Skating at the Legislature Grounds
This week, Adz and I are travelling to India for the first time in four years. And I will be spending almost seven weeks with my family and catching up with all my friends and relatives. You can only imagine how happy I am to be doing this after all this time.
India is close to my heart in many ways. I'll be honest, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I am sure I am looking at it with the rose tinted glasses of an expat making my way home. And while I know India has its share of problems, but for me the number one reason going back is my wonderful family. Its hard not seeing them for almost four years, especially when I have never been away for so long before. So its hard not to be bubbling over with excitement.
I am also looking forward to showing my baby girl her mother's homeland. Adz has been to India before, but she was only two, and doesn't remember much of it. And my little girl is a very typical Canadian kid, so its doubly exciting to not just introduce her to family, but also show her all the places I grew up as a child. And ahem... the ice cream parlours. She's very excited about them, wink.
Part of me is unsure, even nervous about going back home. Its been a long time and things will have changed a lot. My beautiful childhood home no longer exists, for example. For the first time in forever, I will be living with my parents in an unfamiliar place, their rented apartment. Its going to be a definite adjustment, not just in terms of space, but also thinking about where to go and how to get there. And while I love the idea of sharing space with my family, you can imagine that the lack of space and privacy will take its toll. Not as much on me, as I grew up in India, and I revert to being Indian, down to the accent when I get there, but for Adz who is used to space and having her own room. But at the same time, it is a valuable lesson to learn for my little girl, and even if it may be a culture shock, its going to be one that is a learning experience too.
I am not going to miss the cold, that's for sure, neither am I going to miss the shoveling (ouch, my poor back). I will, however, miss the crisp days where the sun is warm on the cheeks, even as the ground sparkles with snow. I will miss a real, white Christmas, and the joys of snuggling in front of a warm wood fire on a cold night. And yes, I will miss my family and friends in Canada very much. But at the same time, I am looking forward to basking in some
Ten tips for travelling on a long flight with a child.
My survival kit for a long flight with a slightly older child (don't have a baby anymore) - these are probably old hat for those of you that travel frequently, but I always like reading such tips, because I usually learn something new every time.
- A decent pair of headphones. I hate airline issued earbuds, and they are pain to wear for Adz too, so we carry our own lightweight sets.
- A book. Computers and phones and movies are all well and good, but there is nothing like a good book to while away the long hours watching your kid sleep. This time, I am taking with me the delightful looking 'The Dilettantes' by local author Michael Hingston.
- A change of clothes for said child. Whether your kid is 6 months or 6 years, there will inevitably be an accident which requires a change of clothes (trust me, I speak from experience...) An extra t-shirt and sweatpants will be your saving grace from overpriced airport duty free clothes (again... talking from experience, $90 tee-shirt, yipes)
- Snacks. To get rid of the dreaded 'I am hungry' whines. I usually carry granola and fruit bars.
- A few activities. There are only so many movies a child can watch before getting bored. So we are taking a few books as well.
- Pyjamas and their favourite stuffed toy, and even a blankie if its an overnight flight. It settles kids down, and you can get a few hours rest while they sleep.
- A water bottle. You can't take liquids through security, but I carry an empty bottle that I fill with 1/4 juice + 3/4 water + pinch of salt. Its a great way of keeping hydrated through the journey.
- A portable charger for your phone. We don't have a tablet, but I do have a few games on my phone, and they sure do drain the battery fast. This portable charger is lightweight, the same size as my phone and takes the same USB charger, and is invaluable for long trips. It charges my phone from dead to full life twice, and its worth its weight in gold :) Thanks for the tip, Diane.
- OK, considering everything I just said earlier, this is a little contradiction, but pack lighter carry on luggage :) Especially if you have connecting flights. Its a pain to drag a child, a whole bunch of bags and race through terminals trying to find your boarding gate. If you can do without it, check it in. While some European airports are wonderful and have in-lounge trolleys, most airports make you walk through. So I pack a lightweight suitcase that turns into a backpack, if necessary, and double up my camera bag as my handbag, so I am only carrying 2 pieces of luggage. I also keep space in my bag to put in Adz's books and toys, so when she gets tired of carrying her backpack, I can easily stow her stuff in mine. I found this carry on size bag a massive help!
- And finally... I know this is a hard one. Do try and enjoy the flight. It used to be that flying was so much fun. We were all excited and looking forward to it all the time, and it was a big deal. We even got all dressed up to fly. Somewhere along the line, flying became a stressful activity, full of angst and anger and rage. I want to reclaim the joy of flying, of that excitement, of that sense of wonder of being in a tin can far above the world. This year, I have made the decision to not get angry with bullies, to ignore the tut tuts of passengers who don't think kids should be fly, and I am going to just relax and try and recapture the wonder of flying with my beautiful daughter. I want her to grow up to be a considerate passenger and the only way I can do it is if I myself am one, a relaxed, happy passenger, who loves the idea that flying just means that we're one step closer to getting to what matters most - family.