Holidays in India


Every year, for the Christmas / Thanksgiving vacation, we usually make plans that involve traveling to visit family in various countries. For the last five years, however, there hasn’t been much in the way of travel due to the pandemic and travel restrictions. Thanksgiving and Christmas 2023, however, allowed us to put on our traveling shoes and plan to fly out of the country to introduce our daughter to a family she has never met. We implemented this plan early in the year and secured our flights to India to introduce her to family members whom she had never met. A lot of planning was involved for this cross-country flight that involved stopovers, flight changes, and a very hectic schedule.

Thanksgiving in India

Holidays in India
Holidays in India

We decided to leave at Thanksgiving for the maximum benefit of going to India, a 22-hour flight away (including a two-hour stopover in Amsterdam). It turned out to be a rather eventful trip as the morning of our flights, approximately two hours before our flight was due to take off, we were sent an email telling us that our flight had been canceled and we were being rebooked on a different airline! Having figured out this logistical nightmare, we found we were flying via Frankfurt instead of Amsterdam, which wasn’t much of a hindrance but just unexpected.

We had prepped Amara for the journey and what this flight would entail, and she, like a good sport, tried her best and was a very good traveler (despite the flight not having any real child friend’s food on board!). Twenty-four hours later, once we reached India, she was fine. However, my husband and I suffered from the worst Jetlag we have ever experienced. Imagine, it took us a complete week to settle into Indian time, but my daughter was ready to go.

Amara Goes to India

India provided so many new experiences to Amara that she had only otherwise heard of through memories and stories told to her by us. It made us aware of many new aspects we had yet to consider. We had always thought that being a pandemic baby, Amara was always a little hesitant and shy when it came to meeting people, and we have often found that she takes a while to warm up to people. However, being surrounded by people of all ages, giving her their complete attention, and just genuinely wanting to spend time with her brought out a whole new Amara. She thrived meeting new people; she warmed up to them immediately, made conversation, and generally blossomed as a toddler. Our first stop was Bangalore, where my husband is from; she met some family, which was a lovely experience for her. She tried various cuisines and was open to spicy food she had yet to eat before going to India. I packed lots of her safe foods that we knew she would eat if all else failed, but surprisingly, I did not have to bring out any of them, and she ate so many new meals from so many different regions and countries in the world.

Thailand for The Win

As a break, we took her to Thailand and made a brief stop in Pattaya to give her some beach time, which was the trip’s highlight. Waking up every morning overlooking the beach, going down to the beach and playing in the water, building sandcastles, and then exploring the city was something she would never forget. She enjoyed trying Thai cuisine, different breakfasts, and foods she normally would not eat. She particularly liked the dragon fruit and the rose apple, native to Thailand. We then went to Bangkok, where she savored sugarcane juice, pomegranate juice, mangoes, and various Southeast Asian foods. Delicacies. We spent the day at an elephant reserve, which was a wonderful experience, and she got to feed the elephants and engage with them nearby. Her greatest joy was riding around in a tuk-tuk, which was such a culture change for her because she is so used to being in her car seat, and we did take her car seat with us on vacation when we were driving in India. After our trip to Bangkok, we flew back to Chennai, where my family is from. We also celebrated Amara’s 4th birthday and had a party that was attended by a bunch of people that she had never met before but enjoyed celebrating with. We took many journeys in autos, the Indian version of Tuk Tuk’s, and truly cherished seeing how every new experience brought out so much joy in Amara.
This trip was such an eye-opener in so many ways. We learned about Amara’s resilience and flexibility and that she is young enough for these new experiences. Although it wasn’t a very festive Christmas break, it was memorable, and we will be doing it a lot more in the future.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here