KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
This was our first Christmas in Canada in seven years, and it seemed that Mother Nature wanted us to be sure to experience what we’d been missing all those years. We arrived to a cold blast that left all the trees coated with a layer of hoar frost, creating a winter wonderland. However, true to form, within a few days, Calgary experienced a ‘Chinook’ (a warm wind that can change temperatures 30 degrees C in a matter of hours).
Anil and I worked together to clear Raj and Vy’s huge driveway of snow. It was cold and brisk, but we rather enjoyed the sound of the shovels scraping against the cement and the feeling of getting some fresh air in our lungs again. Luckily, it didn’t snow much for the remainder of our time in Calgary, as the novelty of all that hard work would have worn off rather quickly.
However, it was a different story in Edmonton. After getting over our jet lag, we drove the 300km north to visit friends and family in our former hometown. After passing the halfway mark just north of Red Deer, we were surprised to see the landscape change dramatically. For the next hour and a half, we were treated to a pure white scene. Everything, and I mean everything was coated with a layer of frost and the surrounding wheat fields were covered in snow. It reminded me of some of the winter scenes in my favourite movie ‘Doctor Zhivago’.
We planned to stay in Edmonton for 10 days visiting family and friends, but learned that Vy was going to be able to join our son Raj on his business trip to Barbados, so we agreed to return to Calgary to stay with granddog George, and take care of the house during the bitterly cold weather. For those who don’t know, it’s dangerous to leave a building vacant for fear of pipes freezing and bursting.
We had hoped to drop into Tempo School and take in the Christmas caroling on the last day before the winter recess. It would have been nice to participate in an old ritual and visit many of Anil’s former colleagues. We later learned that we weren’t the only ones disappointed; many of the staff members were looking forward to seeing us as well.
Raj and Vy returned on Jan 21st and then set about on a whirlwind of shopping for gifts for the little ones and groceries for everyone. Adia and Geoff arrived two days later, and my brother David and his wife Jeong Ae drove from Edmonton on Christmas Eve in time to enjoy the feast of King Crab and Prime Rib. Vy’s extended family arrived to help us celebrate and everyone had a terrific time.
It was a relatively quiet and peaceful Christmas morning and we had fun opening our stockings and then ‘stealing’ unmarked presents from one another until everyone ended up with a single gift. We enjoyed a lovely brunch prepared for us by Raj and Vy and then we relaxed and watched old Christmas classics on television.
Vy’s sister insisted on preparing the turkey dinner and it was heaven smelling the bird roasting in the oven all afternoon. It was hard to believe that anyone had an appetite after the feast the night before, but we managed to do justice to all the work that Hien and Vy put into the Christmas dinner. It was a true classic meal, one that I had missed having during our many Christmases overseas.
Before we knew it, the holidays were over and it was time for Adia and Geoff and David and Jeong Ae to return to their homes and for Raj and Vy to travel to Grande Prairie to celebrate New Year’s with their ‘other parents’, the Nordmanns. We had the entire house to ourselves and no longer had to compete with others for cuddle time with George.
The only downside of the following week was that both Anil and I managed to contract the nasty flu bug that was making its rounds through Alberta and indeed, the entire continent. We’d gone for flu shots a couple of days after arriving back in Canada and that three-week period seemed to have given us some immunity as we didn’t get nearly as sick as some of the others around us. We were happy that it hadn’t dampened our Christmas holiday, but it was a poor way to spend our last week in Canada.
Fortunately, we were both feeling much better and were able to pack our bags and set off on January 4th to start the second half of our Year Seven travels. The weather gods were smiling on us, the temperatures climbed back above zero C, the skies were a brilliant blue and the highways were clear and dry. Perfect weather for heading south to Mesa, Arizona.