Grateful. That’s the one word I have to describe my experience thus far. It’s been amazing being a part of the family here. Our days consist of experiencing the local cuisine, meeting family and soon to be family members, and going to shops, hiking and more.
It all started with Alpesh telling me to give him a call back in March (yes, that was months and months ago). I had been invited to Neel’s wedding and after calling him he said “you should definitely come. I know a guy who can book your tickets.” That same week I worked with the travel agent and had my ticket to India for January.
After a 16 hour flight to Dubai, a 3 hour layover, and then another 3 hour flight to Ahmadabad, Neel picked me up at 3:30 am. I walked outside and amongst the crowd and a flood of white cars, there he was. “Nicole!” We got in a car and drove the 2 hours to the home he grew up in. And I was thinking, “I can’t believe the groom himself woke up at 1 am to drive 2 hours to pick me up and then drive with me back.
I slept a couple more hours and woke up and saw Trusha and Alpesh and met Trusha and Neel’s parents. I had a delicious breakfast! Alpesh took me for a walk and showed me how all the cars just pass each other and honk at each other. There is soooo much honking here and even cars that say “Please honk.” That day I was a bit jet lagged but Trusha and I went shopping.
Alpesh and I met his brother and his brother’s friend, and we went to a farm. We met the mayor who just won an election and he gave us a tour of his farm – he had 180 acres!! And on the farm there were 190 kids that have come from different towns who couldn’t afford schooling and they gave them the opportunity to learn here, provided food and housing for them. We saw more of the farm and then left to go on our hike up Pavagadh Hill to the Kalika Mata temple. There were 2,000 steps. Alpesh and I walked (was definitely more like a hike) up all those steps and it took us 50 minutes. There were vendors the whole way up selling coconuts and more.
We journeyed back to the farm and had a huge meal. I got to see how to make rotla. The meal consisted of rotla, potato dishes and an eggplant dish. That was our lunch at 4:30 pm so I was pretty hungry and ate a lot! After finishing they said, “are you ready for chicken?” Wait, there’s more?! I thought. I had just a bit of chicken, but it was soooo incredibly good – I don’t think I’ve ever tasted chicken that delicious before! But unfortunately I had no more room in my stomach. The food in Gujarat is amazing – very different from the Indian food back home.
That night was the invitation – Esha’s family came over to Neel’s house and they presentd the invitation with some gifts. For dinner we went to a restaurant. It was quite spicy but still good.
I’m so glad to have met Esha. She’s absolutely wonderful and one of the kindest and coolest people I know! She also was super nice to have let me borrow all her outfits for the wedding festivities.
Tuesday – Thursday
At night we went to a few street food vendors. I tried an Indian omelet and scrambled eggs – yum. And some grilled cheese.
Crossfit – never have done it in my life. First time was in India! Neel, Nirav and I worked out and it was hard work! Well worth it 🙂
We also went to a few more shops and I tried on a saree, which was so beautiful.
Then we rode in a rickshaw – another first!
We went to another shop and I bought myself a saree.
Went to their friend’s house and chilled out amongst the fire. Plus obviously more cross fit.
Kite festival! The whole city shuts down and everyone flies kites on people’s rooftops (they’re like rooftop kite house parties). It becomes a competition where you try to cut your other neighbors kites. And I cut a kite!
It’s been awesome chilling with Trusha, Alpesh, Rinal, Nirav, Nimisha, Esha, Neel, and all the kids who are super cute. I feel so blessed to have these friends in my life!
Alpesh, Rinal and I decided to go for a one mile walk. It turned into “Let’s go to the movies and watch Triple X in 3D!”
That night was the start of the wedding festivities and we had mehendi done. I lovvvved it. Two wonderful ladies did mehendi on my arms and hands and then you had to sit and let it dry by holding your arms straight out and not bending them.
Pithi ceremony where Neel got tumeric rubbed all over him!
Wedding activities keep taking place and they’ve been a lot of fun.
We danced to these super loud drums…
There was the ceremony – Esha was beautiful!
And the reception. Finally got to see Sai – haven’t seen him for 4 years.
Overall an amazing trip. And now I was off to Dubai…