Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Looking back at September

Whew, this year is really speeding by - October already!! It's getting so hard to keep track of what happened when...and my once legendary memory is not what it used to be!!! Maybe I should try this strange making-a-list thing that Ajey is so fond of....wow, I must be really growing up - making lists, what next?!!

The highlight of September is always, always the Ganesh festival - puja at home with modaks for prasad - perfect!! This year, we also attended the Shanghai Marathi Mandal Ganesh celebrations - the venue is usually the same, the Marriott in Puxi. The cultural program this year was quite ambitious - a depiction of the 4 yugas, starting with the creation of the world and moving on through the Satyuga, Dwaparyuga, Tretayuga, all the way through to the current Kaliyuga! Dances, skits, songs - a real variety program! It is quite obvious that a lot of hard work goes into these programs! The rousing arti and sumptuous lunch were the perfect ending to the festivities!!

The first week of September is also the Moon Festival long weekend - like last year, time for our Satyanarayan puja. Decided on a bigger scale this year - ended up inviting 10 families for lunch! I've never cooked for so many people at a time - and I was really hoping to make a really traditional Maharashtrian meal - so as much as I didn't want to, I had to make those dreaded lists!! First ingredient lists, then shopping lists, then all the planning - surprised myself a bit there!! In the end, I will grudgingly admit that the lists do help - everything went off without a hitch, and I did not have a single panic attack - well, maybe just a tiny little one!! I forgot to put down 'take pictures' on any of my lists, though - so no photos!! Sigh!!

The Year 5 coffee for parents was soon after - co-incidence or not, all 4 of us parent reps live right here in Golden Lough! So, obviously the place for the coffee was the Starbucks across the street - it's no secret that these coffees are very poorly attended - so worst case, it would be just the 4 of us, so somewhere close seemed to make sense!! So it was a pleasant surprise to see so many people turn up - including quite a few Korean moms, who usually don't mix that much!! It was fun to socialize with people I usually don't meet, fascinating to try to understand where people are coming from! In the end, we may have got more than what we bargained for - couple of moms from my class requested we do this very month - umm, I thought I was done for the year!!

Another first was Euchre night - Euchre is actually not that complicated to play, there are even a couple of apps online that can help teach you to play. Ajey and I got a private lesson - thanks, GL and BL!! There were about 20 people to play our first night - and the pot is quite big, starting of with RMB 50 per person, and then put in 20 each time a player fails to make the bid! Lot of food, lot of wine, lots of fun!! There are a few people who play very seriously, but most just enjoy the socializing!! Normally, I have the worst luck in cards ever - but September seems to be the month of the surprises - and I ended up 2nd, winning 25% of the pot - a whopping 400 RMB!!! To be very honest, I'm a little uncomfortable about playing for money - and while winning the very first time I played was thrilling, it also felt a little weird! Can't bring myself to spend it - I guess I'll earmark it to pay for the next 3 Euchre nights!!!

Still ringing up the firsts - the first FoD event of the year, Family Fun Day!! The venue was new year this year, the Grand Jinji hotel, not too far from my house! The weather changed a couple of days before the event, the clouds and showers had all us organizers biting our nails with anxiety - luckily, Saturday dawned clear and sunny, a perfect day for Family Day! Ajey had left for Peoria a day after Euchre night - so it was just Manasi and I - and we managed to have a pretty good day! I was 'on duty' at the registration desk, but that tapered off after the first couple of hours, so other than lending a hand at the organized games, wasn't really that busy! After all the planning and meetings and emails, it was good to see everything go so smoothly!!

One of the funnest things I did this month was a dosa lunch for some of my friends here at Golden Lough! Most people I meet really like Indian food - but they are totally unaware that there is a whole world of Indian cuisine outside of samosas and naan and chicken tikka!! So once in while, I enjoy introducing my friends to some new dishes - it is also a great ego-booster, because they think I'm a fabulous cook!! Reality check - I'm not, really, really not a fabulous cook - to be honest, I think 'competent' is probably a better adjective!! Anyway, so dosas it was - and followed by a big dose of solid Bollywood masala - we watched 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge', English subtitles and all - which by the way, are hilarious - "Don't chew my brains, you wastrel!!"

Last week of September - and 5 days of solitude for me!! Ajey was still in Peoria, and Manasi left for her week long China week trip to Nan Bei Hu - I have convinced her to write about her trip for the blog, and she's almost done, so I'm not going to steal her thunder by talking about her adventure - that will almost certainly be the next post!! Anyway, 5 days - I was kind of looking forward to having the house to myself - catch up on my reading, finish Manasi's blanket, take a mid-morning nap, stay up late watching TV - on paper, I was going to have the best week over! In reality, I was bored out of my mind!! I missed Manasi and Ajey like crazy - at least I got to FaceTime with Ajey, but Manasi - all I got of her was a few pictures on the school weebly!! I will admit that Sunny and I did some moping together - and I was really happy when they both got back on Friday!! I did finish Manasi's blanket though - cue, the only photo on this post!!

Packed a lot in this month, didn't I? No wonder, it's all a blur - and I haven't even mentioned all the FoD meetings, the parties, the potlucks, and a million other things!! No signs of slowing down - October is speeding on at full steam too - so lot more posts coming up! To finish up, on the family front, we heard some really good news this month - we will be soon welcoming a little niece or nephew back in Peoria - well not soon, in March - but I'm really excited, because everyone knows that March babies are the best ever!! I can personally vouch for that - and so can my mom!!

Until later!!

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