Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Recovery Mode

Welcome, Maya, to the United States of America!

It was a long journey, but we made it home. :) Maya was quite the little trooper... I think she handled the flights better than Mom and Dad. Of course, she had a bassinet. ...I sure could have used one!
People keep asking me to post more photos, so here are a few from the trip home!
The 'Welcome' photo speaks for itself. :) The photo of Maya and I in the airport terminal is when we disembarked in Los Angeles. Maya's first step into the USA! Sooo incredibly happy to be in the US again! Very travel-weary though, after 33:40 hours of our journey.
The photo of Maya and I looking a little less frumpled :) was taken in our hotel room prior to our flight home from LA on Sunday morning. Maya was looking particularly adorable in her pink dress and little white sweater. The cute factor, btw, is very helpful when dealing with security personnel and immigration officials in all airports in all countries. :))
The photo of Ajay with Maya was taken in an airport restaurant where we ate breakfast in LA before embarking on our last leg of our journey home. This was Maya's first restaurant experience.. though she seemed oblivious to everything except her cheerios and Aj's bottle of Coke.
The following photo was a nice document of Maya's feelings about her first car seat experience!
Krista and Shannon, two little girls who live next door, decorated our house for us! It was so sweet and such a nice way to welcome Maya to her new home!
So now, 3 days later, we find ourselves in recovery mode. Maya has had some reaction to the travel and trauma she has been through. Her digestive system is just not functioning well, and she is horribly congested. We took her to the pediatrician yesterday, and she rec'd several vaccinations. I had no idea how traumatic that is for babies!! She cried all the way home (30 minutes). She then became sick from the shots - and has been running a temp of ~104 all day today. Btw - she only weighed in at 12 1/2 lbs. She is now on a hi-caloric diet.
We have been officially broken in as new parents!! In the past several hours, I have been vomited on, peed on, had many drippy nose wipes on various parts of my body, been chewed on, sneezed on, cried on, and intensely snuggled.
And I love every minute of it, as does Aj!! :) Of course, it would be better if Maya was healthy and we had managed to get more than 4 hours of sleep over the past 2 nights combined (not saying we enjoy parenting a sick baby - yipes)... but we expected and looked forward to this for a very long time!

Happy things:
* Aj figuring out that if you occasionally suck on the ears of a baby while a plane is descending, it clears the ears. Yes, sounds bizarre - but he figured that out from his scuba diving training. AND IT WORKED!!!!! Just a quick suck in on each side every now and then. I would not have believed it, but she started crying once and he did it - and she immediately turned into smiley happy baby.
* Maya turning, reaching out and whining to me when the pediatrician approached her yesterday. What a great sign that she is attaching well! Much better than expected.. even the doctor was shocked.
* Maya's crazy curly hair that I have no idea what to do with but do NOT want to cut! Looking for hair accessories is high on my list of things to do.
* Maya and our dog, Tasha, seem to be getting along so far. Tasha isn't sure what to think, and is a little put-out, but she rather enjoys the constant falling cheerios from the hi-chair. :)
* Watching Aj being an absolutely amazing dad! Yes, she is already a daddy's girl.
* Baby snuggles :)
* Being HOME together!!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Heading Home Soon!

Our adventure in India is coming to a close! Today, Thursday, is our last full day in New Delhi. Tomorrow begins the looong journey home. We do not leave, however until 11 pm, so I guess we actually have another day. Our hotel is allowing us to stay in our room until 6 pm, and then hang out in the club lounge until 8 pm.
We will fly from Delhi to Singapore, and have a 10 hour layover. Unfortunately, we did not secure a hotel room (again - argh!!) and will have a long layover in the transit lounge with an infant.
We arrive in the U.S. on Saturday evening, spend the night in LA, and fly from LA to home on Sunday morning.
Luckily I think that we are all somewhat healthy now. Ajay was sick for a couple of days and I was very sick with a stomach ailment yesterday. Hopefully we will all embark on our journey in good health.
A baby update:
Maya is now sitting up on her own! Yay! She is also beginning to crawl a little bit. Not much yet, thank god! We must child-proof when we get home!
She is sooo wiggly and full of energy now - I have no idea how she will handle this airplane ride. We plan to have a little squealing monkey climbing all over us for 22 hrs. Maybe we can just set her in the aisle and she can roll up and down it for a few hours!
Maya has also discovered her toes, and one of her new greatest joys in life is to chew on them.
She is very vocal/gabby - which should excite the poor 3rd person in our row on the flights home (much less the rest of the cabin)! It looks like all the legs on the flights home are sold-out, so some poor person will be stuck with us. Let's hope they are tolerant and have ear-plugs. :)
One of Maya's new favorite games is 'peek-a-boo with Daddy'. You can see the photo above.
Well, no matter how long and painful the journey home will be, we are very happy to be making it! 22 hours of flight time, 33:40 hours of travel time. Owch! But we are all ready to get back to a normal schedule and the comforts of home (not to mention the steaks that our fabulous neighbors have waiting for us - we love you guys!!).

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Today we finished up at the Embassy! We had our visa interview this morning - ending with the official 'raise your right hand' pledges, and congratulations from the Embassy workers. It doesn't sound like much, but it did feel very special. After spending hours upon hours waiting in an extremely crowded room with so many other Indians (who, btw, were dressed to impress at their visa appointments) who were hoping/praying to get a visa to enter the U.S., it was a happy moment and we were thankful.
We returned to the Embassy late this afternoon to pick up the coveted 'package' which will allow us to take Maya home with us. Yay!! I think Maya might miss those security guards who gave her so much attention... the little diva!

Last night, there were no 'sad crying' outbursts.. thankfully. Maya has also awoken this morning and from her naps today with a big smile on her face! This was a very good day for her. We are finding that she only seriously becomes upset when she is hungry. And good lord - don't stand in the way of the food!! For such a teeny little thing, she can somehow throw herself at the bottle or the cereal bowl with the force of a WWF wrestler!
Her appetite increases by the hour I believe. She now needs a bottle of formula and a bowl of cereal 3x/day. I know that is normal - but that sure wasn't what she was getting or asking for a few days ago. Plus she gets several snacks in b/t meals.. I don't think she goes 15 minutes without ingesting some type of food when she is awake!
But that is a great thing - the girl needs to bulk up a bit! We are trying to gradually up her food intake, as we have to deal with the tummy issues that come later. Those also seem to be improving quite a bit.
The orphanage gave us Nestogen 2 formula for Maya. We had the driver take us to many places today, looking for more formula. Unfortunately, we cannot find it anywhere. We brought some Nestle Good Start with us, and we are now easing her onto that formula. We don't have much Nestogen left, so I hope she adjusts quickly. We had hoped to wait until we returned home and could ease her into a different formula such as Enfamil. We will probably do that anyhow, as I have heard that Enfamil is far superior to the Nestle products. Maya's pediatrician also recommended Enfamil.

A few items to mention to families who might be traveling soon to pick up their child, and have lots of questions:
* In Delhi, you can wear whatever you are comfortable wearing. I would suggest not wearing clothing that shows much skin (long pants and shirts that do not have low necklines would be fine).. but even the Indian women here wear pants and shorter skirts. This also held true at our Kolkata hotel - and on the main streets of Kolkata.
I actually wore a salwar kameez in the Hyatt/Delhi and almost felt uncomfortable b/c it was filled with western people - none who were wearing Indian clothing. That was odd.
The Marriott in Delhi, however, seemed to have more of an Indian clientelle, and there were few westerners. At the Marriott, I felt odd wearing western clothing.
The Sheraton in Kolkata - I was fine either way. And WOW - if you get a chance to stay at that hotel, do it!! The entire experience was 5-star.
* If you journey outside Delhi to site-see, etc - you should wear more traditional clothing (at least long skirts). Not that it would be much of a problem if you did not - as i did see a few women who were dressed in western clothing (including shorts) - but you will SERIOUSLY stand out. You want to blend in as much as possible as you will be a target to beggars. If I didn't mention it before - we visited one touristy area in Agra and I was MOBBED by beggars. The women and children swarmed around me - grabbing my arms and clothing. The men followed closely behind us in groups - staring and staring. That was the only experience I have had in India that made me feel VERY uncomfortable. I was, however, the only white person that I saw among hundreds and hundreds of Indians that day.
Plus, it just seems wrong to blatantly disregard the culture of the people you are visiting.
* Sandals are the norm... flip-flops are fine if you aren't going someplace that is dressy (such as the Embassy, out to dinner, etc).

Well, we are off to the club room for free drinx and appetizers. :) Yay for Aj's hotel points! The club rooms at all of these hotels are wonderful. The Hyatt in Delhi has a particularly nice pool area, and the club room overlooks this. Maya just awoke from another nap and is ready to go flirt with everyone she meets!
Much as I'm loving the Indian food I'm eating here... I have not eaten any meat since we arrived (somehow seeing men riding bicycles with ~100 dead chickens hanging off the back end of them in 110-degree weather ended my need for meat in this country). I am dying to get home and have a big grilled steak!!!! Red-meat withdrawal. Where is Tony's Market when you need them...

Monday, June 19, 2006

First Airplane Ride!

On Sunday, we flew from Kolkata back to New Delhi. Maya enjoyed her plane ride - once she moved past the shock of the loud noise at take-off. I didn't think that her big eyes could get any bigger... but I was wrong! She took it in stride though, and soon settled into the middle seat (thank you to the airline personnel for blocking that seat for us!) and took a nice long nap.
Though she did not seem to have any issues on the plane, I think that the stress of the trip plus possibly issues with her ears not clearing - led to a cranky baby for the remainder of the day. She refused to drink or suck anything during the plane's landing, and I'm sure this was not a good thing. For once she refused even her thumb!
The remainder of Sunday was spent being cranky and needing a lot of attention. Luckily, her new parents were more than happy to give her all the attention she could handle! {Unfortunately, Daddy caught some type of cold this day and has been quite ill}

A side-note: Saturday night was a very difficult one for Maya. She slept thru the night, but she had at least 20 different crying-jags in her sleep. These were very sad cries. We were usually able to console her by patting her back and talking quietly to her. A couple of times we had to pick her up for a minute and then put her back down.
Sunday night - not so bad. Only 2 or 3 of these. She also awakens from daytime naps with these nightmares. You can watch her and see it coming - she is having a bad dream, gets a sad look, then it gets worse, she starts crying in her sleep and then she has to be picked up and consoled. Hopefully these don't last too long - they are so sad. :((

Today was a happier-baby day, though it was the Embassy day. What a horridly tiring day. It wasn't as bad as I had anticipated - having heard stories from other people which made me nervous... but was just a looong looong day.

We arrived at the Embassy at 8 am to find that our area did not open until 8:30, and the people we needed were not there until 10 am. So we stood in line (it was early and shaded, so not hot) and listened to our National Anthem played about 100x. :) We then went inside and sat in chairs for a long time. I would guess an hour or so. Someone finally came by and took us to another area of the Embassy to submit our paperwork. We waited another 30 minutes or so in that area... and finally we met with him. Everything was fine, and we then proceeded back to where we began for instructions on the next steps.

We needed to have Maya's Visa photos taken and her Visa medical exam completed. We called our driver and had him run us to a market that had a photo shop. They rushed us through - though they were not very happy about doing so (GO AJ!!) - and we got in/out in maybe 20 minutes. We were then off to the doctor. We found one that was Embassy-approved and very close-by - and were given 10 minutes to get to them before they closed for lunch (which is a 2 hr event in India). Somehow we managed to fly thru crazy traffic and make it ontime! Maya met with the doctor - she weighed/measured Maya, checked her body, and completed the Embassy paperwork. Btw they weighed Maya and she supposedly came out at only 11 lbs. There is just no possible way that is true. Odd.

We then returned to the Embassy with all of our completed paperwork. They were at lunch, so we waited 1 1/2 hrs for them to return. Maya was amazingly good during this time! Once the Embassy re-opened, we were able to meet with the appropriate people and complete everything within 30 minutes. Btw - for those of you who go thru this: If you have to keep running b/t window 17 and the American Citizen Services - do not let the guards who watch the windows make you get into line to wait on window 17. Return to the American Citizen Services room and let them know that this occurred. That line for window 17 could take HOURS. Luckily Aj refused to listen to the guard and went back to the other room - or we would have unnecessarily wasted a ton of time.

We were told to return to the Embassy tomorrow morning to see if Maya's visa was approved and completed. I hope that if we jaunt out there, wait in line, etc - that it IS completed!!! Good lord.

Other than that, not too much excitement.

A couple of firsts for the day:

* First Bath!! And Maya LOVED it! Let's hope that continues! So much fun to splash mommy!!

* First almost-crawl! Does one knee forward and then a huge lunge count? ;)

* Yay! Maya finally conceeded to trying out the Gerber cereal puffs that I brought - instead of only those biscuits. She loves them! Thank god, as the biscuits create a HUGE mess all over her face, clothing, my clothing, burp cloths, chairs, the floor, other people closeby, etc. I'm sure she won't find the puffs as entertaining!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Paradigm Shift!

Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take,

But by the moments that take your breath away.

... there have been many such moments in the past 24 hours for us! Perhaps 86,400 of them?
It is amazing how much things can change in such a short period of time!! The universe seems to have shifted a bit, and we have become slaves to a 14-lb Princess. She can't even snap her fingers yet, but she somehow has found a way to command our performance!

We are, thru occasional trial & error, figuring out how to be parents. We have bonded a bit in this past 24 hours, and we are all getting along quite well. I hope that I am not jinxing myself by writing this!

After Maya arrived, she slept for a long period of time. She napped for a couple hours almost immediately.. then woke and ate {pretty well, which was great}.. was traumatized by a diaper change.. and then passed out again for the next 11 hours! During her short time awake with us last night, and then this morning - she was very limp/lethargic and not very smiley. Of course I don't blame her for that at all, it was completely expected. Her Ayah's were SO obviously attached and in love with her, and she with them, that I am amazed she was doing as well as she was. I'm sure she was very traumatized by leaving her home.

This morning we gave her a sponge-bath. She loved it until she began to get a little chilly. And I think her tummy was starting to hurt. She had a tummy ache soon after, which corrected itself rather quickly {and somewhat traumatized Aj...heehee}. After that episode, she started to feel better and everything about her has improved. She ate very well - formula and almost an entire bowl of cereal w/banana.
She took a walk in the Baby Bjorn - and charmed everyone she saw at the hotel!
She LOVED the Bjorn! She laughed and laughed at everyone and everything she saw! She also began moving her legs {which she had not done until then} and kicking her feet out.
When she returned to the hotel room, she was almost crawling! She can move backwards, but hasn't yet mastered frontwards. Yipes!! She is almost mobile!
She has also begun babbling and dancing!
It is just amazing to watch the transformation. I cannot even imagine how she will be a month from now! Btw, she has a tooth! Aj thought she had 2, but looks to be just one on the bottom. I am pretty confident of this, as she bit my arm earlier today and I only had one tooth-mark. :)

A Day of Learnings:
{mainly for those of you who will be picking up your babies soon!}
* Do NOT use chilly wipes on a baby who has probably never felt the sensation of 'cold' on her skin (oops! Hand-warming didn't work well). We do now know that her lungs are functioning properly!!
* Do not pay any attention to the feeding schedule from the orphanage. Or at least, take it as a 'suggestion' and be prepared to toss it aside and just feed your baby what makes her happy when she asks for it.
* DO have a supply of those 'biscuits' we all heard about for months before picking up our babies! They LOVE them!
* Do not expect to run the AC at anything higher than 'barely tolerable heat'. I did not have too much of a prob with this, but Aj can't take heat and it has been very, very difficult for him to function. I'm sure that any of you who know him well will understand! .. of course, maybe you won't be here in June. ugh!
Any time we make it any cooler, Maya gets stuffed-up. We don't need a sick baby!!
* Babies are very durable. Don't be scared. :)
* Something tiny can stink up an entire hotel room quickly.
* It takes more than one bath to wash that smell out of baby hair.

* Your hotel butler service will bring you a never-ending supply of bottled water - go crazy.
* And most important: No matter what - your baby is the most amazing creation that you have ever encountered!!!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Today I Kissed An Angel

Today I kissed an angel
I knew it from the start.
The first time my angel smiled at me;
I gave away my heart.

Today I kissed an angel;
This angel child of mine
Though not of my creation,
My child by God's design.

Today I kissed an angel.
My heart is dancing wild;
Our family, by a miracle;
Blessed by our angel child.

Poem by: Gail Huff/Brenda Meece

Together At Last!

We are together at last!!

The photos from top left (though they did not post in correct order): Maya in the hotel, snoozing. This is one of the 5 seconds she has not had her adorable little thumb in her adorable little mouth!!
The top right photo is our family, with Anju - the orphanage director. The photo at left is Maya with her Ayah.

We left our hotel ~11 am to journey to the orphanage. We decided to stop by the Marble Palace on our way, as we have not done any site-seeing in Kolkata. I was very surprised by the city - it was quite large and bustling. People everywhere of course.. and shops everywhere. Many tall buildings which surprised me a bit. And of course in front of all of the buildings were the little shacks set up by street vendors and people who were living on the streets.
A few things that stick out in my memory: 2 young girls washing their hair in a drip of sewer water on the side of the road; many trees on the side streets, which were quite a contrast with the development of the main roads. And speaking of the side streets vs the main roads - what a difference! It was as if you were moving instantly from a somewhat-developed city to a completely under-developed village with the turn of a corner. Simply amazing.
We stopped at the Marble Palace and had a quick tour. I was not as impressed as I had hoped. First - no peacocks. I saw one giant pelican, but it disappeared quickly. Second, just a very odd place. A museum really - and one with no lighting, birds everywhere, and that you had to walk through barefoot. We saw some amazing art - but again it was difficult to appreciate when you were sweltering in the heat/humidity. Not even a fan in this building to move the air. And no photography allowed. I'm sure they would have allowed it for a price, but the men at this place were VERY annoying. They quoted a price to us upon entering and then would not let us leave for that price - they tripled it. Our driver negotiated down to just a little above the originally-quoted price. And then we also had to tip the guide - who wanted more and was quite vocal about it.
Anyhow- not impressed and I would not mark this place as a 'must-see' in MY tourist guide.
We drove by the Victoria Memorial and a few other interesting buildings, but did not tour anything else. We were ready to pick up Maya!

We arrived at the orphanage after passing it a couple of times, trying to locate the address. Buildings on this street were not marked well and not in order. Very confusing, but we made it!
The guards at the gate quickly brought us into the orphanage and showed us up the narrow stairway to the main room. At the bottom of the stairs (in a type of foyer area), btw, a baby was being examined by a doctor. It was a dark corner area with the baby on a small table - while the doctor was drawing blood, etc. One other woman was standing with him, holding the baby in place. I guess this is where Maya rec'd her medical treatment? Yipes.
Up the narrow dim-lighted staircase was the main floor of the orphanage. We were warmly greeted by Anju and her staff. There were several babies in ~5 or 6 cribs in the room at the stair-top. Another room held ~6 or 8 cribs and several more - very small - babies. Approximately 7 or 8 Ayahs were running hecticly around the rooms, caring for the babies. All of the babies looked very happy and well-cared for, which was very reassuring!

And then we saw her! In the middle of the room was a crib with our little sleeping angel. She had just settled in for her afternoon nap. We were instantly in love with her, before she even opened her eyes!
B/c she was sleeping, Anju took us to her office to complete the paperwork. In the meantime, Maya's Ayah woke her and took her to a different room to prepare her to leave.
We filled out some paperwork and discussed Maya's care with Anju (her diet, her temperment, etcetc). We were told that Maya is a very calm, quiet baby - only cries when she is hungry. I hope that continues! ;)

After completing the paperwork, Maya's Ayah brought her into the room to us. She was wide awake and wearing a cute clean outfit. She set Maya on my lap immediately. Maya and I just stared at each other for a few moments - her big brown eyes trying to figure out who this new person was! She promptly stuck her thumb in her mouth and settled back in my arms to check out the other stranger in the room - her daddy. :)
Soon after, I forced myself to detach Maya from my thumb (she has quite a grip!) and send her over to Daddy. They were instantly buddies, and Maya spent her time on his lap trying to grab things off of Anju's desk.

We finished the paperwork, snapped a few photos of another couple's babies (twins that they just accepted the referral of! AND they live in our town - ~5 minutes from us! The twins were in a crib next to Maya's, so I'm sure they will have a special bond forever!), snapped a few photos of us and the staff, and then we were hustled back downstairs to await our driver. It is important that they keep us well inside and out of site until the driver arrives, as the local people will see us with the baby and instantly think we are 'rich americans' with money for them. A few moments later the driver arrived and we were off to the hotel!! Maya slept the entire ride in my arms. A very un-eventful first car ride!

Now here we are and Maya has been sleeping for the past couple of hours. Hopefully she will awaken soon, so she can eat dinner. She is so darn cute that we can't stop watching her in the crib! As I type this, I can hear her on the other side of the room, slurping on her thumb in her sleep! SO CUTE!!!!
Ack - she is awake! Yay! Time for our first feeding and diaper change! :)

So that's our story so far. :) Stay tuned for updates on life with our little princess!!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Waiting To Be Parents

We had a peaceful night's sleep and just finished our last leisurely breakfast, pre-kiddies. ;) Actually Aj was too excited to sleep much, so he is tired already. The man MUST learn to drink coffee! The coffee here isn't bad. The masala tea is amazing {of course!! - Mike be very very jealous!!}, but it just dawned on me yesterday that it is amazing for a reason and I most likely won't fit into any clothing when I get home if I continue to drink so much of it. So I am trying to hold back a bit now! :)))
We have called the orphanage and the director will not be in until 11 am. It is now almost 10:30, and we've been anxiously awaiting her since we awoke at 5 am (Aj woke at 3)! We are hoping to have a few minutes prior to going to the orphanage to stop by and see the Marble Palace. It is supposedly quite unusual and a must-see. There are said to be many peacocks in the gardens of the Palace area - I have only seen a few so far - and none closeup, so I am looking forward to that!
I know we will not want to take Maya/Ruprekha (must get used to calling her Ruprekha, as must do that until we leave India) - so I want to do a quick run-through of it.
Btw - heat update: OWCH! Delhi was bad, but was much more of a dry heat. This humidity is instantly body-drenching and quite hideous. I think 10 minutes at the marble palace will almost kill us, so will be a quick tour if we get there! Of course, if Anju wants us to head to the orphanage immediately, we are ready!!
Diaper-bag is packed and we are ready to go!
Btw, thank god I thought to pack a LOT of motion-sickness medication. I have needed it every day with this insane driving!!
Attached is a photo of us in our hotel room, pre-baby. :) The next post should have the same photo, but of our new Forever Family!!!!

One More Day!

We are now in Kolkata - arrived this morning!!
Tomorrow we will be meeting and picking up Maya!! Yay! Can't believe the time has finally come. WOW!
I don't have much time to update right now, but we haven't seen much of Kolkata. Aj stopped by his company's office for a few meetings today and I just enjoyed the hotel. We are at the Sheraton, which is FABULOUS!!!
I will update more later - or tomorrow. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


...for all of the blessings that we have and rarely pause to consider.

{better photos will come after we arrive home. can't download from my pro camera into this laptop. These were a couple of quick photos taken thru car window en-route, using small point-and-shoot camera. The coloring - grey and dismal - is not an effect of the camera or the car windows - it is the dust in the air.}

Monday, June 12, 2006

A Quick Update

The US soccer team is playing in the World Cup tournament in a few minutes, so I am forced to be concise (which most readers would probably appreciate anyhow!):

A summary of today:

Interesting/cool things:
* We journeyed to Agra, and they are having a 'cool day' - only 104 today - whoohoo!! :)
* Our driver did not hit anything/anyone or get hit BY anything/anyone on the drive to Agra
* Indian driving does not make me nervous - our drivers have been amazing!! I could NEVER drive here. It seems more like bumper-cars at an amusement park than actual real-life road driving.
* I saw camels pulling carts on the road
* I saw elephants on the side of the road
* I saw men leading brown bears around by leashes. (Monkeys and snakes also (though no leash on the snakes) - but the bears were a bit of a surprise)
* I visited the Taj Mahal for the first time. WOW.
* Have I mentioned that I am a minority, and seem to attract quite a bit of attention? :) This is a first - and it amuses me endlessly.
* I found a bookstore!!!!

Annoying things:
* I cannot stand tour guides. I'm sorry - I try to enjoy them - but I hate them all. We were stuck with one today and all of tomorrow (Aj loves them.. so I say 'we', but I mean 'me'). I just want to photograph and soak in the culture. I like to people watch and do my own thing. Do NOT tell me how to photograph.. do NOT push me in front of a line of people (rude) to take photos.. and please do NOT make me stand outside when it is 104 degrees (even though you insist it is a COOL day) for 2 hours while you tell me every tiny detail about something that I'd like to know but cannot comprehend when my brain is boiling and I am looking for a soft grassy area to fall into when I pass out.
* Just b/c your hotel is a high-quality American chain - it does not mean that they might not have chains with leaking ceilings (buckets in the hallways to catch the leaks), mildew in the bathrooms, extremely damp (ok - wet) sheets, work being conducted that is using very smelly polyurethane-type chemicals that permeate every bit of air in the hotel.

* A 'Garden Salad' can mean the following: slices of tomato, onion, cucumber, carrot.. with one 2" x 3" piece of lettuce
* 104 degrees can be a 'cool day'
* Rivers can smell like sewers
* City streets can smell like sewers
* Interiors of tombs can smell like sewers
* Aj has a soft spot for poor people who are very persistent {this is very bad!!}

Only 3 more days before we meet Maya!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Day 2: How long have we been here?? It feels as if we've been here for weeks. Probable cause: too much rich Indian food already. Other probable cause: major jet lag on top of heat.
Today we ventured out into Delhi - New and Old. It was HOT. It is currently 109 degrees... and we felt every one of them. The car was air-conditioned, thank GOD (though how cool can it get when it is 109 degrees outside - maybe 95?)... but we did a tour of a tomb, and spent ~45 minutes walking around it. Maybe not even 45 minutes. Felt like hours, and I think we may have dropped about 10 lbs in water weight. Too bad we probably gained 15 lbs from our (amazingly-fabulous but horrendously-fattening) lunch. The tomb, however, was very interesting and beautiful! Hopefully got some good photos... was very very bright and dusty outside, so unsure how they will turn out.

Delhi looks exactly as I thought it would. I have read some great books written by an Indian author whose name is currently escaping me - and she described it exactly as it is. I felt like I had been here before! It really was a bit disconcerting!

Learnings from the day:
1. Anything more than a very small amount of curry is too much {think - dripping with oil}.
2. 109 degrees is too hot to site-see.
3. Shopping in A/C immediately after being in 109 degree heat is not a smart idea - tends to diminish negotiation skills.
4. There are no book stores in hotels or anywhere that your driver wants to take you shopping. If you were stupid enough to forget to pack entertaining reading material, you will become intimately familiar with your India guidebook.
5. If you watch Hindi movies long enough, you begin to think you understand what they are singing. {or maybe it's the heat again} {or the curry}
6. Tomorrow will be more hot than today - suck it up.

Tomorrow we leave Delhi to journey to Agra. And yes, it is even hotter in Agra {though I cannot even imagine that}. Stay tuned... if we don't melt into puddles, I will try to update any interested readers again tomorrow.
Can't wait to see Maya!! Trying not to think about it too much, as we won't see her until Friday. :(

Btw - this blog entry sounds a bit down, but Delhi is amazing. I could write pages just describing the things I saw today that I found interesting. This post is just reflecting the fact that I ate too much rich food after being in the heat for hours!

In all of our travels, this is the first time that I feel I am actually experiencing a truly different culture. It is an exhilirating feeling. The history here is palpable... the people are very friendly... the sights, smells, sounds all add up to an experience like no other. Can't wait for Day 3! :)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Here We Are!

Well, we made it to New Delhi! :) That 17-hr layover in Singapore was killer. There were no rooms available at the transit hotel, so we basically got no sleep. I think we drifted in and out for a couple of hours in a chair in the airline lounge (thank god Aj had status to at least get us in that lounge). We took a 2-hr tour of Singapore, but it wasn't too exciting. It was pouring rain, so everything was grey and blah.
So after not much sleep and arriving at 10:30 pm Delhi-time, we slept most of today. It was over 100 degrees at 10:30 pm btw. ack!
So we are now getting ready to leave the hotel.. though it is almost evening and I guess we missed most of the day! Maybe we missed the worst heat though. We have all day tomorrow to site-see.
Someone is (rather badly) blowing some type of horn outside our window. And I can just barely hear the horns from the streets. We've had several power outages already, so now I understand the need for the flashlight! Of course the first one was midway thru my shower. {eye roll} Oh wait - that's not just a horn - sounds like someone is also singing thru a megaphone.
Guess we need to go scope this out!
Btw - for all of those who know how much i HATE (am terrified) to fly - I did great! Actually I wasn't even really nervous. Too excited I guess! But it went very well and I even slept quite a bit on every flight. {And I am VERY irritated that I slept thru last night's dessert and Ajay ate my Haagan Daz ice cream!!!!}

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Here We Come!!!

Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, `Give them up!' and to the south, `Do not hold them back.'
Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth--
--- Isaiah 43: 5-6

Well I cannot believe it, but tomorrow is our travel day!!! Aj is already in LA, and I will be flying to meet him early in the morning. I have a car scheduled to pick me up at 6 am.
We begin the loooong trip in the afternoon.
Being someone who is an 'anxious flyer', this will be quite an experience for me. Believe it or not, I am not so nervous right now. The excitement of going to India and meeting Maya is stronger than my anxiety. :) Let's hope it stays that way!
Stay tuned to this blog - I plan to post updates as often as possible. Now - back to packing!

Friday, June 02, 2006


We were informed today that Maya's passport has been issued!!!!!!!!
We spent a few hours on the phone and were finally able to book tix for travel - we leave next Wednesday, June 7th! ACK! This is so exciting, intimidating, exciting, nerve-wracking, and glorious! Must finish packing!! Must transition work! ... must take DEEP calming breath! ;)

Here we come Maya!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Inching Closer...

Today is June 1st! As we are expecting to receive Maya's passport in the first week of June, that means potentially within the next 7!! days! Whoohoo!
Btw, were you aware that June is National Accordian Awareness Month?
I rec'd an email from my dad today to inform me of this. I'm not sure what to do with that information.. ?

This coming Saturday is our 'virtual' baby shower. We purchased a pc camera that works amazingly well (the picture is SO clear!) - and will be using that as well as the online chat. Amazing how far technology has come since I purchased my last pc camera, which was ~5 years ago. Actually it is not that amazing. What IS amazing is that my sister has the 5-yr old model and it still works!
The camera will also be great to have when Maya is home and Aj travels. And.. we plan to bring the laptop version with us to India. Maybe we'll have a minute or two to pop on and introduce Maya via webcam!
Anyhow - we are also having some friends over to celebrate with us on Saturday evening. The first bbq of the summer! The weather is amazing, though it is forecasted to be ~90 degrees on Saturday. We should get used to the heat , as we'll be melting in India soon!
By the way - our cousin's wedding in Chicago last weekend was very fun! Good time, amazing food, gorgeous bride & groom! It was a nice break to get away and see the family! If any of you are reading - it was great seeing you and we hope to see you again soon!
Ok this is coincidental! The ice cream associated with my name WAS my fav flavor:

You Are Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream

You just don't know when you've had enough (or too much)!