BootsnAll Travel Network

Details and duty

We talked about what was possible,doable and useful.
Should I fly to Canada?

Mom had died.
I had suspected as much after the first cryptic email. Or, to be more precise, I had an inkling of this after the first email and the next couple. ‘Call your brother Mike.’ and then ‘Call Roxanne.”(a cousin) … These calls were to be made to my Aunt’s place.
I finally learned the basic facts and nothing else.
I told Emily, who was shocked. Later she would remind me of a warning from the fortune teller that had been a bit too prescient for comfort. A warning we had months ago that I chose to ignore.

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
Now I say dug, because my phone list is less a list and more a pile.
Mom has died was the gist of the conversation that followed.
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
I still had doubts.
We talked about what was possible,doable and useful.
Should I fly to Canada?
By Saturday I had a flight and some idea of how we could arrange my visa. Would we need to cancel it, or could we arrange a multiple entry? Eventually we had to cancel it.
I ended up renewing and then getting a multiple entry visa after returning.
Emily and I began choosing what I would take as I’d be traveling alone.
It should be said that this was a rare occasion that I actually helped to pack my own bags. I’m perfectly capable, but Emily is that much more capable.
At this point I still had no place to stay and still didn’t know if I’d even make it in time for the funeral. The service had been inexplicably arranged for Monday …even though the funeral Director(as I learned later) didn’t know if Mom’s body would be available for the wake. My family had the funeral director go ahead. Even though  he expressed concerns that I, as I had to fly in from China, would not be there.
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
I’d arrive in Toronto Sunday night 10:29pm Eastern
Thankfully my daughter Grace works in the financial
office and is very organized
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 re-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. A notebook and a couple of pens. I’ve found it’s always a good idea to bring a couple of extra pens within easy reach.
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. I had to really rush. The
flight was on time and I flew from Changsha to
The flight to Beijing passed quickly.
In Beijing there was a bit of a wait before boarding
the flight to Vancouver.
From Beijing to Vancouver

I had time to phone Emily and Grace.
Phoned 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
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 board
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.
Come on, Air Canada.
News Flash … most of us are so exhausted we couldn’t follow
detailed plans to open a shoe box
We arrive in Toronto

The funeral was yesterday
Still a lot to deal with

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