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Posts Tagged ‘smile’

Anne…….my name rang out through the hollows of the shopping centre here in Oakville. I was deep in thought and dismissed the familiar sound. Back in South Africa I used to get my name shouted out wherever I went. The friendly little faces of my pupils would pop up all over the place and they would always make sure that I took cognisance of the fact that they were there. Hello ma’am…..It was precious but there were times that I wished I could have gone about my day incognito.  Be careful what you wish for…..

Those Boland Mountains...

Those Boland Mountains…

Today is the 4th anniversary of us being in Canada. Four years…..It seems incredible! Time has moved so fast and there are moments that seem almost surreal. One makes links to the familiar back in South Africa and then I have to remind myself that I am actually living in Canada!  So today is one of mixed feelings. On the one hand it is a day of celebration….like a birthday. We have planned a special family meal to commemorate it. There is even that bottle of champagne that had for some time been hiding at the back of the fridge. As with each birthday maturation has taken place with the passing of each year. There has been settling in, acclimatisation and growth. On the other hand there is also that sense of loss that lurks in the shadows of the mind. The place that you try not to visit too often as it evokes those pensive thoughts ….

A Canadian sunset along the Sixteen Mile Creek.

A Canadian sunset along the Sixteen Mile Creek.

Then I heard my name again. There seemed to be more insistence in the shout this time. I hesitated. In my four years here in Canada, I have yet to be recognised by someone in a big shopping centre. I turned round slowly and saw the familiar face. Her bright eyes shone and the warmth of her smile greeted me.

“Hi, how are you doing?”

I ran up to my yoga teacher and threw my arms around her.

Yes, someone knew and recognised me.

I have history!

The sun sets on our fourth year in Canada...

The sun sets on our fourth year in Canada…

 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=129kuDCQtHs

The two pairs of eyes were fixed on me as I danced back and forth clicking my fingers to the rhythm. I had fetched the twins just after 6 that morning as their parents were in dire need of some catch up sleep.
‘Ok kids, it is you and me for the next few hours!’

We turned up the volume and the sounds of “Old MacDonald had a Farm’ wafted through the air.
I bounced down the staircase to the basement guest room with Leo, the family dog, at my heels. My arms were bursting with all baby katunda that I could carry.  This included two soothers, two baby seats, and a healthy supply of nappies. I remembered that I had forgotten the toys and decided that whatever I could pull out of my case would have to suffice. My silver bracelets are always firm favourites and the shine usually did the trick.

Jack with his Nan.

Jack with his Nan.

I gazed across at them as they snuggled into the covers. Jack with his long gazes and his slow wide smile. Those deep blue eyes shone with wisdom. Heaven help us! I could just imagine some of the questions that would no doubt arise on my watch …..

‘Nan, where does the sky go to? ‘All the more reason to keep on my toes and to keep the head sharp.

Kate with the cute button switched on.

Kate with the cute button switched on.

Then there was Kate with her twinkly mischievous eyes and the smile that filled her little face. She had already mastered the cuteness button and was bound to use it masterfully. The game was on as they interacted with one another and Nan watched from the side.
The Seattle sun streamed in through the window and 2 little soporific heads nodded off.  But the reprieve was short lived and the relay of wet nappies and hungry tummies kept me on the hop.

The morning had raced by and it was time to get myself up and dressed. A warm shower was called for but i would have to think of a way of amusing the twins so that i could do just that.

Jack and Kate before the finale.

Jack and Kate before the finale.

So the finale began…..my fingers clicked again to the music. I must add that the said music was a collection of nursery rhymes that I had pulled up on YouTube. The little eyes followed me as I moved backwards and forwards. I turned on the water and adjusted the temperature and placed my towel where I could reach it. The 2 little bodies began to squirm in their seats. This was just not exciting enough and I was going to have to add some other dimension to ‘Jack and Jill climbed up the hill.’ I pulled off my sock and swirled it around and tossed it to the other side of the room. Peals of laughter ensued from the two bouncing seats. Then I pulled off another sock and added some clicking, singing and a few dance moves. The amusement continued and I managed to plunge myself under the water and wash. Every now and again I would stick my head out and throw something else into the air. A stray toothbrush and a comb went winging across the room. Some wobbly singing was added to the mix and a few intricate dance steps topped off the whole ritual. Then little chairs bobbed and looked over in anticipation. Yes, it was done. Nan was dressed and ready for the day.

But first I had to gather up the whole array of articles that I had flung around during my final act.
I think my second childhood has begun.

Can’t start a fire without a spark……..

 

 

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The express envelope is tightly sealed. The 3 passports and the awful photographs have been slipped in along with all the relevant documentation. More and more documents……. Will this ever end? It’s amazing how the lack of a smile just gives one the appearance of having the world on your shoulders! But apparently a smile is not what officialdom needs in cases like this! So the somber Morkel clan is all duly represented. Our serious faces are soon to appear on our ‘ticket to freedom,’ the Canadian permanent residence card. We are told by all the fellow permanent residence seekers that this is the final stage. Yippee! It has been 2 years and 6 months since we sent in our first application……note that one counts the months when something is this important. 

 

I have to add that it is not that I am hell bent on leaving my African roots behind me. Oh no, that could never be the case. It is more about having a sense of belonging and stability here in Canada. The African spirit still runs through our veins and we have strong ties with family and friends. Although I still allow myself to miss South Africa even though Canada in now my new home. However, doubt set in the other day when I read an article in our local paper. I quote…..

“Essential Canadianness is dependent on the slice of time that is spent here.”

I read this headline and am forced to ponder the inevitable. Does my 3 years here in Canada count? Has all the trying to do and experience all things that are Canadian not matter? I bare the scars……. a broken wrist whilst skiing. My inquisitive nature drives me to explore further.

 “It is not just the number of years spent in Canada that serves to imprint this country on one’s soul, but also the question of which years. A person’s character typically is formed in his or her youth. By the time middle age comes around, it’s usually too late.”

Oh well, that rules me out then! Or does it? I cannot imagine that it is the same for everyone. I think it depends on just how receptive you are to change. My metal has been tested continuously over the last while. Just when I think that I am getting this whole Canadian living waxed, something happens and I realize that I am definitely still quite ‘fresh off the boat.’ Like the time I found myself careering along on the wrong side of the road! But in true African spirit I will not let this deter me from my goal and certain familiar words ring in my ears….’aanhouer wen’ and ‘agteros kom ook in die kraal.’

We live and learn......

We live and learn……

 

* The article I refer to was written by Jonathan Kay in the National Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The splendour………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The joie de vie……..

We rushed down the passage like Lord Cardigan at the ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’…..our mission was not to defeat the Russians but just to get to the park on time for Josh do his morning ablutions. It was early and I quickly slipped on his harness and summoned our lift. Josh had the uncomfortable look on his face and I knew that speed was of the essence. We ran out onto the Rue Jean Levesque and crossed over to the park at the church Marie le Reine. This majestic building towered over the street with its slender columns and intricate marble sculptures. We watch and wait and take in the cacophony of noise. The bleary- eyed commuters scramble out of buses and taxis tear round corners. Dogs are an unusual sight in Montreal and Josh caused many somber faces to crack a wry smile as the words ‘bonjour monami’ tumbled out.

I had a sudden craving for a croissant and a piping hot cappuccino. There were plenty of places in this town where they served this fair but it had to ‘fit the bill’. It had to be an establishment full of character with the French flair. This holiday was about making memories ……French ones! So the search was on….down to the OldTown over the cobbled streets and past the Basillica Notre Dame. The bells chimed out as we ran down the narrow alleyways. There it was, it fitted all the criteria! A charming Parisian café with a patio all decked out with the fragile wrought iron table and chairs. It would serve me well when it needed to be extracted from my memory bank, revisited and savoured. We sheltered under the umbrella as we watched ‘the usuals’ pop in for their preference. A limousine pulled up and well coiffed gentleman jumped out. His trousers were perfectly pressed and his hair slick. He was obviously en route to the airport and was going to indulge in one more cup of ‘his favourite’ before he had to fly off somewhere. Next came a lady all decked out in a sensible but tight fitting grey suit with a swish ‘up style’ hairdo. She carried the telltale pile of legal books and leather portmanteau which gave her profession away. She ‘tickered’ along and just made it up the stairs as a bicycle came swerving around the corner. This was most certainly a young student who was late for lectures!

So the walking, eating and watching continued around the streets of Montreal. There were plenty of opportunities to visit the shops with ‘solde’ emblazoned on the windows. I found some herringbone stockings to add to my collection! We took off our shoes on a hot afternoon and cooled ourselves in a fountain. It started a trend and soon we were joined by many a weary Montrealite. We walked past the magnificent buildings with their Doric columns, curved archways decorated with Fleur de lis and magnificent patterned wrought iron gates. We savoured the splendour of this beautiful city.

On our last morning we chose to walk through a different park. A solid brass statue of a soldier on a horse stood proud and bold. It was elevated on its plinth of rock surrounded by a brilliant display of well manicured red geraniums. The brave soldier was a memorial to the battle of Paardeberg which took place in the Anglo Boer War.  Here I was in the city of Montreal, on the other side of the world and I was reminded yet again…. how small our world really is. We are all connected in some way! You can find the connection if you just look for it!

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