Uttarayan Kite Festival

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My wife:  “We need to have the boys miss a week of school right after winter break.”

Me:  “Even after the two week vacation?  Why?”

Wife: “Uttarayan.”

Every January 14, my wife’s former home state of Gujarat, India hosts one of the largest kite festivals in the world.  She, her brother, and cousins have fond memories participating while growing up.  I had heard bits and pieces about what it was like and had to see for myself.  Not to mention it would probably be a blast for our boys as well.

Uttarayan (pronounced “oot-tran” to my untrained ear) is part Thanksgiving, part 4th of July, part board-game night and 100% good old fashioned fun.

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Semana Santa in Granada

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I’ve come to appreciate that spring in Andalusia, Spain is not only a time for cyprus, almond, and olive trees to bloom but it also marks the season of festivals.  A time to get back out in warmer weather and reunite with your fellow neighbors.  And Holy Week (Semana Santa) in Granada seems to kick it all off.

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Freedom India!

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“Why is that guy painting a door in the middle of this busy road?”

“Wait!  Was that an elephant walking around downtown?”

“Are we really allowed to drive down the wrong way of this street just because it’ll be quicker?”

Maharaj, our driver, could tell he was ushering another set of new arrivals around his proud city as we were rubbernecking.

His simple, smiling exclamation to many of our observational outbursts was “Freedom India!

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Turkish Delight

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On our way to India to see family over the winter break we made a decision to spend a layover in Istanbul, Turkey.

My wife and I have had this as a destination for a while so it was exciting to finally make it happen.  For me, Istanbul always represented a mysterious and exotic destination.  The city literally straddles Europe and Asia.

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Considering a Sabbatical?

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Need a little inspiration and guidance?

I get a lot of email from folks asking for more details about things related to moving to Spain including how we got the courage to up and do it.

Late last year Lisa Hoashi was kind enough to interview me about our inspiration, fears, and other advice I’d give families considering taking a sabbatical.  You can find my responses to this and more over at her site.

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The City of Lights

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(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

If you’re following on Facebook, you know that this has been a winter for us to remember.  From November through January, in addition to Paris we’ve made visits to Lisbon, Istanbul, and a month-long jaunt through India.

Over a long weekend in December we were able to score cheap flights to The City of Lights.  We had planned it a while back and only reconsidered for about two seconds after hearing about the terrorist attacks a few weeks earlier.

But in the end, logic and reason prevailed since living in fear is no way to go through life.

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The Oldest City in Western Europe

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“Is there anywhere else you’d like to see?”  My mom asked over a Facetime session a while back.  “We’re thinking of visiting again and thought we could meet you somewhere to extend our trip a bit.”

“Lisbon.”, I said without hesitation.

Since my wife had already been and the kids were in the thick of school, I opted to meet my parents solo in what I later learned is the oldest continuously inhabited city in western Europe.  Yes, it apparently pre-dates Rome by centuries.

If the photos this time around are a little lacking, it’s because I took mostly video clips.  Feel free to check out the video summary of our visit at the end of the post.

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