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June 28, 2010

Five year old girls and their weird questions.

Ashu: Amma, what is "pussy"?
Me: EXCUSE ME?
Ashu: Why is a cat called pussycat, Amma? What is "pussy"?
Me: phew!
Ashu: What? Tell me.
Me: Its just pussycat, OK?
Ashu: So what is pussy?
Me: I don't know.
Ashu: look in the laptop and tell me then.
Me: sigh ok. *googles* Ah ok. A pussycat is a female cat, Ashu. A girl. Puss is a girl in Dutch, it seems. And do you know what a male cat is?
Ashu: I don't know.
Me: I can tell that without looking in the laptop. Its called a Tomcat.
Ashu: *giggles* like in Tom and Jerry?
Me: Yup.
Ashu: And if Jerry was a girl cat, then we can call it Tom and Pussy! *giggles*
Me: sigh!

June 27, 2010

27.06.2010

Dear Antu,

Happy Birthday, Darling! You are way too cool for my mushy birthday letters. So I ll tell you how you spent your day today. We were at our friends place last night and got back late. You charmed the pants off everyone there. Today I packed a picnic and went to Park im Grüene. Three families joined us there and all you kids had fun in the water area, the train rides, the play area, etc... You did nt want to leave the water area and cried a bit when I carried you and walked away. You loved it when all of us sang the Happy Birthday Song (in English and Deutsch). I had made an Almond flavored cake with cream cheese frosting. Ashu suggested a Mickey Mouse theme since you love him. Ashu and I played around with marzipan and did an outline of the mickey mouse face and put it on top of the cake. Not my best work, but you recognized it to be Mickey and thats all I wanted! :)

This year flew away so fast. Today I told your Appa, "I cant believe last year this time I was in the hospital" and he gave me a look and told, "You mean the year before?" Yikes! You are TWO?! You are already wearing your sisters Age 3 clothes. You don't care if your dad or I leave you and go somewhere. You are not bothered when we three hug each other. You just keep doing your own thing most of the time. You are raring to go to school. You adore your sister and would rather listen to her than me. You both go and shut yourselves in a room and 15 or 20 minutes later come out dressed as princesses. You patiently let your sister dress you up when you would nt even cooperate with me to put a diaper on you. While your sister still dresses up in the clothes I select for her, you already have a mind of your own. "Kai want, kai want,..." is your favorite phrase. (I want, I want,...) Kai want, kai want butterfly dress amma. Kai want, kai want bikki amma. Kai want, kai want Dora Amma,... are some oft repeated requests!

I love you to bits, my adorable Antu. Hope this year has been as fantastic for you as it has been for us. And here's to many, many more fantastic ones.

Love,
Amma

June 17, 2010

Today is Ashu's last day of school. From August, shes going to be a Kindergartner. In another campus aka Big School. I'm very emotional about it and nagging Ashu so much that she is this close to saying, "Cut it out, Ma! Its Pre K I'm passing out of. Not PhD!" Well, what does she know?

She had a play date with her school friend yesterday at our place and the girls had a blast. A fitting end to this school year. And as soon as her friend left, Ashu asked if she can have a play date the next day as well. I told her no and informed her that we will be doing something special after school to celebrate the last day of Pre K. This made her very excited. "I want to buy something, Amma", she told me. We were in a store that time and I told her, "OK. Whatever you want!" So she picked up a big bag of sweets (the chewy ones, like fruitella?) and asked, "Can I buy this?" I remembered that she has been asking for this big bag of sweets for over a year now in the same shop. (This shop is right next to our building and we go there almost every day) And I have been always saying no because well, I can! Just kidding. Because it was a BIG bag and I did nt even know if she would like that sweet. But yesterday I said OK. There was this disbelief in Ashus face. "Really?", she asked. "Of course", I said and put it in our basket. Ashu followed me and asked, "Amma. Is it OK how much ever money it is? Can we still buy it?" I was shocked. I was always thinking that I have never said no to ashu because something was expensive. Only because we did nt need it. Apparently, I seem to have. More than one time that too! I told her that this was a special occasion and it was a treat. I felt quite bad and at the same time proud of her. All this for a bag of sweets which was on half price sale that day! Lucky me, huh? :)

I'm proud of you Sweetheart. Wishing you a wonderful time in Kindergarten too.

June 14, 2010

Our Trip to Norway.

Hd and I have always been wanting to visit the Scandinavian countries. But since the weather is quite harsh there, summer is the only time to visit and it was just not happening for us. We decided to fulfil our wish on our 10th wedding anniversary. We left Zurich on the afternoon of June 2nd and landed in Oslo around dinner time. Took a train to the City centre and walked to our hotel. The room was so small and I could nt believe how expensive the city was! Ashu was ecstatic that there was a bunk bed in the room. It was weird to see the sun shining until 11 pm and even around midnight, it was nt completely dark. The next day, we took a hop on hop off bus trip to see the city. We first stopped at the Vigeland Sculpture park. Its a huge place with around 200 statues. From there, we went to the Viking Ship Museum. It was fascinating. Its jaw dropping to read about the history of Vikings and their seafaring passion. Then we got back to the city, walked around the harbor, hiked to a small park, had dinner at an Indian restaurant($8 for a garlic naan!) and called it a night.

The next morning, we checked out of the hotel and took a train to Bergen. The train route is one of the most beautiful in the world. It was like watching Lord of the Rings out of the train window! The family compartment had a small children's play area complete with a TV showing cartoons and the kids had a blast and 6 hours went in a jiffy. We got down in Voss which is an hour before Bergen. Its a small town almost a village. Our B&B was a good 20 minute walk from the station adjacent to the lake. The location was awesome. There were bunk beds here too much to Ashus excitement! We left our baggage in the room and went for a walk around the picturesque town. Ashu was playing outside until almost 10.30 pm under the bright sun! And refused to go to bed because "Its not yet night, Amma!" The next day was June 5th, our 10th anniversary. Hd surprised me with a pair of designer sun glasses while I gave him a hand made card bought from a souvenir shop there! We took a train to Myrdal and from there the famous Flamsbana train to Flam. Its one of the steepest rail routes in the world. The train stops at the Kjosvossen waterfalls and it was a beautiful sight. And then stops at Flam from where we took a boat for a Fjord cruise in the Naeroyfjord. The 3 hours cruise was just an out of the world experience. Everything was so dramatic with dozens of waterfalls on the way, the sea gulls following us for some bread crumbs, the beautiful fjords, picturesque houses in the middle of nowhere, ... It was fabulous. We got down in Gudvangen and took a bus back to Voss.

On 6th, we checked out of the B&B and checked into another hotel near the station. It was a beautiful place with antique charm and the hotel has been there since 1888. The rooms were fantastic and not only were there bunk beds for the kids, but it was in a small room attached to our room. Excellent! :) We left our bags and took a train to Bergen. Bergen is a charming city and attracts lots of cruise passengers. We were very lucky with the weather because according to reports, it rains 275 days in a year in Bergen! We walked through the fish market to the Bryggen area which is the old town. And the colorful wooden houses by the wharf are on the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites. Its such a picture postcard perfect place. We took a funicular to the top of a mountain and took in the aerial view of the city. We came down and took the touristy road train for a small tour of the city. It was fun. After a leisurely walk around Bryggen, we took a train back to Voss. The next day we did another Fjord cruise. The second largest in Norway, the Hardanger Fjord. We took a bus to Ulvik and from there a boat to Eidfjord. We took a sightseeing bus tour in Eidfjord to go and see Vøringsfossen, Norways biggest waterfalls and Hardangervidda Nature Centre. The latter had a 20 min panoramic movie of Norway and it was mind-blowingly good. The waterfalls was also a fantastic experience. We got back to Ulvik by boat and took a bus back to Voss.

On 8th, our last day, we left Voss and reached Bergen airport. We took a plane to Oslo instead of the 6 hour train trip. And from Oslo, we flew back to Zurich and reached late in the night. The girls were quite happy to be home and Ashu was visibly homesick on the last day. But both Ashu and Antu were very cooperative throughout the trip even though we did nt do much kid centric stuff. We wanted everything to be about us both in this trip and succeeded quite well. Norway is so expensive that its not funny. An ice cream cone from a street corner shop costs around 7 to 8 dollars! I would never say Zurich is expensive any more. But what was surprising was everyone spoke English there. Right from school kids to old folks. Every shop keeper and every one on the street. It was such a pleasant change from Zurich. Its also such a clean country. (and that's saying something since we live in Zurich!) People are very friendly. The bus driver actually stops the bus and helps you carry down the stroller. The Swiss will have a heart attack at all the time wasted and the buses running a couple of minutes late!

So that's it. Norway - ✔

I could also tell you about how Antu fell down from the lower bunk with a thud or how my hair caught fire from the candle flame in a restaurant or how Antu got her first ever time out at the Bergen airport or how Ashu purely survived on hot chocolate and ice cream the entire trip, etc, etc,... May be later. :)

June 05, 2010

A Decade.


Dear R,

Can you believe that we are here? Feels like yesterday when I was asked to wait in a room upstairs while my parents, uncle and aunt received you and your parents on the day we were about to see each other for the first time. I saw you first. Have I told you that before? I sneaked near the banister and took a peek. How you took off your Walker sandals(seriously?), how you had rolled up your jeans(again, seriously?) and how your blue checked tee shirt was so casual while I was wearing my prettiest salwar kameez with gold jimkis in my ears. But when I saw your face, my heart skipped a beat. And after 10 years, it still does. And that's all I ever wanted. Happy Anniversary, dear!

Love,
S.

ps.
What started as a coincidence became a tradition. On our first anniversary, Hd and I were in Bracknell, UK. The second in Paris. After that Croydon, Vienna, Basel, Bangalore, Las Vegas and Zurich. For the 9th, on a whim, we drove to Colmar, France. We decided to go all out on our 10th and while you are reading this, we are somewhere in the Northern Europe. More once we are back. :)