It’s 5 am and still dark outside, but with a bit of jet lag this is apparently the best time for an 8-year-old to find his way downstairs to eat his breakfast Corn Pops and talk about snow.
It is at Papa and Granma’s after all, and more so, it is Canada, which means, yes, snow, and talking about it all. Jon is going on about all his exploits like he’s Sir Hillary.
“I hear a rumour,” I then say, “about sledding.”
“We’re going sledding!?” and his eyes get as big as his cereal bowl.
Yes, the plane touched down in Toronto just a day after a worthwhile snowfall, perfect timing for three kids who normally spend Christmas in Africa to now bundle up in snow-jackets and hats and mitts and scarves and get out in it all.
There has been some experimentation. Liz didn’t know snow was “so cold.”
I suspect Jon did, though, when Hannah came in the door yesterday as red-faced as is possible for any black girl. “Jon washed my face with snow,” she said, a little teary, now wanting “hot water” on her face.
And there’s been the obligatory snow angels and sliding head-first and all that.
For Liz, this is the 3rd time she’s seen snow, although the first doesn’t count since she was too young to recall. For Jon, the 2nd, although his first time also didn’t include the joys of sledding, let alone face washing.
For Hannah, though, it’s the first time. And just looking at her while she’s in snow gear makes it plainly clear that her heart is just as much in Canada as it is in her native Uganda.
This came up in a bigger way last week while still back in Uganda, just after the funeral of our Ugandan friend Timothy. It was during a morning school run when Hannah asked “Dad, if I die, where will I be buried? Will they put my body on a plane and fly me back to Canada?”
“Is that what you want?” I asked.
“Yes, that’s what I want. I want to be buried in Canada,” said Hannah.
Seven years old. Isn’t that something?
All the more considering that in African culture where you’re buried – usually in the village of your birth – is a very big deal. (Which is why the world’s media descended on tiny Qunu last week for Nelson Mandela’s funeral.)
For today, though, we’ll just bury Hannah under some more snow. I believe Jon, the 5 am breakfast bandit, is taking care of that.