I’m back in Canada
Unfortunately it’s to attend a funeral
On Friday night I checked my email and had a couple of cryptic messages … call home/urgent and words to that effect
So I dug through my phone list and called home
Mom has died was the gist of the conversation
I called our accountant/financial manager and arranged for a flight home
I talked to Marrie, our neighbour and one of our more experienced teachers. I also managed to persuade Jason (an ex-teacher now at a University) to take a Saturday class
On Saturday morning I prepared some notes for a couple of lessons that would need to be covered and sorted out some schedules
Teachers and staff offered their condolences
Janice popped her head in to say hello and sorry
I took a long walk and tried to clear my head
Hardly clear headed, but somewhat more focused I returned to the office and found that the tickets were ordered and I just needed to get money exchanged
My flight was for Sunday morning … 11:00am Beijing time
I’d arrive in Toronto Sunday night 10:29pm Eastern time
Thankfully my daughter Grace works in the financial office and is very organized
Nancy, Grace’s supervisor, arranges the actual tickets
I went home and tried to unwind
Emily was supportive as always and Wyatt and Jiji were there to make me smile
I returned to the school to pick up my tickets and then went home
Emily had already begun to pack my bags and we had to pick and choose what I could bring
Obviously I’d need a black suit jacket and slacks. Black shoes. A few shirts, underwear, more slacks and some toiletries. A book for the plane.
I had to return to the school early Sunday morning to pick up money and make a few last minute arrangements.
I forgot to prepare a telephone list.
I grabbed a taxi and was relieved that I didn’t get the grand tour. I got out at the Aviation Hotel near the train station and hopped on the airport shuttle. The shuttle costs 15 Yuan and takes you directly to the airport.
I arrived about ten after ten and checked in. The flight was on time and I flew from Changsha to Beijing.
In Beijing there was a bit of a wait before boarding the flight to Vancouver.
I had time to phone Emily and Grace.
Emily; to check on her and the kids, and Grace; to check on her and the situation at school.
Grace is my right hand.
I board the flight to Vancouver.
The flight will be long and I will try to sleep
I get a bit of sleep and I’m completely disoriented.
We have a couple of meals and watch a couple of films
I doze through the second one.
Eventually we land in Vancouver. My first time!
It’s a beautiful airport.
Immigration is prompt, polite (and forgive me) … has quite an attractive smile.
I buy a phone card and call family in Orillia.
Seems weird to use Canadian money again after five years
The last time I was in Canada was when Emily and I renewed our vows in a lakefront ceremony.
My aunt seems surprised that I’m coming.
There’s a little more than an hour before I can board the flight to Toronto.
We’re going to be a bit late.
My sister is meeting me
The flight attendant seems somewhat rude, and then downright hostile
She arranges to switch a young female Korean traveler with a Canadian man because she’s certain the woman can’t follow her instructions to open the emergency door.
News flash, most of us are exhausted and couldn’t follow detailed plans to open a shoe box.
We arrive in Toronto
My sister is there to meet me as are my nieces Shawna and Sara.
We drive to Orillia …stopping on the way to get something from Tim Horton’s. Turkey on whole wheat.
The funeral is that morning … still a lot to deal with