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...  


  1. Aw, that was such a fun trip to NYC :) You have such a good memory - I didn't remember all of the bargaining. Can't believe how time has flown by!

  2. Awww... sad I missed seeing you :(

  3. Seems like a good trip. Post some pics. We're planning a visit to US in summer too but I hear as a tourist one can't drive there anymore. So how'd you guys manage that part?

  4. My husband has an international licence and a US licence so we rented a car. Just make sure you have a car seat if you're traveling with small children...