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Monday, July 25, 2011

A Magical Month in Massachusetts

Summers, when I was very young, meant visiting my cousins, aunt and uncle included of course.

The pangs of sadness at not going to school and meeting friends daily disappeared when I boarded the overnight train to head over to the city where I will be spending the next month or so.

New environment, new activities, new routine, new sights to see, new parks to explore... all added to the experience of not just enjoying summer but also fostered the bonding with my first cousins, with whom I feel awfully close despite the distance and oceans that separate us.

So, finally when Ana and Og got a chance to visit not just their cousin, aunt and uncle, but Thaathaa/Paattee (maternal grandparents) as well, we hopped on a red-eye and flew all the way across the country to Massachusetts to spend a few weeks there.

After the KG graduation, realizing she'll need to go to a new school for first grade, and will not see her old friends she has known for the last 3 years, Ana seemed a bit confused and distraught. The trip turned out to be just the tonic to keep her mind off the things she cannot change but is not ready to accept yet. Oggie seemed up for anything; at three, the whole world is full of new things for him to explore...

So off we went with heart full of joy at the family reunion, a mild doubt in my head about how well the cousins will get along. It turned out to be a packed trip, with very sweet bonding time lightly peppered with the usual clash of tempers and wills brought on typically by tiredness and over-exertion.

However, the kids got to do a lot, see a lot, experience a lot, packing memories and treasuring their play-times together with their cousin.

The trips to Boston Children's Museum and New England Aquarium were understandably exciting and fun-filled. Places I've visited as a single grad student, places I've taken D to, places I feel are ageless and timeless...

Thanks to having a genuine Art History Professor for an aunt, Ana enjoyed the trip to MFA Boston. The thrill on her face when she recognized Georgia O'Keeffe's works in the museum, especially since we had just finished a study of the artist via picture book biographies, was priceless.

The highlight of the MFA visit was the Chihuly exhibit which was breath-taking, even for little Og.

As a grand finale, since D managed to join us for the last week of our stay there, the whole family drove over to Niagara Falls. I've been there a few times and have experienced the handful of attractions, but, I got to see the area in a new light, through the children's wide-eyes. They were awestruck by the roar of the huge river plunging down. Maid of the Mist boat ride into the Horseshoe Falls was something Og and Ana will probably remember for a long time. Not to mention the fireworks late at night.

The weeks just flew by. I went with zero plans and expectations, only hoping that the kids will have a good time with their (extended) family... possibly as a result of that, it turned out quite magical.

I miss being called "Sheela Atthai" a zillion times a day (Atthai=Aunty) and miss talking in Tamil, reading a few old issues of Mangayar Malar, Vikadan, Kumudham and recipe booklets my mom had saved for me...

Anyway, didn't want this to be a long boring travelogue, so will quit here. Now that we are back, I am not liking this 'getting-back-to-routine' thing, but, c'est la vie... at least I have the pictures to sigh wistfully at.

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At 8:42 PM, Blogger sandhya said...

A lovely post! Time with family is always to be cherished. As is cousins bonding.

At 9:12 PM, Blogger Sheela said...

Sandhya:: You are so right! I do miss the comfort of extended family here... am glad we are able to do this short get-together even if not as often as I'd like...

At 4:21 AM, Blogger Choxbox said...

Awesome :)

And yes the Chihuly works are truly spectacular - they once exhibited at the V&A Museum in London.

At 4:40 PM, Blogger Megan said...

Sounds like an amazing trip! What a wonderful opportunity for the kids, and time with family is the best.

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Sheela said...

Choxie:: I liked that even little Oggie stopped and absorbed the various Chihuly installations, and talked about it for a few days after the trip!

Megan:: You said it! Time with family has become something of a luxury these days.


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