Spring 2018

Can’t believe it is already May!! Time has been flying super fast these days and I don’t think I am doing a good job of keeping up with it. Every weekend feels like we have lots to do and when Monday comes around, I am always exhausted. I keep thinking I have to change this cycle, but not sure how.

Monday mornings are especially difficult because nobody wants to get up at the right time on Mondays and it is always a tight race to get the kids to school on time. It was much better in Redmond where the kids had to leave for school by 8:15. They did a really good job of getting ready and I used to have an hour extra every day. Now that their school starts at 9 and that we live right across school, they have a very laid back attitude.

Yesterday, after the kids left and the chaos was all done, I felt like I needed a moment or two to myself. I made myself breakfast and sat down with a magazine (even though my brain was screaming at me to get started on work). I slowly ate breakfast while browsing the travel magazine and then started looking at the past years pictures on my phone. Every day my phone shows me all the pictures that were taken in the previous years exactly on this day.

So, past pictures showed me this from 2014. We were still in Redmond and had planted some Tulips and Lilly’s which bloomed beautifully. I went crazy taking pictures. One of the things I love about the Pacific Northwest – the bulbs blooming in the Spring 🙂

After moving to California, we planted Tulips here as well. But, only one bloomed and it was short lived. We were disappointed. But, we do have other flowers blooming nicely here. Here are a bunch of roses from our front yard 🙂



Trip to Victoria BC – Day 3

Here is the final post about our Victoria trip. Here are the previous posts – day 1 and day 2. On day 3, we had planned to go whale watching. We checked out of the hotel in the morning, and left for the harbor. Our whale watching boat was in the afternoon.  Since we didn’t have anything specific to do in the morning, we just went around for a walk. The weather was awesome. We just took a stroll around the harbor aimlessly. It was fun. We ate some street food, I bought a couple of earrings and we took a few pics. We then headed to the Noodlebox for lunch. All of us loved that place and wanted to eat there one more time before we headed back to Seattle. We ate some yummy noodles and went for whale watching. We had to go and report to them before we could get on the boat. They talked to us about the different kinds of whales and what we could be seeing that day. The kids had so much fun listening to that talk.

Once we were in the boat, the kids wanted to get to top deck, but were not allowed. They were very disappointed initially, but soon we found out that bottom deck was the best. Once the boat gained speed, it was very very cold out on the deck. We wore our double layered jackets and caps and it was still cold. The bottom part of the boat had doors. So, we shut them and stayed inside. We had a pretty good view from the inside as well. When the boat came to a place where there was a possibility of whale sighting, they slowed down. Then we got on to the deck and waited for the whales to come to the surface. We saw a bunch of them going around in groups. A couple of the whales got very near to our boat. It was amazing to watch them so closely out in the sea. The kids were very excited.

Whale close to our boat
Two whales from a distance

Once we were back from the tour, we went back to the hotel to get our luggage, and got on the ferry. We were very happy with our 3 day trip and were ready to go back home (even if we would only call it home for one more day. We moved to California the next day). I was very worried about being nauseous again and had taken those tablets ahead of time. But, this time we had a better ferry and the ride was much better.  I was not nauseous at all. We reached home at midnight. We were tired and fell asleep very quickly.

I am very happy that we decided to go on that trip even if it was in between our moving and stuff. It was lots of fun.

Trip to Victoria BC – Day 2

Okay, here I am writing about our Victoria trip in bits and pieces. We went for a three day trip. I wrote about Day 1 here.

On the second day, we had planned to go to Butterfly Gardens and Butchart Gardens. We booked this as a package along with the ferry. So, all we did was go to the ferry terminal and boarded a bus. We went to the butterfly gardens first. We had about 45 min to see this place. It was more than enough. It was a small but beautiful place with a tropical climate controlled area. There were many different kinds of butterflies freely flying all around us. They also had some ants and other insects on display. The kids were fascinated by that.

Butterfly Gardens

From there we went to Butchart Gardens. There are a vast number of plants and many different varieties of flowers. It is really beautiful. It is almost like a big maze. It would have been hard to navigate through without a map. It took us about two hours to see the entire place. The kids got bored after a while, but I loved it. I could have spent another hour in the rose garden itself. Oh my god… so many different kinds of roses. Here are some of the roses from the garden.

It was a nice warm and sunny day and after walking around the gardens we were tired. They had an ice cream shop at the end of the gardens. So, we ate ice cream and then I bought some seeds for me and my parents.

We then took the bus back to the ferry terminal and walked back to the hotel. S and the kids wanted to go to the pool, but they were tired. They just relaxed while I worked for a bit. We then went out to dinner. We wanted to go to a restaurant which had some interesting menu options. But, that place had a 30 min wait. We were hungry. So we went to a nearby mall which had a food court. There were some options in the food court including an Indian place. We took some roti and sabji which was okay. We then did a little bit of shopping for souvenirs in a local shop and headed to the hotel.

All of us were very tired. I did have some work stuff to finish. The kids read for a while and fell asleep. It was a wonderful day!!

Bommala koluvu 

When me and my brother were kids, every year during Dasera we had bommala koluvu at our house. My grand parents also had one. Infact pretty much everyone in our family had one. We used to have fun setting it up, decorating and everything. We usually had holidays all 10 days of Dasera. So, we used to set it up in our place and go and compare it with the one at my grandparents place. It was so much fun.

After I got married, I was not sure if I could still continue doing all this. When I asked my MIL, she told me that we did have the tradition in the family. So, I took it upon myself to do it. I have been doing it almost every year. I might have missed a year or two in between. This year, I was. not sure if I wanted to have the koluvu all 10 days. I was thinking about setting it up on Saturday evening and have it for only 7 days. But, Sarath wanted to set it up yesterday. He did help me with the setup and decorations. I was a bit sad that we only have a few items to put in the koluvu. I wish we had more so that I could set up a bigger one. Hopefully I will collect more over the next few years.

Sarath is now starting to learn more about our festivals and traditions. So, I am planning to make these 10 days of Dasera kind of special. I have plans to make a different sweet everyday and also make some yummy foods over the weekend. Hopefully I will be able to blog about it. Happy Dasera to everyone who celebrates the festival!!

Trip to Victoria, BC – Day 1

We have been in Seattle for more than 5 years, but we never made the trip to Canada. Vancouver is just 3 hours driving distance away. We had planned a trip multiple times, but always had to cancel it for some reason. So, as soon as we decided to move to CA, we were sad that we never visited Canada. Now that our stuff has gone and we have a week to wrap up stuff, we have some time off. We decided to go to Victoria, BC, Canada as we can go on a whale watching tour and there are some other interesting stuff to see in Victoria.

We took a ferry from Seattle to Victoria. The journey was nice except for me getting motion sickness in the middle. There was about an hour of the journey when the waters a bit rough and I was very nauseous and I almost threw up. Luckily they had medicine on board and they gave me ginger candy which kind of helped. My tummy was so shaken that I felt nauseous even two hours after getting off the ferry. The view from the deck was beautiful. It was very windy and a bit cold on the deck. We didn’t stay for long on the deck.

View from the ferry deck. Seattle downtown and Mt. Rainier(faintly) in the background.

We reached Victoria in the evening at about 6 pm. We checked into our hotel which was just a few blocks from the harbor. We then started searching for a place to eat. We found a noodle place called noodlebox. It was a very nice place. When we were in Madison, we used to go to a place called Noodles n Company. We loved it. Noodlebox was very similar to that. The food we ordered was good, but the quantity was way too much. We couldn’t eat even half of the quantity we ordered. We felt very bad to throw away food, but we just couldn’t eat it all. But, the food was awesome though!

Even though it is the end of June, the weather was a bit chilly when we went out to dinner. We needed light jackets. It was a nice small walk from our hotel to Noodlebox and it felt nice to take a walk back after eating.

Moving Part 3

I am now writing this post from California. We are finally here and the move went as smooth as it could. Since we had a week after the movers left with our stuff, we decided to take a mini vacation. We went to Victoria, BC, Canada. I will write about our trip soon. After our vacation, we packed up the remaining stuff that we were planning to bring with us in the car. I estimated that it would take about 5 hours to get everything packed up, and load the car. I was wrong. It took us a lot of time. We finally left at 5 pm. One of our close friends had asked me to come to their house before leaving. It was a Friday and she wanted to give me some tambulam. So, we went there after packing and loading the minivan. She was so nice to make tea and give it to us in disposable cups since we did not have time to stay for a little bit 🙂

On the first day we drove 5 hours and stayed the night at Salem, OR. The next morning we slept in for a bit to get some rest and started a bit late. We drove for a longer time and reached Redding, CA. It was hot when we got there. We stayed the night in Redding. The third day was our final day of our travel. We went to the Sundial bridge in Redding and then headed to the Bay Area. My mom’s cousin lives pretty close to our place. So, we went to their place to stay for night.

View of Mt.Shasta

My aunt made some yummy rice and dal. It felt so good to eat nice hot home made food after the long drive. We moved into our new home the next day. It has been a couple of months since our move and we like it here. There are days when I miss Seattle and my friends and colleagues, but in general I like it.  The weather is nice, but hot. It has been a while since I lived in this kind of weather. It did go into 90’s and 100’s a couple of days, but that’s it. We are done with the hot weather now. We have started gardening a week after we moved. We now have beans, tomatoes and capsicum (bell peppers) in our back yard. The beans are ready to be harvested in a couple days too. So, that part is very exciting! The kids have never lived in this kind of hot weather. So, they are happy some days and are complaining the other days. During their summer break, they went into the backyard and soaked themselves with the hose a number of times 🙂

The schools are in full swing now and we are all settled in 🙂

Moving – part 2

The move is happening and is happening fast. Since the company S works for gives us the relocation services, we thought we could take it. We took that service when we moved to Seattle and the process was really easy and stress free. So, we were planning to go with that now as well. But, by the time they contacted us, it was a bit too late. They said they cannot do the move until the 1st week of July. We needed to be out of here by the end of June. Even if we could find a way to make it happen in July, they said our stuff will not be delivered to us almost until the 3rd week of July. We would move into our home in California and stay there for about 3 weeks of more with bare minimum stuff. So, we were not happy with the idea. So, we decided to go with the option of them paying us the money and we doing the move ourselves.

So, we ended up taking another service. By the time we decided to go with them, we had about one week to finish the packing. I never would have thought we could do it. We actually finished packing in 1 week. The movers came on Saturday and everything was loaded and sent away. The only things they couldn’t fit was three of our bikes. The house is now empty except for a few comforters, some kitchen stuff and my beloved plants. We are planning to drive to CA and I get to take my plants with me. We bought a bike rack so that we can take those bikes with us. We are now wrapping up stuff here.

It feels weird to leave this place, but at the same time I just want to wrap up everything quickly and leave. I am just ready to finish the move and settle down in our new place. The kids are done with school now and they were pretty excited when the movers were here. But, they have very few toys and books and now they are super bored. I don’t blame them. Yesterday we went to get the bike rack and when it was time for dinner, we didn’t want to come home at all. Myself and S are bored in this empty house now. So, we went to a Thai restaurant. The food was good and we ate way too much.

We now have a week before we have to be in CA. So, we might just visit some places around here before we move out of Washington.



Moving to California

We have been in Seattle for 5.5 years. Before moving here, I was not sure about the move at all. We lived in Wisconsin for about 8 years, we owned a home there, both the boys were born there… way too many memories. It was really really hard to leave that place and move. We put the house for sale, and got ready to move all the way to the Pacific Northwest. While driving to the airport, I was bawling like a baby. I loved our home and I really couldn’t believe that we have to leave it and move.

Once we got here, we fell in the routine of things, and started looking for an apartment. Although we were reluctant to move to Redmond because the commute for S would be a bit too much, we decided to just check out the place. The first time we drove around Redmond, we knew we should live here. It just felt so familiar and nice. We signed a lease and we have been in Redmond all these years. Never regretted our decision.

Moving here also gave us opportunities we did not have in the small town of Wisconsin. I was able to get a job within 6 months of moving, S loved his job, we found a good day care for the kids and we settled down. I always hated the winters, but the summers do make up for it. Summers are beautiful here. The scenery is so good. Time just flew by and I have no idea how 5 years have gone by. We made amazing friends here, the schools are good, my career is blooming and life is just blissful at this point.

Now, we are having to leave all this leave to a new place and start over again. S got an very nice opportunity in CA. After debating for over a month, we decided to move and make it our new home. Saying that I am anxious about the move is putting it mildly. There are days when I am almost hyperventilating because the thought of moving is just too much for me. I have come to love this place and it makes me sad to move. There are days I fantasize about moving and having the opportunity to grow plants all through the year. The gardener in me is excited. It will definitely be nice to not worry about the rain or the gloomy weather. So, there are some perks that come with it.

The kids seem excited. Hopefully writing about it here will help me deal with all of this in a better way 🙂