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Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday Moments {An Anniversary}

In August of '91, I experienced my first life-changing event: I, along with my Mum and Dad and three brothers, made a transatlantic move from Africa to North America.

I was five and half years old.

There's not much I remember about Africa, more specifically, Sudan. I don't know if the memories I do have are because of repeat family tellings, or moments stored in my own memory banks. Either way, I want to record them just in case I lose my memories of Africa completely. :)

I remember...

*Swallowing a coin that my Uncle gave me.
...My Mum told him not to give it to me, since I had a habit of putting everything in my mouth. He just laughed, looked at me and said "You wouldn't do that, right?" and proceeded to place it in my eager hands. I remember walking behind him on the path to our house and putting it my mouth several times but always able to take it out...until the last time when it slipped all the way down and got stuck in my throat. The coin got stuck sideways so I was still able to breathe and drink water but couldn't eat. My mom was so frantic because at first she didn't know what was wrong {I kept quiet and didn't let her know I had disobeyed}. Finally we took a taxi to the hospital. I remember walking around a circular garden type thing in the middle of the courtyard, and then being put on a stretcher. While I was knocked out, the doctor pulled the coin out. I remember being wheeled out of the operating room, the doctor at my side. He held up the coin and asked me if I was going to swallow it. I grinned and shook my head. He gave it to my Mum for a keepsake, and also some x-ray shots, but I think both got lost in the shuffle of life. I was probably close to being four years  old.

*Eating fish at a neighbour's house.
...I remember it being really yummy and I *think* fish is tasty...but, I won't touch any kind of sea food...even the fake breaded stuff you can get from the freezer section at the grocery store! Maybe I don't want to ruin a good memory?!?!

*The facilities
...I am so, so thankful for modern toilets! There was only one time that I had to visit the local bathroom. My Mum normally took care of things for us since we were all so young, so a visiting lady must have taken me. Let me tell you that a hole in the ground in pitch black surroundings conjures up a whole lot of scary ideas! I was so afraid I would fall in!

Moving on.

*Some neighbourhood children
...I only remember one family with several children that played with us. I use to remember their names, but it has slipped my mind now. I still remember as we would chase each other to and from our homes.

*Going to a funeral
...I believe this was the grandpa of the kids who played with us. I remember going into the house where this old man lay dying. There was a stench of sickness, that coupled with the heat of day, just made me sick. I remember him lying on a thin mattress so decimated that I was scared. His eyes had shrunk in his head and he was just skin and bones. The room was dim and dirty...I never saw him again. He passed away that night. After, I remember being part of a crowd watching as some men carried a stretcher type thing that carried his body.

*The heat
...it was ALWAYS so hot. I don't remember it ever being cool. Maybe that's one of the reasons summer is my least favorite season!

*Twisting my arm
...My older brother and I were doing cartwheels on the bed. As soon as Mum said we would get hurt if we didn't stop, we crashed into each other and I ended up hurting my arm.

*My first scar
...Some of the Mum's were having tea inside while a fellow baby and I played outside. We got into the usual mischief and then everything became quiet. Our Mum's knew that there was something wrong and came outside to find my arm sliced open from elbow to wrist and a bite mark on the little boy. Apparently, Baby and I made an agreement: I could bite him as hard as I wanted and he could cut me using the razor he found. We were about two and half years old. I still have the scar so I doubt I'll ever forget this memory {or telling ;}!

*My first flight
...And then, at five and half, my family boarded for their first flight on an airplane. The only memory I have of this is my Mum taking turns with having two kids in the bathroom...being sick. It lasted the entire flight. Maybe this also is a reason of why I don't want to ride on planes?!

On August 30, 1991, we landed on Canadian soil. And from that moment on, my life was changed.
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