate soul food in Charlotte. We learnt to fly an airplane. Summer saw the bestie take over the house for a few days and the husband’s bestie make himself at home. Fall was little slow as the husband was upto to his eyeballs  preparing for a competitive exam. By the time he got done, I was swamped with work stuff, school and project work. No complaints; we had our grand finale trip coming up in December. December saw us in Norway chasing the Northern Lights in Tromso and  finding them in Svalbard. We missed the polar bears, but we experienced the  unending polar night. When we came back we had family waiting for us. A darling friend made us Christmas sweets because we couldn’t find the ones we grew up with in the market. Nosiest, craziest, BEST Christmas EVER!!

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Svalbard – Polar days, Polar Nights and the Aurora Borealis

In other news, I kept my word about publishing one post every week. I even got published in the Cape Cod Daily. Thank you 2015, you’ve been simply spectacular! Thank you everyone for following along!

 

“I’m sharing my #TalesOf2015 with BlogAdda.”

..and so another year begins

 

Health and Happiness to All!!

Health and Happiness to All!!

Hello Peeps!!

The last year went out in a flurry of activities. I checked out the 4 big holiday markets of NYC. We drove down to Luray Caverns,Virginia for a holiday weekend. Came back and met visiting friends; did a walking tour with them. Enjoyed 4 sets of New Year fireworks, all from the comfort of our (rented) apartment. No jostling crowd. No heels on slippery hardwood floors. No shivering in the cold. Good friends, good food, good music – that’s how we brought  2015 in. I was then whisked off for a surprise holiday in Quebec.

Here I am now, trying to settle into the new year. After 2 days of sub zero temperature in Canada, it feels like early fall in NYC today. When asked about my plans for the year, I realized that for maybe the first time I have concrete goals. There is so much I want to do, and a lot more that I have to do. Bear with me.

I just realized this is my 200th post. This blog has come a long long way, and it would not have been possible without all of you. Your love and support, your shares, likes, comments, just the fact that you read it – means a lot.

May the new year fulfill old dreams and set the stage for new ones!!

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