After settling back in Sausalito and the Bay Area in the beginning of the year after our amazing sabbatical, 2019 turned out to be a year of a lot of rediscovering California and family trips. What surprised me through the year was how much Ayaan and Ariana remembered our sabbatical and wanted to talk about all the places and memories we created. It was also very clear that their time in India was their favorite – immersing in the culture, learning Hindi, eating yummy food, spending time with grandparents and getting spoilt.
Local California travels highlights included driving trips to Tahoe for Memorial Day where we experienced snowfall at the start of summer. A trip down to Santa Barbara and central coast in the summer. And a few weekend trips to Carmel, Napa and Lake Shasta (with our friends Karishma and Anshul). But perhaps the biggest local highlight was staying at Anjali’s new glamping AutoCamp sites at Yosemite and Russian River. We also had a fantastic Thanksgiving in Big Island, which was a first for all of us except Anjali. The kids loved the beach and pool time, the live music and the fire lanterns everywhere. Ayaan learned to swim in the fall and he practiced everyday in the warm pool at the Marriott. But their favorite was running around at lawns of the Four Seasons where they made many friends.
Internationally, we made 3 big trips for the year. The first was an urgent trip to India since Anjali’s dad passed away. The kids were very sad but took it incredibly well. It was a tough trip and few months for us, but we were so glad that we spent a lot of time with FIL during our sabbatical. On a more happy note, in the summer we all did a big trip to Europe with my entire family of 14 representing all decades from 0 to 70 to celebrate my parents’ 50th Anniversary! We all gathered in Copenhagen where we once again (after our visit last year) explored Nyhavn and the sites together. We then caught a 7 day Holland America cruise together to the Norway towns of Bergen, Kristiansand, Oslo, Stavanger and Eidfjord. Ayaan and Ariana loved spending time with the entire family including their cousins and to this day remember it in detail. They got really fond of Morgane, Loui and Neela, in addition to everyone else they had spent more time with during the sabbatical in 2018. We ended the trip in Amsterdam where highlights included day trips to Zaans Schaans and Gouda. Overall a wonderful trip.
Ayaan and Ariana also really enjoyed family visits from Dhara, Anjali’s mom and Sonil. Ayaan says his favorite thing is when family visits his home. Finally, to end the year we made another trip to India – the kids loved spending time with their grandparents, at CCI, and with the Christmas festivities. Anjali and I also got the chance to escape for 5 days to Myanmar which was truly fantastic. Highlights included Bagan, Shwedagon in Yangon, the 1 night Paukan river cruise from Mandalay to Bagan and the incredible food. Thanks to the grandparents for entertaining the kids.
2019 was a challenging year with settling back, getting adjusted back to our life after our sabbatical and the death in the family, but we still managed to make the most of it. As we reflect back on the decade, it was very busy and we are so glad we had the opportunity to take 7 months off and spend time with people we love the most exploring our planet. Ayaan ended the decade with 32 countries and Ariana at 28 countries. To many more as a family in the next decade!