Category Archives: Staying in Touch with Family

Happy Birthday, Miss A!

So our little Miss A had a birthday!  I can hardly believe a year has come and gone!  Obviously things change a lot with a little one added to the mix…greater responsibility, less time (for things like blogging!) … but worth every second!  She is the sweetest baby and a huge joy in our lives.  We celebrated her special day with a party with about 50 of our closest friends…basically everyone we know – and that doesn’t count any family – since we live so far away from all of our relatives (well if you look closely at the photos above, you’ll see the grandparents in attendance – via twin laptops and skype!).  We’ve made great memories over these past 12 months and are looking forward to a lifetime more to come!

Can you believe it’s already December?

Christmas is just around the corner! Of course this time of year we think about our families & loved ones. It is great to celebrate the holidays together. One of my favorite parts is picking out gifts for each person & trying to surprise them. Often times I’m unable to surprise my husband though. He is great at surprises and always seems to think of something wonderful to surprise me.
Last year, I thought that I’d turn the tables and surprise him with a new laptop computer. His old one had seen better days — especially when his hard drive crashed and he lost most of his thesis-in-progress — we knew it was time to replace it. So I waited until just 2 days before Christmas and went out shopping alone to the computer store. I picked out a shiny new laptop and brought it home, and hid it in our guest room upstairs (all wrapped up).
I was sure I’d pulled off the ultimate surprise. In fact, just to throw him off, I had told him I wasn’t getting him anything big for Christmas – and not to expect much. I got him a new wallet and a couple of odds-and-ends to put under the tree – but kept the laptop hidden upstairs. I was so excited I could hardly wait until Christmas morning!
So first thing the next morning, we got on our web cam with my family back home and his mom in India (we had a virtual Christmas with all the fam!) and opened our presents. He tried to act happy about the wallet, but I could tell he was disappointed with the slightly boring gift. So once we’d opened all the presents, I snuck upstairs while he was talking to our family online.
I came back with his laptop all wrapped up in a pretty package with a huge red bow. His eyes got wide and he started smiling his guilty smile. He opened it and acted so surprised. Until he started laughing…. I asked why he was laughing at and he finally admitted that he’d checked our bank account the day before and saw the large sum was missing and that it was spent the computer store. So he had a pretty good feeling what he was getting – and he’d played along the whole time! I was a little disappointed – until he told me the reason he’d checked the bank account is because he was going to buy ME a laptop! (Boy was I glad he’d checked or we’d have cleaned out our account!)
Anyway, the moral of the story is don’t try to outsmart your husband – and if you do try – do a better job at covering your tracks than I did! Don’t worry though – I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve for this year! *wink*
P.S. The photo above is of our first REAL Christmas Tree – that’s one advantage of living in the Pacific Northwest – an abundance of evergreens! (We’re planning to go this weekend to cut our own.) I’ll try to get a close up of our ornaments – they’re hand-painted paper mache balls from Kashmir. At the right of the photo is a huge gingerbread house that I made.

Mumbai Madness – Terrorist Attacks

We’ve been watching the news this afternoon and tonight – what a tragedy has occurred in India. Of course our first thought was for all of our loved ones. Our Indian family members are scattered all over India, although my husband has a few aunts and uncles who live in Mumbai. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who are directly affected.
The news channels are speculating that the terrorist groups who are responsible for these attacks are trying to “destabilize India.” They want to give the impression that it is not safe for business people or tourists to do business or visit India. If business people and tourists stop coming, and the people of India are living in fear, the terrorists will have won. I hope that they are not successful in this attempt.
Only time will tell what exactly what caused this madness. In the meantime we wait, watch and pray…

My Mother-in-Law: The Model!

Today my husband and I were talking, and recalled a funny story that happened this past year. His mother, who lives in India, was asked to be a model for a photo shoot for stock photos. Designers typically turn to stock photos if they don’t have the time or budget to commission custom shots. There is always a high demand for different ages and races to be represented in the photo libraries.
My mother-in-law was asked to pose as the Indian grandmother for this particular photo shoot. They staged an Indian family, grandparents, parents and grandchildren. We got to see the photos – they turned out quite well! We did have a good time teasing her about quitting her day job to become a model! She wasn’t too thrilled about that idea.
We never gave much thought to where the photos might turn up. We had completely forgotten about the photo shoot, until a couple of months later, we were talking to some relatives who live in another part of India. They were on vacation in Kerala, driving through the countryside, and suddenly one of the children said, “I just saw Auntie on a billboard!” None of the other family believed her, until the next day when they passed the same sign and they all did a double-take. They couldn’t believe it – it looked just like my MIL – advertising a new masala mix! They assumed that it must have been a look-a-like. These relatives were unaware that she had participated in the photo shoot.
When we filled them in and told them that it really was her – they couldn’t believe that out of one billion people in India, they found her on a billboard in a totally different state. The scary thing about the stock photos is you never know where you will end up or what you might be advertising!
*The above photo is not from my MIL’s photo shoot – it is another similar shot with another family. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the original photos.

Staying in Touch

When we were going through some old family photos, we came across one that is priceless! I came to know that my father-in-law went to school with Amitabh Bachchan. The above photo was taken during their school days at Sherwood School in Nanital, U.P., India. Amitabh Bachchan is on the right, and my father-in-law is on the left. I love hearing the stories of all the fun they used to have.

I think family photos are such a treasure. I try to take as many photos and videos as I can & share them with all of our family & friends who are scattered all around the world. These days it is so much easier to take lots of pictures with digital cameras and store & share them in online photo albums and blogs. My mother-in-law even knows how to chat with us through her webcam! The world is definitely becoming a smaller place – perfect for cross-continental families!

Don’t know where to start? Try these free & user-friendly options for staying in touch over long distances: