I was born right here in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I’ve lived here my whole life. I am a tree whose roots have been laid very deep within the earth. Blessed am I to be so grounded. Blessed am I to have a stable job and home. Blessed am I to have so many belongings. Yet somehow it would be ever so nice to uproot my life and to just explore the world. To just, “take chances, make mistakes and get messy.” They say, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Maybe I would appreciate Ottawa much more when it’s just a couple memories in my head. Right now, I just want to break all social acceptabilities and just roam God’s Green Acres.
So, this is my dream. It’s certainly not small. But, neither is God. It is He who ultimately drives our hearts innermost desires and has the power to full fill them all. This is how it all starts.
Growing up, I was privileged to have my grandmother live with my immediate family. She was quite the character. Her smile could light up a room… even in the later years when she had no teeth… in fact, especially then. She had a laugh that was contagious and a voice that everyone listened to. She told stories of her life in India to all of us grandchildren. No matter how far fetched they were, to me, they were so vivid and real. She had a pet monkey named Sam. She would dress him up in hand stitched kurtas and lace him with precious gold necklaces. He would eat peanuts and chutney all day long. The stories of her younger years were even better. She would climb up the mango trees at her boarding school and eat all the mangos and when the teacher noticed her and scolded her to make her come down.. well, she would throw the pits at them.
My mother had similar stories. All the teachers at her boarding school had remembered what a terror my grandma was and somehow were more harsh on her because of it. My mom had stories of climbing the walls of the all girls school to try to play with the boys on the other side. Stories of vendors selling pani poori and salted bore along the ocean front. Stories of how their home was not far from the Bollywood film studios. Stories of the hanging gardens and the red fort and the taj mahal. The story of her sister moving to Canada and her escaping boarding school to live with her sister here in Canada at the age of 9 all by herself and leaving everything she cherished to do it. Including her Suzie Doll who was one of a kind walking talking dolly back in 1967.
Here in Canada, life was different. She was a part of the first Indian family to settle into Peterborough a few years later. She would go on to move to Ottawa to study linguistics at Carleton University. In those years, she would meet my father.
My father was a polar opposite. I guess that’s what attracted them to each other. He was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario. He had a strong Irish background and was a self sufficient guy having been kicked out of his home at the age of 12. He lived on the streets for years. At first he made a living collecting milk bottles door to door and cashing them in. Later he found his niche working very hard in the trades He was strong and truly had that hippy mentality. All you need is love. And so they fell in love quickly. Two of the strongest and most independent people I know are my parents. They started by living in a small apartment on St. Laurent Boulevard with no other furniture but a mattress, and slowly worked to furnish it well. Later they would live in the attic of a family friends house. And finally the house I was born into. My very first home was a little rental property in the small Ottawa South community. It did not matter how little money we had, they always made our house a home. Our home was rich with arts and culture. My sister and I were brought up to be moralistic, well behaved, non judgmental little girls.
After so many hardships, including a fire that lost all of our belongings, I learned that home is not in a house… but, in who you are. |
Who am I? I am a Canadian. Something I might not have always been proud of but, something that has shaped me into who I am now. Something I have grown to embrace. How blessed am I to live in a first world nation? To the moon and back! And if it weren’t for Canada, my parents might not have ever met. I might never have been born. I am Canadian!
Who am I? I am an Indian. Having never traveled to the nation itself, it is in my blood. It is in my heart and it is in my family. I taste India in the recipes my mother passed on. I see India in the saris she left behind. I smell India every time I smell coconut oil or rich spices. I hear India each time I speak to my family.
Who am I? I am Irish. Not just on St Patrick’s Day but every day of the year! I carry it in my maiden name McMahon. I hear it in the stories my father has told my sister and I. How his family sent plane tickets to come visit the family castle. His parents sold those tickets to buy a house here in Ottawa. I’m Irish in the freckles over my arms. I’m Irish in my love for beer even at a wee little age. I’m Irish in my awe for rainbows. I’m Irish in the luck God has given me in life. I am Irish in my blood.
If you dig far enough back into my family history, you might find some spanish and german past. I am all those things and more.
I am a lover of Thai food. By far the most tastiest cuisine to me. I’m a Greek sunset kind of girl. A carribean tropical drink and white sand beach kind of girl. I am an Australian and New Zealand accent kind of girl. I’m an African love for music kind of girl. I’m an oriental technology savvy kind of girl… maybe not that savvy.. but my heart is still there. I’m a rainforest and south american animal lover kind of girl. You can find a piece of me anywhere across this planet. Find me in the Philippines and in Britain, find me in France and in Russia. Find me in the Arctic or Antarctic. You can even find me in space, chilling among the stars.
There is one thing that unites each of us. That is, we are all human.
God has given us waterfalls and hot springs. He gave us the moon and the stars. He painted the morning and the night with the sun rise and the sun set. He has given us a home right here in this very universe. So, I will dream no little dreams. I dream to to uproot my life and to just explore the world. To just, “take chances, make mistakes and get messy.” I want to roam God’s Green Acres. I want to meet my family like this December 2014 in India when I can finally meet face to face with my family for a wedding on my birthday (Come on – Tell me its meant to be!?). In this new year, I resolve to use my life to travel. From Ireland to India and all that’s in between!