Weekly Photo Challenge:My 2012 in pictures

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Even when I was high school, I remember my Dad had a dream of visiting his younger brother in Canada. Now my parents belong to a dying breed of people. They are honest, hard-working, put their parent’s and children’s needs before their own and spent money on only what was needed. So, going to Canada went on the back-burner. For almost 20 years.

Last year, that dream finally came true. .And they visited not just Canada, but the United States too. The Statue of Liberty, the White House, Johnson Space Center, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the museum of civilization in Ottawa, the city of Montreal. Above all the joy of being with their loved ones and cherishing a long held dream come true. I marvel at God’s goodness in making 2012 a year to remember for my parents and me.

Though my parents visited in the Summer, it being the high point of the year, I thought I’d spend a few words, reliving the joy of that time, before I started off chronologically. I found it surprising, I don’t have pictures for all the months. And some months have so many events crowded together! I know I could go on forever, and so decided to restrict myself to 12 photos for this post, concentrating on the many ‘firsts’ I had this year.

Let’s start off with my first visit to a museum here, for the Presidents Day Holiday last year (Feb 12). I spent only a couple of hours at the American Museum of Natural History, most of it reading and viewing the history of the Native Americans. I was mesmerized and vowed I’d be back . I did visit again, with my parents in Summer.

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Mask of the Bella Coola Indians

Then came the wedding in April. Mum had a cousin in California whose boy was getting married. I remember him (Mum’s cousin) when I saw him last. On his vacation to India. In Mumbai, when he’d gotten my number from Mum and thundered over the phone to come meet him. He introduced me to every member of the extended family there and warned me never to consider myself friendless in Mumbai. I had to go, even though all I would be doing over the weekend would be flying to and from California. I’m glad I did. He passed away a month later.

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Getting ready for Tommy’s wedding

June was my aunt’s visit to NY. I was elated. It was my first time as a tourist guide. Showing them the subway, taking them on the ferry, and enjoying the delicious hot dog lunches.

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My Aunt and her daughters at the Statue of Liberty

July was a busy month. I finally got a visa-worthy photo and applied for a Canadian visit visa. On the 4th of July, I finally visited Ground Zero and bunkered down outside the Hoboken Terminal for a few hours to view the Macy’s fireworks over the Hudson River. Here’s a picture of the Bronze memorial dedicated to the first responders from this Fire Station who lost their lives on 9/11.

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The FDNY Wall memorial outside Ground zero

I visited my friends in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and received the happy news that a couple were expecting a second baby. So, we of course went out to celebrate – bowling, my first time.

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The International bowling league in MA

And of course, this is the month my parents touched down at Pearson International in Toronto. And visited me as well. Here we are again at the Statue of Liberty, with my parents standing against the Manhattan skyline. It was absolutely delicious catching up with my uncle too who drove them all the way down here.

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My parents, the tourists 🙂

August, was when I bought my first DSLR camera. A second hand one, slightly old, but bought with much love. Here’s one of the first photos taken with the new camera.

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Flowers at Camp-of-the-Woods in the Adirondacks

A major part of my adult life has been associated with a student ministry in India, that bring the claims of Christ to many who seek the truth. Many students travel abroad and settle down and seek to bring their light to their new surroundings. And thus the torch passes on, generation to generation. Here is the newest generation having some fun at the North East Regional conference I attended in September.

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Children enjoying the sparklers at the campfire

No pictures for October. Super Storm Sandy saw to that.

It was followed by the first snow storm barely 2 weeks later in November. Winter was finally here.

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Heralding the end of out door dining in Stamford

December, again was a very busy month. A friend had recently gotten married and they have forever been asking me to visit them. I did. And we danced on the lit up streets of NYC, melded in to crowd at Rockefeller Center, and cheered and clapped when right before our eyes a fellow went down on his knees and proposed to the girl he was skating with. Magical, magical city.

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Angels we have heard on high – At the Rockefeller Center

It wasn’t exactly a tradition, but my parents would try to squeeze in a Carol night at one of the nearby churches for my brother and I when we were kids. Working in a hospital, that wasn’t easy, but I loved getting dressed, sitting almost always in the last row, out in the open air, under the stars and hear the lovely voice of humans declaring the angels messages – Gloria, in Excelsis Deo! This year, thanks to Augustine and Theertha, I attended their church Carol service at Calvary Baptist Church in NY.

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Carol Night

And lastly, my year end vacation to Canada. It was lovely. Waiting for my cousin to give birth, putting up the Christmas tree, watching The Hobbit with my uncle and cousins, playing card games late into the night, joining my cousins to surprise their best friend on her birthday, forcing my cousins and their friends out for a snowy photo-shoot with silly props. It was a year that ended in joy!

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An ode…

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I never write poetry. I’m indescribably bad at it. But I thought it would be a good way to bring closure to my loss of my iPhone this Christmas.

Happier TImes

Happier TImes

We’d known each other for about a year
Pink was what it loved to wear
A beauty on the outside and the inside
Practical, useful, always by my side

Goaded me to catch up with friends and family
Mapped the way when I was in a strange city

Kept me company on long journeys
With books and music and games

Knew I liked to wake up
at different times on different days
That I was paranoid about the weather,
Fed my love of taking photos,
And made sure the little notes I scribbled were
carefully tucked away to cherish.

Now that you have gone
I look longingly at others
As their eyes behold and as they listen
As they tease and as they hold close their own

An ache, a tear, a sigh escapes
I still walk in unbelief
I never thought it would end so quickly
That a careless moment
would separate us forever

You’ve been a friend to me
And fare thee well my own true love, my iPhone.

 

2012 Reading Challenge

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Well, I almost made it. I ended up 4 books short of the 30 books I had set as a target for myself in June 2012. Still 26 books in 6 months is a good beginning to getting back on the band wagon of learning more and more. Along with books this year, I’ve extended my reading to a few interesting blogs, mostly dealing with writing and History. 2012 had been an interesting year, lower on travel than the year before, but with more writing and more family time. I hope this year will include driving and exercise on the achievements list! 🙂

Thanks largely to my local library, I was able to read these books the last few months.

1.The Catcher in the Rye, J.D.Salinger
2.The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
3.Lord of the Flies, William Golding
4.Living above the level of Mediocrity, Chuck Swindoll
5.Not my Will, Francena Arnold
6.The Time Machine, H.G. Wells
7.Bird by bird: Some instructions on Writing and life, Anne Lamott
8.The 13 clocks, James Thurber
9.The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
10.Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
11.The Happy Cat:Beasts, Super-Beasts and Monsters, Saki
12.Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
13.The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
14.Sacred Marriage, Gary L Thomas
15.Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
16.Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
17.A Seperate Peace, John Knowles
18.After the Quake:Stories, Haruki Murakami
19.The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
20.Tales from Watership Down, Richard Adams
21.Never let me go, Kazuo Ishiguro
22.Candide, Voltaire
23.The Guest of Honour, Irving Wallace
24.Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
25.Ladies Coupe, Anita Nair
26.A Game of Thrones, George R R Martin

There were quite a few spectacular books and if you press for favourites, they would be ‘Living above the level of Mediocrity’ followed by ‘Lord of the Flies’. I fell in love with Saki again reading his ‘The Happy Cat:Beasts, Super-Beasts and Monsters‘. I think my biggest surprise was ‘Tales from Watership Down‘. It’s classified as Chidren’s Literature should you look for it in Wikipedia, but I loved the fantasy world of the rabbits and came out twitching my imaginary whiskers and itching for another story from El-ahrairah.