Rounding off 2017…..

What an eventful year this has been! I quit my job, my only brother finally got married, I traveled quite a bit, taught Yoga to elementary school kids, successfully completed 10 years of married life :), added a fur baby to our family aaaannnd finally got a job that actually interests me. Oh wait, did I forget to mention that I also started a blog, that sadly I haven’t been keeping up with (things are about to change- early new year resolution)?

In order of the series of events; the year started off great with a trip to the Winter Wonderland of California- Big Bear (a small city in San Bernardino county, about hour and a half way from Orange County), surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest- on January 1st, where we were hosted by our dear friends Monica and Gil.

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Middle of January I quit my job (hope you have read my very first blog about my decision to quit). Shortly after that, I got really sick (who knew one could be severely allergic to Mucinex- an over the counter decongestant), it got so bad that we almost had to cancel our trip to India for my brother’s wedding. Thankfully, two days before we had to leave (after several visits to the Urgent Care, antibiotics and steroid shots) I was just in good enough shape to embark on almost 24 hour journey to our final destination- Goa, India.

From Goa, we went to New Delhi (more on my AAHHMMAZING trip to India on my last blog) and on our way back to US, stopped over in Dubai for a few days to celebrate my birthday. Dubai was an experience. I can describe Dubai in literally one word- RICH! It doesn’t help that we stayed at a 7 star hotel (Atlantis, The Palm), which was one of a kind experience on its own. I found everything in Dubai to be exuding money except for the desert safari that we went on- which, I’m so glad that we did. Part of our safari was sand dune bashing, I wouldn’t recommend it for the ones with a weak heart- it’s kind of like being on a roller coaster for 30 minutes. Of course, we also made a stop over at the Burj Khalifa- the tallest building in the world, before leaving the extravagance of Dubai :). Interesting facts about Dubai: apart from being insanely rich, they also have the world’s lowest unemployment rate. They have a LOT of immigrants, I think I heard someone say, that only 1 out of 10 people is originally from Emirates. Another interesting fact, Dubai has what they call- Pink Cabs- that are driven solely by women (talk about women empowerment) and if you are a man traveling by yourself, you can’t ride on these cabs- only women or men with families are allowed to ride these cabs.

 

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After getting back from our International travels, I left with few of my good friends to run my 6th half marathon- Mountain 2 Beach- in scenic Ojai (located in the Ojai Valley, it is northwest of Los Angeles and east of Santa Barbara. The valley is about 10 miles long by 3 miles wide, surrounded by hills and mountains). I was really just there to support my best runner friend- Tracey- who finished her first marathon. Woohoo, Trace! My other friend who also ran the marathon qualified for Boston Marathon with epic qualifying time. Go, Meleah! If you are wondering when I’ll be running my first marathon- the answer is I don’t know, maybe next year or maybe never- we’ll let the running Gods decide πŸ˜‰

 

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Next was a quick trip to Santa Barbara for a friend’s Zoo Wedding (yes, it was a wedding at the Santa Barbara zoo). Needless to say, my 6 year old absolutely loved the wedding, that included amongst other animal oriented activities, feeding the giraffes. It was one of our best wedding experiences- short ceremony, great company, amazing venue, delicious food and cocktails- it was really well thought out and well executed. I also fell in love with Kimpton Canary Hotel rooftop (one of the functions was hosted there) on this trip.

 

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London, UK was next on our travel list. Since, my parents live there, it’s one trip that we make every summer. This year’s was pretty short- 9 days- but we made the most of it; venturing out to some new places- Windsor Castle’s Long Walk, Lego store (apparently, the biggest in the world) while visiting our old favorites- Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, etc.

 

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To celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary, we took a trip to Hawaii (Kapolei, about 20 minutes drive from Honolulu) in July. We stayed at Aulani and it was every bit as fun as they advertise. Our 6 year old had the time of his life and so did we. From the water slides to the various activities for adults- Beach Yoga, Paddleboard Yoga, Beach Bootcamp, massages. Aunty’s Clubhouse is such a treat for kids, with activities and baby sitting services- even our shy little Arya was happy to be hanging out there without us being around.

 

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Our last big trip of the year was to Toronto, Canada. My brother and sister-in-law who live there threw a grand reception party, celebrating their recent wedding. We were only there for the weekend but it was an absolute blast. My brother’s place is every urbanite’s dream, with views of Downtown and Lake Ontario. The backyard of their building is any runner’s dream- with endless trails along the Lake. We ventured out to the city a little bit- St. Lawrence Market pretty much turned me into a foodie. The reception party in itself was perfect- I was the MC- so clearly, it had to be perfect πŸ™‚ But really, from the venue to the decor to the food to the gorgeous couple, everything was on point.

 

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Now, moving on to more significant events of our lives- we brought home our second baby- who we are absolutely smitten with. Chewie is now 8 months old, we got him when he was only 3 months old and weighed about 3.5 lbs, he is a little over 10 lbs now and is getting cuter by the minute. He’s certainly the highlight of our year!

 

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One thing we have quickly realized after bringing Chewie into our lives is that we are a little bit restricted in our travels, at least for now. Leaving him to go travel just doesn’t seem right at the moment. Which is why we decided to indulge in some local attractions this holiday season. First up was Disneyland- believe it or not, my 20+ years of living in Southern California, I had never visited Disneyland during the holidays until now. It is a little bit more expensive to go during peak holiday season but oh so worth it. The Main Street is all lit up and decorated with huge Christmas tree in the center; there’s fake snow for kids to play with but the best by far is the Princess Castle- it is truly a jaw dropping beauty to behold. Small World ride, of course, is another amazing work of art with shimmering holiday lights and a cool light show.

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For Chewie’s first road trip, we went to the Apple farms in Oak Glen (about an hour away from Orange County). Even though, the time of the year we visited (Thanksgiving weekend), the apple picking season was already over but the beauty of the fall season was still in full swing. Thank you to my sister in law, Renu Michelsen, for introducing us to this hidden gem last year. This place is a photographer’s dream. The apple desserts here- apple donuts, apple pie (5lb mile high pie), apple jams, apple cider etc.- are not so bad either πŸ˜‰

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Okay, bringing it back full circle- I got a job!!! After many heartbreaks, I hope I have found the one that will keep me satisfied for a while. Honestly, I find the whole job hunting process to be quite excruciating- much like dating πŸ™‚ It’s hard to find the right match and when you do find the one, there’s no telling if your feelings will be reciprocated. I got so close to working for couple of companies that I REALLY wanted to work for but in the end it didn’t quite work out. As they say, ‘if it didn’t happen, it was probably not meant to be’ (or something like that). I’m now working for a fairly new (in United States, the company has been based in Turkey for past 27 years) media company, which is 10 minutes away from my home. Working here for last few months, I have realized that marketing for a media company is a lot more interesting than marketing for a hardware company…who would have thought, right? πŸ˜‰

With that, I wish you all a great end to 2017, hope the coming year brings you much happiness, peace, health and adventure…

Cheers to 2018!!!

 

 

 

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