My husband and I had been looking forward to visiting London, the city in which he grew up, since the moment we knew we would get married. The main reason for our visit was to see his grandmother (whom we call Ba in Gujarati) who could not travel to the U.S. for our wedding due to her health. We arrived at Gatwick Airport on December 29 and were greeted by Nirav’s cousin. We enjoyed a typical English breakfast and then went to visit with Ba and Nirav’s uncle and aunt in Molesey, Surrey. She recognized Nirav even though they had not seen each other in six years and was very sweet in her interactions with us. Her humor, although it needed to be translated for me, was especially heartwarming! My favorite part was when she told Nirav to make sure I eat well and that he doesn’t starve me. A woman after my own heart!!!
I was getting over a bad cold that day, but it was improving thankfully quickly. I think the change in climate and atmosphere may have helped a great deal. We enjoyed a delicious homemade meal that evening by Nirav’s cousin consisting of a favorite dish of mine, pav bhaji. It is the perfect comfort food, especially for a cold! His cousin also baked some tandoori cassava which was a delicious vegetarian twist on tandoori chicken.
Following dinner, we made our way over to Nirav’s childhood home in Beckton, London where his older brother lives. It was enjoyable to see Nirav so excited to be back in his old home, although he did note that everything seemed much smaller than he remembered. I guess that’s what happens when you grow and move to a different country! We settled in and prepared for the week ahead.