Back in Toronto for a little over 24 hours now. I’m tired beyond belief, but decided to take this opportunity to make a blog entry (perhaps seeing how diligently HJ is blogging from SF and how even HM who hasn’t blogged for ages actually posted a blog ‘motivated’ me into this).

The flight from Singapore was a long one with little sleep. Bad in-flight movies, bad in-flight food, lots of noise and little sleep. Purchased John Grisham’s ‘The Broker’ for inflight reading and finished it 3/4 into the journey. (Incidentally, I realized with dismay upon boarding the plane in Singapore that I had forgotten to bring Norton Juster back with me. A thousand apologies, HX…) I had a difficult time leaving my mom this time, due to various factors. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that this time around, I was leaving her home alone. She did not want to come along on this Toronto visit as she was convinced that she would ‘get in the way of the young people’. On Sunday morning, John, Cathy & Zibin took the 6a.m. Northwestern flight, so it was just me and my mom at the airport when it was my turn to leave. I haven’t felt this sad at the airport since September 2001 (the first time I returned to Toronto without Zibin).

My blah mood continued for the entire journey, right up to the point when the plane touched down in Toronto. Then, after removing the face/sleep mask that I had over my eyes for most of the flight, I noticed that the plane’s windows were frosted with snow. Snow! The weather forecast didn’t predict any snow, but there it was, coming down fast and heavy, a thin blanket of white quickly covering the tarmac outside. The snow put a smile back on my face and things began looking up as I zoomed through customs and happily found that my luggage was one of the first to come through baggage claim. Then, as I made my way to the taxi stand, I saw a beloved face grinning at me. It was Zibin! (How strange is that… ha ha… Zibin picking me up from the Toronto airport when he’s the visitor!) It seems that Daniel had not known that I was coming on a different flight when he picked John and the others up earlier in the day, and he, along with Yuandong, had gallantly made the drive back to the airport to pick me up. Their thoughtfulness warmed and cheered me up by no small measure. On the way back home, the snow that had been falling turned suddenly to rain (it seems it hadn’t snowed at all till around the time my plane arrived…and although quite intense, the sudden snowfall was also very brief). Wanting would later comment that it almost seems that snow came to Toronto on Nov 20th to send me off, and returned briefly on Christmas Day to welcome me back. :P

The evening was far from over though I arrived back at One Park Lane around 9:30p.m. A Christmas feast was still awaiting me at Jamie’s place! Everyone else had already finished their share by the time I arrived, but they saved scrumptious stuff for me. Chicken, baked ham, egg-nog, apple cider, cream of mushroom soup, bread, cheese tarts and walnut tarts, home-made ice-cream served in wafer-thin chocolate cups and gingerbread cookies. All home-cooked and lovingly crafted by Edmund, Jamie, Bertina and Yee Leng. Thank you all for remembering me, waiting for me and saving such wonderful makan for me! Oh, and did I forget to mention the gingerbread village? Little gingerbread houses that were solemly lit with tea candles as we all oohed and ahhed until one, then two of the little houses started to catch fire. But even then we continued watching a while as smoke rose from their roofs and the sweet aroma of burnt gingerbread filled the room. Later as we walked home, Zibin told me how lucky I was to have such friends in Toronto… he was concerned that I would take these lovely friends for granted! :)

When I got back to my room again, I finally had time to check out the surprises that Wanting had alluded several times in her emails to me. There was a delicate candle-holder from Wanting accompanied by a very sweet card…a lovely tiramisu surprise (a treat for my guests and my roommates reserved for us at Sambuca Grill by ‘Hui J/M/X’ as Ting calls them), and a brand new chopping board which Wanting tells me was left at the fireplace by Santa Claus. Thank you, to all my ‘Santa’s!

I was told by Wanting and Zibin that I was quite hyper last night…that probably explained my trouble with falling asleep. By 2a.m. all three of my guests were sound asleep but I still lay awake. I finally did sleep…but only to wake up at 5a.m. Efforts to go back to sleep were futile as I wondered at the irony of how the three visitors seemed to have no jet-lag whatsoever while I…well…was definitely ‘lagged’.

Today was Boxing Day…so we went shopping. My lack of sleep in the last 36 hours began to take its toll and by 4p.m. I was ready to collapse. I never was a die-hard shopper, so you can imagine how I struggled with shopping while being jet-lagged and sleep deprived. I was so grateful when John agreed to order in Swiss Chalet instead of eating out. :P

Now it’s time for me to sleep again…and by all logic, really, I should have no problem sleeping till morning this time around. Here’s crossing my fingers and hoping…

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