- I’m back in an English speaking country.
- My husband’s embrace feels just like yesterday.
- Spring is very late arriving to Niagara.
My first three impressions upon landing in Toronto a week ago. My reunion with family and place.
Right now I’m back in Toronto, sitting at my gate, several hours early for the final leg of this grand adventure. My sister and her boyfriend drove “BellaThea” and me to the airport as they were heading out for a short vacation east, and had the same noon hour departure as “BellaThea,” who’s travelling to Calgary to begin her western Canadian vacation. My flight was so much later that Air Canada wouldn’t check my luggage right away. A couple of hours later, I returned to check-in, and got zinged for another extra baggage fee (I’d hoped the 40 euro fee in Frankfurt would have me covered) and no compensatory upgrade (I’ve learned the virtue of asking…they’ve oversold) or possibility of an earlier flight (they’re oversold). Thankful for free wifi, a strong signal, and time to write.
Last week, I had my favourite kind of flight – noneventful, with kind and attentive service from the Lufthansa attendants. While a full plane, I lucked out, and though I didn’t receive the bulkhead aisle seat I’d been promised at check-in, I did get the only aisle with 2 extra seats, so I had plenty of legroom. Intent to avoid jetlag, four movies, two glasses of good German white wine, a very good dinner and ho-hum snack later, I arrived in Toronto early. Within forty-five minutes, I’d cleared immigration, raced to retrieve my already revolving bags, and passed through customs “free” despite being over the allowance.
We over-nighted in Toronto, and then as easefully as one can, driving on highways through Toronto to the Queen E, made our way to Niagara-on-the-Lake, a scenic interlude to arriving further down river to my family home, taking my favourite drive along the Niagara Parkway. I effortlessly “slipstreamed” into the new time zone, and too, family dynamics.
I enjoyed the vibrancy of blossom and birdsong of yet another spring. River walks and a visit to the resting place of my deceased Oma, she who visited my heart and mind so many times in Waldkirch. A fish fry at my sister’s home with the bounty of lake perch and bass freshly caught by my nephew. A coffee date with our Sicilian friends (to help “BellaThea” with espresso withdrawal) that became a multi-coursed “pranzo.”
The “raison d’être” for my stopover in Niagara was to celebrate my father’s eightieth birthday. First, with a surprise luncheon organized by his former administrative assistant, Donna, and attended by most of the women who worked for him over the years. Then, an outdoor garden party, initially dampened by a cool, late spring shower, then made radiant by the sun that shone brighter with each and every word of love and congratulations spoken to my father by his family and friends.
Given the intensity and fullness of the past week, I’m now very grateful for these hours in airport “limbo” to sit and be, to reflect and write. For the time…
…to read and respond to the well-timed email from my well-travelled dear friend at home: “I hope the re-entry is without too much difficulty (I sometimes find it quite heart rending myself) Know that you are loved..wherever you go actually..this person is very glad that you are close by again!”
…to open a photo just emailed to me by the lovely Austrian woman I’d met in Florence, that Friday afternoon at the Piazza Santa Maria Novella, where we sipped red wine and sat in the sunshine. As it had been several months since I emailed the photo I’d taken of her that day, I wondered if I’d misread her handwritten email address.
…to touch base with “The Scientist” and get an “advance on the home front” regarding our “kids with fur.”
…to have a quick skype chat with my father on the new webcam I gave him for his birthday (great video quality).
…to remember with deep and abiding joy some of the moments of these last three amazing months.
It is soon time to board. To finally come home.