09 November 2011

She is off!

Charleston, S.C.
My plane isn't until 3:30ish but I might as well go to the airport now. My mind is buzzing and I can't sit still. Woohoo. This is so exciting.

I've talked about bits and pieces of my story but this is the short version. My father was a school teacher in Canada who decided to go to north east India in 1963 to serve as headmaster of a little elementary school that was sponsored by his church. My mother had been a nurse and although she primarily helped teach in the school she also set up a first aid shop in our living room. I was seven years old and the third of eight children.

Actually I was the third of seven children at that time. My mother was pregnant when they moved and she didn't tell anyone. My father delivered my youngest brother Jim during a wild windy night in the room next to me. My parents tossed us all in the local school barefoot with little chalkboards to write on. I sharpened my pencils with a straight razor and we hiked to the rivers on the weekends to wash clothes and bath.

Meghalaya is a beautiful part of India, tribal and hilly. Most years it is the rainiest place in the world.  The British used to call it the Scotland of the East. The Khasi tribe is matriliniel with the youngest daughter inheriting and the children take the mother's name. When it came time for high school we walked three miles into Shillong to St. Mary's High School which was taught in English. As we each finished high school we were at a bit of a loss and one after another came back to Canada or the states to fend for ourselves. I landed in Toronto for Nursing School with waist length braids, dorky glasses and everything was new and fresh. Everything.

My brother Jim came back at the age of fourteen and years later after a trip back to visit he decided Shillong was where he felt most at home. He married Val, a Khasi wife and they have three adorable boys. They lead adventure eco tours of remote areas and that is where I am going. I am taking my daughter back to see what I have been talking about all these years.

We will meet up in Newark, fly Newark to Delhi (15 hours....help me...) where a lovely lady I have only met on Facebook is going to pick us up for a quick overnight. The next morning we fly to the northeast. Jim is to pick us up and we head immediately to a village which is holding a drum festival. Beside visiting my childhood haunts, we will go to Arunachal Predash the furthest north state close to China and visit Buddhist villages. The finale before heading home is the elephant safari in Kaziranga. Back to Charleston on Dec 1st.

I doubt I will have much internet access so other than quick messages I will shut down but I'll be back!  Keep the place looking nice, no feet on the coffee table. Pick up your socks. Have a great thanksgiving and know that I am so thankful for you - all the folks who drop by and leave a friendly comment. You make my life a treat!