Thursday, August 25, 2011


No - not the kind that you attach to an email.... but the kind that you develop or just have with a person ... like a bond .. a connection...

My dad was very big on being 'attached' ... forming relationships and keeping them. He was especially fond of his siblings. They fought like cats and dogs when they got together... but it never deterred the 'attachment'.

As we head home to India one of the emotional reasons is our family and the connections that we (Suresh and I) have with our siblings and cousins and uncles and aunts. However if we ever want Isaac or Ziva to feel that attachment they need to see and hang out with their cousins ... they need to play and fight with them ... they need to cry when holidays are over and its time to go home.

I was wondering a few weeks back whether I was overplaying this whole attachment thing. Couldnt we just have really good friends here in the US and our children would be friends with those good friends children. Right as these thoughts were passing my mind on and off my cousin Kartik (better know as Bullshee to his friends) came and spent a couple days with us. Kartik is going to Business school at Darden - Charlottesville, Virginia and BWI was his stop over on the way to first day of Business School.

Isaac has met Kartik Chappa (Uncle) two times before. However he showed no interest in Bullshee. This time however .... well let the photo below be a description of the bond that is unnamed!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Falling in love --- AGAIN

Everyone says you fall in love only once....

I disagree... I am on my third round right now. Yes third.

The first of course is my dear husband whom I met 11 years ago around this time of year in a most wonderful city called Richmond on the banks of the James river. No I did not fall in love with him on the banks of the James river. Falling in love with Suresh was very easy -- as easy as getting annoyed with him. Staying in love with him has been very easy as well. It's like dancing... you need to get the right beat and then you can dance all day and all night!

Dancing at Namith's place - New year 2004

My second love is my little dude ... Isaac. The day he was conceived I was sure it would be love at first sight when I saw the little munchkin. And it was! He was this ugly scrawny thing when I first saw him ... but one cry and I knew this was my new love! He has turned from a sweet little boy to a brat to a tantrum thrower. But through all that I still love him .... Like dancing!

Isaac George Joel - October 16 2009

My third love arrived less than a week ago! She is precious. When I found out I was pregnant with my second child ... after the initial excitement I was overcome with fear. How could I love another person ? colleague at work worded it so perfectly. She said 'You feel like you cannot love another child like you love your little boy - Its not true you know!' I didn't listen to the second part of her sentence. But she was oh so right. When Ziva came into the world I actually said .. 'Cry baby cry'. The sound of their cry reaches your ears and you know it ... I'm in love again!

Ziva Esther Joel - August 16 2011

Now to learn to keep it equal between all three of them so everyone gets an equal share.

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Things I love about US

This country has been good to us... We have been here since August 2000 and now 11 years later I can still say ... this country has been good to us. There are countless people who struggle here. Getting PhD's ... Getting scholarships ... Getting jobs ... Getting visas ... Getting green cards... But God has been good and so we have gone through these 11 years seamlessly.

I am going to miss the United States and here are some of the specific things I am going to miss.

The public library: I used to go to one in Richmond ... but did not read many books there ... what with trying to get a PhD and complete my residency. But when I walked in to the Children's Board Book section at the Anne Arundel Public library ... I fell in love with the place. I would love to open my own 'public' library with only Children's books ... and Story time by yours truly!

Roads: This is more Suresh's thing to miss. But I like to think that this blog 'Dayenu' is shared by the both of us. We love the roads. We love the order on the roads and we love how long our tires last... till of course a few rough patches in Baltimore. But we still love the roads in the United States.

Public display of affection! (PDA): I am not talking about hugging and kissing on the roadside! But here is a specific situation ... Your hubby arrives home after a week long conference and you drive to the airport to meet him. It is so nice that in this country I can open my car door and before worrying about putting in the luggage ... I can give him a big hug (totally taboo in India) and get a peck on my forehead (Suresh and I are far too coy to go further than that)

Work flexibility: I love my job ... I cannot believe that after 11 years I will be sitting at home. I am looking forward to a break. I love the work involved. I love that I can go and come at odd times.. I love that I can call in sick or just take a personal day and not have to make up tall tales. I love the people I have worked with and I love the machines I have worked with. I will miss you medical physics and radiation oncology ... sorry ... I have a calling for motherhood right now!

Sushi: I have eaten sushi in Korea ... but I have learnt to love it here in the US. My buddy Ron Broman (from VCU) and I used to keep Friday afternoon lunches especially to take walk to Hana Sushi on Cary street in downtown Richmond. I forced him to try the sushi and he got me hooked on to Sashimi. YUMMMM

Compassion: This is based on our experience last July. I always am aware of the fact that Medicine and Medical Care is a business. I have seen and heard a lot about 'running' a department. However in the midst of running this business I have seen and felt compassion in the many doctors I have interacted with here in the US. I have also felt the lack of 'heart' in dealing with 'Indian' doctors. In August 2009 - when my mother -in - law was diagnosed with cancer and set up for emergency surgery here - the amount of attention we got was unbelievable. You would think that you were the only patient in the whole hospital. As surgeons, GI specialist and other house doctors visited our room you could feel the compassion. No one ever told Amma that she was feeling too much pain or that she was fussing or that she asked too many questions or that she was taking too much of their time! No one thought her questions were unwarranted or that her fears were uncalled. No one made fun of her pain or ridiculed our (Suresh and my) concerns. I know with all the insurance issues the US has its own set of problems. But I would gladly given in to that for a few seconds of compassion from an Indian doctor. I think US physicians should set up a 101 course on how to feel your patients pain! The Indian medical industry is definitely my biggest fear!

More things I will miss coming up...
Cabins - blue ridge mountain inn

Shenandoah valley

James river

Meeting people from all over the world!

Monday, August 1, 2011


Suresh and I are relatively quiet people. We are not really social and in the past 11 years have rarely gotten to know our neighbors. There was the usual hello ... and hi... when we saw them in close quarters. But that was it. However this time on Pangbourne street we have had a wonderful experience. I think we can thank Isaac for it. He is such a smarty pants that even when he didnt speak he attracted enough attention that people spoke to us. Now that he speaks ... there is no stopping who he talks to .. People on the road.. animals .. plants etc.

We have two neighbors that we have gotten really close to and are enjoying their company.

The first is a family three doors on our left. This is a family from Israel with two very cute girls ages 4 and 2.5. Roni and Yuvali have become the delight of our day. When we see them .. its not just Isaac's face that brightens up but ours too. The very first question that comes from their mouth is "Isaac's mommy - Can Isaac come to my house?" Note: They always ask for permission. Whether is it coming to our house or going to theirs. Parents Coby (Short for Yacoub) and Meital have done an excellent job of making the girls listen to them .. pay attention and obey. Disobedience is met with a series of sentences in Hebrew with no change in tone (i.e. no yelling) which we do not understand but can realize that the girls know the consequence of their actions will not go unnoticed. In the midst of several trips to their house and our house, we have learnt a lot about their culture and traditions. We have learnt a lot about raising children (especially potty training) without it being given as advise ... rather general conversation.

A few birthday parties ... dinners... snacks ... park visits and pool time later and now we are close enough that Meital tells me that she once didnt like Indians because they haggled too much :). (Coby and Meital own a few perfume stores at the mall). I told her it was trade mark Indian behavior. She has changed our mind since she met us though (it seems like it!). I on the other hand have learnt a few words in Hebrew. Yareh-ach (moon). Hatoul (cat). As most kids do, Roni and Yuvali eat very well when they come to our place and Isaac simply loves the food that Meital cooks. We are seriously considering an exchange scheme!

The second family is right next door on the right. This is an Indian family consisting of an older uncle (~70) with his wife and daughter. Uncle, Aunty and Didi (older sister) as we have fondly named them. The first time in the day you see Uncle is early in the morning when he comes out to feed the birds. If Isaac catches the time correct and is standing at the window, he will carefully watch Uncle sift through the food and feed the outside birds before taking a share in for his parakeets. Isaac's favorite thing to do is to go watch the Parakeets in their cage and call out their pretty colors. Uncle's current mission in life is to make Isaac a pakka (typical) boy. The last time we went there he was telling Isaac about breaking street light bulbs with stones. Luckily Isaac does not totally understand him. The only thing that aunty desires to do is hug and kiss Isaac and the brat that he is ... he wriggles out of her hands to run to the birds. Didi manages to catch him and shower him with a lot of affection. I enjoy seeing this ... because I miss Isaac not having an aunt around in close quarters and having Didi sometimes fills that void.

Its nice to have friendly people who you can laugh and talk to --- who you can pray for with a genuine heart and who you can thank god for bringing into your life!