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From Iowa City to Robinson Landing

Forty years ago Tarun and I landed in Cedar Rapids on our way to Iowa City.

As the plane circled the airport, we couldn't find the runway in the wide expanse of cornfields. A few days before, we had clutched our seat handles thinking we were landing in water, not realizing how far the runway juts into the ocean at JFK airport.

First impressions of America: strange!

We arrived in JFK on August 19th, 1981. Tarun went to Iowa on August 23rd and I followed a few days later. In a nutshell, our honeymoon was in Iowa City, not high on anyone's “destination" list! Despite that, we were thrilled. We had our own little place in our own little universe and we were ready to bask in the newness of America.

On every anniversary since, we have chuckled about our honeymoon in the cornfields of Iowa.

Last week we celebrated our 40th and had an opportunity to reset that memory. We took off for an adventure near us. The highlight was dinner at Ada's on the River in Old Town Alexandria. Among the beautiful townhouses from the seventeen and eighteen hundreds, sits an area called Robinson Landing. In this nook on the banks of the Potomac river, contemporary condos, townhomes and restaurants seamlessly weave with ancient history.

Our anniversary was made special by a gorgeous summer evening. The view of the river, boats, and outdoor seating offered a dramatic change from the cornfields of Iowa.

Four decades on, while sipping on wine that our kids had surprised us with, we had the time to look back and ponder on the lessons learned. What have we done well, what have we not. If we have to live our lives over again, what would we do differently?

On top of the fail list is the lack of patience with each other's idiosyncrasies and expectations, which has certainly sucked up more oxygen than necessary. We should have pushed each other harder on the professional front, a trait we stumbled upon in recent times. We let the kids meander to their destinations, which is not worth a redo because we love the end result. Plus, they were paying for the wine!

Robinson Landing, the river, outdoor seating, and the cool summer night surely were the ideal ingredients to wipe off the honeymoon-in-the-cornfield memory. The reality is that there is nothing we want to exchange about that early time in our lives. We were two young, ambitious, unafraid people with a can-do that fueled years of collaboration and delivered us to Robinson Landing.

We cannot wait for the next decades and the memories to come! Cheers.



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