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October 26, 2017

London.

Hd and I lived in the UK for a few years long before the kids came along. It was my first "foreign trip" and first foreign home so it has always been extra special. That was 14 years back. In the last 10 years of living in Swiss, we have always wanted to visit London. Especially, to take the kids there but the visa was painful to get and so expensive. Not to mention, there were so many Schengen countries to visit so London had to wait. Finally it happened earlier this month. I was so excited to visit London and thrilled to take the girls. The spoilt brats were of course whining why we had to go anywhere at all not knowing that I had a huge surprise for them. I realized quite late that the Harry potter Studio tickets need to be purchased in advance and scrambled just a week before our trip and there were tickets only on one day, the first day of our one week trip. Managed to buy them in nick of time and kept telling the kids that theres a huge surprise. I had also booked tickets for Matilda musical which was supposed to be a decoy surprise. Yes, I take surprises very seriously! :)

We landed on Sunday afternoon, met an old friend for dinner and the next day, proceeded to Watford. The kids were dying to know where we were going and the excitement was building! When they saw the shuttle bus at the train station, their faces completely lit up! We had a great time at the studio. I don't know who was more excited, them or me! We 3 had good fun making fun of Hd who was the weakest Potterhead in the family. Wands were bought, butter beer was drank, props and costumes were seen, the sets were enjoyed,... It was truly a magical time. Then we rushed to a very special friends house who I met though this very blog! It was only the second time we were meeting face to face and the first time was when her family came to Zurich 4 years back. We had a scrumptious dinner at her place. Thanks, Rads. I finally made it! :)


I realized it was a bad idea for having planned the HP tour on day 1 because the girls did nt want to get out of the hotel room the rest of the week! All they wanted to do was stay in and read! It was a huge pain to get them out of the room every morning. Anyhow, we managed to see the touristy sights, the must see museums and my long list of restaurants. Matilda was excellent. Kids were thrilled to visit Hamleys and Harrods and were quite excited to see the bookshops because all the books are in English! Simple pleasures. But that meant, books were bought and were finished even before the train ride ended. Reminded me of the good old days when I would nag my dad to buy me a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys from the Higginbothams or one of the platform shops before our overnight train trips. A trip to Windsor and a visit to one of our oldest friends concluded the trip and the next day, we flew back to Basel. 

Loved this trip a little bit extra because it was nt a new place and I did nt have this obsession to see everything and it was wonderful to show the sights to the kids and enjoy it with them. Lots of andha kaalathula*... dialogues were used much to my chagrin. How I stumbled upon my first harry potter book in WH Smith while waiting for Hd and how we both waited in a long line to watch the first HP movie, how I used to pretty much live in the British Museum and National gallery, the shop where I bought my first winter jacket, that our first Swiss trip was from London, etc... etc... Ashu could nt roll her eyes any faster and Antu could nt ask questions any quicker! When their aunt asked them how London was, "its like India. Very dirty", was the reply! Sigh. Irony just died. Well, I will always love you, London! God save the Queen. Cant wait for Season 2 of The Crown! :)

* In those days...

October 20, 2017

Back in Basel.


Almost three months since we moved to Basel and finally I feel kinda sorta settled. We are still in Swiss and only an hour from Zurich but I have been whining as if Hd made us move to Antarctica! He is much happier with the 10 minutes public transport commute to work, occasionally coming home for lunch and having more family time. 

Ashu got the room upstairs and thankfully the stairs are in the living room so we see her come and go. If she had direct access from the front door, I doubt if we will see her at all other than meal times! She is cycling to school and back, has loads of free time and spends all of them reading or on her phone. Sometimes, both together! 

Antu is the second happiest after her father. Making new friends and enjoying school. She comes home everyday for lunch and does not have school 3 afternoons in a week so my ears are bleeding with her non stop talking! Ask me which teacher is getting married, why Jack did not come to school last week or what Sophia's favorite color is and I will tell you! 

Found a Carnatic music teacher for Antu and she is continuing ballet and piano lessons too. So lots of driving around for me since not everything is nearby like in Zurich. Since we live close to the German border, the girls actually go to the music school in Germany for their violin and piano lessons. Go figure! And I also do loads of shopping there since its much cheaper and we also get the VAT back.

Deepavali is a bit strange without loads on invites to pick and choose from. But I had invited a few people for Navarathri Golu last month and I am getting to know people and making friends so it is not all bad. Thankfully, found a German course for my level as soon as we moved and it feels good to get out of the house and meet people. Basel is very bicycle friendly since its quite flat and we are enjoying biking here more than the old neighborhood in Zurich. 

We had been to London for a week earlier this month and the kids had a blast!  It was their very first trip there. I will write more about it later. But while coming back, I asked the airlines staff if our luggages are checked in until Zurich and she gave me a look and said "this is a Basel flight, M'am"! The girls and Hd dragged me away before I broke down and shared my sob story with the lady. Basel will surely grow on me but I will always miss you, Zurich!