Goodbye Tree Town, my Ann Arbor Home!

It’s about that time again.

I started packing.

I’ve had my last hurrahs (for now).

Two months ago when I arrived in the USA it seemed like I had so many days to fill.  Now that it’s over, I’m wondering how did it go so fast?!  But, I’m ready.  I miss my fur babies.  The three of them are really cute and I’m beyond excited to feast my eyes upon their glorious bodies.  I’m such a lucky girl.

One of the sweetest things I got to do this summer was attend the opening of my friend’s brand new cafe called the Electric Eye Cafe.  It’s a cute coffee shop with rotating roasters and a friendly-chic-whimsical vibe adorned with quirky written signs.

If you’re in the Ann Arbor area, it’s a great place to check out.  I know there’s heaps of coffee shops, but this place is unique, and well, a friend’s place is always so comfy, isn’t it?!  It’s also in a great location on Main Street and there’s plenty of parking.  Just go ahead then.  Do it.  You know you love the coffee.  Say ‘hi’ to Keelan for me.

Another place I never miss when I’m in Ann Arbor is the good old Fleetwood Diner.  It’s been around for decades and it is quite a special place.  You don’t want to miss it on your trip to this wonderful tree town.  I assure you it won’t disappoint.

I took my mom here for lunch on my last day in town.  We had a great time sitting along the street watching the Ann Arbor life pass us by.  I also hoovered my ‘hippie hash’ like I hadn’t eaten in 10 years.  Mmmmm.  It’s just so delicious, and I’m not even usually a fan of potatoes that much.  But, these hash browns cooked with tomatoes, green peppers, broccoli, onions, and feta cheese are something to dream about.

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One of the best nights I had in my two month long visit was with a bunch of co-workers for an epic dance night out on the town.  We were on a serious mission to tear up the dance floor, and well, I reckon we did a fantastic job.  I’ve made some new amazing friends this summer in Michigan and uncountable good memories.  My cup runneth over, dear friends. . .

I even got to hug one of my most favorite people in the whole wide world who was only in town for one night.  We hadn’t seen each other in four years and it was great to recharge on her super vibrations. . .

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In a few days I will be all packed up and time traveling back to my beloved Magic Man.  It has been monsoon season in Goa, so I’ll be arriving to the greenest, lush jungle surrounding my rainbow penthouse.  I will cherish the good times and good vibes of this pure Michigan summer and I’ll see you all on the flip side. . .

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Lake Michigan Dune Time

If you’ve never seen one of the “Great Lakes” in your life, I recommend making a trip sometime.  Lake Michigan, in particular, has beautiful sand dune beaches and water that stretches as far as the eye can see.  Once at the water’s edge, looking out into the vast blue horizon is like gazing out into the open sea. . .without all that salt, of course.  It is quite a sight.

My family goes camping every year somewhere on the lake and this was the first year I got to attend the annual shenanigans.  I’m no stranger to camping so I was pretty excited to bust out my awesome camping gear. . .plus, sleeping in my tent all cozy in my sleeping bag is some of the best sleep I ever have.  I know, I’m a weirdo to some people.

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After setting up camp at the PJ Hoffmaster State Park Campground, we headed straight for the beach.  And it looked like this. . .

The water was brisk, per usual, but after about 5 minutes it just starts to feel refreshing.  Growing up in Michigan, you get used to cold water.  It’s no big deal.  It’s just how it is.  I think I heard somewhere that cold water stimulates your lymphatic system, so it’s all good for your health, too.

The beaches are tall white sand dunes that are killer to hike up, but make for great adventures.  The best part of hiking the dunes is running down them.  Each step takes so long to sink down in the sand it kinda feels like you’re walking on the moon or floating instead of running.  And it’s even fun to hike up a dune just for the sake of floating back down again.  Me and my dad went on a really fun hike one of the days and I got some primo shots.

I love this one below.  It looks like he’s a lone man in the desert. . .or on some strange desolate planet. . .

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You can tell a little bit how steep this dune really was.  It was a great workout and also a never-ending foot massage from all that sand.  My little footsies were quite happy afterwards.  And BTW, I have the best Dad.  He’s a gem!

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Some of my oldest and dearest friends joined us for a few nights of camping fun.  I’ve been cashing in on all the friendly company I can manage while I’m here.  In the blink of an eye I’ll be back to my little jungle home far far away from so many of my loved ones.

Here are some great shots from another dune hike. . .

We came across this bench on our dune hike and I had to capture the wisdom of it.  I think it’s a good notion for all of us.  Keep dreaming, keep dreaming. . .grab it when you can, grab it when you think you can’t.  Just do what that little voice inside of you says.  Listen. . .

“I believe people should find their dreams and chase them before it’s too late.  If you know what your dream is grab it and run.”

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We had beach disco parties, of course, because I have to dance no matter what.  It’s good for my soul.  We had dinners and fun chats around the camp fire.  And we even made it to the nearest city to see a singing, dancing, light up fountain.  It was something.  It’s one of the oldest musical fountains out there, so check it out for a truly local experience.  Haha.

It was really hard to leave the camping trip, but I will be excited to visit the dunes again and that beautiful blue horizon.  Thanks, Lake Michigan.

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Ann Arbor Daze

So, I’ve been back in the other Motherland. . .aka America. . .for awhile now.  The summer is here and the weather has been delightful.  I even got joy from a big whiff of fresh grass straight off the plane.  Sounds weird, I’m sure, but we don’t have much grass around us in Goa.  We’ve got plenty of lush jungle, but grass, well, it’s a special thing and there’s not much of it.  So, yeah, that first whiff was pretty darn nice. These days, the little things fill me with abundant joy.  It’s great.  I guess I can thank the teachings of Mother India for that.

Ann Arbor is looking pretty great, don’t you think?  These are a few shots from my river run and an old building downtown. . .

I’ve been a busy busy bee on this visit.  It’s actually been more like work.  Doctor appointments, helping my mamma, seeing the family, and all kinds of other task oriented adulting.  No siestas or Goan sunsets around here but I’ve been getting my fill of delicious American beer, diners, eating my way through the gigantic cheese selections and all the Mexican food I can fit in my stomach. . .and of course, loving the grocery stores.  It always takes me awhile to remember what I even used to buy at these places and that is such a strange thing.  Overwhelmed by choices, but glad to have them, I just hope I don’t get out of this place with twenty extra kilos on my booty!  Haha!  Not that my husband would mind.  Heh.

Michigan in the summer is pretty fantastic.  I am enjoying all the wonderful things about Ann Arbor in this glorious weather and catching up with all my old homies.  I think this is the longest I’ve gone without posting, too, which I apologize for keeping you waiting.  I’ve been burning the candle at both ends and have barely had enough time to burp or fart. . .I mean. . .well, you know what I mean.

I’m missing my Magic Man and my kitties so very much these days but I’m trying to stay in the moment and enjoy it while I can.  In the meantime, Louise the calico keeps me pretty good company. . .

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Good news in:  my mamma has made mega improvements since I’ve been here and she’s on the road to walking again.  Woohoo!  I’m really proud of the progress she’s made and I know she’s stubborn enough to get back to dancing on her feet as soon as possible. That’s a big relief  for me and her and now I know she’s on the up and up when I head back to Goa.  My article Broken Heart News will catch you up on health and life stuff, if you’re interested!

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In the little slots of time I have between all of my daughter duties, I’ve had a few dance parties with old friends and new ones.  I’ve been blessed to hang out with my awesome family all the time.  I really am the luckiest girl in the world to come from such a cool tribe of people.  They’ve been enjoying the good life with me and getting a kick out of my delight in American luxuries.

One of my favorite nights was with one of my dearest oldest friends and a brand new one.  We went to our fave Thursday night dance spot and sang along to Queen songs with the whole crowd.  It was utterly awesome and I will revel in the memories for a long time.  God Bless America. . .and my amazing friends. . .and Queen. . .and my healthy body that let’s me boogie all night looooong!!!

I promise it won’t be so long until the next update.  Sometimes it just takes awhile to arrive, I guess.  So, here I am.

In the words of my new mantra. . . .

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May you all feel the same way.  As always, I hope things are goan good!

 

Broken Heart News in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Two weeks ago, I was having my afternoon siesta with Shanti.  It was a hot day in the jungle and the late afternoon sun beat us into a dead sleep.  When I finally woke up, I checked my phone and found frantic messages from my brother.

Are you up?  It’s mom.  It’s not good!

Great.  The last thing anyone wants to hear when they’re on the other side of the world is that a family member is in trouble, especially your MOM.  It takes a long time to travel that far and it’s a lot to wrap your head around in less than 24 hours.  Whew.

So, I jumped on a plane to Detroit immediately and flew back to the good ol’ U. S. of A!

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It’s been a year and a half since I have been out of India, and let me tell you, I felt a bit like Mr. Bean in the airport.  I’ve heard about reverse culture shock but I didn’t really understand it, well, until the Mr. Bean in me was so strong that I started freaking random people out by my charming enthusiasm for American standards.

It started with getting off the plane in Newark, New Jersey.  One might think the arm pit of America isn’t that great, but holy cow, the moment I stepped into the airport I was hit with a wall of aroma. . .and I’m not talking the lovely wall of pungent, aromatic curry-dirt-pee-whoknowswhat smell like an assault on your senses.  It was a wall of fragrant, delicious brownies, cookies, pastries, perhaps.  Oh. My. God.  I dropped my bags and breathed in the air like a crazy person who just escaped from the mental institute.

IT SMELLS SO GOOD!!!!  I kept yelling to the air.  People walked by with confused expressions as I sniffed the air.  God Bless America.  Ha!  I never liked that phrase so much until now.

Then, I passed a cafe on the way to my next gate and the smells of coffee, bacon, and cheese wafted over to me and literally made me giddy.  The sensations hitting my olfactory system made me do a little dance at the counter.  The clerk just smiled and tried not to stare in strange wonder at why the heck this weird chick (me!) was so excited to smell stuff.  I mean, smells at the airport aren’t necessarily a famous memory for most people.  And when I ordered a SMALL latte and it came out looking utterly gigantic?!  Wow.  God Bless America again!

Home sweet home.  Mmmmmm!

I finally made it to Detroit and my cool dad picked me up.  Yeah, I said cool.  He plays guitar, rides a skateboard, and knows all the good music.  I’m a lucky girl and I count my lucky stars all the time.

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And then after a nice, long, HOT shower to wash off the funk of twenty five hours of traveling, I made my way to the ICU at the hospital to see my mama.  She just had an aneurysm in her aorta and almost died.  In fact, the doctor said that most people that suffer aortic aneurysms don’t even make it to the hospital, so my mama is one tough cookie.

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When I got to the hospital, she was one drugged cookie, too.  The surgery lasted TEN whole hours and all the anesthetics and drugs took days and days to leave her system.  She said she saw lots of weird “things” in the room while the drugs wore off.  I told her not to tell anyone else.

Since I’ve been home, I’m catching up on all of my fave American TV shows, hanging with the family, seeing friends, and enjoying the simple things in life that are so good here. . . like grocery stores and donuts!  Wow.  I recently ate a custard paczki (poonchkey) and I dare say it was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten in my whole dang life.  Haha!  I cut the thing in half and when I finished the first half I almost cried remembering there was still a second half.  I had a good laugh at myself. . .maybe even for a couple minutes.  I laugh at myself all the time.  It’s the only way to live.

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I’ve also been remembering myself.  Like, what the heck I even wear in winter!  Pants, hats, jewelry I haven’t seen in years.  Sliding into an old pair of jeans is like seeing a long lost friend, except that friend is ME.  What a trip.  Phases of myself and my life that have been packed into boxes. . . the comfortable, comforting memories of being me.

Being back in America makes me appreciate the amenities of first world.  Doing laundry is so fast and easy.  Going to the store to find some random thing is simple.  Clean air to breathe.  Raspberries, blueberries, kale and all the things I’ve missed are never hard to find.  These little, unappreciated luxuries surely balance out the hard stuff.

I’m at the hospital every day.

Days are long.  Sometimes stressful and sad.

We’re still waiting for my mom’s nerves to wake up in her legs and then hopefully she’ll walk again.  I’m pretty sure the faeries are helping out.  They always know when I need them.

If you’re reading this, wherever you are, send a little love to my mama.  Send a little more love to everyone around you.  Everything in this life can change so fast.  One day you’re fine and the next day you can’t walk.

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Say ‘I love You,’ do the things you always dreamed, appreciate walking and talking and being healthy, and never take life for granted. . .for even something like going to the grocery store to buy your favorite cheese.  Most people don’t know how lucky they are.

Everything right now is hard. . .but it gets a little teeny tiny bit better as the days go by.

Gratitude.

If there’s one good lesson my mom can teach you, it’s respect your body.  Love yourself. Take care of yourself.  She didn’t do those things and now she’s facing the consequences. . .and they are not fun.  Not at all.  Not for her or anyone around.

I’m missing my dear Shanti but I’m glad she has company until I get back.

I think I brought the sunshine and beachy vibes from Goa to Ann Arbor because since I’ve arrived it’s turned sunny and springy.  I hope all the good vibes of my jungle home in India help heal my mama’s broken heart.

And I hope that you beautiful people out there can feel the love, too!!!!!   Aho!

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