Hola folks! I am back, I am back :-)! Wait, make that a sad face - I am back :-(! After a lovely vacation in Toronto, Canada, I am back to home sweet home today and to work sweet (!?!) work tomorrow. The trip was simply awesome - but utterly exhausting. Which probably explains why I am ready to fall asleep right now. Unfortunately it is all of 5.00p here and hence kinda too early to crash (before any eyebrows are raised - it's 8.00p in Toronto now. Feeling sleepy at 8.00p - my current body clock time - is not that bad, is it?)). I have to while away the next couple of hours before going to bed. Being too dazed to do anything else, I have decided to blog (hehehehe).
Anyways, the way the Canada trip was planned out was like this. Shilpa's relatives had invited her to visit them in Toronto during her summer break. She thought it would be fun if both of us could make it to Canada at the same time and do sight-seeing together. Her nice relatives extended a hearty welcome to me too. And that was it. Applying for the visa (planning took a month, the actual process took a week) and ticket booking around the Memorial Day holiday was soon done and we were all set. Hmm, I seem to be "all set" to go to some place or the other every month :-D!
So, last week, S landed in Toronto on Wednesday and prepped me abt what to expect. Thursday morning, I set off. The usual routine - V dropped me off at the airport. I realized that having Canada so close by to the United States is very deceptive. I landed up at the airport at 8.00 a - exactly an hour before the flight's departure. After all, I did not have any checkin baggage either, right?
Wrong. At the airport, I figured that, as it was an international flight, I could not do a self check-in and had to check-in at a counter. There was this huge crowd of people waiting to check- in at the counter and as the minutes ticked by, I was getting more and more worried. Finally, at 8.30a, just when all my panic alarms were beginning to go off, my check-in got processed on a priority basis - as my flight was departing at 9.00a. The ticketing agent gave me a big lecture on how I was supposed to be at least an hour and a half early for international flights. Sheesh. And I have travelled to India like a zillion times. Somehow Canada just sounds like a place next door instead of a whole different country!
Anyways, I walked/ran to my gate and joined all the other passengers who were boarding. Phew! After that the flight was pretty much unevenful. I landed in Phoenix, well ahead of my connecting flight's departure, stuffed myself well, boarded the next flight, nibbled on the 10 peanutes that they offered on that flight and finally touched ground at Toronto. After all the stories that S had told me, I was extremely apprehensive about the questions at the immigration counter.
Fortunately, the immigration officer I landed up with did not ask me too many questions. He asked me who I was staying with. As per Shilpa's instructions, I told him that I was staying with a distant family relative (who the heck are non-family relatives?? Duh!) instead of saying that I was staying at family friend (which was nearer the truth). I officially stepped into Canada after a few more easily answerable questions. Yaay :-)!
S, her aunt and her two cousins had come to the airport to pick me up. S's cousins are aged 12 and 8. It was very good fun staying with her family. Families always spoil you silly while visiting :-)! Anyways, from the airport we got back home - a very pretty house in a suburb of Toronto called Missisuaga (or Missi-something like I confidently told the immigration officer ;-)). On the way, the freeways and the traffic looked very much like the US. The biggest difference I noticed was with the sign-boards - most of them had English as well as French directions on them. I am sure I will improve my reading/written French a lot if I live in Toronto!
At home, we had a very nice dinner made by S's aunt and uncle. The younger kid, let me call her B, was most thrilled to have guests in the house. She kept hopping up and down in excitement and kept telling S and me about all the exciting things we would do! Very cute. After dinner, we all spent some time watching S's wedding videos. Then, while everyone else went to bed, S and me continued to yack till very late (ah, now you are beginning to see why I am so sorely lacking in sleep) and finally slept.
That was arrival day. More to follow soon! People who read both S's and my blogs are especially going to be begging for mercy soon ;-)!