My Sister — The Bride.

 “Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.”

–Anonymous


Image

When my sister first met her fiance at a wedding we attended last October (funny how that works), I couldn’t have imagined in a million years that she would marry him.  He wasn’t her type, she was still studying, he lived in a different city…there were plenty of excuses, and since the only thing my sister had previously looked for in men were faults, I figured this case scenario would be no different.  To be blunt, I thought Mina would never get married.

That’s the issue with that pesky thing called Love.  You don’t know what shenanigans it will stir up.

We are preparing for a wedding this Saturday.

I have always imagined what it would be like for one of my sisters to get married.  It must be so glamorous and exciting!  Freakishly, it has even been a dream of mine.  Not because I wanted to get rid of my sister, but because I wanted to be part of something big.  Except now it feels exceptionally bittersweet.

What I never considered before is that she would be leaving our family, to create a new one of her own.  Our little clan of three sisters, a brother, a niece, and Mom and Dad, won’t be the same anymore.  A large chunk of it will be living in Moscow, possibly breeding children of her own.  And what of it now.  I guess without us realizing it, we have all grown up.

The other day I was sitting at the kitchen table with my mom when I joked, “Even your babies are graduating from high school this year!”  When I said it, the depth of those words heavily sunk on my shoulders.  Holy cow.  And where went the years when Mom would fry donuts for all four of us in the early school mornings?  Or the long nights us three sisters would spend weeping, watching the movie Selena with Jennifer Lopez?  Then we would sneak quietly back into our beds before our parents would hear us…

Yes, a whole era of our lives is ending right before my eyes.  We’re giving our beloved sister away this Saturday, March 16th.

But when I lie awake in bed wiping away the tears, I always stop and smile.  What more could I ask for than her marrying the man of her dreams? What more could I wish than eternal happiness in her new, adult, family life? What more do I want other than to just see her laugh?

Nothing.  I wish nothing but everlasting bliss for my sister and her husband.  I’ll wrap our childhood memories in a blanket, and place them snugly in my heart, so I can make room for new memories that will be awaiting me this Saturday and for many years to come.

To the happy couple.

Much Love,

Image

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Confidence and Beauty – It Goes Together

“A woman whose smile is open and whose expression is glad has a kind of beauty no matter what she wears.”
– Anne Roiphe

My weight has been my worst enemy, largest hassel, and the stepping stone into young adulthood.  For most of my life, I’ve struggled with it.  I’ve battled it, sometimes pinning it down, and other times toppling and drowning in it.  It brings me comfort that just about any skinny person I know works to have the body weight they are proud of.  I use that as motiviation, telling myself that nothing in life comes easy.  Despite what many teenange magazines today try to tell you about being happy with who you are, the truth remains that your looks are a big ticket in any sort of success.  It has been proven by many statistics that beautiful women climb the career ladder higher than those who society deems “unattractive”.  I personally do not believe there is such a thing as an unnattractive woman.  I’ve learned from personal experience that after a lady gets a nice grooming, and makes the choice to look her best, she becomes DROP DEAD GOREGOUS.

I’m seventeen, and to be blunt, I admit that I do pay my looks a lot of attention.  As, I’m sure, most teenage girls do.  Today I noticed that my eyebrows need to be plucked, and while browsing my photos from yesterdays dinner, I hated the double chin that has grown this summer and simply refuses to leave.  Those are things that I want to work on.  Which brings me back to the issue of my weight.

Most adults get moritifed when they hear me say that I’m on a diet.  I can not convey to them that I’m no fool.  No, I do not starve myself, or only eat an apple a day.  I wish I could soothe their fears — let them know that I will not become that girl from TV suffering from anorexia.  Frankly, I love food too much.  But I do believe that you need to have a certain amount of disciple and self-control.  I always try to drink cups full of water, and I eat my chicken soup with fresh cucumbers and tomatoes instead of white bread.  And after I have a hearty dinner, I do not eat after 6 PM.  These are my ways to keep up a healthy weight, albeit I often struggle to follow even them.  So the word diet does not mean that I will go on a week-long Hollywood cleanse, it just means that I will now watch what I eat.

I also truly enjoy taking care of my skin and teeth.  I do scrubs everyday, and love using home remedies, such as milk and honey, for masks.  I floss my teeth everyday, and brush them sometimes twice in a row.  Once with a anti-bacteria toothpaste, and once with a whitening toothpaste.  Most importanly, I love having fresh and clean hair.

It’s all about feeling good and feeling confident.

Much Love,

3 Comments

Filed under Personal

Losing Great Things: War

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?”
―    Mahatma Gandhi

When I last went on a school field trip, I took off my earrings and silver ring to wash my hands, and forget the set by the sink.  On the ride back home, when I told my teacher, she asked whether my mom would be upset with me.  I smiled and replied that no, she would not be.  When you have lost as much as my family has, you don’t see any importance in earrings and a ring.

My family has lived through two wars on their homeland — the first war from 1994-1996, and the second from 1999-2000 (that’s the official ending, although that’s not when the shootings and bombings stopped.)

My grandfather was preparing for his retirement in the late 90′s, just a few years before the first war.  All the money he had ever earned and saved up throughout his lifetime he used to build the home of his and my grandmother’s dreams.  It was so beautiful,  my mother remembers, that people from all over the country would come by to take pictures.  It had a curving staircase and white, marble poles.  They lived in their new dream home for exactly eight months before it was burned to the ground.  The only thing left from it were old photographs buried under rubble — ashes of a lifetime lost.  Prior to the burning, all of my Grandmothers Japanese china, Jakonda furniture (imported from Romania), tapestry, and antique vases were stolen by her own neighbors.  To this day we see items from our home in theirs, although even if we tried to prove something, the point would be mute.

It was also when my parents, just starting out their young family, had saved up to buy their first home — two apartents on the same floor-level.  My mom often tells me that it was that fall that she had made more preserves than ever before.  Little did she know that her family would never taste them.  My mother tells me that she doesn’t miss her hand-threaded quilts, imported china, or her new, at the time, state-of-the-art sewing machine.  No, she remembers her preserves.  How she spent weeks making jar after jar, believing that that winter, she would be able to share them with her family. I assume that soldiers weren’t left hungry.

The war years were full of hardships.  I was born in 1995, and my brother in 1997.  My mother had four young children to manage, as did most other women.  Families scattered all over Europe and Russia as refugees. Prejudice was waiting for us everywhere.  My Grandmother, aunts, and mother sold their valuable gems, gold, and diamonds for pennies.  People took advantage of their situation, and bought everything for a tenth of their actual value.

After the first war, my grandparents rebuilt a small portion of their home — one bedroom, a kitchen, and a bathroom.  All of their hard work was again, for the second time, burned down in the second war.

But we were fortunate. Most of our relatives lost their husbands and sons, as well as children, parents, and wives.

It is only today that the city is finally rebuilding from ash.  Citizens are returning back to their homes, and new architecture is sprouting up.  People can live without the fear of hearing bombs fly above them, or the sounds of bullets penetrating their homes.
But we never forget the millions of lives lost in the wars that were labeled a genocide.

We never forget.

Much Love,

Leave a comment

Filed under Personal

The Time I Learned To Be A (Good) Liar

A good memory is needed once we have lied.  – Pierre Corneilli

In everyone’s life, there comes a time when you have an AHAA! moment. When a small incident causes you to learn a lesson that will stick with you all your life, usually learned the hard way. It has been truthfully said that we never stop learning. But our knowledge is usually gained in the class of LIFE, when we learn how to navigate without screwing up royally. Or at least try to, anyway.

From the age of five to seven, I lived in The Kingdom of Belgium, for the most part in the city of Antwerp. We lived in a small Turkish neighborhood, with brownstone buildings clustered all over, and tiny, immigrant-owned shops perched on every corner. The owner of our building was a man in his early 70′s — Debuk Leevinus — who, despite being considerably wealthy, was stingy, and preferred to fix all home-maintenance issues himself.

We lived on the very top floor, and it was a great hassle to climb the narrow, curved stairs. On the first floor lived a family who immigrated from Mongolia — the Dodzhabars. In the back of our building we had a little backyard. It was a nice getaway from the city life, because it belonged to the residents of our building alone. There were a couple of trees, and a few pool recliners. For the first year of our life in Antwerp, the backyard was filthy, due in part to the renters who lived on the first floor before the family from Mongolia moved in. Afterwards, all of the residents from our building made a united effort to clean it.

On one particular evening after Aruna, the youngest daughter of the Dodzhabar family, and I were tired of playing with the other neighborhood kids, we sneaked into the backyard to relax on the pool recliners (mind you, there was no pool). In one particular corner we saw a bucket of yellow paint. I was in the first grade, and Aruna was in kindergarten. Ten years later, I admit, I was the instigator.

“How about,” I slyly mention to Aruna, “We paint that dirty wall over there with this pretty yellow paint?”

Ten minutes later, one wall was dripping with yellow paint. There was also a puddle of it on the floor. That’s when the kids from the third floor, three little boys, came down — immigrants from Pakistan. They also got a brush and began painting a plastic TABLE.

So I was like, “Hey, you can’t do that!”

And they were all, “Why not? You did!”

So Aruna and I said, “OUR PARENTS TOLD US TO!” (Biggest lie ever.)

By the end of the evening, the whole yard was sickly yellow. Aruna and I high-fived each other and went home.

Forty-five minutes later, I hear a knock at our door. It’s my sister, and the older twins of the Dodzhabar family. All three are in shock, asking whether I know anything about the yellow backyard.

I say, without flinching, “I saw the boys from the third floor do it!!!”

So the twins and my sister storm down to the third floor to ask what happened. I, very stupidly, come down as well. The oldest of the three boys opens the door. They ask about the yellow paint. He says, “We weren’t the ones that started it. There were two other girls doing it first!” And I speak up, barking, “It was YOU!” That’s when he notices me, and says, “Hey…you’re one of the girls!”

All eyes looked at me. Whoops.

See, if it was me today, I would have NEVER came down to that third floor as well. I would just hide out at home, vehemently denying everything.

And although I did still try to vehemently deny, it was no use. I was dragged down to that backyard, where all adults proceeded to yell at me. Apparently, I should have known better because I was older than Aruna. My sisters and Aruna’s sisters spent the rest of the night scrubbing off the yellow paint, while I smugly sat by my mothers side.

Despite being yelled at, and the boys from Pakistan giving us away, it was still REALLY cool painting that well yellow. And besides, it was one of the greatest lessons I have ever learned. If you are going to lie, at least do it well!

Much Love,

2 Comments

Filed under Personal

Preparing For Winter…Already?!

Image

Russia is known for it’s harsh, snowy winters.  I’ve written about experiences I’ve had with the winter weather I had, previously, encountered very little of.  In Charlotte, a little bit of snow meant a huge celebration, because the whole school system would shut down.  In Russia, however, even if scoops of snow will fly down, everyone better be in school by eight in the morning.  So mind you, I’ve had quite a blast adapting to multiple feet of snow.  Also, whenever the weatherman would predict snowfall, every single citizen of Charlotte would run down to the grocery store, fighting for milk and bread as if the Apocalypse had arrived.  In Russia, we have our own ways of preparing for the cold months ahead.

The preparations are quite interesting.  I’ve always been fascinated by the middle ages, so I’d like to think that what we do here with my Grandma is quite similar to the way winters were handled hundreds of years ago.  Today, we salt and pickle cucumbers and tomatoes.  We also can eggplants, salsa, and chunky spaghetti sauce.  We make preserves out of strawberries, raspberries, plums, and apricots (as well as apricot jam!).  I just love to eat spoonfuls of jam when it has just been cooked, and it’s all warm and sticky.  Heck, we even make juice!  But that’s not all.

Image

Yesterday, my Grandma bought five thirty-five-pound sacks of potatoes.  They are all stored in her basement.  Next up, we must purchase onions of the same quantity, as well as sacks of flour and sugar.  You see, not only do sales sky-rocket during the winter months, but who wants to drive down to the market when it’s below freezing?  Everything is sold outside, so even taking off your gloves to pick out apples causes you to have biting, prickly pain.  By purchasing groceries in bulk, you save money and     your trips to the market are cut in half.  

Image

It’s a very interesting process.  Despite the fact that it’s only October, we are knee-deep in preparations, which makes me even more excited for the beautiful snow-flakes to start coming down. I’m ready for the cold weather, and the nights I spend covered in my crisp, blue covers, eating jam and pickles.

But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, aren’t I?  Fall is beautiful, and the leaves are just starting to change color.  Let’s live in the moment, and enjoy today’s stunning weather.

Have a wonderful Saturday.

 

Much Love,

Indira Adams

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

How I (Almost) Got Scammed

Image

I often mention what a fabulous time I had this past Summer, when I was traveling around the US with my best friend. However, it was also a time when I learned a lot, not only about myself but the world surrounding me. I was independently flying cross-Atlantic, navigating my own way across airports in Moscow, Munich, and Atlanta.  It really helped me see that I have to solve my own problems, and there won’t always be someone there to guide me.

As you grow older, you have to rely on your own instinct and knowledge to save you from many tricky situations in life. It is this particular lesson that saved me hundreds of dollars.  

I’ve been wanting an iPhone every since I saw people line up at our local mall in Charlotte, to get the first 3G’s.  It’s been a long time coming, but I had finally decided that the best time to get one would be during my trip to the States.  After doing some research, I figured I could get a good deal on a factory unlocked iPhone on Craigslist.

(Sidenote: An iPhone has to be unlocked for it to function in another country, i.e. Russia.  If it is unlocked illegally, by breaking into the system, you could face a lot of problems with your phone, like connection issues. The best, and legal, way to go is to get a factory unlocked iPhone.)

One of the main reasons I had wanted an iPhone from Craigslist, and not from Ebay or Amazon, was that I wanted to touch and feel the phone before buying it.  There are a lot of knock-off versions, and I felt that this would be the sure way to know that I was getting the real deal.

Upon landing in Charlotte, North Carolina, I immediately embarked on my quest to find an iPhone on Ebay.  While navigating through many cities on the Eastern Coast of America, I never stopped responding to ads.  However, prices were high and sellers seemed fishy.  I was starting to lose hope that I would be able to buy my dream phone.  

But then I got an email in Washington DC that restored my faith.  It was from a woman named Kristen, who was offering to sell me her three-week old iPhone 4S, 64 GB, for $300.  This lady seemed so honest, like she really wanted to sell me her phone.  At the end of her first email she said, “I tried to tell you as much about the phone as possible.  Do you want it or not?” I figured that it was a good thing, that she immediately got down to business.

She then proceeded to tell me that she was currently in Canada, but found this great company who would work as a middle-man. She would hand the phone to Interparcel, who would examine it and make sure it fit the listed specifications, and then I would send Interparcel my money, which they wouldn’t give to the seller until I would receive my item.

If it seems suspicious to you, it wasn’t to me. I was completely oblivious! 

This Kristen then tells me that she has shipped out my item, and I even get a detailed confirmation email from Interparcel.  Everything seems perfect.  I just have to send a money order, to receive my phone.
That day we had been driving back to Charlotte from Washington DC.  I had stopped at numerous gas stations trying to find a working Western Union, with no luck.  That evening my best friend and I stopped at our local Harris Teeter to buy some groceries for dinner.  With my money in hand, I walked up to the Western Union booth and began to fill out the money transfer form.

What happened next I can not explain. Some could say it was my intuition kicking in, or my inner-voice speaking to me. I believe it was God looking out for me. In a split second, as I was standing in the middle of Harris Teeter with pen in one hand, and money in the other, ready to give it up, for the first time I felt like something was very WRONG.

A question came to mind- “Why do they want me to transfer my money to a John in the United Kingdom…?”

I paused and asked Katie to give me her phone. Right then and there, I Googled Interparcel Legit? 

And, BAM, there were multiple people saying how they got scammed through Craigslist. Apparently, there are people who target Craiglist users, selling them technology at bargain prices, and when the people send their money through Western Union, they never receive what they pay for.

Most shockingly, I found out that many other people had received emails that were exactly like the one “Kristen” had sent me! I should note that these scam artists use the names of legitimate companies, such as Craigslist, Western Union, and Interparcel (yes, it is a real company) as pawns, to rob people of their hard-earned money.

I was very fortunate.  I thanked God over and over again.  A few days later, I purchased my wonderful iPhone, from a little store in Lilburn, Georgia.  

Dear readers, BEWARE! If you ever get an email through Craigslist with a deal that sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Much Love,

Indira Adams

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Personal

My 17th Summer: The Best I’ve Ever Had

Image
If there is one certain movie I associate with summer, it is Now And Then, that superbly funny 90’s film starring Demi Moore and Rosie O’Donnel (amongst others).  It’s about best friends, an amazing summer they share, and their reunion many years later.  I love it because it always reminds me of the day I first saw it – I was a rising 3rd grader, and it was a hot June day that I spent at the pool, before coming home and watching the movie.  It was on that day, when I was eight years old, that I dreamed up a summer that I would spend with somebody just as awesome as Demi Moore.

Eight years later, that dream came true.  I spent all of July with my best friend, Katherine Elizabeth Caldwell.  I can now say, after all the fun and laughter, that Now And Then has nothing on us.  It was truly the best summer of my life. 

In total, we visited Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Florida, Ocean Isle Beach, Washington DC, Atlanta, Georgia, and our own Charlotte, North Carolina.  Each and every city was wonderful in its own way, but my favorite moments were the ones that were spent in the car.  We ended up driving everywhere, and although it got a little crazy sometimes (I threw up at the Wawa Market in Virginia), the music, jokes, and laughter in an enclosed car were limitless.  Katie also has her drivers permit, and navigated those highways like a pro (with her mom sitting shotgun, of course).  It got especially exciting when it began to rain on one particular drive – “Mommy! I can’t see anything!!!” 

The best part about having a best friend is that you can die laughing about something, and everybody around you thinks you’re nuts, because they’re not in on the joke.  Even a trip to the eye doctors would turn out to be barrels of fun.   There would always be one fool who would talk on his phone too loudly, and his conversation would be all Katie and I would needed to roll over in fits of laughter.

I don’t believe I realized just how much I missed my friend until I had to leave her again.  We were staying strong throughout the day, even though I broke down in tears during Everything by Michael Bluble, also one of the epic songs on our summer playlist.  But the moment that broke my heart the most was when I had to go through a security check point, and Katie and her mom could go no further.  I gave them each a big hug and kiss, and then watched as they walked away.  They put their hands on each other’s shoulders, leaning on each other for love and support, and walked away, getting smaller and smaller in the distance.  It was in this moment that my heart broke in half, and tears stung my eyes.  It upset me that I couldn’t be there for them; that my two closest friends had to lean on each toher while I flew off to Russia.  But then I told myself to buckle up.  “Onward and upward,” I thought.  Life is life; there was no reason for me to cry, for I am so fortunate to have such amazing friends, and to have spent such a wonderful summer with them.  Dr. Seuss once said, “Don’t cry that it’s over, smile because it happened.”  I’m taking his advice, and am counting my blessings.  How fortunate I am to know that somewhere, thousands of miles away and an ocean away, I have a best friend named Katie. 

I hope you have a fabulous day.

Much love,

Indira Adams

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized