We are still in the 'whoosh' of Stefan and Neeru and kids time with us - but have already come to start teeing up our 'lasts'.
This afternoon was the last gol-guppa and sev-puri chaat. Mind you it was also the first we have enjoyed together as the 12 Eichers, but since we dug in on the day before Stefan and family are headed back to Delhi - and then later this month to the US for 2 years... it gets the moniker 'last'.
Needless to say - they dissappeared rapidly down assorted Eicher gullets.
Not part of our growing up culture - but a glad addition to our tribe.
Having been strictly kept away from street-food, it is only now that we are biting in - and that too with great care to be very sterile... especially since we have two people with low immunities with us - Yohan and Dad!
Give us some advance notice the next time you come - and we will get some ready for you too to dig in with us!
So what do you do on a last afternoon together?
Well, if you are of a school-going age with 'assessments' (fancy name of the old fashioned 'exams') you do a lot of studying - and if you are small enough, Sheba aunty will read you a story...
The old saw about 'all work and no play' is quickly and constantly tested out in our household. It wasn't long before a number of games broke out. Othello and "Who am I" are current favourites, and Ashish and Enoch went downstairs for some football, and Daddies had to do some shopping, but a final 5 player game of Risk did take place too!
Earlier in the afternoon some kneading happened in the kitchen. Not for the standard chappatis, but for some pizza! And by early evening it had risen nicely and was ready to be put in the pans!
So one by one (and after being examined for hand-washing too!) we had 6 of our 10 pizzas 'made' by the young generation.
And then into the oven they went, most 2-by-2 like the animals into Noah's ark. The last two being biggest got single status!
The picture on the left is unusual - because it was taken by Dad - possibly the first time I have seen him take a shot in years - and he actually went outside the kitchen window to get the angle he wanted!
"Wer will fleißige Handwerker sehn?" goes the old German children's song! (go to google translate if you don't know Deutsch!).
Our expert cooks made sure that the pizzas were ready to take out...
Did we really make that many?
Who is going to eat them all?
Are they done yet?
A watched pizza seems to take longer to bake...
But yes, the first ones were ready and placed on the top of the oven to keep them warm, while the second batch went in, and then when these were in turn brought out...
we went to the table where 6 hungry cousins had gathered with empty plates and rumbly tummies (though not from the gol-guppas that they had scoffed just 4 hours previously)
But who knows? Perhaps it will not be 2 years before we meet up again.
Perhaps one of these days the 5 of us will be boarding a jet plane...
In the meantime we still have the present. The next few hours of togetherness. The ache of wanting to talk and yet not being able to get the words out. The blessed opportunities of being in the same place at the same time, breathing the same air and building our togetherness by the many small struts and lashings-together that are the common-place things that we can't do when far apart.
Until we actually live on the same street - or at least in the same city (unlikely at this point) - we will have to make do with these occassional meetings - blessed intentional gathering together to do both the special and the normal.
We are so very grateful for Stefan and Neeru coming and spending these crucial days with us. As they do their final rounds of preparation before they fly to the US in the last week of July, we send them on their journey with a loud 'God-speed!'
And, strangely enough, we are not sending them off alone! We booked Sheba on the same Rajdhani to Delhi as our dear Agnes is getting married on the 3rd of July!
Picture please! All together... all smile... never possible, but each time a heroic try! Here is our latest version: