Project time with Medha

School begins in June for Medha. How do I keep her busy all day this summer? She goes to a drawing school, Palette World, twice a week. Evenings are spent at the park. I need to keep her off tv for the rest of the day. So I do projects with her.

I love anything handmade. My mom makes beaded jewelry that I treasure more than gold or gems. My sister knits  sweaters and dresses for her nephew and niece. We grew up wearing clothes stitched by my grandma. I understand the sweat and love that goes behind anything that’s made from scratch. By doing crafts with Medha I hope to instill
an appreciation for handmade goods and nurture her creativity. 

The creative gene that passed from my grandma to my mom skipped me and flew right into my sister. Paper-craft is the most I’m capable of handling. Also,  I suck at generating ideas. So I spend a lot of time browsing the archives of http:// www.pinterest.com .  It’s like a digital bulletin board with a ton of images. You can pin your favorite images and create a board of your own or just blissfully spend hours skimming through other members’ boards. So, that’s where I am most mornings gathering a bunch of ideas under crafts for preschool kids. Medha and I finalize on one and get to business.

She picks the colors and does all the coloring while I help her with cutting paper. She does most of the gluing herself. I try not to let the perfectionist lurking within me show up and boss Medha around, ordering her to color within the border or pick pink instead of black. It doesn’t always end up looking pretty but that’s ok. If we have fun working together and create something that’s a whole lot better than its parts then I’ll be glad to have accomplished a mini-goal for the day of a ‘Project a day with Medha’.

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You can see we are progressively getting better.

I hope you enjoyed looking at the projects. I’m all ears if you have any suggestions or ideas on how to keep a preschooler engaged and spark her creativity too.

Moving back home

We just relocated to India from the United States. After a couple of years honeymooning and a few more years spent juggling parenthood in Tucson, we are back home. It was a big move that took years to plan and later execute. When one of us was sure of going back the other wasn’t ready. And then there was the issue of citizenship. We were on the verge of getting our Green cards and weren’t sure whether to wait for it or not.

We were pushed to action when our house got flooded due to a pipe leak when we were out vacationing in St. Louis. The walls and shelves had to be ripped apart; the flooring was removed. Most of our stuff was ruined due to water damage. We had to get the whole house repaired and renovated. Thank God our house was insured. Liberty Mutual, the insurance company covered all the cost of repair and loss. In no time our house was restored; in fact it looked even better than before with painted walls, granite countertops and brand new kitchen cabinets.

Now the question was whether to move back into our beautifully-restored home or to have it sold to execute a much-thought-of move to India. The easier thing to do would have been to quietly move back into our home and enter into a routine. But we hankered for more. For a change. Our house was market-worthy without us spending a dime. If we wished to sell, it was the right time to. We found a buyer immediately after we put the house on market.

Handing the ownership of the house where we had begun our journey as parents was tough. But we got through it. Even more difficult for me was bidding farewell to my dear friends. Faraway from home our friends had become our family too. The thought that I wouldn’t be seeing most of them again weighed me down. I got through that as well. It was time to pack our bags (and that was no less a headache!) and make another journey. To India.

I will always remember the US and the fond memories we created as a family there. It taught me so much about the world. It taught me so much more about myself. For that I will remain eternally grateful to that country and some of its people.

We are settling down in Hyderabad now. I’m enjoying the help that’s easily available. The kids are enjoying their grandparents’ attention. I feel we did the right thing by relocating to India ’cause there’s no place like home….

Hawaii part 3

At the mountain town of Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island we visited a couple of breathtaking waterfalls called Rainbow falls and Akaka falls. Rainbow Falls (not sure why it is called so) was pretty. More than the falls itself the climb up a set of steps for a view of the water from above was an experience. A large banyan tree with its hanging roots and other trees with their roots creeping above the ground gave the whole place a Hogwarts-like ambience. The lake below was pristine and glistening and lent itself to beautiful photography.

On our climb up for a view of the lake below Rainbow Falls.
On our climb up for a view of the lake below Rainbow Falls.
The lake {not sure what it is called!)
The lake {not sure what it is called!)
Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls

Akaka falls was pretty too. A short hike descended into lush Rainforest that was intoxicatingly green. Akaka’s height and the ferocity with which it plunged into the pool below filled me with awe.

A short hike to the Akaka Falls led us through Rainforest.
A short hike to the Akaka Falls led us through Rainforest.
Akaka Falls.
Akaka Falls.

Another highlight of our trip was shopping at a Fruit stall. It stood on our way to Akaka Waterfalls. Colorful fruits hung from the ceiling and beckoned us to make a stop. We each had a cup of Sugarcane juice that was so out-of-this-world! Then we bought a bunch of fruits like Guava (which was hard with a nutty texture like the ones we find in India, but tasted bland without some chilli powder and salt sprinkled on it.), Papaya (which the lady at the store cut in half and gave a spoon to scoop up its flesh to eat. It was melt-in-your-mouth soft and so sweet!) and star-fruit (juicy and succulent!) .There was coconut water too but we were too full to try it, but it was fun to watch the lady break it open at one go with a huge knife!

We were delighted to shop at a fruit stall!
We were delighted to shop at a fruit stall!

Our last day in Hawaii felt bittersweet. We were glad we decided to visit. The prospect of leaving the US and relocating to India kicked our butts to plan this trip. I also felt sad to be leaving a place as serene and lively as the Big Island. But I’m happy We were able to create such beautiful memories to take back with us. I’m sure they will remain with us for a long long time.

Winding down with a glass of Mai Tai.
Winding down with a glass of Mai Tai.
So long, Sweet Hawaii!!!
So long, Sweet Hawaii!!!