Category Archives: Pre-Trip

Last Weekend in Americana

We’ve already had somewhat of a culture shock moving out of the city and into the suburb of Dobbs Ferry to stay with my amazing aunt, uncle and cousins. Our first morning, Ava whispered to me over breakfast “Why is it so quiet?” Being the only one on the train tracks at 10 AM was a lonely change from the excitement of the city subway. And what’s one to do on a Friday night?

We decided that since we were out of the city and it was our last weekend in the U.S., we were going to make it as American as possible. So we went bowling. And I reaffirmed that I’m really bad at bowling.

Bowling Score

Part of the consideration for leaving November 1st was that we would miss winter. The weather gods, however, seemed to want to make sure we didn’t leave without the experience of a good winter storm. It snowed six inches on Saturday, causing a tree to fall and take out the deck. Sandeep got a dose of suburban life clearing the yard of its branches.

Snowing in Dobbs Ferry

We’ve also only been eating American food. That’s included pulled pork sandwiches, ribs, fried green tomatoes and fried pickles, all at Cedar Street Grill, which rivaled any city restaurant. My Aunt even decided to celebrate Thanksgiving early, so this morning was spent slicing potatoes, baking pumpkin bread and marinating chicken (yes, we fell short on the turkey).

Early Thanksgiving

The kids carved a pumpkin and are pondering their Halloween outfits for tomorrow.

I don’t think we could have been any more Americana than we were this weekend. And what a wonderful way to say goodbye.

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Stuff We Won’t Miss

Three exhausting days of packing done. Here are some things we found lurking in our apartment that we definitely won’t miss.

- Six used toothbrushes, none of which are ours
- A twelve piece ceramic tea set
- About a dozen tupperware containers with no lids
- Three half full bottles of children’s ibuprofen
- One expired bottle of children’s ibuprofen
- A maternity suit jacket, without its companion pant
- Two gloves that don’t belong to each other
- Four cell phone chargers that don’t fit either of our phones
- Enough hair accessories to keep Ava uniquely styled every day of the year

Ava's Hairware

Even in the smallest of apartments, most of us are privileged to be surrounded by things we ignore. Given that we are packing light, it will be a change for us to be in a position where we appreciate everything we have.

What stuff are you ignoring in your home?

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Packing Up House

We pulled the trigger on this trip when we bought our tickets several weeks ago. Since then, here’s a partial list of what we’ve done to get ready.

- Vaccines and check-ups.
- Wills and life insurance, morbid but who knows.
- Organizing credit cards and general finances, which may not matter if we drain our savings.
- Finding renters to assume our lease.
- Booking movers and storage.
- Helping our nanny find a new family.
- Deferring Ava’s school for a year, because even a 3 year old applies to school in NYC.
- Taking photography classes so that I can provide you with pictures worth viewing.
- Painting our rented walls.

Painting the Walls

Despite this the prep work, it’s not until I started packing our lives into boxes that I felt the trip was actually doing to happen.

We ordered a 35 box home packing kit thinking that would cover us. Halfway through packing, I’m wondering if I should have saved all of those Diaper.com, Amazon and Zappos boxes. How did we end up with so much stuff? Clearly most of it is not necessary, given that we are able to fit what we need for the next 10 months into two duffle bags.

A couple of weeks ago, we were under the assumption that we would need two very large suitcases. We then realize that wheeling two bags while chasing two kids and jumping trains may not work. Instead we opted for camping bags. Our first purchase was the extra large size, which Ava and Kayan both managed to fit in together with their blankets and plenty of room to spare. We’ve since downsized further. Between doing laundry once a week and the kids outgrowing any clothes that fit, we’re packing light. Our rationale is that there are very few things we consider necessities that cannot be purchased abroad.

I asked everyone what they would miss the most about our daily lives that we can’t fit into our luggage.

Ava
“The park, because I love it and it loves me back.” “My toys.” “Dora.”

Kayan
“Mamadaddyava.” The kid has no clue what’s happening.

Sandeep
“The view.” “My weekend coffee.”

As for me, I’ll miss my kitchen and the certainty of a hot shower.

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Filed under Pre-Trip