Monday, February 28, 2011

Hiking experience to Sturtevant Falls

One fine day on a Monday morning in the month of March 2010, my friend Sharmistha came to my house and told me her hiking experience to Sturtevant Falls. She vividly described her experience. While she was sharing her experience at that moment I made up my mind to visit the place very soon. I told my husband about my desire. He was not very interested however after seeing my excitement he half-heartedly agreed to go.
We knew that we had to go as early as possible as summer was about to start. For 3-4 weeks we planned but due to some unavoidable circumstances we were unable to go. At last on a Saturday morning in April we went there without any prior plan.
                     Chantry Flat-- The Begining of the trail

On morning suddenly my husband suggested to go there. Although it was difficult, however I managed to make all the preparations. We started from home around 9 in the morning, which was already late. After reaching Angeles National forest, we found that people parked their cars beside the narrow mountain road. We didn’t understand why. First we decided to park the car like other people did as we also got a space but soon my husband suddenly wanted to go to the visitors’ center of Sturtevant Falls without parking the car. When we reached the area we understood that why people parked their cars on the side of the road. The space was small and was already full. Then we went downhill to find some space without success. I told my husband that if we had parked our car on the first place which we got, we would have started our journey by that time. We were going down and down but all in vein. I became impatient and suggested to go back. At last after going down 1.5 miles we got a very small space. He somehow squeezed our car there.
A rattle snake
Then we started our journey. It was already 10:30. After buying the forest pass from the visitors’ center when we went to enter, the forest official directed us to put the pass in the car. My husband went 1.5 mile downhill to put the pass in the car. When he came back to the entrance of the hike he was already tired. I was thinking how we could manage to reach the falls.
Then our actual journey started towards the falls. The first half of the road was downhill and that was concrete. So we didn’t face much problem and also my son agreed to sit on his stroller.  Only problem was the scorching sun. However that time we didn’t feel any loss of energy. One funny thing happened when we were going down through the concrete road. My son was sitting in his stroller idly. A team was coming back and they were climbing up. One person of that team told that he was a lazy person like my son and his team made him to go hiking. While we were going we saw a rattle snake beside the road. It was lying idly on the side. We took some picture of it. In my life I had never seen a rattle snake. However we didn’t spent much time there because it was poisonous.
Crossing the river with sleeping baby
Then we reached one small bridge over a small beautiful mountain river. The water was gushing over the rocks and the scene was amazing. We stood sometime there to feel the beauty of that. After that the actual rocky road started. Then there was no option but to take my son in arms. I took him in my arms and we started our journey again. It was really a treacherous journey, scorching sun overhead and harsh and dusty road down. That time I was losing my confidence but no question of telling to my husband. I knew we had to reach our destination.
Walking with sleeping baby
The road was very narrow, one side was the mountain and other side was the river. A little misbalance could land anybody into the river. Little later my husband took my son on his shoulder so that I could get little rest. Then the point came where we needed to cross the river. There was no such bridge, only few big logs were kept on the rocks. One had to do a balancing act over the logs to cross the river. It was a difficult for us to cross the river with a small child. We decided to cross one by one. First I crossed the river to keep the backpack and the stroller on the other side. Then again I came back to help my husband cross the river. After a while my son started sleeping on his shoulder, so again I took him back in my arms. Then another point came to cross the river again. This time there was nothing, but one had to jump from one rock to another to cross. This time my husband crossed the river first to keep our belongings on the other side. This time I crossed halfway by myself. The third time again we had to cross the same river by jumping over the rocks. This time one lady help me to cross halfway, then my husband help me to cross. By that time we ran out of energy. However after crossing the river when we heard the   roaring sound of water. We realized we were very near to the falls.
Crossing the river

When we reached at the bottom of the falls I was stunned by the spectacular view of it. I was wondering that there was a so beautiful place so near to our home but we took so many days to know about it. Though the weather was very hot but that particular area was very cool. I was feeling like to sleep there. Surprisingly the water was so cold that we couldn’t even keep our feet more than few minutes. It was amazing that people were bathing in that ice cold water. We ate some little snacks as I did not get time to take a good amount of snacks for hiking which was very much needed. We sat there for half an hour there then we started our journey back.
At the falls

Again by the same way we crossed the river three times. Up to the bridge we managed to come and then we sat for a while. I thought that from there as the road was concrete we were not going to face much problem. However I forgot that that it was not plain but we had to climb up. It was a wonder that my son suddenly showed interest to sit on his stroller. We put him on that and started pushing the stroller up. Then I realized how much tough it was going to be. After sometimes my husband started pushing the stroller. He was pushing up that with great difficulty. Sometimes I feared that he was running out of oxygen. That one mile road seemed that thousands of miles, 5 minutes seemed an hour. When at last I saw some cars I realized that at last we reached the visitors’ center. From there again we had to walk another 1.5 miles to reach our car. It was 2:30 when we reached. It was a great relief after sitting inside the car. From there we went to Subway to have our lunch. At the end of the day I was feeling happy because we accomplished the hard task which took total 5 hours.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Home sweet home

My first home in the USA

View from the patio
The Sycamore Apartment Complex in Azusa, California was my first home in the USA. For almost three years we lived there. I made lots of friends in the apartment complex. Fifteen days after I got married, I came to the USA, and it was my first home with my husband. Though it was a rented one, I loved that home very much.
A lot thing happened there which are very memorable to me. Suddenly it came to my mind, I should do something to preserve the memory of that home. That’s why I wanted to write a blog.
Our living room

As it was a rented home, I knew that once we left it, we would never go back there. I strongly bonded with that home. I decorated it with my own art work. All of my friends appreciated my home decorating ideas.
My son was born there. It was his first home also. During my pregnancy I used to do some art work every day because I used to think that after I became a mom, I would not have time for my hobby. We celebrated our son’s first birthday there.
My art works

December 9, 2007, I stepped in the USA for the first time with my husband. After spending three days in hotel, we moved into this apartment. That as the month of December, and it was very cold. I was feeling very cold as I came from India, a hotter place. The lease manager could not provide us with a one bedroom apartment, so he provided a two bedroom unit temporarily. The apartment number was D48. The heater was not working, and the apartment temperature was 58 degree F. Moreover, due to the position of the apartment, it was devoid of sunlight making it even colder. At last my husband argued with the lease manager and we got the D42 apartment, another two bedroom unit, but exactly opposite to the previous one, full of sunlight.
When we moved into the apartment it was extremely dirty. We didn’t argue much as the manager promised to give us a one bedroom apartment. Time passed, but the lease manager didn’t fulfill his promise, so we stayed in D42.
Many times we planned to leave the apartment, but we never did. I gradually started loving the place. I cleaned it by myself and decorated it.
It was not really easy to leave the apartment. I had an emotional bond with it. But my husband got a job offer in Northern California, so we had to leave. However, I’ll cherish the memory throughout my life.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The best ever Valentine's Day

This was our fourth valentine’s day after marriage and it happened to be the best one as I could not enjoy a single valentine’s day after our marriage.
This time I thought I would do something new to make this Valentine’s Day memorable. I started taking preparations almost two weeks back. Actually there was no such idea in my mind. While visiting our friend’s place for a dinner invitation in the last week of January (I forgot the date) we happened to visit Walmart. We decided to go to Ross which was very near to Wal-Mart. After reaching there I saw a dollar store which was just beside Ross. Visiting the Dollar store I saw many decorative items for the Valentine’s Day. That was the moment I decided to do something new and exciting to make the day memorable. I told my husband that we would celebrate the Valentine’s Day. My husband accepted my idea and we got few decorative items from the store which included small roses (that time I didn’t notice that those were actually soap papers), ribbons, streamers and a red teddy.
After returning home it took me few days to decide what needs to be done. Then I got the idea of giving a huge surprise gift to my husband. On my birthday which was on 1st Feb he gave me a sewing machine which was a big surprise to me.
I decided to give him a basket with some goodies prepared by me. Few days back I learnt to make baskets out of newspapers. I made two paper boxes for biscuits and cookies which I had learned from YouTube. I made the cake box out of my own idea. Along with these things, I made a photo frame; a love quotes book, a bunch of ribbon roses and a card.
                                                        The Gift Basket
As days passed by, I got tensed. By all means I had to finish everything within Friday. There was no question of doing any work on weekends and Valentine’s Day was on Monday .By Wednesday I made one newspaper basket which was not satisfying. I spend the whole morning to finish that however the end product was not satisfactory. I wanted to finish the other things by Wednesday as I knew that it was going to get tough on Thursday and Friday as my son was going to stay at home. I made the basket on Thursday by keeping everything on the iron board as the tables were in his reach. Finally I managed to create a good basket and the other things overcoming all the hurdles. Along with that I was able to cook the biscuits; however the cake and cookies were still pending. I couldn’t manage to decorate the candles by Friday. Not much of idea coming to my mind, I managed to decorate the candles after shutting myself up in the bathroom on Saturday. But I had to do my work in smaller parts because I couldn’t stay in the bathroom for an unnaturally long time. I hid them in the drawers. On Saturday evening I made some cookies but my husband didn’t pay any attention as I prepare them often. On Sunday evening when I was baking the cake my husband asked the reason for that. I told that I was making it for the Valentine’s Day.
Next thing was that how I would keep the basket in the table so that when he wakes up in the morning he could finally see that. When at night he went to the bathroom to make our son ready for bed, I took the basket from our bedroom closet and hid it behind a big exercise ball in the living room. I cut a piece of the cake and put in the cake box. I was in constant fear of getting caught. However everything was safe. At  11 in the night he suggested that we should go to bed. I agreed and as soon as he left the living room within no time I arranged everything on the dining table and switched off the lights. I couldn’t sleep properly the whole night as I knew that I had to wake up before him and lit the candles. As soon as the alarm went on I woke up and lit the candles and went back to bed as if I woke up to have some water. Sometime later my husband woke up and after freshening up he saw some dim lights were coming from the living room. When he stepped into the living room he became extremely surprised and happy. I was equally happy as I was able to do what I had planned for a long time.
The day started with a good note. I made something different for my husband’s breakfast. For lunch I cooked chicken biryani, my husband’s favorite. After lunch we went to our son’s school for parents-teacher’s meeting. In the evening, I prepared onion tart and vegetable pie, a special valentine dinner for us .We ate a quiet candle light dinner after our son went to bed. At the end of the day as I was thinking that though it was a quiet day just like any other, this day was so special. If I had a job, I could have bought a gift for my husband. Whatever I presented to my husband was very nominal things, might be of little value. However my biggest pleasure was that I could make him feel special. He came to know that my love was the same as before.
This day I spent with utmost happiness forgetting all the unfulfilled wishes, sorrow and cribs. I don’t want any expensive things, I don’t want to get back what I lost, I just want to spend a simple life full of happiness.