Today is the first Halloween that Ruchi ever got to celebrate since she was born. The first year she was only one month old, the second year we had just moved to Seattle. This year was perfect, she got to attend two Halloween parties and today she even had a chance to go trick or treating. Ruchi was very excited to wear her costume today. We waited till it was dark to go out trick or treating. At around six, kids started knocking on our door for candies. Ruchi was very excited every time the doorbell rang. She ran to the door, and was very happy to put candy in their bags. She said bye-bye to every kid without fail. At around seven, we left a bowl of candies for kids outside our door, and we went trick or treating with Ruchi. She was very excited to be on the receiving end, though she was a little confused why people instead of inviting us in, closed the door after giving her candy. According to her, when we ring the bell people open the door to let us in (atleast that is what she is used to). She figured out the routine after going to a couple of houses. But since it was a little wet, we just went to a few houses and then headed back home. Later, Ruchi’s friend Ayush came over and they played for a while. It was a wonderful day, and Ruchi had a great time handing out candies to kids until 9 p.m.
Every time we go to the mall, Ruchi wants to ride the escalator. She likes them so much, that she wants to ride them all the time. Today we had to go to sears to return something we ordered online. While at the store, Ruchi and I played in the shoe section while Praveen checked out shirts for himself. The shoe section was cut off from the rest of the displays. It had three benches placed next to each other and Ruchi had a great time climbing them and jumping from one bench to the next. When Praveen was done, we went to check out, when Ruchi noticed the escalators. So obviously there was no escape for us. After riding the escalator over ten times, Praveen finally was able to distract her by setting her in a lawn-mower, which she pretended to drive thinking it was a car. Later while we were in grocery store, she continued her game by choosing to ride a car shaped shopping cart.
Today our community playgroup had a Halloween party. I offered to do a craft work for the kids, which was a Halloween trick or treat bag. I made cup cakes as treats for the trick or treat bags. Ruchi dressed up in her monkey costume. Most of the kids came dressed in their costumes and they all looked so adorable. The pumpkin decoration and the treat bags were a huge hit among the kids. They all had a great time making their own bags, which they filled with goodies later. The party lasted nearly three hours and Ruchi did not complain even once about the costume. This is a good sign because now I know that she will keep the costume on for some time on Halloween day. I am so glad I took the camera with me, because I was able to take pictures of all the kids at the party and the pictures came out great.
Today I baked cupcakes to give as trick or treats for our playgroup Halloween party tomorrow. Like me Ruchi is not a big fan of sweets. Usually if she sees something tempting, she takes a bite and then when she finds out it is sweet tasting she gives it back. As always she was very excited when I was baking the cupcakes. She likes to sit and watch them cook in the oven (she does that whenever I use the oven for baking). When the cakes were done she could not wait to taste them. After they cooled down, I gave her a cake, expecting her to take a bite and return it to me. I was very surprised when she ate that, and then asked for another. During the span of the evening she ate three cupcakes. I was so happy to see how much she loved them. For someone who doesn’t eat sweets, the way she was eating the cupcakes, I couldn’t have gotten a bigger compliment. The only downside was that like Elaine in Seinfeld, Ruchi likes to eat only the top of the cupcake. When she is done with the top, she hands over the soft bottom half to either of us, and goes for a second round.
Ruchi finally realized that if she was going to spend most of the day in the living room, then she needs to make it as comfortable as possible for herself. So she dragged one of the decorative pillows from the guest daybed, and brought it down to the living room. We also have a small blanket in the living room. So nowadays whenever she enters the living room, she goes straight to the love-seat puts the pillow on one end, pulls the blanket to the couch, climbs onto it and then covers herself with the blanket. Then she calls ‘Amma Dino Train’ (which means turn on the TV and play her favorite show) or whatever show she wants to watch at that time. Even if we are not watching TV, she likes to cuddle up on the sofa like that to read books, play or just take a nap. A few days ago I took the blanket to wash it and she searched for it all over the house, and when she couldn’t find it, she went to her room and got one of her blankets.
Yesterday in Victoria, when I was taking the camera out of the backpack, my IPhone fell down. Since it was still in its cover, I did not bother to check and see if anything had happened to it. On the way home, in the boat, I took out my IPhone to check my emails. When I tried to turn it on, I realized that my phone had incurred a small dent near the power button. That dent was more than enough to kill my phone. It would not turn on. Today we took the phone to the Apple store, to learn that the first generation IPhones cannot be opened up. So any damage to the aluminum casing meant that it was time for a new phone. Thankfully we have only one month contract left on the phone. But still it is painful just thinking about how we may never get to use the phone again. Later at night, Praveen went online to see if he could repair it, and found someone selling a replacement back cover for the phone. He ordered the piece, now we have to see if we can fix it. No IPhone means, no more taking pictures of Ruchi, when we are out together. After so many years, not having a cellphone feels very odd.
Since the weather was not as beautiful as yesterday, most of our sight-seeing was limited to indoor viewing. Though it did not rain very heavily, their was a constant drizzle all day long. One of the must-see attractions in Victoria is Craigdarroch Castle, a 19th century mansion built by Robert Dunsmuir the richest man in western Canada. In those days, people built big houses to showoff their wealth. This was a very beautiful castle overlooking the city of Victoria. Ruchi loved the tour of the castle. She enjoyed climbing the stairs, and running across the dance halls. After the tour of the castle we walked back to the city center. After taking a few pictures in front of the Legislative building, Inner Harbor, and the Empress Hotel, we walked in the BC museum. In the museum hallway, they had sofas set up for tourists to relax. In the middle there was a huge screen showing a five-minute movie about British Columbia every fifteen minutes, and on the other side was a display of the front of the Helmcken House. It is a 19th century house, and the oldest house in BC still located in its original site. The house was located behind the museum but this display, which was a painting of the front of the house with a real porch was set in the middle of the museum. Ruchi loved this place so much, that she played on the porch for a couple of hours. There were other Canadian girls there, who had a great time playing with Ruchi. Ruchi ran after them calling Akka. Since Ruchi did not want to go from there, we decided to just sit and relax. So we bought some pop-corn and sat down for a few hours. When it was time to catch our boat, we walked out to see the totem pole exhibit, in Thunderbird Park, and then walked to the Harbour.
After talking about it for a year, we finally made it to Victoria, Canada. It is a must see place for anyone visiting Seattle. We wanted to go for a while, but for some reason it never worked out. We took the Clippers cruise from Seattle. The boat ride was wonderful. It was fun waking up early in the morning, to get ready for the boat. It reminded me of my childhood vacations when we used to wake up early to catch an early morning bus to my Grandma’s place. Even Ruchi was wide awake, and she was very excited to see the big boat. We got a window seat and the almost three hour ride was very comfortable. In Victoria there was a tour bus waiting for us, to take us around the city to show us the sights. Victoria is a very nice place, and the Butchart Gardens were very beautiful. Even though it was not spring, the fall foliage was so bright that it looked just like spring. Ruchi was so excited, she wanted to get off the stroller to walk by herself. But the gardens were so extensive that we could not let her out till we reached the end of the gardens. We felt very guilty for strapping her in the stroller, but we knew she would hurt herself running around the slopes in the garden. Later we checked into our hotel, to refresh. Ruchi loved the single seat sofa in the hotel room. She claimed it as hers. She sat in it for the entire duration of our stay in the room. Later we went to walk around the streets. We let Ruchi out in one of the small parks, where she had a wonderful time walking around the benches. People passing by were so fascinated by her, that one of the tourists even asked us if she could take a picture with Ruchi.
Today while I went out for dinner with my friends Ruchi and Praveen went to Kids Quest to have their own fun. Ruchi had a wonderful time playing at kidsquest. It is a wonderful place to take kids, because it is one of those places where kids never get tired of playing. There are so many educational and fun stuff to explore and discover. Praveen said that Ruchi was not ready to come home at closing time. I should make it a point to take her there more often, before we leave Seattle.
Last night Praveen surprised me by bringing me a bouquet of roses and a balloon. As planned we had dinner PF Chang’s. I fed Ruchi a light meal before we went to dinner, so she was very well-behaved and had a wonderful time playing with chopsticks and trying the rice.
Earlier this week Praveen turned in his resignation at Amazon. A few weeks ago he got a job offer offer from Paypal. After some serious thought we decided to accept the offer (Praveen was interested in the type of work he would be doing for Paypal, and it was Bayarea, Praveen’s first love). Though we were excited about the new job, we were sad that Ruchi will be missing all her friends here in Issaquah and her school, that she loves so much. We are so well-settled here, with great friends and a very beautiful community. We know for a fact that it is impossible to find a community like this in Bayarea. We have a few old friends there, but Ruchi will have to start from scratch making new friends. Even friends from my playgroup were saddened by our news. When we moved here last year, we never thought that we would make such good friends and feel so very at home here. Hopefully we will feel the same way about SFO in a year.