Saturday, 26 April 2008

Chubby Cheeks

Well, it's finally here.

As I sit here on the eve of one of the biggest trips I'll probably ever taken in my adult life, I am bombarded with just about a million thoughts, flying at me in every direction.

This trip has been over a decade in the making. I can't help but wonder how drastically different things may be. I know they are, but I feel as though I'm not prepared enough for it. On the other side, I have my entire family freaking out, as if to say that me going down to Goa is some sort of big deal. They seem to be making it a bigger deal than I ever could and I have to admit that I don't like that aspect of it.

If it were me, I would simply go down, check into our flat, sleep, eat and hit the beach while losing myself in the local market places. I don't like this hoop-a-lah! It just seems like too much.

I'm nervous about seeing my relatives. I know they have expectations and I don't know if I can ever meet them. I guess I shouldn't worry about that but I do worry about the fact that I had to dig pretty deep into my pockets to pay for this trip and the last thing I want is to spend three weeks freaking out about the fact that I'm not their poster-child of perfection.

On the other side, I look forward to taking some solitary walks on the beach and following the various paths I took to school as a child. I want to see the effect that time has had on some of my favourite haunts. I want to see the different colours, smell the familiar scents and breath the tropical air. It's funny, after all these years if I will myself enough, I can actually place myself in a moment as a child and sense everything that I experienced at that time.

Anyway, I hope to keep a detailed account of the trip. I plan to take more pictures than I can store. But before all that, I need to survive this 32 hour trip to my past.

In the meanwhile, stay safe and keep smiling!


Friday, 18 April 2008

When the Motherland ignores you

... This trip is driving me nuts and it hasn't even happened yet!

April has been such an awful month... and it's only the 18th. First I was bombarded with a cart full of work at school.... then Ginger decides to get a fever/cold/allergies/constipation... all at the same time... Then I get working on this damn visa to get to the motherland!


The Indian consulate decided to "upgrade" their system, deciding that only people going to India for emergencies need to show up at the consulate. Everyone else gets to nervously mail in their application form and visa to the consulate and meditate in fear, hoping that it will show up in time before their trip.

So what did I do? Tuesday of this past week I filled out the paper work and said a silent prayer while I mailed in the documents... all the while tracking the package as it arrives at the consulate the next morning at 10 a.m.... Thank God for CanadaPost, as I now have proof that it got there with a signature, and time stamp. The standard is to apparently mail out the visas by the end of the week... however, something inside me made me question that. So I had some free time after work on Thursday and decided to stroll over to 365 Bloor to see what was going on.

I get there to a somber room of panicked faces and people who looked like their cat had just died... come back to life, only to die again. Yes. I soon understood why.

I went up to the man and asked what the status of my visa was. He asked for my name and disappeared into a room, only to emerge back 20 minutes later. He asked me if I was sure I sent my visa in. (ummm.. YES!) He then proceeds to tell me that there is a good possibility that they didn't even get around to dealing with it. Translation... it's sitting in the express post envelope, unopened.

So... what to do?

I ask him what my options are, seeing as how this epic trip that has me drained before I even set foot on a plane ride garunteed to turn my sleep cycle into a nightmare... is happening next weekend....

He says... come in on Monday, because tomorrow is a holiday. We're closed.

Yes, it's Mahavir Jayanti in India... so these guys get the day off!

Great. So I have to go in on Monday, around 8:30 a.m. and pray to God that my visa hasn't left the building without me. And that it will leave with me after 4 p.m. ... Oh ya... you can only pick up your documents after 4 p.m. ... even if you talk to them at 8 a.m.


Oh, so I also figured out why no one answered my 101 calls to the consulate between Monday and Thursday morning. Turns out... "reception" is an empty desk with a phone.... that rings consistently.... while everyone ignores it.

If I ever get to Goa.. they better lead me straight to a hammock in a mango grove.

That is all.


Sunday, 6 April 2008

It's times like these...

... That I remember my grade eight teacher's response to my weekly friday journal.
I remember going through some 12-year-old crisis of sorts at the time ... not sure if it was an emotional or morality one... maybe it was a bit of both. He just said, "remember the Serenity Prayer."

So here goes:

Grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

As Sophia Loren once said, "I want to be left in peace, not in pieces."

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