The Beat in My Heart

Sharing my Thoughts with the World!

Cayman Islands

Cayman-Islands

I found this picture from the our Amazon cloud drive. The cloud drive shows pictures from “This day” and shows all the pictures taken on a particular day in different years. So, today it showed me this pic and I couldn’t help but share it here πŸ™‚

This was 7 years ago when we went to Cayman Islands. Sarath was only an year old and we bravely took the 2 week trip to a new country. It was an amazing trip. Our hotel was just a couple of minutes walk from the beach. We went to the beach everyday and Sarath had loads of fun playing in the sand.

The boat in the picture is the one we took to go a few miles into the ocean where the depth of the ocean was only about 5 feet. Β There we could see a lot of Sting Rays swimming around. The tour guide actually let us touch and feel the sting rays under the water. It was a unique experience.

 

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Feels Good to be back home

We just got back from a week long vacation to Orlando. We have been planning this trip for a while now and finally, we got good tickets using airline miles. We originally planned on leaving on Saturday and coming back on Saturday. But, the tickets were expensive due to Spring break. So, we left last Tuesday and came back this Tuesday. It was a really good vacation and I did not even remember which day it was most of the time. More than a couple of times, S had to remind me the day of the week πŸ™‚ It was hot in Orlando, which was a nice change from all the rain we have been having here. The weather reminded me of Hyderabad and it felt nice to wear summer clothes, sandals and not having to worry about carrying jackets everywhere.

Now, it feels good to be back to the daily routine. The one main part of the trip that I did not like was food. The kids – especially Sanjay did not eat well on the entire trip. Given the fact that there was a 3 hour time difference and we ate at different times each day, he was not at all hungry most of the times. The kids refused to eat snacks as well. I let them eat how much they wanted and they did fine. So, I did not fret too much about it. On the other hand, I indulged in food and ate more than what I should have been eating at each meal. Although, sometimes I made some good healthy choices while eating at restaurants, most of the time I was eating junk food. I think I ate fries enough for a month or two in the past one week 😦 Anyway, it is time to go back to gym and healthy salads for a while I guess.

The best part of the trip was knowing that the kids would eat anything and also the fact that we did not have to worry about nap times or lunch/dinner times. These are the perks of the kids growing up. We also went prepared for hunger and melt down emergencies. We packed a couple of snacks and juices everyday with us and we ordered milk with kids meals most of the times. That kept them happy πŸ™‚ We also made sure that the kids got enough rest at night. The only thing we missed were the fire works but, the kids were so tired by 6:00 in the evening that we did not dare stay longer at any of the parks.

I had lots of fun with the camera on this trip and I am really happy with some of the pictures πŸ™‚ It was a really good trip and a much needed vacation. I will put up some more details about the trip soon.

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London Trip Day 1

Last summer, we took a stop over in London on our way back from India. We spent 4 days in London. It was very tiring but, we enjoyed a lot. The kids had so much fun riding the underground train (tube), the open top buses and taking a ferry ride on the Thames river.

When we were planning our trip to London, I really wanted to go on the Harry Potter tour and there were many tours available and I was not sure which one we would like. With two kids, I did not want to take long tours. But then I saw the Warner Brother’s studio tour. By the time I read about it and finally decided to buy the tickets, everything was sold 😦 I was very sad that day. Then, just because I was mad at myself for not purchasing the tickets earlier, and also because I was bored in India, I went to the Warner Brother’s studio tour site again. This time I saw there were tickets on some days which were not available previously. That gave me a faint hope that maybe something might open up on the days we would be in London. I checked it every morning and finally, I was able to get the tickets πŸ™‚

On the day of the tour, we went to Watford station by tube (London’s underground trains). Then we got on the studio tour bus to get to the studio. It was a 10 – 15 min ride. We were much earlier than we needed to be. But, that was good because the kids were hungry and we had some time to go to the cafe. After the kids had some snack and juice, we finally went inside. I was just like a happy kid who got her ice cream πŸ™‚ Β I loved everything and we took tons of pictures. The kids of course were not interested in anything there initially. They saw the flying car from the Chamber of Secrets and Sanjay was disappointed that he could not ride in the car.

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Sarath was bored initially and kept whining about going back to the hotel. After the initial video and some intoduction, we were on our own inside the great hall of Hogwarts πŸ™‚ It was a small hall. Much smaller than what it appears to be in the movie. I started explaining to Sarath what everything was, the different houses of Hogwarts etc and slowly he got interested. We saw the sets of Gryffindor common room, the mirror or Erised, Dumbledore’s office, potions classroom (where there were a couple of potions stirring themselves), Hagrid’s hut, the flying motorbike, Diagon alley, Privet drive, Harry’s house at Godrics Hollow, The Burrow (where they had displayed the self washing pans, self knitting sweater etc) and a lot of other items as well. It was wonderful. Sarath was so excited to see pans washing themselves, iron box ironing by itself, potions stirring themselves etc. He actually thought that was all actual magic and I did not have the heart to tell him otherwise.

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They had a display of how they filmed all the flying on broomsticks and the flying car. We can go and get a picture and video of ourselves flying on a broomstick. We just sit on a broomstick which actually has a seat on which we can sit. it is stationary and we just move to the side as if we are riding. The actual video will have all the background and when put together it will be as if we are flying on a broomstick all over London πŸ™‚ Myself and Sarath did that. My video did not come out nicely but Sarath’s did. So, we purchased some pics of me and Sarath on a broomstick and also Sarath’s video on the broomstick.

After this, Sarath started liking the tour and got very excited. We even saw the Knight bus and Sarath was just so excited to see a triple decker bus in a purple color πŸ™‚ At the end I was very happy that we got a chance to go to the tour and Sarath got so interested that he asked me “When can I read the first Harry Potter”? I told him he can read it when he is 7. But, I think I am going to wait for another year to let him read the books. I just hope he has as much fun as I had while reading it.

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Swarm – Photo 101

Crowded-Newyork-Streets

This is an intersection in New York city. After coming to the US, the first time I saw so many people walking on streets was in New York. Even though I was used to seeing many people on the streets in India, I had never seen that in the US and it was very interesting for me πŸ™‚

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Architecture – Photo 101

Byodo-In-Temple15

This is Byodo-in-temple in Hawaii.

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Connect – Day 6 Photo 101

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Solitude – Day 5 Photo101

This picture was taken near the Tower of London early in the morning.

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Water – Day 3 Photo101

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India Trip 2014 – Flying to Hyderabad

This has been a long overdue post. But, better late than never right….

The flight to Hyderabad was the highlight of this trip and the most tiresome for me. We were supposed to leave Seattle on June 16th – myself, S, Sarath and Sanjay and my SIL’s kids P and K. We were planning everything and the kids were excited to go to India. But, nothing goes as planned right so, right before we were supposed to leave, we got a big disappointment – S’s passport (which we had sent for UK visa) did not come back. We sent both of our passports at the same time. I got mine back well ahead of time but unfortunately, S’s passport got held up. So, the Β week before the trip was spent in total frustration and tension. So, at that point we had two options – one was to cancel all the tickets and re book them and the second was that I will go ahead as planned with 4 kids and S will come after he gets his passport. The very thought of travelling internationally alone with 4 kids was terrifying to me. I just couldn’t imagine myself doing it. So, I called the travel agent and he told me that it would cost around $3000.00 to rebook the tickets for everybody. So, after a long discussion, I decided to go ahead with our original plan and travel with the kids. I was just so scared. Two years back, I had to travel with Sarath and Sanjay and that was in itself very tiring. S told me clearly that if I did not want to go alone with the kids, we will re book the tickets even if it is expensive. But, I really did not want to spend so much money when it is not entirely necessary.

So, I started planning for the trip. The kids were sad that S was not coming with us but, they were excited about the trip. I was doing fine until the day before the trip. On Sunday, I was very scared about me going alone with 4 kids and S not being able to come as planned and I just started crying. S sat with me and let me cry for a while and then comforted me. On the day of the trip, I did fine. I sat all the kids and talked with them about the luggage we will have on the plane and what they need to do once we are in the ariport. We went early to the ariport to make sure that we get seats together. Even then, it was a tight call. Because I was travelling alone with 4 kids, they did some re-arrangement and gave me the seats as I requested. I was really thankful for that.

The kids did really good on the flight. I had the 3 older kids sit together in the seats next to the window. I just had to keep an eye on them. Since everybody gets their own personal TV’s. handling them was easy. They each saw what ever they wanted to including Sanjay. He being the little one had to sit next to me. When the food was served, I told them to eat what ever they could and they listened to me. I was surprised and relieved. Once, I got them settled, they watched TV for a while and then I had to force them to sleep. The kids hardly slept on the flight to London though. I think they were very excited. None of the kids slept and neither did I.

Once in London airport, the kids were following the signs for the transit passengers and walked all the way without any complaints. I had checked Sanjay’s stroller at the gate and specifically told them that I need it in London. That helped me a lot. With Sanjay in the stroller, I only had to keep an eye on 3 kids πŸ™‚

The flight from London to Hyderabad is 10 hours long and I was worried about this flight. I thought the kids will be really bored. But because they did not sleep on the first flight, all four kids slept for about 5 – 6 hours on the second flight. I got some sleep too. When they were awake, they just watched TV, played video games and just had fun. The air hostesses helped me a lot on the second flight. One thing I should mention is the attitude of a couple of people on the flight. Because the flight was full, and they could not accommodate the seating request I had, we got the last two rows of seats on the plane. I was not very happy because it would be very difficult to keep an eye on the kids. So, I asked another couple sitting in the next row if they would be willing to exchange the seats since I have to keep an eye on 4 kids. The couple were not very old or young. But, the man said he has some knee problems and needed an aisle seat. I told him there were 2 aisle seats available but he was just not even ready to consider the idea. I got frustrated and told him it was okay. So, I had the 3 older kids sit in the back row together and Sanjay and myself in the row in front. There was another person sitting in my row. He was 14 years old and was travelling alone. He heard my conversation about switching seats and offered to help me with the kids. I did not even ask him. He helped Sanjay with the seat belt while I was helping the other kids. He kept an eye on the kids all the time and even entertained Sanjay while I slept for a little while. I am so thankful to him. He even told me that he is used to little kids and is happy to help me. When the kids woke up, they were hungry and this guy went and got them chips and cookies from the galley. It was so nice to see that kid wanting to be helpful.

When we landed in Hyderabad, I was so relieved but, we were the last ones to get off the plane. Also, they did not have the immigration cards for us on the plane. So, we had to take them after coming out of the plane in Hyderabad. It took me so much time to actually get these kids in control, fill the form and everything that we were literally the last people to come out of immigration. By the time we were in baggage claim, our luggage had arrived.

My parents and in-laws were supposed to come to the airport and they were late. While we were waiting for them outside the airport, I was just so happy to be back in Hyderabad, taking in the cool morning breeze and couldn’t believe that I actually successfully traveled from Seattle to Hyderabad with 4 kids! I was just so proud of myself at that moment. I was extremely tired and as soon as I saw my parents, I was so relieved and felt like a huge weight was off my shoulders. and guess what the first thing my mom told me – “You have lost weight and look very good”. That really made my day and I was just happy to be there with my mom and dad in the city I love the most πŸ™‚

 

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Home Sweet Home – Feels good to be back!

Ah it feels so good to be back in Seattle after a 5 week trip to India and London. It was a fun trip which was also boring at times and there were times I was just plain frustrated with so many people at once that I started contemplating some of the decisions that I made so long ago. Once, we are back on the plane, usually it all feels good. But, this time, I don’t feel that way.

Anyway, the kids had fun for the most part. As soon as we landed in India, we went to MIL’s place and then Sanjay started crying that he wants to go back to Seattle. I had to struggle with that for a while and also he wouldn’t go to the bathroom. He kept saying “I will go after we go back to Seattle”. I had to convince him ever so gently every time he had to go. It took almost 3 – 4 days for him to be ok with going to the bathroom.

The jet lag lasted for almost 10 days this time. So, I felt like I was constantly tired. The kids would wake up at Β 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning consistently and it was very difficult. Β At times like those, I wished I was in Seattle or better yet I was at my parents house where I could have a say in certain things.

The best part of the trip was:

– Not having to wear jackets every time we go out

– Eating mangoes. Even though we went at the end of the mango season, we still ate a lot of mangoes. The kids just plain loved them. Who wouldn’t?

– Eating pani puri from the pani puri wala on the foot path.

– Eating all the yummy food that my mom made specially for me πŸ™‚

– Leaving the kids with my parents and going shopping with S.

– Watching the kids get excited about going in trains, autos and scooters.

– Watching my parents and in-laws having fun with the kids

 

The worst part of the trip was:

– Having to deal with the power cuts and the heat because of lack of rains

– Having to deal with some nosy relatives who have nothing better than to gossip all day

– Having to deal with some unpleasant things which I wish I could forget.

 

I was originally planning to writing posts regularly as I would not have much to do there. Between the power cuts, and going out and me being lazy a little bit, I never got around to writing. Hopefully, I will write more now and also get around to reading all the posts that are waiting in my reader πŸ™‚

 

 

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