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Montreal , Canada – Jazz, Sewing and More…

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Ah Montreal… my love. You are such a tease. So close and yet so far.

It is where I discovered the first underground mall, and the loveliest of gardens. The fries covered with cheese and gravy – so gross and yet so delicious. The charm of your old city and the lovely people keeps drawing me to you and I keep going back again and again. And to honor you, I even dressed in your colors to celebrate Canada Day!       canadaday

You made me so happy in my recent trip that you inspired me to blog about my travels again! So thank you Montreal for a lovely weekend amidst Jazz and Sewing Friends and Gardens and Yummy Food.

This was not our first time in Montreal. Just for kicks I dug out a photo from 14 years ago which was indeed our first time in this city.

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This was our 5th but Dia’s first and this time we just decided to “hang out” and relax. We weren’t interested in doing any touristy things and that’s what was different this time I think. Coincidentally the International Jazz Festival was also going on so that added to the fun. Oh and if you’re driving to Montreal and Grantham NH is on your way, you HAVE to stop at Farmer’s Table Cafe for a wood fired Pizza! SOO good. What did we ever do without yelp? Beats me.

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On our first day there, we took Uber to The Botanical Gardens where we soaked in the natural beauty. If you’ve never been there, I highly recommend it. Especially if you have kids. Its a great way to educate them about nature. Dia was completely fascinated by it. The orchid section was my favorite as was the bromeliads! Look… a flower growing in a flower!

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Yes, Dia and I are wearing matching dress. Made by me of course! ( like you even needed to ask). This is my first time in public wearing matchy matchy and it won’t be the last. Thanks to dinagideon for encouraging me!

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From there we walked to the rose garden and then the Insectarium where Dia and Gagan really had fun. I was mostly taking pictures. I’m sorry but insects don’t float my boat 🙂

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Dia was a trooper. She walked so much that day.. so I let her have ice-cream for lunch 🙂 We just ate at the cafe (meh.. )

IMG_0183and headed back to St. Catherine for some Jazz Fest Fun. We took the metro back. I love taking public transport wherever I can and I guess when you’re a 4 year old, everything is fun. Dia enjoyed the train ride.

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Back Downtown, we spotted a fountain and there was no going back. Lack of bathing suit didn’t deter this girl from having the most fun! Gagan and I sat on the steps listened to jazz (playing nearby) and it was one of the best afternoons ever.

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Back at the hotel, Gagan and Dia hung out at the pool while I freshened up. We went out to this vegan place La Panthere for dinner which was just ok. Why do all the vegan places smell the same? You know the “crunchy granola” type smell. Anyway… I am not a big fan of fusion cooking so whatever… Dinner was so.. so but I was craving crepe for dessert. Luckily we’re in Montreal so that’s not a problem. We had the best nutella and banana crepe at this little hole in the wall place on St. Catherine. I forget the name. Except that it was heavenly. Ok I found it. Paris Crepe. And its actually on St. Crescent.

Day 2: We took it easy, enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at our hotel. Why do croissants taste so good in Montreal? Must be the butter 😉

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By the time we reached Jean Talon it was nearly lunch so we walked around eating lots of fruit samples, bought a bunch of cherries and strawberries and blueberry juice to quench our thirst and had the best buckwheat crepe of my life. I had remembered this crepe from 5 years ago when I was in Montreal last for PR weekend. And decided to re-live it. Dia loved it so much that we had to get her her own – with cheese. Its like Dosa mom! Yes it was. So yummy and delicious. Note to self – try at home. Creperie Du Marche

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This balloon spiderman lasted all of 5 minutes sadly… but it was fun while he was with us.

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From there, Gagan took Dia back to the hotel to hang out at the pool while I met up with some fabulous sewing friends and had another memorable evening! One of the best perks of starting and running PatternReview is the lovely people it connects me to, and I feel grateful for that.

I met up with Anne-Marie on St. Hubert and even managed to do a little fabric shopping at Tissue Marina (full review on PatternReview). From there I took another Uber to Gainzbar with Heather where we met up with about 15 other Canada sewing friends from PatternReview and blogging community.

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I have this annoying habit of getting photos taken in the same spot if I’ve been there before. This is in front of UltraTex.

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And this is from 5 years ago at PR Weekend Montreal 🙂

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Left to Right… Anne-Marie, Me, Rhonda (in the back), Carmen (in front) and Kay

Time flies when  you’re having fun doesn’t it? I relived some old memories and definitely made a few new ones. I had asked for a source for African Wax Print fabric before our meet up and ReneeB and Caroline gifted me some! Monseratt showed us how to needle a thread the way her granddad showed her and it is a life changer. Here’s a video I took of her showing it to us.

I missed Renee(miss celie’s pants) just by a day. Darn it. She blogged about her trip here. I also finally got a chance to meet Carmen Bouchard. And she is as lovely in person as she is online. What a small world we live in!

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Gagan and Dia were having a blast in the hotel so I decided to stay for dinner. Heather recommended this el salvadorian place for pupusas  and Vicki was kind enough to drive us there in her car. The food was to die for! I ate a LOT!

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The late night commute back to the hotel was enjoyable because Caroline and Claire accompanied me. We talked about schools and retirement and sewing and how to get the best view of the city 🙂 Which we tried out the next day at Mont Royal Park.

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We drove there on our way out from the hotel and checked out the lake before driving up to the highest point where there was a short hike up the mountain. It was really lovely and the view was terrific!

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And because we’re foodies and I started the post with food, I feel obligated to end with food also. If you are in Montreal and are vegetarian, you must go out of your way to eat at-least one meal at Lola Rosa We ate at Rue Milton so can’t say about their other location. But hands down the best burrito ever! and I don’t even like burritos.

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Drive back was uneventful and except for the 1.5 hour delay at the border we didn’t hit any traffic.

You want to know the best part about traveling? You get to come home with a lifetime of memories! And that night as lie down in your own bed, don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t fall asleep. You are after all still mentally in Montreal  🙂

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A new pattern company – ooh la la!

Just before we were about to leave for Martha’s Vineyard, I received a package containing two new patterns which I’d been lusting after for a long time!

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And pretty they sure are! I ordered the Belladone Dress because I love the back cut out and streamlined skirt of the dress and the Blouse Datura. I can see myself using up a lot of the cottons I have left over from making things for Dia. I didn’t blog about it but last year we went to Paris and what can I say. I am in LOVE! I love all things french now 🙂  Ok back to Deer & Doe.

So last night  I traced off Datura and I even have the perfect fabric for it. I got this hand block printed fabric (all vegetable dyes!  ) from India years ago. It’s the softest cotton ever. I have used a similar fabric in this top and I wear it all.the.time.

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But, I needed a contrast fabric so I decided to check out my local fabric store – Quilter’s Way, right here in my town and right next door to a knitting store and a kitchen store. See where I am going with this… Yup, I came back home with a lot more stuff than I needed 🙂

I picked up these two basic cottons. Actually the maroon is quite cool with a slight tone on tone print.  Donna, at the store was super helpful and I was able to find just the right fabrics.

Check it out. I am making the peter pan collar version. Black or Brown? Not sure…

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Most of my fabric still comes from online stores but I sure am grateful for Quilter’s Way.  The quilting manufacturers have actually started making really nice apparel quality fabrics and the prints are breathtaking. I’ve been using quite a few for Dia and starting to use for my clothing as well. Here are some photos I took there. I’ll write a full review on PatternReview soon too. Aren’t you dying for those polka dots? I AM!

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Oh and Martha’s Vineyard, it was a blast. A perfect day! And this is one of the reasons I will never move  🙂

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Austin and SXSW Part 2

One of the other activities planned during our stay was visiting some of the awesome fabric stores which hosted our 10th anniversary party back in November last year. Benson of TexStyles even threw me a party. I was so flattered and honored. On Friday, despite the rain and chilly temps a bunch of us met at TexStyles and had a great time! This is one of the reasons I scope out local digs. I enjoy hearing the stories. The people behind the stores, restaurants and the shops. Their inspiration, their dreams and their life is what makes their store different from others. I enjoyed playing with fabric and trims at TexStyles while sampling some local chocolate and baked goods. These guye are awesome! I came home with a lot more fabric than I had planned 😉 (Thanks Benson). I enjoyed meeting so many of the wonderful PR members there. Thanks you guys! I can’t wait to sew up some of this gorgeousness.

You’d think that I’d had my full after TexStyles but there was one more stop which I had to make before heading back home. Fabricker! Such a happy place! Don’t let the strip mall fool you. This is a very well designed store with lots of open space, mirrors so you can drape fabric before buying. A really cool “Take a Pattern, Leave a Pattern” console is perfect for pattern-o-holics like myself. April has a daughter Dia’s age so she found plenty of things to keep her busy while Mommy explored 🙂 And we will give Daddy lots of credit for all this too because he is AWESOME! He was a trooper during my fabric store visits.

And here are some more photos from The Common Threads. Our visit there was brief but sweet. I wanted to take home the whole store. But instead, I bought this cute moda print (bottom right) for making a sundress for Dia. Even though the whole stack of Echino wanted to come home with me 😦

 

While we were in Austin, we ate really well at lots of local favorites. I had some of the best veggie burgers in Austin! My favorite was the beet (that’s right, beet) burger Leslie and I had at  24 Diner where I even indulged myself with some Mac and Cheese. Oh yeah, I was having fun. I had a great time with Leslie and Roseana at the Eastside Cafe and during quick lunches at the conference. Thank you to both of you for making this trip so special for all three of us.

Our last day in Austin, we decided to take turns watching Dia at the conference. Believe it or not, it was a lot of fun.  So yes, I couldn’t attend some of the sessions but who cares. Dia made a lot of friends and even collected some toys in the expo hall.

I am convinced that rain follows me wherever I go. How else can you explain 4 straight days of downpour in a state which is supposed to be in drought! And of course here at home it was beautiful and sunny while I was gone. All I can say is “You are welcome Texas!” But no, I am not moving there 🙂 And No, it’s not because you walk around with “Don’t move here” T-shirts on.

It’s because as much as I love to travel and experience other places, I am absolutely and completely in love, and at home right here in Boston.

Austin and SXSW – Part 1

I started writing this post right after I got back from SXSW, Austin, TX but… Life Happens…

 

I just got back from attending SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas and all I can say is WOW! South By SouthWest is a two week long festival/conference/party in the heart of Austin, a cosmopolitan city. From what I hear, over 250,000 people attend this festival every year. This was my first time in Texas so I was really looking forward to it. 7 days is a long time to be away from home and work but we wanted to make it into a mini vacation as well so we stayed a few extra days to explore Texas. I now realise that not only did we not explore Texas, when you go for a conference you shouldnt expect to see the city 🙂 Unless of course you’re twenty somethings… Cause guess what? After the sessions were over, there were parties everywhere! Complete with drinks, music, live bands and good food! Us oldies however couldn’t wait to get back to our cute little cottage to the apple of our eye. Who was a champ by he way. We had an awesome babysitter, Lauren (thanks Leslie) who looked after Dia while we were at the conference center. Was stayed in the historic Hyde Park neighborhood for the duration of our stay. So close to downtown and yet so quiet. We loved it here.

We weren't allowed in the main B&B because of Dia so they gave us this stand alone cottage instead. Worked well for us!

About the interactive conference. I didnt really go with any expectation so I was completly overwhelmed and amazed at the magnitude of it all. Just the line for picking up our badges was a couple miles long snaking all the way around the conference center. It took us two hours just to get the badges. That said, it was beautifully organized with food stalls and refreshments everywhere and since we were indoors and had good company time just flew.

We have our badges!

 

If we were a little more organized we could have picked our badges a day before and saved ourselves a little time. But we were out having fun enjoying the “Tropical” weather. Here are some photos from our day with Leslie and Scot.

Sniffing the Texas Mountain Laurels – umm.. Grape Coolaid anyone?

We all like to smell the flowers 🙂

Doves at the Zilker Park. Dia loved them!

A fun day with Leslie and Scot

Enjoying an afternoon Cuppa Joe at Dominican Joe’s.

 

While Gagan hung out at the Startup Village I was mostly at the Intercontinental which was where most of the marketing and branding panels were held. There was some excellent speakers, some of whom I’ve started stalking. Dr. Pradeep and Derek Halpern to name a few. There was even an interesting panel about why women blog which I enjoyed quite a bit. Oh, and I learned a new buzz word – “Social!”

Every single panel and seminar I attended, focused on social media and social networking and social sharing and social progamming and social partying. I get it, but wouldnt it be nice to look up from your phone every once in a while to say Hello to the person seated next to you? But then again I am OLD.

Sea of people tweeting away!

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I met a few nice people at the conference. Check out dishenvy.com, a new startup about rating dishes. (Not restaurants) Cool. At the blogging panel, there was a woman seated next to me who, did not have an iphone! It’s a miracle! She and I started talking and turns out she is also from Boston and works at the MIT Media Lab, one of the most awesome of labs I’ve ever been to.

We took a break from the conference to drive to Waco (yes, that’s the one!) to meet up with some of Gagan’s college roommates. They were driving from Dallas and Houston with their families to meet with us. Despite the crazy weather and traffic we had a great time! And since Dia was the youngest kid in the group, she got a lot of attention from the others which she absolutely loved. And we got tons of babysitters. Here’s the thing about old friends. Even if you haven’t seen them in the last 10 years, you just pick up where you left off. It was great meeting you guys and getting to know you.

I’d been wanting a pair of cowboy boots for a long time and since we were in Texas… Gagan spotted this huge boot store – Cavenders close to Temple, TX on our way back to Austin. I was blown away. I wish I had taken photos but I must have tried 20 pairs after settling on these ones. The sweet salesgirl with the cutest Texas accent was super helpful. I so adored her snakeskin boots! But for now, I am calling these mine 🙂

Wow, I’ve had a lot to say! It’s getting too long so next up. PatternReview party at TexStyles and other fabric shopping report…

 

Boston – North End – A taste of Italy!

With an afternoon to spare on a perfect fall day in Cambridge we found ourselves in a fun neighborhood of Boston – North End. A couple of T-rides and we were in Haymarket – a tourist destination where we have been countless number of times. But today we ventured beyond the tourist attractions and behind the buildings to one of the most charming parts of Boston – also known as Little Italy! And on the way there we even spotted a HUGE farmer’s market where everything was $2! Now, the quality of produce was questionable but it was still amazing to see tents after tents of vendors.

Past the farmer’s market was a whole different world! The streets were narrow, the buildings mostly brick, the decor so charming, it took us back in time. Restaurants galore, most of them Italian, this place is food heaven! It was 4 in the afternoon and we saw lines forming outside some of the popular restaurants. What also amazed me was a mile long line outside Mike’s Pastry! Seriously, what does he put in those cannolies?

Besides the restaurants, I also spotted some nice boutiques where I obviously had to stop for quick snoop shopping 🙂 I spared Gagan the agony and made a mental note to go back there with a girlfriend.

Now Boston is the oldest city in the US and this being the oldest residential neighborhood, does this mean that this is the oldest neighborhood in the country? I’ll have to do some fact checking.

As we walked down the street, we spotted this cool coffee store which looked interesting so we went in.

Turns out they sell lot more than coffee. From their bulk bins, I bought french lentils for only $1.99/lb! I’ve seen them as high as $5.99. These will be awesome for my lentil salad. I took a photo just so I’ll remember the name of this place. You have to check it out! People were buying all kinds of coffee beans here. It smelled heavenly in there and the owners were such happy people.

Out on the main street there was this Pasta shop where you could buy all kinds of fresh pastas. Totally going back there!

We sampled some espresso gelato at a small italian cafe and finally escaped the hustle and bustle of the restaurant row to this quiet cafe on the next street over. A small cup of cappuccino was the perfect ending to a perfect day with Gagan.

If you are in the neighborhood or visiting Boston, North end is not to be missed! Most restaurants here require reservations so plan ahead for dinner. I know I will!

T-Stop – Orange Line – Haymarket

PR Weekend Philly 2010

– Smoking is prohibited on this flight, but if you’d like to smoke, please let us know and we’ll put you on the wings and say “Bye Bye Birdie”…
– If the cabin pressure drops, you’ll see the masks drop in front of you. Stop screaming and put one on. If you have a few kids, pick your favorite one and put on their mask before others.

I had a big smile on my face. And it wasn’t from the silly jokes the airline host cracked in a lame attempt to keep us entertained while sitting on the runway for an hour. Man… they will do anything these days. Its pathetic…

Ok back to the point. The reason for a big smile on my face was from having spent a fabulous weekend with Karen in Philly. Yes, I did make it to the PR Weekend, even if it was two months later. When I told Karen that I couldn’t make it in May, she invited me to come later and stay with her and “We’ll have a mini PR weekend for you”. And she was right!

You are not going to believe how much fun we crammed into just one day!

After a wonderful welcome from Karen and Mario on Friday we stayed up talking late (another PR Weekend tradition) and planned the next day.

We had a quick breakfast in a nearby cafe which had the most delicious coffee I’d had in a while (Yes, I know my java!) and headed straight to the Farmer’s market after a quick stop at a “Porch Sale”. Karen and Mario live in the historic neighborhood of Philadelphia which sadly is being eaten up slowly by the University but there is still a lot to absorb there. I was fascinated by the architecture and the personality of the houses. When I admitted to Mario that at one point in my life I wanted to be an architect, he took me to the neighboring lane where all the houses had painted porches. It was amazing!

As the mercury kept rising, we refreshed ourselves with some free samples at the farmer’s market and explored the adjoining Flea market. A teal necklace found it’s new home 🙂

We were now headed to the famous South Street where other PR weekend volunteers were joining us for lunch and some Fabric Shopping! Yup, it is PR Weekend alright 🙂

Ok by this time, we’re completely soaked and marinating in our own juices (Sorry for the mental picture). So we spotted a fountain and I encouraged Karen to go in! Wow that was awesome. We cooled off and by then it was time for lunch.

But wait, I almost forgot. On the way to South Street, Karen showed me the historic sites – The independence Hall, the old Tavern. We even saw the Sheraton where you guys were staying for the PR Weekend. What a great location.

At the fabulous Middle Eastern restaurant Mimi, Annette, Elaine and Lee joined us. What a great group you guys were! After a great lunch of Falafel and Hummus (one of the best in Philly) we headed towards The Fabric Row.

Our first stop was Kincus Fabrics and guess what? I found the ONE piece of fabric I wanted to take from this trip. It was a lovely teal and brown cotton. But since all the other stores were also on the same block, I kept it back and decided to come back if I didn’t find anything else.

Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet was awesome! “You never know what you’ll find here” said Karen. And sure enough, I found a couple pieces of remnant fabric to make this Burda dress 🙂 Karen convinced me that remnants don’t count towards my ONE fabric rule so I bought it. I’ll write a full review of these stores on PatternReview.com

Andrea joined us after a few hours (the queen of last minute sewing, she was working on a dress for dinner)

and while the others headed back, Karen, Andrea and I walked around for a few hours and saw one of the most amazing forms of art. The “Magic Garden” is the creation of Isaiah Zagar, a Mosaic artist. He proves that art has no specific form. It can be found pretty much everywhere as long as you open your eyes to the possibilities. What an artist! If you are in Philadelphia this is something not to be missed.

Here’s another thing not to be missed… If you are a shoe lover you just HAVE to enter this store Bus Stop. The owner of this store hand picks the shoes she carries and each one of them is drool worthy. We spent a GOOD amount of time in there trying many shoes. Karen in fact refused to remove the shoes she tried on and in the end, they had to go home with her 🙂 Oh this was so much fun!

We headed back to Karen’s house where we freshened up and changed into dry clothing for dinner 🙂 Mario and Karen had made reservations for us at their favorite Italian restaurant and we were famished by that time. When the owner brought us our food and I took the first bite, Karen exploded into giggles looking at the expression on my face. Yup, I was in food heaven. Never before had I tasted gnocci so delicious.
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We walked off those calories as the local crew showed me the old city of Philadelphia. And guess what? We ran into an open air concert at Penn’s Landing. What a beautiful way to end a fabulous day.

You’d think that after having had such a long day we would drop dead when we reach home. Wrong! A cold shower brought me back to life and this is my favorite part of this weekend – We stayed up till 1 AM talking!!! Yup it is after all a PR Weekend.

Sunday morning – we played dress up! I requested to look at all the awesome stuff Karen makes and she agreed. I even tried a few dresses on and I am now convinced that I need to make most of them 🙂 And finally you are not going to believe this. Karen said “You must try this dress on, if it fits you, it’s going home with you”. And my lucky stars… it did, beautifully, so now I have a new dress and the best memory from this weekend.

I wore that dress to breakfast and folks THAT is the reason, I am still smiling 🙂 What a wonderful and memorable weekend to spend with friends, food and shopping! At breakfast when Mario pointed out that we were giggling like girls, I said “It is very important to keep the GIRL alive, so we are” 🙂

Karen and Mario thanks for a wonderful PR Weekend and thanks to Andrea, Mimi, Annette, Elaine and Lee for braving the 100 degree weather and hanging out with us. It made it so much more special for me!

Another home, another city, a lot to explore

I am sitting here facing a beautiful bay window on the 4th floor of a cute little apartment in Cambridge and writing as the cool breeze gently blows a few wisps of hair away from my face. What am I doing here? Let me backtrack…

Ok so where have I been the last month? Well after my first week in India I decided to really take it easy and not worry about anything but spending time with family and be with myself. I needed that! And I guess I am glad I took the time to do it because my life right now is crazyyyyy. But in a good way. Let me explain.

While I was in India, we got some good news. Gagan got accepted into M.I.T.’s sloan program. For those not familiar with the sloan’s program, It’s a one year full time MBA program for individuals with 10+ industry experience. Earlier this year he had applied for it so when he got accepted it was really cool! Now since commuting from the suburbs to Cambridge every day is not an option for him, we have rented a small apartment in Cambridge which is where he will be for the next year. And me? Well, I am going to go back and forth between Acton and Cambridge, although from spending just a few days here in Cambridge, I have a feeling that it’ll be more of a home for me over the next year. Atleast in the summer when its so gorgeous here!

And while Gagan gets busy with school, I’ve decided to make the most of my time here in the city. In the last few days I’ve walked more than I ever have in a whole month but I feel so good, so energized. And can I just say? When we walked to M.I.T. yesterday from our apartment, I felt my I.Q. going up already 🙂 It’s funny, I feel smart already.

So as I was walking to the apartment this afternoon carrying a heavy backpack containing my laptop, a few basic supplies, a grocery bag containing some fruit and veggies I picked up from the nearby grocery store, and a fruit tart, to celebrate the beginning of our wonderful year here in Cambridge, I felt nothing but happiness and contentment and the next thing I know, I am smiling… at random strangers 🙂 And it feels good.

But… first things first. I need some good flats and I need to charge my camera so I can share my experiences here with you. Here’s the challenge… 52 weeks. Each week I explore something new in the city. And I take you with me. Whether you like it or not. Are you with me?

Garment District! – Not so fast… It’s an old thrift store where you find clothing by the pound! I am almost afraid to go in here… but one of these days.

Protected: A Visit to the Salon

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My first week in India


Today it’s exactly a week since I left home to spend some time in India with my family. I feel I have enough to talk about and now that I have a minute I’d like to share a few thoughts with you. When I reached the airport here in Delhi I got a phone call from Gagan (he was already here) with the unfortunate news that his grandfather’s brother also passed away. While it is sad, the mood here is that of acceptance and everyone is just happy that we are here. To be able to spend time with family members who have flown in from everywhere is what matters in the end. Nobody here is mourning Babaji’s passing. Instead they are all celebrating his life. There are people who stop by everyday to offer their condolences. And Dadima as always the hostess makes sure that they go back home well fed and hydrated 🙂 She IS the greatest woman I’ve ever met.

As for me, I am falling into a routine gradually. I work for a few hours early in the morning and then at night. Gagan has gone back to the US so I do miss him a lot but it’s important for me to be here right now and I am surrounded by so many people who have nothing but love and admiration for me so it’s nice to be here.

I am happy and I notice that I am smiling a lot. And it’s the little things which make me happy. And when you ask what Happiness is, I’ll say this:

– Happiness is not having a plan for each day. Waking up in the morning and letting the day happen to me.
– Happiness is taking an afternoon nap and not having to set an alarm to wake up.
– It is reading a book and not worrying about what else I should be doing. (This took a little bit of an effort).
– Happiness is having 4 meals a day and not having to cook any of them!
– Happiness is sitting kicking back with feet up on the couch and just hanging with Dadima (grandmother). Smiling when she reads Babaji’s old love letters to her. Wishing I had saved my old hotmail account when Gagan used to send his love letters to me electronically.
– Sensing the smell of mangoes from a mile away!
– A Laburnum tree in the front yard which makes me smile whenever I look at it. The pretty yellow cluster of flowers which seem to disappear into infinity, ever so gracefully.

While I make it sound all nice and pretty, it isn’t like everything else in life. In the past 3 days I’ve had horrible stomach infection and now I have cold and fever. I am on antibiotics. Being sick in over 100 degree weather is not a happy thought. I am feeling pretty drained right now barely able to move around. But… I feel loved. I feel cared for. So while I am not enjoying the food this time eating very carefully only light meals, it is okay.

It does help that I am reading “Eat Pray Love” and kind of associate with the author and her story quite a bit and I am loving every minute of my time here.

Today I helped my mother in law research washing machines, fixed a facebook setting for her. Helped an aunt run a youtube video on her computer, shared some favorite recipes with her and got some in return. Shared 3 meals with Dadima. Showed some family photos to another aunt and talked about my life in the US with her, my gaze fixed at her radiant smile and somehow I feel more productive than I do after working 60 hours a week! If this is not happiness, what is?

I have no agendas, no plans, no idea what I am doing each day and it’s N.I.C.E.! I am not even missing my sewing machine. So something must be terribly wrong or right 🙂 We’ll find out next week. Thanks for listening and letting me share my thoughts with you. Hope your week is full of smiles too.

Belize Day 5 – Cave Tubing and our last day

I woke up with sore calves! I make a mental note to go to the gym more often. “yeah right!” the other half of my brain said. But seriously if there is one thing which is evident from this trip , it’s the fact that I need to get fit. 

Okay it’s our last day here but I try not to dwell on anything. I resist the temptation to check my email while enjoying a hot cup of java. I can read the daily digest though, so I read Kathy’s review of Jalie 2908. It’s wonderful. Ok, back to Belize. 

After a quick breakfast we head out. I’ll be quick in this post. We drive for slightly more than an hour to get to the entrance of the place where we go cave tubing. I notice that most of the places here you are required to go in with a guide because it can be dangerous. Today’s activity was very relaxing though. We hike a little bit to get to the cave entrance. In our hike we spot a poisonous snake!! Thankfully Louis (our guide) pointed out, the bark of a tree which acts as an antidote to the poison is right there. Gagan sampled some termites (yes I said termites). I forget how he described them… lemony with a hint of mint… Weird. Louis said they are a good source of protein. So good if you’re lost in a jungle I guess.

The cave entrance is mesmerising! We jump into our tubes and the adventure begins.

It’s a beautiful day here. Crystal clear skies, warm tropical breeze and the water – cool and refreshing. “butts up” louis (our guide) says to us whenever we approach a shallow area to avoid hitting the stones and rocks. Unless you want a natural massage of course. I tried it and boy, nothing relaxing about that massage. So I religiously followed his command 🙂 

As we paddle through the cave we see some more amazing rock formations. We even saw a waterfall in pitch dark. This is amazing. Simply amazing. I am hoping the pictures will come out ok. It’s super dark in here. 

After about an hour or so we are out of the cave still in the river under the clear skies surrounded by the lush palm trees. Soft rapids guide us sometimes and we paddle through the rest using our arms which are sure to hurt tomorrow. 

The sun is a welcome change here as we are completely soaked here too. So we let ourselves just float and enjoy the warmth. This was really relaxing. 

I got stuck in one spot and was saved by my couragiuos husband 🙂 so no worries there. 

We were floating under the sun for about half an hour or so and it was really really fun. 

This is day five and one thing which comes across here. People are HAPPY!  I didn’t hear a single person complain, or be rude to us. Even on the streets. That’s pretty darn cool I’d say. There is not a single American fast food chain here. “you’re missing out” Gagan teased Wilburt. To which he said “my friend, there is nothing like going to the backyard and plucking a fresh juicy orange for breakfast !” We were speechless. 

Almost everyone here has atleast one fruit tree in their yard. We even stole a couple oranges on our way back from cave tubing. And he was right. They were delicious! 

Today is our last day here but I am not sad. I am happy! I am content and if there is one thing I learned from the land of never ending spring it’s this, SMILE!  

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