Posts Tagged ‘celebration’

Sneak attack

I feel like my birthday just snuck up on me this year.

Usually I’m prepared. Usually I’ve evaluated my old birthday list, and I’m ready with a whole new set of goals.

This year I’m running on Nepali time, where everything is delayed for, well, however long it takes.

I don’t have a new list.

I barely remember what’s on my old list.

And part of me kind of doesn’t care.

(The other part, of course, is still the same old OCD Elizabeth and wants to make a new list.)

Maybe I’ll come up with a new set of goals. Maybe I’ll even revisit the old ones.

Or maybe I’ll just celebrate my birthday this year by listening to some of my favorite Nepali songs on repeat and dancing at my desk.

My boys would be so proud.

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This past Tuesday was Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, and it might as well have been a battle.

The festival traditionally involves throwing water balloons (and baggies of water) and then smearing colored powder on one another. I may not have been around for past years’ celebrations, but this year I think it’s fair to say that we took this festival to a whole new level. Just look at our prep work.


Leading up to Holi, the kids had been doing a bit of trash talking. “I get you, Sister!” “I get you with MANY balloons!” And that, combined with the constant miming of a water balloon to the face (and the occasional stray actual balloon) made all the volunteers want to be prepared.

So we plotted.

We were up before dawn, waiting to attack the poor kids who had been assigned to pick up milk from the volunteer house that morning. Members of each of the five children’s homes came. All of them left drenched from either water balloons or a simple bucket of water. And this was all before 7am.

After the dawn attack, we, the volunteers, armed ourselves and prepared to attack house by house, before the final group battle. We had strategized the night before, and the first couple assaults went smoothly.

And then we were ambushed.

While attacking the third house – which was proving to be a formidable opponent – the boys of the first house joined the fray and penned us in. We fought our way out, but there were casualties – such as a point blank water balloon to the face and the loss of a bucket, a key battle tool.

After regrouping and rearming at the volunteer house, we were ready for the final stand. Until this point, we hadn’t used any of our colored dye, and neither had the other houses. But that all changed.


The final battle took place in the playground of one of the houses. At times, it truly felt like a war. The kids came armed with dye, balloons, and deadly aim. And when all else failed, they stole our balloons and buckets. Sometimes right out of our hands. (They may be kids, but a lot of them are very strong.)

The nicer kids came up to me with color on their hands, and gently rubbed it on my face while saying, “Happy Holi, Sister!” The more enthusiastic ones went for the sneak attack, which often resulted in ingesting the colored powder. Throughout the course of the day I was spitting in pink, blue, yellow, and green.

By the time the battle was over – the balloons were gone, the water had run out, and we’d given as good as we’d gotten –  no one had emerged unscathed. Just as it should be.


There’s nothing quite like attacking children to bond a group of volunteers. And there’s nothing quite like covering someone’s face in dye to bond you with your kids.

I don’t even mind that my hair is still slightly pink and purple.


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I predicted that 2012 would be a very good year, but it wasn’t a hard prediction to make. There was a lot to be excited about.

Graduation, marrying the love of my life, and a Hawaiian honeymoon, to name a few things.


Wedding - afterparty


But this past year was also about more than the big things.

It was about battling old demons, learning new things, pushing myself, embracing the ugly, and starting new traditions. Plus a million other little things in between.

What I said for 2011 holds true, too, for 2012: this year has once again exceeded my expectations.

(Minus my Philly teams imploding, of course. Though, one could argue that I should have expected that, too.)

Regardless, 2012 was fantastic, but I know that 2013 will offer up its own adventures.

And I can’t wait to embrace them.



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I’ve never gotten my own Christmas tree.

When I lived in the studio, I didn’t think there was room (and didn’t want to deal with it by myself). I set out advent calendars and other holiday decorations, but no tree.

When I moved in with Husband two years ago, December was the time for finals, holiday parties, going to Puerto Rico, and then up to Philly for Christmas. And we didn’t make time for a tree.

Last year we were in Argentina for Christmas.

But this year there’s time.

This year, we got a tree and a menorah to celebrate our interfaith-ness, and I realized that I’d forgotten just how much fun it can be to pick out a tree together. (It was fun to get the menorah, too, but Target only had one option, so there wasn’t so much choice involved.)

photo 1

Carrying the tree to the car. We tied it down, but I still held on through the sun roof.

Saturday was spent stringing lights, hanging ornaments, and lighting candles – and standing back to admire our very first tree and menorah together.



I wanted blue and white lights, but the white were sold out.


Yes, that’s my nativity scene right in front of the menorah.

I know the menorah will make it all eight nights, but I can only hope that the tree lasts through Christmas.

I have a terrible track record at keeping things watered.

Bonus video for anyone who, like me, loves holiday a cappella and mashups:

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I’ve recently begun to feel that presidential campaigns and Election Day are going the way of Black Friday.

1) They both get earlier and earlier every year.

Sure, Election Day remains on the same schedule (as does Black Friday), but the preparation starts years in advance (or days, in the case of the sales). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the (unofficial) campaign for 2016 started about half an hour after the results are announced tonight. And half an hour is generous.

2) They bring out the worst in people.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a wave of Black Friday shoppers descend on one of the more popular sales of the day. Supplies are limited and these shoppers don’t mess around. There can be elbowing, shoving, and some definite boxing out. All on minimal sleep.

Leading up to an election, the elbowing, shoving, and boxing out is (usually) all verbal. I’m sure that people still have rational discussions about the merits of each candidate, but you wouldn’t know it from Facebook. I’ll be glad when status updates get back to sports, food, weddings, and babies.

3) Expect long lines and cold weather.

The lead time gets longer and longer, but that doesn’t make the lines any shorter, or the November weather any warmer on the day of. You could spend just as long outside waiting to vote for president as you could to buy a new winter coat. And the coat might last longer.

(No, that’s not an election prediction.)

4) There are lots of promises to get you in the door.

All of those circulars that you get in the mail promise the best sale you’ve ever seen on devices you didn’t know you needed until then. But you don’t see the fine print until you’re checking out. (Buy 1, get 2 free only applies if I get here before 5am?! I have to revamp my whole strategy!)

Naturally, there have been plenty of election promises this time around. And though I can’t fully judge if it’s any different from past years, I know that the fine print is just right around the corner.

5) Both days should be celebrated/concluded with a big glass of wine.

Or choose another beverage of your choice, but seriously, celebrate. The way things are going, there won’t be a lot of down time before the next one.

Election Day does beat Black Friday on sticker distribution.

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Remember all that worry? All that stress?

Turns out, it was completely unnecessary.

The whole day went smoother than I ever could have imagined, and I learned that at least one “warning” we received was true: the whole celebration simply flew by.

The ceremony went so quickly that I didn’t know why I had ever worried about its length in the first place.

And the reception was the party we’d hoped it would be and more. With the exception of dinner, the dance floor was never empty, and the energy level was incredible.

Leading up to the wedding, friends told us…

…the whole day will be a blur. And it was.

…only you will know if something doesn’t go according to plan. True.

…make sure you get a chance to see the ballroom before the reception starts. So we did.

…take a minute to be together alone between the ceremony and the reception. So we did that as well.

…you won’t get to eat, so don’t expect to. Surprise! You should have seen the way we scarfed down our salmon. (The cake I ate standing up, partly because someone took my chair, but also because sitting to eat would have taken too much time out of my dancing.)

Before we knew it the DJ (who was amazing!) was calling everyone out onto the floor for the last dance, and the hotel staff was clearing off the tables.

So, naturally, we hopped across the lobby for an after party at the hotel bar, and stayed until well after the bartenders left.

There’s another pearl of wisdom that rang true: the adrenaline rush. Normally I’d be exhausted staying out until 3am. But not this time.

This time, it worked.

This time, everything worked absolutely perfectly.

*Photo credits: Facebook friends.

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And still with the same propensity for bright colored graduation shoes:

This weekend was amazing. I felt so incredibly lucky to have my parents, BNF, and so many friends come out and celebrate with me.

If you start in the middle and work around, the cupcakes read “Congrats Epod,” courtesy of MJ! Those cupcakes were in high demand at the bar.

The past two years have both dragged on and flown by, if that makes any sense. And while I’m glad I went back for my degree, I can’t say that I’ll miss being a student.

Remember future-Elizabeth, we’re done with school now.

Cheers to that!

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