Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The vacation of my life

I have been away for a while, and quite literally also I was taking a work sabbatical for two months.
The kids and I went to stay with my parents in Nigeria for about 7 weeks. It was the best time ever for them and me.

The kids and I were really excited about our trip to Nigeria, the kids have been learning about continents in school, so they were excited to be going to a new continent. I learnt on this flight that M suffers from motion sickness just like me. Turbulence is not her friend, so when we landed in Frankfurt to continue on our second plane to Lagos, I promptly gave her a little dose of the med I myself was taking. We landed exhausted but excited in Nigeria. My parents were at the airport beaming happily. M's reaction on seeing the airport was rather comical. She said "THIS is Africa?" And the "THIS" was full of mirth. In her mind she had been imaging tropical beaches, white sands but no matter how much I told her we wouldn't be living on the beach, only occasionly visiting it, she thought this was a minor detail choosing to ignore it. So here we were in a hot and humid airport, with air conditioning not at par with an American kid's expectations.

I just want to tell you how super sweet my parents are, they had gotten snacks for us for the ride home, which was just a 30-45 min drive, but it felt so nice and loved that a lump in the throat had formed from there itself. Trust parents / grand parents to only think of such things.

Our stay in Lagos was full of food, relaxing, reading books, swimming, skating, watching TV, learning to ride bicycles. We had a simple routine, eat - have fun - eat - nap - more fun - eat - sleep.
There were days I went without checking my email and not wondering what the world was up to. I would get my information from all the NDTV my Dad would watch and I would be content with that knowledge. I wouldn't check facebook, twitter or whatsapp and my world didn't come crashing down. Yes that was said tongue in cheek. I didn't have a phone on me and this was most liberating. But the reasons are not valid now that I am back, because the kids are not with me constantly, I am driving, and G is in the same time zone and thus I need to be reachable.

I got to watch Cricket matches with my Dad, it's my favorite thing to do with him. He gets so emotionally vested in the game, he'll do his predictions, on overs, on scores and ofcourse the winner. It's exciting watching a match with him. I am really glad I got to do that with him.

The kids really enjoyed their time at Nani - Nana's house. After a really long time, they didn't have to wake up at the crack of dawn or go to bed as soon as the clock struck 8. I let them watch as much TV as they wanted, Nani fed them all kinds of foods, taught them shlokas and Nana tried to teach them skating. My kids have never been pampered as much as they were. They got a massage everyday, were taken to swim, cycle ride and skate. They ate what they liked and when they liked. The whole community would bring them chocolates and toys. The kids from the near by apartments would come over after school. Such a joy to experience this.

But all good things must come to an end and so did ours. We packed our bags and with a sad heart left Nani-Nana's home.

We met up G in Rome and had an amazing time there. We saw all of Rome and Pisa and Florence. G and I are history buffs so for us it was a treat. We loved the Colosseum and the Panteon. The Roman Forum was really special too. But for me personally Colosseum was the highlight. As a kid I have been in awe of that place and it lived up to it's hype. Such a colossal structure. Full of interesting facts. The trinity fountain, the Diocletian baths, the four rivers fountain. Vatican is amazing. Sistine Chapel left our jaws hanging. How Michelangelo managed to create those frescoes is really something to wonder when you're in there. St Peter's Basilica has Michelangelo's Pieta and to me it's the most beautiful sculpture ever. It felt like Mary and Jesus were really alive in that sculpture.    And so much more that I cannot recall right now. We then headed to Pisa - saw the Leaning tower. It's really pretty too. We followed Rick Steve's guide book, and it's so wonderfully laid out. We did all the walks he mentions and it's the best way to see the cities. We then headed to Florence. Florence is the most amazing city. I am so torn between Rome and Florence. Piazza della Signoria in Florence has the best sculpture I have ever seen. I think we spent a good two hours there admiring all the sculptures including a copy of David. We then went to the Academia to see David. I really don't get the hype, but well I am not the target audience for this. Dumo is the prettiest Cathedral in all of Italy. It's the grandest, most colorful and striking.

After being two months away from home, it was nice to be back, but we missed being with my parents alot. It was much a magical time. So much fun was had.

I am really glad I did this. I hope I can do this again when the kids' have summer breaks, but it will probably not be easy.

Friday, June 06, 2014

So much has happened

Where do I even begin.
I've traveled to two continents - Africa and Europe.
And Changed jobs.

The way I have worked for 10 years has now changed. Little did I know when I accepted the offer at the new company that I would end up like this. Don't get me wrong, it's all nice. Except when it's not. I don't have access to any google service other than search at work. I cannot access email or hangouts or blogger. I can go to some sites, but none of the fun ones like Facebook or Twitter. After complaining about it the first week, I stopped complaining because I don't have the time for them at work. I feel like I am constantly on calls. I have a lull in the day around 10-1, but other than that, I am constantly on the phone.

Here's the biggest change for me - LUNCH. I used to like my buddies at work in both my previous jobs. We would go out for lunch and it would be the time to destress. Here, I am yet to find the rhythm. I am surrounded by more than a 100 people, yet on a day like today, when I really wanted to go out for a bit, there was no one to go out with. I have to find 'friends'.

Things that one takes for granted - snacks, drinks, facial tissue in a small office are not in a big office.

Almost all of my team is in Ohio, except for this one guy. He's a cool guy. I think he's also glad that I am here :)

All in all - it's been ok so far. Except for the 6:30 am calls and then this one mammoth call coming up in a couple of weeks - it'll start at 11pm. Yeah, that's right :)

Alright, I gotta go. If there is someone still reading this blog - I love you.