Friday, May 31, 2013


Bright and early on Thursday morning (9th May 2013), Mr. F, Baby M and I took a day trip to Princeton. Luckily, there were two of us to manage Baby M's stroller, otherwise, I would have been in deep soup... The NYC subway isn't really designed to accommodate people traveling with small children in pushchairs or wheelchairs (Europe is so much more kid-friendly that way!).

It was pouring when we left New York. As we passed each station on the NJ Transit, Newark Penn Station, Elizabeth, Hamilton Station, Metropark, New Brunswick, Princeton Junction, my heart did a little jump. I was praying really really hard that the weather would get better and God answered my prayer :). When we disembarked at Princeton Junction, the sun had came out, stormy grey rainclouds had been replaced by fluffy cotton balls against the clear blue sky and a slight breeze made it just perfect. We took the Dinky to Princeton and I was literally jumping with excitement when it finally arrived at Princeton. It was exactly the same as I'd left 5 years ago... I went to Forbes College first and took a picture under the famous Forbes tree, the leaves were a deep, summery green and memories came flooding back...

We then went to the Wa and I bought a BLT sandwich without the B for old times sake :). We had brunch at Panera Bread followed by chocolate sorbet at Bent Spoon. I bought a few gifts from the new U-Store and spent the rest of the day walking around and taking pictures. I also ran into Alison Cook, the Forbes College coordinator outside West College and she actually remembered my name!

I dipped Baby M's toes in the Woody Woo fountain and he enjoyed splashing around... Good times!

Waisay, I didn't actually feel that old or out of touch... I know if I wasn't a mommy, I could quite easily slip back into college mode, put on a baggy sweatshirt and happily go back to school :-P (but, Baby M, worry not, you multiply my "happy factor" by 110% and I feel so blessed to be your momzy...)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Birthday Trip to the USA

Baby M turned 1 on 13th May 2013! Mashalah... the year has flown by :)

On his actual birthday, we had a mini-celebration in Boston and New Haven. After a quick breakfast at IHOP in Harvard Square, we drove to Connecticut and the following evening (15th May), Essa Uncle and his wife Leila took us out to a restaurant in the suburbs of Fairfield. They ordered a brownie with whipped cream and caramel sauce topped with a candle and all the other restaurant patrons (mostly white-haired suburban couples out for dinner) came around to sing "Happy Birthday" to Baby M. A lady old enough to be my grandmother came and said, "Thank you for sharing your baby with us" and I felt a little twinge... People in the US value kids so much and in Pakistan we've got so many that they're just another statistic...

Baby M enjoyed every moment of our trip to the US... I think it was a good age to travel. He was walking (but not running, yet), he could watch and observe and walk up to people/things that interested him but couldn't throw tantrums (I want xyz... waaaaaahhhh!!!) and he slept during our long drives between states :)

I saw a lot of changing rooms during our trip and I also learned to change diapers on the passenger seat and bonnet of a car, on a single chair in a restaurant aided by Emma Aunty (God bless her!) and in the minuscule bathroom on the plane. We spent 5 days in Los Angeles and while we enjoyed our stay thanks to our lovely hosts, I think the city is highly over-rated! When we went to Hollywood, I was thinking, "this is it??!", a typical upper-class Pakistani wedding is way more glamorous :-P. Emma got me a cream puff filled with fresh vanilla cream from Beard Papa (we share our love for sweets) and we also went to the beach in Santa Monica where Mustafa built his first sand castle and got his diaper wet when his daddy submerged him in the water. Emma (a Chinese American Muslim convert is engaged to My F's friend and they're getting married in August Inshalah... wishing them happiness!).

We took a red-eye flight to NYC and it was pouring for two days straight. Mr. F went straight to sleep but I decided I'd rather do a little sight-seeing so I put Baby M in his stroller, covered him with the weathershield and walked to Central Park.

I was overcome with nostalgia... My first time in NYC was with Aparna, Sonya, Selena and Ery, four fresh-faced girls in our Princeton sweatshirts, exploring the big apple for the first time... We'd taken the NJ Transit from Princeton to New York Penn Station, we'd visited Ground 0, Chinatown and Macy's and had lunch at Central Park. We'd also bought I heart NYC shirts from a Pakistani hawker and I'd bargained in Urdu, Sonya had bargained for Chinese souvenirs in Chinatown, Aparna had got us discounts at an Indian store and Ery had managed to get us free bubble tea :).

And here I was, nine years later with a one-year old in a stroller :-).

I also visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art (for old times sake). The Met has a "suggested" ticket price so basically you can pay whatever you want :-P The museum was full of students and after a quick tour, I took a taxi to the shopping area to browse the Banana Republic, Gap and Zara stores. Baby M enjoyed walking up to the lower shelves and throwing down the neatly folded clothes on the floor :-P

By afternoon, I was exhausted and returned to the apartment to find Mr. F snoring away...