LION

Posted on January 28, 2017

A couple days ago Aaron and I watched Lion at the movie theater. Scenes filmed in Calcutta made every memory  of our time in India come flowing down like a river. We squeezed each others hands in the dark, instantly our eyes filled with unspeakable emotions.

Our time in India was a huge soul stretch, a beautiful challenge.

Here are some photographs I dug out from my hard drive.

Much resilience and hope. I love my Indian friends.

img_0169img_0170img_5621img_1894img_0132img_0341img_0264img_3855img_8221img_2377img_2546img_2590img_8104img_2586img_2573img_2570img_9021img_2446img_2559img_8825

Birth

Posted on May 23, 2014

Throughout my pregnancy and at incrementing levels I dwelled mostly on:

a) trying to block the very thought of giving birth altogether

b) mind-note-taking, nodding and/or cringing at friend’s birth experiences

c) watching wide-eyed like, a million births from the show “The Midwives”–dread and tears of joy got me every time, high five to all the midwives out there!

At 35 weeks, Aaron and I were told that my ‘fluid’ was low– ‘visceral’ is the word that comes to mind for all things pregnancy, there are: bags, membranes, cords, sacks, pockets all slimy and warm, homey and life sustaining. It turns out that my amniotic, ‘The main fluid’ yah, was lacking. So, am I leaking it or how does one lose it?? Holding my breath and tightening my thigh muscles wont do. Nope.

Distress creeped in.

It is not an exact science as to what the numbers should be but all my OB could say was that from a level of AFI (Amniotic Fluid Index)8-15 being normal, I had 6 and then 5 and then 4; Ava was probably not ‘floating’ anymore but poor thing, she was very much squished in drying womb. Initially our doctor was not concerned but as the numbers continued to go down and Aaron and I began to bite our nails a little.

Is the baby moving? How many kicks a hour? Is she getting enough oxygen? Cord compression? How much water can I drink before I drown? Should I get induced? Would it be too early at 37 weeks? What? there is no proper emergency C-Section in Calcutta?

 

“Take a breather,” is what I told myself and “don’t cry it’s gonna be ok” but I still cried.

 

We scheduled a C-Section with all my hopes of a ‘natural’ delivery shattered, I was going to be another number (in Calcutta about 90% of women who go to a private hospital deliver by C-Section by their own wish). I hated it and I cried again; I felt cheated, although not exactly sure of who had cheated me or why. There is nothing more distressing than not being able to provide for your baby and now also couldn’t take her to the culmination of pregnancy alone, the way I wanted to, the way a mother wants to.

 

There would be no water breaking or pushing or sweating.

They told me not to move while the anesthesiologist inserted the needle in my spine (boo-hoo ugh). Both my OB and pediatrician held my hand tightly and told me top stay still, I held my breath. Having anesthesia from the waist down feels like your are getting into a hot tub, there is a warmth from that trickles down your legs until you don’t feel them anymore; kind of a good feeling actually this anesthesia thing.  If you’ve ever gotten your wisdom teeth pulled, you know what is like to feel the pulling and tagging but not really hurt, that is what it reminded me of. Of course the pain WILL come later.

Aaron was looking over the emerald green sheet as he held my hand when she came, and she cried and loudly. Then Aaron cried, then I cried, then a flood of emotions came over me “she is here! she is finally here.”

The nurse put her on my chest and for brief moment and our mouths touched each other, I could feel the warm breath on my mouth, one of the purest most beautiful moments of my life.

Pain really seems to take second place when all you can do is look at what has just come out of you , and I mean h o u r s of contemplation. So defenseless, plump and downy. She had this heavenly human scent.

 

It doesn’t seem to matter how baby comes, but that it does come.

 

Ava Emmanuelle is sunshine. She makes me want to be a better person. I love her so much it hurts.

IMG_2333 IMG_2335 IMG_2436 IMG_2508 IMG_2614

 

 

Fam·i·ly

Posted on February 26, 2014

Fam·i·ly  (noun) [fam-uh-lee, fam-lee]: a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children (probably the most complete definition you’ve ever heard. no not really). Most of us were born into a family, therefore ‘la familia’ could be the most conventional, recognizable, normal concept and hence reality, yet not all of us so marshmallowy fall into it ourselves. Oh no, some of us resisted the idea for years like being cautious of taking the wrong exit on the highway or like a visceral reaction you probably get when someone offers you heavy cream and you are lactose intolerant. Yet then it happens, that you give into it or are led into it, or it miraculously just IS. I have plenty of friends though, for whom having a family of their own has not come easy*as in desperately difficult, or not come at all*a tragedy even when is the very thing they’ve been yearning to have their whole lives– it is one of the biggest question marks I have for God.

Now that Aaron and I are in our family-wagon, it is awesome and scary and the future is unquestionably very unknown but I think even in my immediate neighborhood of India, where there is 1 billion people to show for because someone did have a family and most importantly seeing the fulfillment in people that are dear to me and I love, like brother and his family and my sister-in-law and hers. I can be reassured that things are gonna be just fine.

My brothers’ & Aaron’s sister’s family and their little people

IMG_9980 IMG_9992 IMG_0057 IMG_0061IMG_0038 IMG_0405 IMG_0407 IMG_0411 IMG_0418

The Two Month Hop

Posted on January 18, 2014

This is my unloading of two months worth compilation of cell phone camera shots from my resent visit home.
IMG_1945IMG_1944It started to look a lot like Christmas and feel a lot like a long wish list. Not ideal.
IMG_1943 IMG_1942My brother Nico did most of the construction of this lovely restaurant in DC. Love the art deco ceilings!
IMG_1948At the National Art Gallery in DCIMG_1929 IMG_1927 Clyfford Still paintingsIMG_1930 IMG_1931Mr. GoghIMG_1923IMG_1924IMG_1925Edgar Degas and his never boring ballerinasIMG_1926IMG_1921

At the Hirshhorn Museum DC
IMG_1786There she is
IMG_1762My sisters’ cozy shire and her little monster, Lili. Fran is crazy about puzzles (sudden obsession) she has even bought a table just to give into her guilty pleasure. Every day she’d make me sit and do my ‘puzzle duty.’ I did put together some peaches from her Flower & Fruits still life jigsaw puzzle. I can be a good sister when I want to 🙂photo (18)
California was our last stop before heading back to Calcutta. We had our share of delicious Mexican cuisine.IMG_2112I present you Luxe. Even though she suffered from quite a severe case of ‘kisslicking’ she sure made us feel loved and welcomed.IMG_2110 IMG_2094 IMG_2048 IMG_2041

Bebé

Posted on January 13, 2014

We’d kept the topic of reproduction and childbearing on the back burner until we must’ve clearly moved it out of the back and into the very core of our lives. In about three more months we’ll have a person, in a mini body, that will probably resemble one of us in a deja-vuish sort of way. We are ecstatic, freaked out (a tad) and feel undeservingly privileged, we can hardly believe it– we are having a baby girl!

Props to our friend Paul Lee who usually shoots incredible architectural photography but because he is such a good chap he spent an afternoon with Aaron and I while we tried to look relaxed and not be too cheesey (and I really do touch my belly in real life as I do in this pictures), we couldn’t help ourselves as we progressively sank into a curious sheltering-paternal-mode. Oh dear.

bump1bump2bump4 bump6 bump9bump3IMG_3511 IMG_3522 IMG_3530

Dunes

Posted on October 26, 2013

Reverse oasis. Sand dunes in the middle of the lushest of lush. There are two types of sand dunes in Mui Ne, Vietnam, the red ones and the white ones. This were the ‘red dunes.’  We would have gone to the white ones– which are supposed to cover a larger area, yet our plans were watered down as we caught the afternoon torrential rains. Gladly we’d brought an umbrella so Aaron would hold the umbrella while I very National Geographic-ey took photos of the landscape.  I should’ve tipped my Laurence of Arabia at the end of the venture across the desert– not to mention he had to literally push me up the sandy hills for me to make a ‘smoother’ climb. We also got experience the other amazing thing about being in Vietnam, that is to wear the very fashionable giant trash-bagey-hooded rain coat, 2 for $1 while riding a scooter at speeds of 20 miles per hour (Aaron’s wet rain coat hood kept smacking me on the face as we rode back to our hotel). It was pretty funny though, it was.

Gorgeous Vietnam, you.

I wouldn’t change anything about the dunes adventure spent with my favorite person.

I didn’t spend much time editing these photographs, the colors are just as we saw them (except the B&W of course, don’t worry you are not selectively color blind) and, I am not skilled enough in photoshop to even remove a speck of dust in a couple of the images, darn). Props to Aaron for taking really awesome photos!

IMG_9729

IMG_9711
IMG_9710 IMG_9776

IMG_9770 IMG_9752 IMG_9750 IMG_9712

IMG_9744
IMG_9740

IMG_9701 IMG_9704 IMG_9714 IMG_9699 IMG_1648 IMG_1653

Baguette

Posted on October 20, 2013

I might have rusted out that part of my brain that blogs. Really. Following a few months of complete-uncreative-hibernation, I have just now started to come out of my cave to eat my wild berries. I even have a couple of other blog post ideas already lined up (wow, take it easy) but I say start with Vietnam and make my way back.

South East Asia, always a dee-light.

Having Pho soup was almost a staple for Aaron and I in rainy Seattle, and quite honestly, they do do it justice in the States, it must be because there are actual Vietnamese people behind the big pot of soup. Surprisingly, I was more drawn to baguettes, Lord bless them. I haven’t had a decent piece of bread since I can’t remember when, no offense to my lovely Indians- who do make a-mazing rotis- but gorgeous crispy, fresh bread, I wish I had a photo but I always ate my bread too fast to get a chance to photograph anything.

We flew into Ho Chi Minh City, previously know as Saigon during French colony– a name which is seen written on plenty of shops and hotels, I would say people still embrace the name even after it was changed. It can’t get any more classic sounding than ‘Sah-i-gon’ can it?

Vietnamese people seemed extremely welcoming, polite and plain goofballs.  In the train ride to the beach Aaron and I changed our seats to ones with a better view; it took like half and hour for the poor fellow we’d taken the seat from to ask if “perhaps we could have possibly sat in the wrong seat??’ I almost got teary eyed. YES WE TOOK your seat, we are bad, BAD.

When Vietnamese want to sell you fruit or something at the beach they give you a huge smile and wave their hands at you like they’d known you for a long time. At first I waved back but then I realized it might give the wrong message- hence buy all the fruit they are selling. On one rainy day a cute old man wearing a nón lá (coned shaped leaf hat) did like a little chicken-dance, he didn’t want to sell anything he was just happy. The simplicity of a smile can really go a long ways.

viet 1 bwIMG_9458We found a street with antique shops
viet2Aaron having a Don Draper moment (Mad Men) with pair of Vietnam War relics for only $400 USD, AND that is why we only looked at antiques and sadly didn’t get any.

viet9IMG_9487

The mandatory and delicious Pho
IMG_1534A view from our hotel window on a rainy morning
IMG_1553Sporting a nón lá and a tired smile

IMG_1640

Selfie as we returned to our assigned train seats. Geez.

IMG_1639