Hardly can believe that year 2014 is coming to an end and we are gearing up for the signature trip of the year to Chilean Patagonia.
We will be starting the new year in the midst of mountains, snow, wind, rain and fellow backpackers. Since we leave for Chile in another 5 days, I decided to write this blog post to highlight the year of self-expression and exploration !!
A big thanks to all my new California friends on tolerating me and encouraging me through this amazing year.
1) I moved out of DC-metro area:
I lived in DC metro area for 13 years. Virginia is where I set foot into the US. As I am reflecting for this post, the life in Virginia feels like a distant past. I miss my friends circle there (I keep talking about you guys all the time), but not the place. I certainly was ready to move out of DC area. I must admit that I utilized the awesome access to consulates in Massachusetts Ave to get my visa paper works done.
While applying for Chilean visa in San Francisco, I kept dreading the fact that I can’t drive up to the consulate at lunch hour to get my visa done.
But, California brought a big change in my life with new friends, new outlook towards life, and a new purpose.
2) Team Asha and Triathlon:
From February till Nov 2nd, 80% of my life revolved around Team Asha and triathlon. I trained (over trained) for marathon and half-ironman.
– Big Kahuna Swim 1.2 mile swim
Did not finish:
– Surfcity long course
Humbled and grounded by the experience of training for endurance sports, I now feel more tuned to my body.
3) Multiple visits to beautiful Lake Tahoe:
When I moved to California, it was right after our 6-month sabbatical and I had the hardest time settling down to a job and routine life. I used to get restless on the weekends about not going some place. Even though the long bike rides of triathlon kept me moving, it still wasn’t enough.
And I still had the same traveler mindset being new to California. I was itching to go to new places every weekend. Chakri had signed for lake Tahoe Ironman. So, our trips to Tahoe continued throughout the summer for bike rides/camping/swimming. And we managed to do some touristy activities in the process.
4) Hiking trips:
While the year was going as busy as it can, we managed to squeeze in time to tune with the nature. Did some local hikes and visited Yosemite, Joshua Tree and Sequoia National Parks.
5) Donated my hair:
I have been gifted with healthy, thick and long hair, thanks to mom. After a long time, I let it grow long enough to a length that I can donate. I couldn’t let that 10inch hair go to waste. Well, seems like the next round of cutting might happen soon.
6) My painting adventure:
I decided that in 2014 I have to try something new that I have always wanted to, but thought was difficult to do. So, I picked up my first acrylic starter kit at Michaels and watched countless number of youtube videos to learn. Also, bugged two of my professional painter friends constantly with questions.
Thank you Meenakshi Malhotra and Aparna Deshmukh for being patient with me.
As of today I have made:
1) 13 acrylic paintings + 2 work in progress
2) 8 watercolor paintings
3) 4 oil paintings + 1 work in progress
4) 4 mixed media on canvas
As of today, I have only one painting left. Everything else is gifted to friends. So, if you like a painting that I post on this site or on Facebook, ping me.
Extremely thankful to all of you who have accepted my paintings to add to your collection. This is a huge encouragement for me to make more and big.
7) Surfing to body boarding:
I took my first surfing lesson in ViZag, India last december. I had so much fun in the warm water that I badly wanted to try surfing again in California. So, I took another lesson at Pacifica, CA. Quickly realized how weak my core, upper body strength is, to get up on the board and eventually changed to body boarding. We visited Santa Barbara for Thanksgiving weekend. I did nothing but body boarding for 3 days and couldn’t get enough of it. Who is up for a trip to Santa Cruz for body boarding ?!
8) Picked up my Carnatic music class again:
Thanks to Venki’s time and patience to sit with me to review basics and get me to the first varnam all over again after years of gap in my practice. Hoping I can spend more time for music in 2015. Venki’s mom’s encouragement is priceless.
9) Made my first video with self commentary:
Chakri and I visited a school supported by Asha for Education in Manjampatti village. I documented the experience and made a small video with self commentary. It felt good to express my feelings about this villages through a video.
10) Lost this website and recovered it
Someone in Ukraine had nothing better to do. I lost control over the website. With a timely help from my classmate/friend Aditya Naik, I recovered the content and moved to a new secure hosting service. I owe you big Addy.
12) Wrote my first adoption recommendation letter
It was one of the toughest one-page letters I have ever written. The highest sense of responsibility and the fact that I wrote it for an awesomest couple, made me feel honored and brought a great satisfaction. Grateful for this wonderful opportunity.
13) Helped friends plan their international trip
How much do I love researching about a country that I have and haven’t visited !! I have given ideas to people, but never really helped plan a trip.This is my first time, and I really hope they have an awesome time. Will know the result in 2015.
14) Witnessing styles of superstar
After 2005, I went to watch Rajnikanth movie Linga in theatre on the second day. We were in the 2nd row from the screen and screamed our lung out for every punch dialogue, daredevil actions, and styles of Thalaiva. Can’t ask for a better way to wrap up year 2014 !!!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !!!