Patches of Green

Dear Krish & Shiv,

You’re both on your term break now (seems almost laughable, because I swear it felt like we just started school here, like what, yesterday?), which just goes to show that time waits for no one and keeps chugging along to its own pace. It was a bit of an eventful school term, considering Krish joined halfway and had to catch up, and Shiv started afresh with a new class, and then of course the relentless chain of illnesses that assaulted us one by one – coughs turning into colds turning into fevers turning into debilitating flus! The entire household was down with sickness at one point and it was one of the most challenging weeks as yet here in NZ. Apparently this is all very normal during the winter in this part of the world, so perhaps it was necessary for our bodies to acclimatize to the environmental change. I must say, Mumumma‘s special ayurvedic medicines from India were what really saved us. Thank God for her kashayam concoctions, no matter how terrible they taste!

Your school holidays started off very busily with Dada‘s birthday on July 8th. We had a movie marathon (“Cars 3” from the week before, and then “Transformers” & “Despicable Me 3” over the weekend) and a complete overdose of sugar and popcorn and all things junky. We visited the Waikato Museum and spent a couple of fun-filled hours there amongst Permian monsters and hands-on children’s activities and games centered on geeky scientific principles (which is always a good time). We made a trip to the Hamilton Zoo and enjoyed saying hi to all the animals and little critters. image1(12)We explored the Hamilton Gardens, darting in and out of many beautifully landscaped green spaces, mesmerized by the different themes and the sheer expansive of something so lovingly maintained and alluringly displayed – all for free. I remember it was one of my favorite places here in Hamilton when we first visited NZ back in 2011 and I still feel that way. You boys loved it so much that we went back there in a couple of days on a playdate with Krish’s classmate and new friend, Mandla, and his mom and twin siblings. There was still so much left to explore – somehow gardens have a magical sense of never quite ending – and all that green space was enough to get your boy limbs dancing and hopping and running all over the place!

Continue reading “Patches of Green”

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One Day At A Time

Dear Krish & Shiv,

Believe it or not, we are still “settling in”, even after about two and a half months here in New Zealand. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, after all, because moving to a new place and sinking our feet in isn’t always an easy process. It actually takes months for anyone to feel anchored anywhere, so I’d say we are doing quite alright.

image1(10)Of course, the settling in process restarted for us when we decided to leave Cambridge and move to Hamilton in the middle of May! As if it wasn’t enough that we made an international move from India to New Zealand, we also made a local move and relocated from quiet (almost too-quiet) Cambridge to a-little-bit-louder Hamilton. I admit, I was gunning for the move. As much as I liked pretty Cambridge, it was far too “sleepy”. I didn’t think it was bustling enough for a young family like us. I wanted a place that was a little bit busier, a little more populated, and definitely a little more… urban? Hamilton was the next best option, and we were lucky to find a rental place pretty quickly. Since Mumumma was still here to help us out then, we got the ball rolling on the move. Before we knew it, I had the movers booked, and the men came in and loaded everything into the truck, and by the end of the day everything was unloaded and set up in our Hamilton house! It only got busier after that for Mummuma and I; unpacking, setting up, moving furniture, organizing, discarding, storing, and of course, beautifying. I couldn’t have done any of that without your dear Mumumma‘s help – physically and emotionally. She is our biggest blessing!

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Happy Birthday, Shiv!

My dear not-so-little 5-year-old,

How did this happen? You’ve turned 5?

image1(9)You still smile as sweetly as you did in your toddlerhood, cry the same way you did as a baby, and charm everyone with your little tricks that you have almost perfected in the last couple of years. And yet, you’re not little Shibby-doo anymore. (For the record, you won’t even allow me to call you that now).

You are 5-year-old Shiv, who is now in Primary School, at the same campus as your older brother. You eat by yourself, you put on your socks & shoes, and you take your own showers. You also attempt to “brush” your teeth, use the restroom by yourself (without failing to wash your hands with soap every time!), and even buckle yourself into the car seat! You have opinions (many of them) – you know what you like and what you don’t like. You’re still as stubborn as ever, and let’s be honest, it’s not easy to get you to do anything you don’t want to do. You still hate your morning milk and have now decided to ban rice from your diet as well. You won’t go near anything green, no matter how hard I try to disguise it in your food. After all, you claim to be allergic to vegetables! You still like creamy pasta, scrambled eggs, nutella sandwiches, bananas, apples, and blueberry muffins. You seem to think this is enough to survive on. Your new favorite treats are plain vanilla ice cream and classic cheesecake, both of which I love as much as you do! You haven’t asked for a birthday gift or a birthday party this year; all you want is a slice of vanilla cheesecake. (Simple pleasures, indeed!) Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Shiv!”

Kia Ora, New Zealand.

Dear Krish & Shiv,

It’s been almost a month since we landed into Auckland and drove 2 hours to the little town of Cambridge where we dropped our 7 suitcases, paused, and said, “Whoa, wait, so we really ARE here!”

image13We left an incredibly hot, sticky, humid, sweaty India and arrived at a perpetually rainy, chilly, cold, shivering New Zealand. We said goodbye to Chennai’s everlasting sounds of chaos and waved hello to Cambridge’s eternal quiet. We morphed from a family of five (you both, me, Mumumma & Thatha) to a family of four (you both, me, and now Dada). Well, technically we are currently a family of five (because we are ever so lucky to have Mumumma here with us until the end of the month!) but technicalities aside, I believe we have now transformed back to a family of four, and… that in itself has been a huge adjustment. image10There have already been some fun times: driving to Raglan beach and walking along its shores (chilly winds or not!), cycling around the neighborhood block, feeding the ducks at the local Te Koutu lake, enjoying a dusky canopy walk within the Redwoods forest, visiting Rotorua multiple times (Rainbow Springs, Agrodome, Lake Rotorua) while getting personal with New Zealand’s finest animals – sheep, cows, ducks, geese, a variety of native birds, and even some funny alpacas – and taking in the astounding natural beauty of New Zealand during our zig-zagging country road image12drives. (Sidenote: I have also been thoroughly enjoying my new ride with you boys!). It’s been nothing short of amazing, when we are exploring what New Zealand has to offer. On the flipside, there have also been some trying times: getting adjusted to new schools (hello, separation anxiety, we meet again at Cambridge East Primary School and Little Einstein’s), understanding a whole new culture (it’s exciting, but in a new school context, it is… confusing? intimidating? downright scary?), forming a renewed family unit (no one said it would be easy, but still), setting up new routines, warming up new beds, and suddenly realizing that every single thing that was familiar and comforting and stable has just poofed off. (Well, except me, of course). So… “overwhelming” would be putting it lightly.

image2(3)It has been days of running, skipping, and hopping, but also some stumbling, tripping, and foot-dragging. I know change isn’t easy. (Mumumma and Thatha brought up Chithi and I to understand that change is the only constant; nothing ever really remains the same, so the best you can do is hold your head up and roll with it!) All that said, global transitions are still tricky, even to veterans like me. They are loaded with excitement, anticipation, and an “ever after” hope, but yet laced with bits of trepidation, worry, fear, and of course an inevitable dose of anxiety. It’s basically two sides of the same new coin, and that is just how the coin is set up – you can’t have one side without the other. Neither side is wrong, in their own essence, but what this means is you get the “good” with the “bad”. Continue reading “Kia Ora, New Zealand.”

Bye Bye, Chennai

Dear Krish & Shiv,

Our bags are packed, but are we ready to go? image1(6).JPG

I’m feeling a little strange right now. Today is our last day in Chennai before we fly out to New Zealand tonight. It’s been so busy for the last few days – saying goodbyes, spending time with family, an overnight trip to Tirupathi, and last but not least, celebrating Ahana turning 1 at her birthday party last night! So much excitement, so much happening, but now it’s starting to calm down. And reality seems to have hit?

I’m sitting in the living room, eavesdropping on the two of you in your room, role playing with your superhero figurines, little bits of Lego, and a whole lot of cars. Amidst this regular cacophony of laughs and screams and giggles, I feel a deep sadness. We had have so many good times in Mumumma & Thatha‘s house. It was our haven, our cocoon, our delight. We called it our home for the last four years. How is that, now, we only have four days to go before we have to say goodbye to all of it?

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Rule Number 1, 2, 3

Dear Krish & Shiv,

With a week left to go here in Chennai, the three of us are excited, hyper, anxious, worried, happy, and sad all at the same time. I can’t even begin the describe the whirlwind of emotions we are caught up in. To say it is overwhelming would be a complete understatement!

The goodbye’s at school and on play-dates have not been easy. We have an amazing time at the play-dates and then leave with such a deflated feeling, knowing that this would be a “last”. We say hi to our dear friends knowing that in a couple of hours we will have to say goodbye, and this goodbye – even if not forever – is still a goodbye, and these undesired goodbye’s have all left us with glistening eyes, lumpy throats, and achy hearts. I know you haven’t been able to express these emotions to me in words, but I can see it in your tense body language, your rapidly blinking eyes, your regularly furrowed brows. I feel it when you grip my hand a little tighter when you bid adieu to your little friends, when you let out a sigh and ask why you don’t get to go back to Sishya, when you ask me to not just tuck you in at night but to also get in, cuddle, and go to sleep nestled against both of you every night. At the same time, you do bounce out of bed excited to pack for New Zealand, eagerly throwing in toys, books, clothes, and shoes into the suitcases while rapidly quizzing me about anything Kiwi-related. You are looking forward to the new adventures but you are more than apprehensive about leaving our Chennai nest behind. And I completely understand. I feel you too. Continue reading “Rule Number 1, 2, 3”

My 7-Year-Old Star

Dear Krish,

My 7 year old star! January 23rd marked yet another year, yet another milestone, yet another chapter closed and a new one welcomed. Your birthday this year was an extra special one. image13It wasn’t simply because you were turning one year older, or because you requested for an extravagant “dance party” (complete with a swirling disco ball, flashing lights, and thumping music!), or because you were almost wrapping up Class 1 and getting ready to move onto Class 2, but… because your seventh birthday party included your entire family – me, Dada, Mumumma, Thatha, Avva, AvvaThatha, Chithi, Chithappa, and of course, Adi and Ahana. This hasn’t happened since your first birthday! So that was very special indeed. It was also the first birthday party where you personally selected the group of friends that you wanted at your home on your big evening, celebrating your “dancing” steps into the 7th year! Continue reading “My 7-Year-Old Star”