05 November 2010

Girls' Day Out

A few weeks ago, Mummy and I went together into DC to do a little sightseeing. V. was busy, so it was just us girls. I made reservations to go up inside the Washington Monument (it's free, but you have to book tickets ahead of time these days). We rode the Metro into the city for our day of sightseeing.

First up was the Washington Monument (Mummy waiting for our turn to tour):

where we got an amazing view of the city in four directions, and saw some of the inspiring words of the father of our country (if only we would heed them now!):

Then we walked down the National Mall to the Lincoln Memorial, taking one last look back at the Washington Monument and its reflection in the Reflecting Pool:

Having fun together! This is just after we had taken a rest with some Parle-G biscuits that I ended up feeding most of mine to the ducks in the Reflecting Pool, heh.

Here's Mummy in the Lincoln Memorial:

and me:

I have sindoor in my hair because the day before was Das Lakshan and we had been to the mandir near our house.

Mummy's knee was starting to hurt after so much walking, so we had to call it a day and catch the Metro back home. Still, it was a beautiful day and we had a great time together chatting and enjoying the sights of Washington DC.

24 October 2010


Yikes, I really dropped off the face of the earth there for a while. I've just had a really hard time bringing myself to blog for a while, for a variety of reasons: the stress of living in Northern Virginia (yeah, I know, cry me a river). I've changed jobs twice--once I switched jobs for more money/more responsibility. Then I switched again because I was laid off (and I'm very happy with my job now, thank goodness, and hopefully they are also happy with me!). We had a dreadful, snowy winter this past year and I had the most severe seasonal depression of my life. I've also been pondering how to write because my husband's idea of internet privacy and mine are a bit different. I've been trying to figure out how to approach the blog with that in mind, because I want to be respectful of his privacy while still being able to express myself. And we've been busy for the last month and a half because my MIL arrived in mid-September.

She'll be staying until February this time, and we're also starting her green card application this month (before USCIS raises the fees). I have to say, having a house with more space has been really nice for all of us. She's got a nice bedroom and her own private bathroom downstairs, so we don't disturb each other (she wakes up later than I do in the mornings, and we tend to stay up later than she does). Mummy spends her days learning to type and use the internet, studying English, taking walks, going and chatting with the owner of the Indian grocery store around the corner from our house, etc. And of course she's teaching me some new recipes, such as sooji ki idlis, etc. We've had some "girls' days out" to DC for sightseeing together, shopping, etc. and so far it's been just a lovely visit. I've been taking pictures and I'll post them in the next couple days. I promise! Pukka!

04 December 2009

Dah-ling I Love You, Give Me Park Avenue

This Thanksgiving weekend, we went to New York City for three days. I've never been there before, but V has been and loved it. Now that we live only 4 hours away, there's no excuse for us not to go there and enjoy the things that the city has to offer!

The trip was pretty last-minute, so we didn't get tickets to any shows or anything. We had dinner in Little Italy one night, and at Bar Boulud the next (one of Daniel Boulud's restaurants) where I had a celebrity sighting that only a public radio nerd like me would be thrilled over: we saw Garrison Keillor with his family getting a table at the same restaurant!

We visited the Statue of Liberty:

Ate chestnuts roasted on an open fire (from a street vendor):

Looked at the beautiful Christmas decorations:

And went to Times Square to meet V's cousin-brother (note the Incredible India billboards you can just barely see in the background):

We also bought some Christmas gifts from interesting vendors in Chinatown; I got an expensive lipstick at Saks Fifth Avenue; braved the crowds at Tiffany's; became masters of the NYC subway system; went to the little India area in Jackson Heights for pani puri, paan, and cheap pashmina stoles; and walked around just generally enjoying the city. On Saturday night after dinner we met one of my friends at a very cool little bar near Chinatown where we drank absinthe in a cave-like room lit only by candles.

On the way home we visited V's cousin-sister and her family and had a wonderful lunch and chat with them. From their house in Jersey City, you can see the entire city of New York stretched out in front of you and the Statue of Liberty in the foreground, and as I looked at it I was kicking myself for never having been to NYC before. It was a wonderful weekend and an incredible city, and I can't wait to go back!

02 December 2009

Procrastination, That's My Function

Oh my God, you guys. I'm sure that by now you've seen how bad I am about keeping up with my blog. Now it's December and I haven't even started Christmas shopping yet. That's why this year I was really interested to learn about Snapgifts.com, a website that one of my blogger friends, Cagey, told me about (all right, it was her husband's idea!). You can get giftcards for a ton of different restaurants and shops, all in one place. In that way you can knock out most of your gift-giving list! I'm always looking for the easy way out...especially this year when we've got a lot of other stuff going on and taking up our time.

In other news, we went to NYC for Thanksgiving weekend and had a blast (the high point was my celebrity sighting: Garrison Keillor. Yes, I'm a nerd). I took some pictures (not of Keillor--I did't want to be That Fan, and I've met him a few times before already), but true to form, haven't had time to upload them yet. The Christmas decorations in the city were so incredible, I was able to put aside my usual "Don't jump the gun on Christmas!! It's not even Advent yet!!" objections and just enjoy them. I'll get them up soon!

23 November 2009

The Newest Amreekan!

Last Thursday, V became a US citizen! It all happened so fast. We went to USCIS expecting that he'd just be taking the civics test and we'd have an interview and be given an appointment for the oath in several weeks, but after V passed the test, the interview officer told him to come back that afternoon to swear the citizenship oath.

It was a slow day, and only 10 other people were being sworn in. I had to sit at the back of the room to watch V and the others raise their right hands and swear the oath. The officer played a video of the national anthem, a welcome speech from President Obama, and a video of the song, "Proud to Be An American." That's a song I've never particularly liked (it became connected in my mind with wars I don't agree with), but I was surprised to shed a tear or two as I watched.

I asked V how he feels now that he's an American citizen and not an Indian citizen. He said he doesn't feel any different--and that a passport or a political designation doesn't change who he is. Furthermore, V can get an OCI ("Overseas Citizen of India") card and have the best of both worlds. Sensible, as always!

15 November 2009

A New Side of My Husband

Now that we're homeowners, I'm seeing a completely new side of my husband.

For the past several years, we've just been living in grad student mode in an apartment, spending most of our time watching movies, going out to eat, going shopping (V's obsessions are watches and shirts), going out with friends, etc. I've always thought of my husband as a "metrosexual," cerebral, intellectual kind of guy--not a do-it-yourselfer at all!

Now that we own our own home, my husband still wants to go shopping. But now, we're going shopping at Home Depot. Instead of ties, shirts, and shoes, we're buying tools, supplies, paint, and bags of concrete. Every time I think we've gotten what we need from the hardware store, there's something else that I didn't think of.

And furniture. We've been living for the past 4 3/4 years with used furniture and various random pieces of art and decor that we've collected. Now we're spending hours out of every day trying to find the perfect contemporary-style furniture, at the best possible price, bargaining down to avoid paying shipping, etc. It's been three weeks and we've managed to buy a dining set and an area rug.

Heating and water--forget it. In our rented apartment, we ran the heat and water as much as we wanted. But now that we're paying for it, V. is all about turning the heat completely off at night and when we're gone, no matter how cold it gets (low 60s!! Acckkkk!). I guess I should have expected this, after all the Marwari jokes he makes.

We've been together for almost 5 years now, and it's only since we've bought our own home that I've seen this side of my husband. I might get impatient with the never-ending jaunts to Home Depot, but I'm also enjoying seeing V. in a completely new light!

All that aside, we're both really enjoying settling into our own home. It's a place that we can grow into. We have room for Mummy to have her own space when she comes to stay; we have room for one or two babies to have their own rooms when the time comes; we have room to entertain or to cuddle up just the two of us. I'd have to say that the day we bought our house was one of the happiest days of my life.

21 October 2009

Just the Two of Us

I didn't write about Diwali before now because I had been feeling really sad about it this year. Last year at this time, we were in Delhi, celebrating with my husband's family. I could hardly believe that a whole year has gone by since we were there lighting diyas with Mummy, playing with patake with the kids, eating incredible food and puris at every meal, and visiting the mandir. This year, living in our little temporary apartment and not having many friends in the area yet, and then missing all the local celebrations for one reason or another, felt so depressing.

Then I pulled myself out of the doldrums and decided to make it nice, even if it was just me and V. I went to the Indian grocery near my office and bought a big box of Haldiram's kaju burfi (my husband's favorite sweet), a smaller box of laddoos to share at the office, and three small clay diyas (99 cents each--that's how much we paid for 50 of them in Delhi last year!). We got the ingredients to make pakoras and chai since it was cold and rainy. I thought about getting flowers to use the petals to make a rangoli, but they were too expensive to tear up like that (what--am I becoming a Marwari like my husband?? Hehe...) so we just got a small bouquet and put it in a vase.

Sharing the laddoos at the office with the others in my department was fun and helped to set the mood.

On the day of Diwali, V. and I waited until nightfall, then set things up for a small pooja. We put the burfi, some incense, and the flowers near our little Mahavir Bhagwan, and made a plate with rice grains, red powder, and the three diyas which we filled with oil and lit. We sang a few songs, did aarti, shared some burfi, and then set the diyas in the windows of the apartment before making our pakoras and chai.

The next morning we got up early, dressed up, and went to the mandir where there was a Jain Diwali celebration. We did aarti again and received blessings and prasad before going home again.

V and I both agreed that Diwali was actually really special this year, even though it was just the two of us. The light of the diyas reminded us of our family in India who were celebrating too. Even though we only had three diyas, their light seemed to be a part of the larger celebration back in Delhi, and it felt pretty magical (if I can be so corny).

We both hope that next year at this time, we'll be celebrating with family again! But now we know that being just the two of us is pretty wonderful too.