Hi Everyone! You must be wondering what I’ve been up to. It has been a month since my last post on August 10th 2019 here. Well, it’s not because of anything except that I was going on a holiday to Canada, and was busy preparing for it. When I reached here, the lead of my laptop needed fixing. Thank goodness, Haaris managed to arrange one for me, so I can start my writings again.
Right now, there is a Hurricane blowing up outside. (In Islamabad we have such storms almost every few weeks.) A while back there was a big noise, and the lights flicked here. I felt like writing this blog post before something else happens!
So, in Islamabad – before my trip began.
Preparations for my trip abroad:
As I was getting freakish, I addressed my fears squarely:
Camera installations by Nayatel:
I decided to install cameras in the house, so I could keep an eye on my home while being abroad. This was especially, to keep an eye on my mother’s well being. So, Nayatel company installed cameras in different parts of my home. Now, I can see who is entering my home, and what is going on. At the same time, I’m checking if the staff is continuing to follow the time table up in the kitchen.
Changed locks of home:
To add to security systems, I changed most locks of home. This made me feel much better.
Planning and management:
As a believer in good planning and management, I’ve tried to foresee and address things properly. I was leaving my youngest daughter Waliya in charge of the home, this meant that I had to show her how to go about it.
Many of my friends had doubts:
Most of my friends had reservations about my leaving things to Waliya. However, I’ve been confident, as I’ve given her enough practice. I’ve let her take care of most of her grand parents’ issues, so she is in good practice throughout the year.
Also, in 2016 when I went to USA, she managed everything, along with her sister Nadiya. Of course, my cousin Hasan Jafar, friends like Haroon, Uzma, Ayesha, and my neighbors are willing to help too.
Flying to Halifax, Canada:
So, here I am for the first time, in Canada. Since my daughter Nadiya is in Halifax, she generously got me a ticket which included a fourteen and a half hour PIA flight from Islamabad to Toronto, then to Halifax by West Jet.
Funnily enough, I’d heard so much against the PIA flight, that I kept praying for it. In fact, it turned out to be a lovely flight, I love walking up and down the aisles and chatting with the crew. The air hostesses were great. One of them Rubila, shared her personal lunch of fresh fruit and veggies with me. Later, she made me a cup of tea, and we chatted at the back of the plane.
The views were amazing. I saw that Iceland was without ice. The ice, and snow over Greenland was beautiful.
We traveled with the sun, but they kept the plane all darkened up most of the time. The lunch served was nicer but the rest was nothing like before. This was topped by the West Jet people who served us phoka chips called pretzels or a cookie. (I was dying to say, ‘I want both’.)
(As I write, electricity has gone off now.)
As prices of flights are getting sky rocketing, facilities are taking a nose-dive.
So, while I prayed for the PIA part of my trip, I didn’t pray for the Canada parts! It was the huge Toronto airport that was awful for me. First the man who was to take me on wheelchair, lied to me, saying it was not much of a distance and I could easily walk across. To my horror, I found myself going to many sections, up and down carrying my back pack and handbag.
I walked 4 km by the time I reached my gate for the West Jet plane flight to Halifax. ( I use the step counting app.)
That West Jet Boeing was in good shape but, had no blankets, and I was freezing, as I had packed up my jacket in the hand-carry bag overhead. So, I landed in Halifax with sore legs and a bad cold.
I shall pray specifically next time!
Great meeting my Nadiya and Haaris:
Happily, I met my daughter Nadiya and son-in-law Haaris, I was meeting them after one and a half years. They moved here last year in April, and have got settled pretty well, by Allah’s grace. I love their apartment. It was interesting to see my previously skinny daughter in full bloom, awaiting the birth of her baby daughter. I couldn’t even hug them as I didn’t want them to catch my cold.
They put me on ‘cold’ tablets, and these combined with my jet-lag, knocked me out for several days. They were keen to take me places before the baby arrived. I was keen to get to know their kitchen before the big event, so I’d be of use to them.
Cooking in their well-organized kitchen is tough, as the ingredients just didn’t behave as they do back home, in Pakistan. I’ve had to re-learn everything. Also I wondered if I still remember cooking. (When Haaris mentioned this to his colleagues and friends, they couldn’t understand. They don’t know my staff back home who are great cooks.) So, anyhow, I’ve managed to cook a few things by now. Beef Tikkas, pea palao, minced meat with potatoes, and chocolate cake.
On Auguest twenty forth night I perked up and we went for a drive and ice cream at the Atlantic ocean creek, near Marriot.
A day later we went to Peggy’s Cove which was literally out of this world and magical. It was so amazing and very unique. I loved being at the light house, the fishermen’s cove. Having the fish and chips dinner at the restaurant was delicious, served by the charming and beautiful waitress with the sweet smile.
On the way back, Haaris took us to Donna’s art studio. It belongs to his friend Thomas John’s parents. It was wonderful meeting the wonderful couple. Here are some pictures of the lovely artist and her artwork.
Nadiya and I managed to sneak in a visit to their local library. It was filled up, and I could see many Syrian families there too. Of course I ended up with some amazing books. I love the fact that Americans and Canadians are such avid readers.
Shopping area near my daughter’s home:
Within a few days I discovered I could walk down to the market nearby. It was like a Markaz in Islamabad with everything there. Even Tim Hortens, a wonderful Drug store with lovely magazines etc in it, Solbeys and Dollorama too. I was thrilled to get some canvases from there.
Baby arrived earlier:
Meanwhile, we were going for the doctor’s visits. Soon we found out the time had come. The baby was born after a 24 hours labor. I was surprised to see that they only let the patient go to hospital till she is in almost final stage of labor. My sweet children took pity on me and left me at home, as they went to hospital. By the evening, Haaris came to pick me saying the baby has still not arrived, but I can go over.
As I came to my daughter I found that the baby was lying next to her! My Gosh, imagine, even at that time, she was busy giving me surprises. Look at Haaris, he never let me get any hint of the big event they had just gone through. I was relieved, to know it was over. Alhamdolillah. Later I was to find out my Daughter had had a very difficult delivery.
We were happy it was over, and eight days before the due date. Lucky for me, I had arrived five days before.
We all stayed in hospital which was the IWK hospital, which is the largest one in Halifax. We were in the private room arranged by Haaris for three days. It was well equipped and had a bed for me too. The staff was very courteous, kind, caring and ready to give comfort. The doctor was deeply concerned about welfare of her patient.
Nadiya was given two iron infusions to make up for the blood loss, and her hemoglobin finally went from 6.1 to 7.8. They wanted her to have a blood transfusion, but I had apprehensions and wanted to avoid it at all costs. (I’ve had friends catching serious diseases through the blood transfusions.) Then they took a CT Scan of abdomen to check if there wasn’t any other problem. Finally, we got home with a clean slate, and instructions to get back if needed.
The hospital gifted a bag full of books for the baby!
Meeting with Jim Dukes and Mary:
We hardly got settled, when we realized that Jim Dukes and his wife Mary were visiting. They are my mother’s second cousins, whom Nadiya had found through her genealogy explorations; and Valerie, wife of Dave Schirru had helped them get connected.
Jim and Mary, in their seventies were on their cruise and had docked at Halifax. They visited us for half an hour and brought gifts for the baby too. It was great meeting them. Jim is grandson of my mother’s English grandfather Fred Kilburns’ sister Ada. There was so much to share, but so little time.
Jim said, ‘we are meeting after hundred years!’ Yes, it did seem that way.
It is a very interesting story: When mum’s grandfather left the family business in London, he joined the British army and came to India. Fred’s parents and eldest sister soon passed away due to tuberculosis. His brother Samual moved to Canada, and took over the rest of his siblings including Ada. So, Ada’s grandson is Jim, who is settled in Ontario.
‘I’ve never seen a more organized girl as Nadiya,’ said Mary, as she looked through the Genealogy book which Nadiya has made.
Next day, Haaris announced that a hurricane is on the way, as he handed me the lead for my laptop. So, we are in the middle of it right now, as I’ve completed this blog post. I’m constantly reminded of my time in Seattle’s ‘storm’ here. But this time, it is happening, and is turning quite nasty. Electricity has gone with the internet. A huge tree fell nearby. (You can see more about it, in my instagram.)
Happy landing in Canada!
Stay blessed my Reader, hope you all are enjoying life too?