A Decade of Married Memories

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Ages 36 and 34 – 10 years in

The idea of marriage had never entered my ambitions or dreams as a child or even as a young adult. Then, when I was 23 and he was 25, Sajan and I became an item. Here’s how we told our friends. This happened to be at a basketball tournament, where we went up to random friends one at a time.

“Hey guess what. We’re dating!”

The response: “Yea! You two together was my idea in the first place! You can thank me later!” (Said almost everyone!)

Then we threw in what could have been a grenade or icing on the cake: “Oh and something else. We’re getting married!”

The response: Gaping mouths, a mixture of shock and joy.

Here we are 10 years later.

I wanted to add a little something to this recap of the first five years.

After year five, we were raising two little Abrahams.

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We have the pleasure of living close to our parents and siblings.

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We’ve ziplined and paddle boated in Puerto Rico.

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We made trips to Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, and Oklahoma City to see family and friends. We took a couples vacation weekend in Cancun.

We even made a last minute trip to San Francisco for Kristen & Eric’s wedding of the century!

That same weekend, 15-month-old Ezra was diagnosed with a rare disease, Kawasaki’s Disease, which affected his heart. But he was treated by the best and recovered quickly. His treatment was made of blood donations, so his story is now used to encourage people to donate blood.

In 2016, the kids and I did a trip to India with my mom. It was different being away from Sajan for two weeks! But thanks to the miracle of phones and video chat, we stayed in close contact.

In 2017, Sajan and I did a Europe getaway for Sarah and Kash’s wedding.

We’ve had anniversary dinners at Michelangelo’s, North Italia, and Eddie V’s. It’s getting to the point where it’s hard to remember without the help of Google Photos, Shutterfly, and Sajan’s blog!

Surely I’m forgetting some important moments, but this is a taste.

I think the last five years has been about learning to parent and getting systems down to run our lives! While still finding time to figure out how to be ourselves, be with people, and have purpose without life flying by.

 

 

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ringing in 2018 with a 5K and subliminal messages

This New Year’s Day was unlike any other. We woke up by 5:30 a.m. We loaded the children in the minivan. We plopped them into their sleeping grandparents’ bed. And we drove to Sam Houston Race Park for a 5K.

It was a bitter (for Houston) 32 degrees. Even deciding what to wear was a struggle. I own very few winter clothes, let alone winter workout gear. I had Amazon-Primed some long running tights. And I wore yoga pants underneath. Sajan loaned me a soft furry hoodie. Even with all the layers, we cursed the cold as we waited for the race countdown. I admired and jealously hated the smart people who had come adorned in warm animal onesies covering their whole bodies in an insulating layer.

As soon as we started running, though, the feeling of cold subsided.

My thighs started talking to me. They told me they enjoyed running, but not for so many minutes in a row. So I ran for a while, then did a series of walk-jog intervals. That is a fancy way of saying I was not in it to win it.

There was a good crowd, though considerably less due to the frosty temps. Even with that, I felt a little claustrophobic being surrounded by people. I argued with myself here and there, debating whether to run to the next cone or stretch my run a little farther, and then stubbornly yelled at myself that I could do whatever I wanted and I could stop to walk a little sooner if I wanted to.

Toward the end, I accepted a little cup of lemon-lime Gatorade that was mostly ice. While others slurped and threw their cup in the grass, I daintily sipped mine and even crossed the finish line with it in my hand.

Sajan and I snacked on peanut butter and banana after the race.

Then we stumbled upon Dish Society, a happenin’ brunch spot on Memorial Drive with locally grown food and a hipster vibe.

Sajan ate an egg white dish, and I succumbed to shrimp and grits. Grits are a good carb, right???

The food was delicious.

And, as discerning eyes may detect below, my meal came with a subliminal message!

Europe Day 7: Last Day in Barcelona

We probably woke up around 9. I had planned to go to Montjuic, a mountain top with a castle and cable car ride about 45 minutes away. But when I woke up, I changed my mind in favor of seeing some more local sites.


Our host Jose offered us breakfast, but we decided to stroll the streets. We walked by the Picasso Museum and checked out the gift shop. I wanted to buy so many things. But I wanted to carry nothing.


We walked through la Parc de la Ciutadella and took pictures of the Arc de triomf. We had coffee/tea and pastries at a shop.

Then we walked to Casa Batlo and Casa Mila, designed by Gaudi. It is quite incredible to walk by legendary things you have seen pictures of in books.

By this time, we were about a 15-minute walk from where our friends were staying, so we headed to their place. We juiced up our phones. Their place was so big. Like a full apartment. They were living large!

We picked a lunch spot and walked to it. Ciudad Condal. (Spelling changes depending on the language.)


This was probably the best food you could find in this area. The reviews were stellar, and our taste buds rejoiced. If we had more time, I could have sat here and eaten for the rest of the day.

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Sajan and I had a flight to catch, so we got a little nervous about time. But we stayed with the group and hunted for dessert.


Steven found Chok. Super hipster. Something you might see in a Midtown in a big American city.


We ate kronuts!

Then Sajan and I headed to grab our already packed luggage. Jose kindly walked it down the seven flights of stairs for us. We took a bus to the airport.

Goodbye, sweet Barcelona!

Europe Day 6: Barcelona

We arrived in Barcelona around midnight. A new friend from the wedding, Mo, happened to have come off the same flight as us. His uncle graciously gave us a ride to our AirBnb in the Gothic District.

The flats in Barcelona, you wouldn’t even notice how to get in. The entrance doors are indiscreet and smack in between restaurants. Jose met us at his door. It would be seven thigh-burning flights up. He kindly grabbed our 50-pound suitcase and jogged it up as if it were a feather.


We showered and slept. It would be an early morning to make our 9:30 Sagrada Familia tour.


At 8:15, Jose had a patio breakfast of coffee, pastries, and his homemade tiramisu waiting for us. You could see all of Barcelona from his wraparound patio. It was windy and 57 degrees, so we had our light jackets on.

The tiramisu was so good.

We ran down the seven flights of stairs and walked to the subway. After a transfer, it spit us out at the foot of Sagrada Familia, designed by Antoni Gaudi. Good thing we got there early. The line wasn’t as long as it would be later.


I’ve seen a lot of churches. This has to be my favorite. The design is so organic and nature-y.

We did a self-guided audio tour, which took 30 minutes. It’s way better to have the audio explanations than to aimlessly walk around. They make you appreciate what went into the design. 

We had also scheduled a tour of the Nativity tower. There was a 30-minute wait because the elevator had been out that morning. 


So you go up, and then you wind down a claustrophobic staircase with little popouts where you can see the detail of the sculptures at the top of the church and you can see the city. I loved it.

After our tour, we met my friend John Gu from high school. He’s been living the life traveling through Europe the last 5 years or so.


We ate lunch. I tried gazpacho. Not my thing. Too cold. John and Sajan ordered fish and — to their surprise — ended up with a plate of many little fried anchovies. I had an overcooked steak. For dessert, we had creme de Catalan. (It looks just like creme brulee, but later our tour guide said to articulate that would be an insult to Catalonians.) The food at this place was not good, but we really did enjoy sitting outside and having good conversation.


After this, we had a 2 p.m. free walking tour to make, and John joined us. Our friend Sherene came with our new friends Merene, Charlene, Jasmin, and Steven. Our tour guide was funny. I was profoundly sleepy. Every time we stood in one place too long, I slept with my eyes open. 

Midway through the tour, the guide had us break at a tapas place. My mouth watered. I ate. 

After the tour, I needed a nap real bad.

All the friends headed off to the Barceloneta beach. Sajan and I went back to the AirBnB. I napped so hard.


We all met at 7 p.m. for dinner. The group was starving after a long day. We had paella. Not the best paella place. Terrible, in fact. But time with friends was wonderful. John said goodbye and headed off to Zaragoza and then a little town in Portugal.


Dinner No. 2 ensued at Casa Lola. This was delicious and made up for Dinner No. 1. We had appetizers and sweets.


Forgive the gluttony, but Dinner No. 3 ensued. More appetizers and sweets. Sherene had patatas braves three times that night. We compared the flavor across the restaurants. 

Favorite foods of the day: cuttlefish, goat cheese montadito, roasted green peppers.

While our friends continued, Sajan and I walked back home. The winding alleyways are straight-up scary at night. Luckily, we didn’t have far to go. I highly recommend planning ahead and being close to a place where taxis are, so you can go straight home at night.

Day one in Barcelona was a great, unforgettable time with friends.

Europe Day 5: Driving Around Provence

The morning after Kash and Sarah’s wedding, we had another breakfast of tea/coffee and pastries and checked out of the hotel.

My seasoned traveler cousin Ruby had recommended we visit the little towns of Gordes and Cassis in Provence.

Gordes was 40 minutes away. The drive felt like driving through the middle of nowhere. The countryside was empty except of vineyards, olive trees, other plants, and the occasional house.


But when we entered Gordes, it was breathtaking. We were at the top of a mountain, it seemed. We parked at a market, where you could walk around and pass through shops with lavender and local seasonings.


We ate savory crepes for brunch at a creperie. Mine had ham, egg, and cheese. It came with a salad that was amazing. Tasted like homegrown greens. (Or my tastebuds were fooled by the glamour of the countryside!)


We window shopped. Then we drove an hour and a half down south to the seaside town of Cassis, at the bottom of a mountain.


People lounged on the beach. You could hear the gentle waves crashing. There were boats in a marina.


We ate at Le Delphin by the marina. Sweet crepes this time. Sajan’s was orange flavored. I went a little overboard with a nutella-filled, chantilly cream-topped crepe with a scoop of walnut ice cream. And we got some water.


I had seen what looked like fig trees in Orgon and Gordes, but they didn’t have fruit, so I wasn’t sure. Finally in Cassis, we saw a fig tree with lots of fruit!


After enjoying the sights of Cassis, we drove through Marseille. You could see the port of Marseille from the highway. Though there was this one long tunnel part where you miss all the scenery.


The airport is west of Marseille. We had an airport sandwich and salad for dinner. Our flight for Barcelona would leave around 10:30 p.m.

Europe Day 4 (Part 2): Kash + Sarah Wedding

This post is about the main event of our Europe trip — #kasa2017.

We parked at Le Mas de la Rose. The lot is surrounded by glorious gardens. Lettuces, mint, basil, parsley. Every herb you can imagine greeted us.

Rows of white wooden chairs lined up on the lawn. Musicians were setting up a cello, keyboard and drums. Sherene and Peter were practicing their song. Peonies and roses dotted the arch where the couple would share their vows.

The wedding planner handed us a nice paper/wood umbrella for shade and some rose petals to throw later.


We basked in the sun until the wedding began. Every moment was very thoughtful and personal. See the video up top to watch! The ceremony (check out the adorable ring bearer at the end) begins at 0:51, the cocktail hour at 2:40 and the reception at 3:00.


After the ceremony, the cocktail hour lasted a few hours. I tried every mouthwatering hors d’oeuvre at least twice. I missed my babies, so I found babies to hold, particularly Joby and Kainey’s (thanks!). I showed their daughter Eva the little grapes in the vineyard.

As dusk approached, we moved to the reception, under a patio.


There was a little apricot with my name on it. I ate it.

Sajan was the toastmaster for the evening. (Toastmaster must be said with a British accent.) We referred to him as the MC, but our new UK friends made it sound way better as TOAST-MAH-STUH.

Even though he’s really funny, I’m usually slow to laugh at Sajan’s jokes. But I have to say, he was quite hilarious. The crowd seemed to love him!

The reception began with the bridal party dancing in. Close friends and family gave speeches honoring the couple. Sarah and Kash really are a beautiful, amazing couple!

Sajan had everyone meet and make new friends and take pictures together. This was the best wedding crowd ever. Everyone got to know each other.


The first course came out. Scallops and shredded veggies. The scallops melted on my tongue like butter. I’ve never had scallops so good. Kavitha was sitting next to me. I got greedy and ate her scallops.

The second course came out. Veal on a pillow of mashed potatoes. This kind of food, you have to eat slowly. The room needs to be quiet. It was.


Finally, dessert happened. The level of luxury at this love fest was almost more than my tender heart (or pre-diabetes) could handle.

We gathered around a rectangular table. The staff laid out cake after cake.

Firework by Katy Perry started to play.


The staff lit sparklers on every cake and sparklers in our hands. A sparkler-topped towering profiterole cake was escorted onto the table by two or three people where Kash and Sarah stood. They sliced into it for their official cake cutting.

It was such a hype moment, but the fun wasn’t over yet.

After the cake cutting, we grabbed plates and filled them with all the French Michelin-star cake our hearts desired. Gluttony ensued.

While we sat and proceeded to spike our glucose levels, Sajan led a few games with the bridal party.

It got heated and intense. Each group amplified their voices and edged up close to Sajan with their fists in the air.

There were impromptu songs. There were a few more heartfelt speeches.

Then, as they say, we danced the night away.

Europe Day 4 (Part 1): Exploring Orgon

We woke up Wednesday morning excited about the wedding.

Downstairs, a French breakfast awaited us in the dining area. The owner/concierge alerted us there would be no eggs and bacon, as this was a real French breakfast. This was the day I learned French breakfast = continental breakfast minus eggs and bacon. The pastries were delicious. And apricots must be a thing. There were apricots, and I happen to be a fan. 

We sat next to a large window and enjoyed the green, hillside view.

The wedding wouldn’t begin til the afternoon, so we decided to walk around Orgon.

But first, we had to drive a few minutes to get there. Remember, we had a harrowing experience getting to the hotel in our standard/manual/stick-shift car?

Sajan had the brilliant idea to ask the kind concierge/owner, Regis, to give him some pointers. They drove around the parking lot and a nearby field doing donuts!

By the time they returned, our lives were no longer threatened by our rental car. Sajan was a pro. Thanks, Regis!


We drove down the road a few miles. Gorgeous!

I felt so touristy getting tickled by seeing a shop called “Boulangerie.” Yes, we have pastries in the states. But we don’t have boulangeries.

After our walk, we needed a light lunch. I got a kebab salad and Sajan got a French-style pizza from the boulangerie. It would have been nice to get pastries or cake, but we were trying not to overload on sweets.

Back at the hotel, we got ready for the wedding.

We had no idea what we were in for…