Friday, April 25, 2008


Okie dok, so Raja obviously isn't posting anytime soon. All of you readers are just stuck with me. ;)

Things are moving along in St. Louis.. We were just talking the other day about how we've already been here 2 months. That's 1/3 of the time we'll be in STL! Time is moving really quickly now, and we're already starting to talk about where we might be for our next rotation. No real word yet, but a first call b/t Raja and the Program Coordinator takes place in about a week! That may present us w/some options at least, so that's exciting.

We're enjoying the area overall so far, but there are still a LOT of things we want to do that we haven't been able to get out there and try yet. The weather is starting to look and feel a bit more spring-like outside (finally), so that should help us be able to get out there and play outside. We've also been spending a few weekends here and there in places other than STL, but we love that because it's given us a chance to spend time w/our families which is more priceless now than ever.

This past weekend, we went to good ol' Nashville. Mom was going to a scrapbook convention in that area, and since that put her halfway closer to us than she normally is, we packed up our bags and headed off to the south again. We got there about 1am Friday night, and even though we were pretty tired, the hotel definitely warranted a quick tour around. Mom had a room at the Opryland Hotel/Resort, and if you've never been there, believe me when I say that this place is every bit as big as they say it is. Here are some shots of the inside of our hotel. It looks like the outside.. yes, i know... but this is what we walked through every day just to go to a restaurant or a store or to go outside.

I've never been inside a hotel and actually said "Oh wait.. let me climb over all the flowers and take a picture right next to the lake where the boat tours around.. Then take my picture!!" So here is a picture of me trying to do just that:

And here is a picture of me when the flower bushes were too large to crawl over. Instead, I just had to stand next to the tree next to the sidewalk. Still fun, though. :)

And here's Raja, who doesn't usually take time to pose for many photos. I have to just catch him when I can. :)

He, by the way, took to Nashville rather well. He got to play golf and the people in Nashville were really nice. If you know and love Raja, you won't be surprised when I tell you that he randomly broke out into country songs throughout the weekend. I think I heard him singing Garth Brooks and Lee Greenwood the most... We'd be driving or walking along and I'd hear Raja just start singing out of nowhere, in this REALLY exaggerated southern accent. He LOVES to sing "that thing called Rodeo-o-o-o-oo," and everytime we saw an American flag (Nashville has lots of them. BIG ones) I could hear Raja start up with "And I'm proud to be an American...." It was quite entertaining.. He only knew bits and pieces of most of the songs (naturally.. the boy didn't exactly grow up listening to country music) so I heard a LOT of repeated choruses, but at least he was enjoying himself and trying to feel at home. ;)

On Saturday we got to go shopping for a bit. Before we headed out for the shopping trip, we looked up some places on the internet to eat lunch. I found the "Rainforest Cafe" on the web, and with a location right in the mall we were visiting, I thought it looked like lots of fun. Look how neat it looks:

I was getting excited while we were looking at the website online because it has all these pretty pictures and the menu looks like lots of fun. I bounced over to Raja and showed him the great website, and he took one look and realized the menu didn't list prices. So he called it a tourist trap, pronounced it "The Land of No Prices" and said we couldn't go. =( I guess that's okay.. We ended up at Macaroni Grill in the mall, and that's one of my favorites, but still... the Rainforest Cafe looked so festive...

I will say he made up for it that night. He asked what I wanted to do, and I didn't really have a preference. So I just start getting ready and he looks around on the internet for things close to our hotel that I may like. He found an AMAZING place called Ellendale's within 2 miles of our hotel, and it was so pretty and a great experience. They had an amazing cheese plate and yummy appetizers, and we got to have a dessert sampler too that was very good.

The setting was gorgeous, and there was a woman there that was singing jazz music.. She was VERY nice and great at what she did. Overall, definitely one of the best places I've been.. right up my alley, so I will give credit to Raja for that. :) Here are some pictures of the restaurant:

And finally, here's me & Mom on Sunday. Sunday was GORGEOUS in Nashville, so we got to take some pictures outside before we headed back to St. Louis and Mom headed back to Birmingham. We had a great weekend, and were so glad we got to go. :)

Sunday, April 20, 2008



Post something.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Whirlwind Week...

Post by: Beth
Okay, so we haven't exactly been great at posting lately... Life here in St. Louis has picked up quite a bit and we've been much busier than normal! If you've sent me an email lately and I haven't yet responded, I apologize.. It's been pretty hectic, but that's no excuse and I will get back on track ASAP. :)

We got to go home last weekend for the quickest trip EVER... Sima (a family friend of the Gupta's) got married recently in India and they held a wedding reception in Birmingham to celebrate. So we left St. Louis about 3pm Friday and drove down.. We arrived about 11pm and Saturday I got to go shopping with my mom! We searched high and low and only came away with a few perfect items, but that's on par with my shopping trips lately. Mom bought me some wonderful goodies so I didn't have to use money out of my "BSpend" column, so I waved them around with glee when I got back to Raja at his parent's house. Saturday night was the wedding reception, which was alot of fun. We got to see a lot of people that came to OUR reception in February so it was wonderful to see everyone.

That weekend was also the Final Four tournament for the NCAA bracket. As most of you know, Raja had high hopes for UNC this year and it was all he talked about. The game against Kansas was at 8pm or something like that that night, as was the wedding reception, so Raja had to TiVo the game. Apparently it's all he thought about, because I was trying (and failing) to dance to the lively Indian music and he was ready to go so he can watch the dumb game. So we got home about midnight... I was exhausted and he was a bundle of nerves. Oh, and I forgot to mention that his brother, Rishi, had decided the 58" plasma screen hanging on the wall wasn't a large enough source on which to watch the game. So he'd brought home an actual PROJECTOR from Emory. Yes... Rishi, Vik, & Raja moved the couch, took off the wall hanging, and set up a projector that cast the game on one ENTIRE wall of their poor parents' living room. So it's essentially a movie theatre they've created on which to watch this exciting game.
As anyone who watched the game knows, it was brutal. From the very beginning, it was terrible. I was laying on the couch with Raja dozing off, but kept getting awakened by his yelling at the TV (.... I mean - movie screen) very loudly and in not nice language. Finally I opened my eyes to see that UNC was about 18 points behind Kansas and I rolled off the couch to go to bed because this was not going to be good. The environment was better in the bedroom, but every once in a while I was jolted awake by the sound of Raja screaming.
It was a somber scene in the Gupta's living room the next morning. Rishi & Raja barely spoke at all, except to mumble about how horrible this is. They sadly moved the furniture back into place and disassembled the movie theatre they'd created the night before. I was still pretty excited about my goodies Mom bought me (FREEEEE!!), but could not show it as they were downcast and saddened. I tried to be super supportive and stayed quite as a mouse, and eventually as the afternoon goes on, Raja got a bit more lively.
I will say I was also disappointed by the games that day, but mostly because the games knocked me out of any chance of winning the bracket pool for Raja's work. Raja had basically forced me to fill out a bracket the morning the brackets were due. I was literally drying my hair for work while telling Raja who to put in my bracket, and we got it submitted just in time. By the Final Four games, I was in 2nd place, and there was a pretty good chance I could walk away with the prize. If you know me at all, you know I was so excited and envisioning my "BSpend" column soaring to great heights. It was quite a disappointment Saturday when I went from "pretty sure I can win this thing" to "can't win nuffin at all." But oh well... I'm pretty sure I wasn't nearly as sad as poor Raja.

We'd planned to eat lunch with Mom on the way out of town Sunday afternoon, and I realized that morning we'd definitely have time to have a nice, leisurely lunch. So we had just enough time to ask Casey & Alex (my cousins -- Alex is Casey's 6 year old daughter, for those who don't know) to join us to eat, and it turns my aunt Vicki can come, too!! And then Corey called and learned that his mom and sister and niece are at lunch with us, and he got to stop by, too! Erin (Corey's wife) was working on a shoot, so she did not get to come :( but we had a great time eating lunch. Raja and Alex and I played tic-tac-toe and Alex learned that Raja is a sore winner AND a sore loser. (I've always known this.. It's just amazing that a 6 year old can pick up on it.) ;) But she did learn from him that tic-tac-toe doesn't have to be just "X's and O's".. It can be any letter you want it to be! Now, with Raja insisting on using only W's, I's, N's, and S's and Alex demanding her full initials (ABH) be placed in her chosen squares, she definitely walked away with a new take on tic-tac-toe. We had such a great time and are so glad everyone got to eat with us. Next time, hopefully we'll have more time and can plan ahead a bit more and we can see Granny & Co, too! So we got back Sunday night about midnight to St. Louis. This past week has been work, work, work for the most part. (Thank Goodness Mrs. Gupta sent lasagna back with us -- we were so tired from the trip and it was great not having to cook or go out!)

We did get to go out last night and we went to a place I'd been wanting to go since we moved here. It's called Bailey's Chocolate Bar and they have the most wonderful things EVER -- They have white chocolate martinis, blondie brownies, cheese plates, fruits dipped in chocolate, chocolate sticks, drinks made with ice cream and caramel... anything you can imagine, they have. And it's gorgeous inside too, which makes it perfect. Raja got a boring beer, but I dove right in and got the yummiest martini and a cheese plate with 3 kinds of gourmet cheeses and wonderful bread to go with it. It's definitely one of the best places I've been. I'd told Mom about it last weekend while she was up here, so she knew I was super excited to get to go. I can't wait to go back sometime. As Raja put it, I was "as happy as a pig in mud." (And by the way, if you were wondering.. it IS impossible to not bust out laughing when an Indian man throws out cliches as southern as THAT.)

Today, we are going to take Raja's car in to the shop for an alignment and something else.. I forgot what he said.. and then we are going to the mall to shop a little bit. The weather up here today is supposed to be cold, windy, and maybe even SNOWY... ? The weather is insane here -- It was 65 for most of this past week, and now we're expecting snow showers? But anyway, that's the plan for today.
Since we've been really bad about posting lately, we're going to make it a point to carry our camera around with us all the time and make sure we don't miss anymore opportunities to show parts of St. Louis and what we do here. This weekend is a lot less busy than the last one, so it's already been nice to be able to relax a little bit. We hope you are all having a great weekend, also, and miss everyone! :)