EXPLORING – in the nick of time

I think today is Friday. You will have to forgive my uncertainty – you see, I have not had a full night’s rest since Monday. I have been subsisting on 2 to 3 hour portions of sleep at random hours of the day and night and I think it is finally catching up to my senses.

I was assuming a certain amount of unrest at the onset of the trip, given the 20 plus hours of travel time and the 12 hour time difference, but this has soared far beyond my expectations. Let’s start from the beginning…

We, my grandmother and I and my grandfather who drove us, left the house around 3:30 pm Tuesday afternoon. Their house is located centrally between two airports and somehow we all thought we were leaving from the Montreal Airport, when in reality we were scheduled to leave from the Ottawa one. It was looking rather dire as we turned around and headed back in the opposite direction after driving most of the way to Montreal. But, thanks to a bit of luck and a little speeding by my grandfather, we made it to Ottawa with 10 minutes to spare.

We were flooded with relief and had a pleasant, albeit longer than anticipated, trip to Frankfurt. I was able to sleep a bit here and a bit there, but nothing sustained or of much value over the 9 hour trip. Mid flight we encountered head winds that delayed us about an hour, so our fairly comfortable hour and a half layover became an all to short mad dash for the gate. All would have been well if we hadn’t have had to go through yet another security check point.

For those of you who don’t know, my grandmother has a very specialized hobby – she collects and wears some very elaborate and beautiful jewelry. Sufficed to say – security is not her friend. But at this security check point, they loved her. They loved her so much in fact that she was scanned and then scanned again. Then they proceeded to wave their security wand over and around every piece of jewelry and just when I thought they were done her, they went and scanned her yet again. In the mean time, I had piled on her and my own carry-ons and was ready to run.

And run I did. Okay, not so much a run as a fastish walk. I paused every now and again, to make sure my grandmother took this turn or that stair. And when I finally saw the gate, I was amazed that there was still someone standing there. At that point they had delayed the flight for ten minutes already and were just seconds away from closing the doors. Fortunately for us, we were meeting the third member of our traveling trio and she had the good sense to stall, stall, stall. Shahin must have had some magical stall tactics, for her efforts allowed us to be the last passengers to board the flight.

After another 8 or so hours with bits of sleep and two more meals, we landed safely in Chennai. Unfortunately, our luggage did not. It was still in Frankfurt, and would have to wait until the next flight 24 hours later. After standing in line (or should I say mob) and filing the proper lost luggage paper work, it was nearly 3 am. We met our welcoming party (to our great delight) outside the airport and piled into the large van that at this point seemed rather empty without our 5 giant suitcases. The hotel was about a half hour away and by the time we were all settled in it was 4 am. Four short hours later we were up and ready for another day.

And it went like this: breakfast, lots of driving through hot crowded streets, some shopping, a lunch meeting or two, more driving, another meeting, driving, a two hour nap, a dinner meeting, another short nap, and then to the airport again to get our bags. This took about an hour, but was fairly easy. We all piled back in the van and packed in the luggage and were finally on our way to the Kaliyampoondi home at 2 am. I tried to sleep on the 2 hour drive, but my head was having none of it.

I was grateful to finally lay my head down at 4 am, but 6 am came way too soon. We had a wedding to go to and apparently it was auspicious at this unfortunate hour. Our nurse at the home, Magiswari, was to be wed and we had promised her our attendance. So with groggy head, I willed my fingers to remember how to fold and pin my sari. Too long, too short, ahh just right…We piled in the auto and made our way to the nearby town of Utterameru. The ceremony was underway and we managed to shuffle in close enough to see the bride and groom. snap some photos, eat some food, and head back to the home.

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Ahh…home. I truly feel like I am returning home in Kaliyampoondi. Maybe it is because I volunteered here for nearly a year, maybe it is because the children and staff are so wonderful and kind and loving – but this home feels like my home and I am thankful to return as often as I am able.

After an hour or two of playing and singing and dancing with the children, and some heartfelt greetings with the staff, we retired to our rooms for a bit of well needed rest.

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So that brings us to now, when instead of resting I am writing. This is not boding well. I sure hope tonight’s sleep is full and deep.

Thanks for reading!

-Rene

 

(This post was written before I had an internet connection. Let me fill you in on my hopeful night’s rest. It didn’t happen. Although sauna’s do provide a certain amount of relaxation, unfortunately they are not conducive to sleep…)

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6 responses to “EXPLORING – in the nick of time

  1. All of us here, at your other home….are so happy you are doing exactly what you want to do… explore, learn, and write about it….we especially like it when you write!!! Enjoy your travels!

  2. I’m sure by now you are getting used to the fun of traveling with your grandmother. However, heading to the wrong airport, Oh My!!

  3. What an incredible journey so far!! And more to come… Good to see that you’re adjusting and taking the most out of it! I would have love to be at Maggeswari’s wedding! Lucky you! Thanks for the pictures, the kids are lovely, as always! Makes me miss them even more… Have a safe flight to Nepal! 🙂

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