It was the beginning of May, and another school year was over. Only, this one was different-we were not coming back to this school. In fact, we were not coming back to any school in June. We were leaving our school, our friends, our home, our city, and our country. We were moving across the globe to a faraway land. Canada. We had dreamed about this for years and planned each step. Not everything went according to plan, but that’s where adaptability, resilience and perseverance came in handy.
When the last day of school was done and goodbyes were said, we left Madras for a holiday with my parents in Goa- a slice of paradise in India. We loved being five minutes from Miramar Beach where we spent every evening. The heat and dust of summer was washed away by the waters of the Arabian Sea and sandcastles allowed my girls to dream of being princesses. Vendors with carts of street food, and corn on the cob along with ice-cream and icy cold soda drinks were treats that few could resist. The grandparents and their crony friends revelled in the childish chatter and songs that my girls regaled them with. It was such a joy to spend time with my parents, not knowing when I would see them again. When we asked them if they would come to Canada to be with us, their response was, “How can you take a mature tropical tree and plant it in a temperate land and expect it to live?”. It was difficult to dispute that.
It took a couple of months to sell our home and most of its contents. We gave away loads of household items and clothes to friends, neighbours, charitable institutions, and strangers. The enormity of what we were undertaking was beginning to hit home. We were burning our bridges. We spent our last night with good friends who were like family. Off to the airport went four members of our little family, four suitcases, $800 and a lifetime of memories.
Enroute to Canada, we spent ten days in the English countryside with family. It was lush and the rolling hills and neat cottages reminded me of what I had only read about in books and poetry we had studied in school. Shakespeare and Wordsworth came alive for me. We indulged in fish and chips and scones with clotted cream and strawberries were such a treat. When asked how she was enjoying England, my little one admitted, “It’s freezing here”. After coming from temperatures of around 40 degrees, this English summer was surely cold. She had no idea what she was heading towards in Canada.
On the last leg of our journey, our first overseas, we were both excited and anxious- my husband and myself more so. I recalled my grandfather’s baritone voice belting out the lyrics of “Que Sera, Sera, whatever will be, will be, the future’s not ours to see, que sera, sera.” It was a big leap of faith we were taking. Landing in Toronto and hearing the officials at the airport say “Welcome to Canada”, were some of the most reassuring words we had ever heard. We were overjoyed to see family with a large banner and balloons and a loud cheer as we emerged from the bright arrivals area of Lester Pearson Airport.
We planned our arrival a little before a new school year. No more uniforms but certainly fall and winter wear were part of our shopping list. Life was a new adventure-the good, the not so good and the great!
This year makes thirty years since that memorable summer of ’92. Mississauga has been our home ever since, and though we have visited many spectacular parts of the country we still consider this neck of the woods, special.