Harvard Blog #2

Indeed! The story continues now while Diana did say “Just boarded the flight leaving at 8:55 so should be in Boston tonight.  Yeah!!!” She neglected to say that the aircraft was actually 20 minutes late in taking off. You may ask why? It is very clear there hasn’t been snow for 12 hours from the morning but they had to de-ice. You have to de-ice if you want the plane to actually take off! This is not a bad thing if you happen to be tied into an aluminium tube somewhere in row 7699, that is the real back of the bus. Your knees are conveniently placed under your chin In the new convenient sleeping position for short-haul flights. The physical seat arrangement is a new marketing ploy from Air Canada. The reality is,  AC canceled so many flights and it has to get rid of the Lounge Bunnies.  They added standing knee to chin room only on the last flight out.

The continuing saga…. Indeed we did arrive in Boston with 7-Up and pretzels as the big Killory complimentary snacks that are served on flights by Air Canada. You get a plastic bag that is impossible to open without wire cutters, containing exactly two pretzels in it, and I mean exactly 2 miniaturized pretzels.  I counted them. If you want three pretzels that’ll be $15.95

Arrival at the gate! Running to pick up our luggage, but of course, there’s no luggage. We got on the plane,  but my toothbrush and Diana’s beauty kit did not. Our luggage was ready to board for 12 hours. It did not. It must have gone to the luggage longe. This of course is a very secret place in the bowels of Pearson airport and is often confused with the Anglican subway refurbishment.

I’m of the opinion, that Air Canada does this on purpose to little old grey-haired people who won’t complain too much, because of course we’ve been drinking a little wine in the Maple-leaf Lounge.

At the end of the day I moved on to Gin and tonic a very fine libation given the cumstances.

We are now in our cosy 75 room apartment, and you are all welcome.

Harvard Blog #1

HARVARD Diatribe #1

Dear diary friends relatives and other hangers on.

As part of our great excitement and apprehension of going to Harvard for orientation and the anticipation of our first day in the big city of Cambridge, it has all but been dashed and smashed.

While my apprehension and total anxiety is related to US customs and the anticipation with associated curiosities of the issuance of a J one visa and the potential of being scanned fingerprinted and other important parts of my body measured. This did not come to pass. That part of the experience went exceedingly fast and was very efficient and I wasn’t taken apart in some back room by the only available border Gorilla-guard security person, AKA Homeland Security, whose sole job is to intimidate any one into a snivelling wreck closely related to the consultancy of jello.  This is all before being allowed into the United States of America. The Canadian perception, of the US’s normally welcoming attitude has changed over the last few years.  There are now, border walls Homeland Security’, CIA, FBI, and NSA.  They all scare me to death.

Canadians hibernation is a good concept. Canadians are part of  the rest of the world, and being declared a Non Resident Alien is a brain cramping thought.  Contrary, to my apprehension the true welcoming American does exist and is alive and well, for the moment. Our first interaction was with the issuer of our J-1 visa.  He had some amazing tattoos of The Walking Dead which added to my fear.  However, I made a complementary comment on his ink and I think, it eased the visa through the system.

Our trouble started with the advent of arriving at the Maple leaf lounge. The word on their notice board clearly read our flight was canceled. Air Canada has tendency to cancel flights if they don’t have a totally full flight. Now while Diana had the foresight to buy a pass to Maple-Leaf lounge for the troglodytes of Toronto, this part of the overall experience is becoming ever more stress-free. I have no allocated points that would allow me even into a washroom at Pearson. Diana, in her wisdom bought a Maple-Leaf Lounge pass for me.

We are currently well ensconced, well fed and for the first time in my life I had a relaxing glass of wine at 11 o’clock in the morning. For all those that did not know, wine at 11 AM is purely medicinal. In fact we been up for most of the day having risen in total darkness in anticipation of the dehumanization process with US border security, which did not culminate in my being dragged off into a dark room with big men in black balaclavas, large truncheons and electrical wires.

It being now the second booked flight cancellation and now the third flight has also been cancelled as well. Diana has used her contacts at AC to establish if we are actually on the flight to Boston at all. Guess what, we are not on any planes. Oh my God I don’t beleive it! we don’t exist…Maybe a curse from the Grateful Dead.

So, I got up at 5 o’clock in the morning to deal with a Canadian airline conundrum, a little seasonal snow, which seems to confuse the entire Nation. Doesn’t Canada get snow every Year? Who knows if we will get to Boston at all ???

The intrepid Daina returns to report back that the 4 o’clock flight has also been canceled. Who knows we may get on the 6 o’clock. No that is cancelled too!!

Now given the number of flight cancellations and the amount of free wine available in the lounge with the number of hours that we have been here I think I could consume my weight in wine and other alcoholic beverages and pay for the flight.

Hey, a nice Air Canada employee called Michael Douglas did come by and tried to help us as we consume yet another glass of wine.

To be continued…..

Our Syrian Family one Year Later Dec 2017

What a success story!  Rabea Has a good job in his field, that he found on his own.  After a year of guidance and help from the Dames for Humanity, all is well.  The family is self-supporting and the Children’s English is amazing. Mara is the stalwart keeping it all together and feeing all in true Eastern traditions.

As Rabi said he arrived with a family of 6 members and he was scare and now has another 8 wonderful Canadian women, some of whom were immigrants themselves, who selfishly helped all the Sibais’ through the trials and tribulation of moving to Canada. A new foreign place of snow and cold, new customs, new schools, new food and new language.  They made it!

Here is a small tribute to them and the Canadians that helped as we all celebrated their first year in Toronto Canada.

When they arrived:

Syrian Family from R Henderson on Vimeo.

One year later:

Sibai Family 1st Anniversary from R Henderson on Vimeo.

The Liberal Canadian Government’s program of private sponsorship is, in this case, a success story of quick effective integration, so that our new comers are up, productive and running as fast as they can.  This of course is no mean feat and shows the motivation of “Our Family”

Thank you  Rabi, Msadi, Lutfi, Ghaith, Baraa and Zaid for being our friends and New Canadians.


RH 2018/01