It is now nearly 10 years ago now that my dad walked in one evening and said,
"Guys, guess what? We are going to Vancouver!"
He was greeted by silence. Not that we (my mom, brother and I) had any sort of hatred toward Vancouver. We just didn't know what the hell IT was!
My brother looked at me and I at him. We both shrugged and said,
"Err..so where is this place, Dad?"
[I was hoping that it was indeed a place instead of some new restaurant in Madurai!]
"British Columbia, Canada."
There were excited shrieks of "Canada" and in the general medlee of noises, eager questions and shouts that followed, we scrambled to find the long-lost Atlas at home. It was hidden in one corner of a dusty shelf, abandoned and uncared for. :) We brought it back to the center table, dusted it off and eagerly turned the well-worn pages to the Canadian map.
"There it is!" My dad pointed. "Just above the US border, on the shores of the Pacific. Can you see it?"
We squinted and nodded our heads slowly.
"Canada. Is it going to be very cold?"
"So will they speak English or French?"
"Will it be a friendly place?"
"Are we going to school there? How long?"
"Yay! We are going to FLY there? How long is the journey?"
"So can we bunk school for the next 3 months?"
"Will it be safe for the kids to grow up there?"
"You mean, I have to leave my friends here???"
Questions poured in from all directions.
My brother, who was lost in contemplation suddenly said,
"British Columbia. Sounds familiar."
Now, when a 10-year-old makes a statement like that, a responsible 15-year-old like me was bound to respond with a smirk,
"Yeah right. I am sure you were born there!"
"No. I have seen this name somewhere recently."
And with that, he rushed excitedly to the annual SBI calendar for 1996 and turned to September. And sure enough, there was a statue of an athlete with a caption "Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC". The picture looked very pretty with blue skies, a very fine harbour , beautiful yachts anchored and lots of people walking around in the snow.
"So what do you think?", I asked my brother.
He shrugged. "I don't know. You?"
"I don't either."
That day, I remember, the entire family was huddled around chattering excitedly, gathering as much information as we could about Vancouver, British Columbia - our home to be for the next four years or so ....
[The Diary will continue to write itself...]