Monday, January 23, 2012

So Many Firsts in One Weekend for My Airplane Friend

Some of you may recall that I sat beside a young fellow from Southern India on the plane coming back from India this summer.  We stayed in touch and have had him over to visit several times.  There is a chance he will be leaving in a month so we thought we should make his Canadian education complete by taking him to our family cottage.  We also invited the friends I went to Bangladesh and India with and made an expedition of it.  

Now a Canadian winter is about as opposite to Southern India as you can get, so Jacob had a weekend of firsts.  He's been in Toronto since August so he has seen snow and ice (despite the fact that this has been a very warm and unsnowy winter), but he hadn't seen deep snow or icicles or frozen lakes!  Imagine seeing all of this for the first time.

We couldn't have arranged for better winter weather if we had tried.  It was clear and sunny on Saturday with a fresh deep layer of snow on all the trees and the temperatures were -10 on Saturday and -5 on Sunday which meant it was cold enough to make the snow pretty, but warm enough that we could enjoy the outdoors.

Doing things for the first time is one of the joys of traveling and living in new places.  I will never forget riding on the rickshaws in Bangladesh  for the first time and I'm sure Jacob will never forget his first time walking through snow that was up over his knees.  I was counting all the firsts on the drive back to the city and came up with at least ten.  Here they are in no particular order:

1.  Keeping warm when it is -10 outside.  Jacob had to buy himself a winter jacket, scarf, and gloves back in the fall when the temperatures started to drop so he had some, but not all of the proper clothing. You can get by without boots in the city, especially in a mild winter like this one. So we outfitted Jacob with my husband's winter boots, a pair of splash pants to keep the snow off his pants, and a thick pair of mittens. He learned to make sure the splash pants were fastened on the outside of the boots to keep the snow out. And he learned how painful it is to take photographs with bare hands in the winter - oh the things we do to get some great shots!

2.  Walking through knee deep snow - which is very! very! very! tiring!

photo taken by Jacob

3.  Seeing icicles - he was pretty excited to see even some little baby ones when we first got there, but was very excited when we went to see the ice flows on the rock cuts at the side of the road.

4.  Seeing frost on the windows.

5.  Eating new foods like porridge for breakfast and French Canadian Pea Soup for lunch and drinking a warm mug of hot chocolate when you come in from the cold - and melting snow to get water to cook with and to wash the dishes in.

photo taken by Jacob

6.  Seeing a snow angel. Kim obliged and made him one - what are friends for if not to make a snow angel for you!

photo taken by Jacob

7.  Going tobogganing. The conditions on the cottage road were perfect for tobogganing and we all took at least a few turns. Jacob loved it although he was a little nervous at first that he would kill himself. Fortunately he survived and had loads of fun.

8.  Walking on a frozen lake and seeing fishing huts. The lake was frozen, but I wasn't sure how solid it was so we stuck to the shore. 

9.  Going on the roof to remove the snow. For some reason, William and Jacob took this job very seriously and spent a lot of time figuring out the best way to remove snow from the roof and trying out different techniques. There's nothing like a project that engages your brains and your brawn.

10.  Sleeping under three heavy quilts to keep warm - ahh - nothing like it!

That's a lot of firsts for one weekend, don't you think?

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Linked to A Good Life Wednesday at A Beach Cottage


  1. I bet he was having the best time in the snow. What wonderful pictures.

  2. What a beautiful post! I love the pictures and your time at the cabin sounds perfect, but what I like most is that you helped your friend make memories for a lifetime.

  3. You are such a kind woman and family. I am sure he will never forget it. It must have been wonderful to see his joy and delight in experiencing Winter firsthand.

  4. How great it must have been to see his reaction. This is something he will cherish forever Grace. Really special!

  5. Beautiful pictures. And how exciting for Jacob; something he'll never forget.

  6. What a great weekend for a visitor! I haven't seen frost on the window like that in a long time.

  7. How much fun! I know Jacob had a great time. Brrr...I am getting cold just looking at your amazing photos!

  8. Wow Grace! Your family has given him a lifetime of wonderful memories I am sure! It is so terrific that you have given him such an amazing gift of spending time with a Canadian family seeing Canadian culture for real! Thanks for you sharing this friendship with this young man...and he looks so happy! Angie xo