The Day we Disappeared Off to Europe

We disappeared for a week to Europe. 

We had 20,000-step days. 

We ate gluttonously. 

Our eyes witnessed astoundingly-sized cathedrals. 

But the best part was the relationships formed and forged along the way. 

Traveling is adventurous and magical. And over the next seven days, I’ll tell how it was so for us. 

On a Saturday in May, we dropped our two children and a stuffed suitcase of school uniforms and play clothes with Sajan’s grandparents.  

That night, we sat in a plane for 12 hours until we landed in Istanbul. 

Sajan had purchased two e-visas and identified a seaside eatery we could sneak away to 20 minutes from the airport. 

But we never made it there. 

Our plane must have touched down a little late. First, it seemed like we were trapped in the airport, like they hide the exits from you. One guy said we had time to quickly explore, but the lady close to the exit doors gave us a cold no. 

As time ticked, our confidence that we could make it out and back dwindled. And all the serpentine security lines entering the airport seemed like a red warning flag. 

No big deal. It was a big beautiful airport. During our layover, we browsed the Turkish delight, baklava, and local soaps in the duty free stores. We ate Italian food. 

I had chicken Milanese and Sajan had chicken with prosciutto. They both came with a delightful green salad that tasted homegrown with a light vinaigrette. 

Our waiter was both friendly and a thinly veiled jerk. 

Sajan had his Go Pro out on the table. The waiter admired it almost solemnly. He delicately picked it up and asked about the tripod and mic and where to find them. But twice he walked away with the Go Pro a few feet, joking he would take it as a present. 

Wrong thing to do, buddy, when your diners are in a foreign country and on high alert!

Anyway, we enjoyed our food and continued exploring the airport. 

We ate Turkish ice cream. I had pistachio, which was meh, and Sajan had chocolate, surprisingly rich and yummy. 

We sat at our gate and edited the day’s videos. 

Then, we boarded our plane for Milan. 


That time my phone told me what it wanted to do

The robots…you and I are training them as we speak, move, and think.  

I pulled into work yesterday. My phone, I didn’t ask it to, it popped up a map of my car’s exact location. It told me it would mark the location as “work” and remember the parking space for me. 

This felt like a movie, but it was real. 

Most of life feels like a movie these days. 

It feels like when God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 

I stand in my kitchen or sit in my car and say, do this do that, to Alexa (newest electronic member of our family) or Siri, and it happens. “Tell me the weather.” “Play me that song.” And the like. 

So anyway, when I pulled into work and my phone started telling me what it had decided it was going to do, unprompted by me, it reminded me of what I had read the day before in The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly. 

It’s 2002. Kevin Kelly asks Larry Page, the Google cofounder, why he’s doing a free web search company when there are others out there. “Where does that get you?”

Page says: “Oh, we’re really making an AI (Artificial Intelligence).”

Kelly writes he’s thought about that a lot since then. 

“Rather than use AI to make its search better, Google is using search to make its AI better.”

Every time you type or select something in Google, you’re training the AI. 

Every action I take on my phone, everywhere I drive, I’m training the AI. 

Nothing I’m doing is going unnoticed by the AI embedded all around me. 

Kelly’s prediction: “By 2026, Google’s main product will not be search but AI.”

If you read his book, the future freaks you out, but it’s also intriguing and hopeful. 

India Trip Day 15: Vallamkali Boat Race

This (September) was the perfect time of year to visit. A wedding, Onam, and boat race season.

We watch the boat races from my cousins’ house off the river in Aranmula. We eat lunch on a banana leaf. We drink fresh juice at St. George’s Bakery. We take a rickshaw home, then eat dinner at my cousins’ home in Kozhencherry.

This was our last day of activities before resting, packing, then heading back to the states!

India Trip Day 13: Layla’s Birthday

Layla turns 5. We head out to watch kids play Onam games. The work commences on a giant pot of biryani for the birthday dinner. My mom has a whole suitcase full of birthday decor and goodies. Layla makes her own three layer cake, with help from my mom. My mom put the finishing touches for some level of surprise.

The whole family made Layla feel special!