Crossing Over

Life is full of choices.

And whatever choice we make — right or wrong; good or bad — it will have a major impact in our present…and in our future. 
This is the guiding principle I reminded myself of when I heeded Ruthie’s advice to apply for a Canadian visa. Truthfully, stepping in Canadian soil was not part of my initial plan when I eyed NYCM (New York City Marathon) 2018. To reach USA and run my ultimate dream was already enough for me. But, Ruthie had other things in mind to make me get the most out of my stay with her which tremendously benefited me in the end.

A little anxious when I processed my online application here in the Philippines, I had the biggest surprise in my life when I was granted a Canadian multiple entry visa. And this was all I needed to be with Emy, Ruthie and Jeff on November 7-8, 2018 for another road trip.

We left the Uchida’s residence around past 5:00 am to fetch Emy from her place which is a 30-minute drive from Messler Street, New Jersey. That day, the three of us would be at Jeff’s mercy as he became our driver.
When I took my place at the backseat, I tuned in to the moment with all my senses. I allowed the pulsing aliveness to wipe out all remnants of sleepiness.

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It was a smooth ride. Jeff was a cool “Master of the Steering Wheel.” I had the extreme delight of admiring the sight of fall season along our way.

Nearing the Canadian border, I felt little jitters in my stomach. You see, queuing at the border is a scene in foreign films where tension builds up. Oh, blame it to my watching a lot of thriller and action movies like Angelina Jolie’s Salt. Will I be forcibly taken out of the vehicle and be mercilessly interrogated by the Canadian custom officer? Will I be barred from crossing the border because of my document? Will I be…? Will I…? Will…? I waited in an agony of suspense while the stoic-looking officer in the booth inspected my passport. Then, we were given a pass after a few queries. *Deep sigh*

What met my eyes next was the scenery that began transforming to the Great White North landscape. My pupils widened and my heartbeat became erratic due to mixed feelings even though Canada did not make it difficult for me.

We arrived in Toronto a little late in the afternoon.

First destination was to visit another high school batchmate/friend. Our meeting place was the hospital where her brother was currently confined. In spite of the trying time Debbie Villaflor (Mary Sidel to most of us) was in, she greeted us heartily. Thirty-two years did not change Debbie, whom I’ve known way back in grade school just like Emy. She’s still the charming and cheerful mestiza-looking Daraguena I know.

Immediately, she invited us to a diner where we could continue our conversation and update her about the scheduled high school homecoming the year after. 

Canadian food was not bad at all! *Burrrrp* Its alien but palatable taste contributed to my exuberance even after our heavy early dinner.

I, a trying hard mannikin, turned the street of Toronto as my catwalk in a jiffy! 🤣😂😅 And I got to acknowledge Ruthie’s photography and directorial skills for the right poses. Hahahaha…It was indeed a blast! With our laughter, I did hope it helped Debbie in releasing whatever pain and sadness she was undergoing…even temporarily. Then, we bid her ‘goodbye’ for our next stop before going to our night’s accommodation. 

November 8 was my most awaited day in Toronto.
At long last, I would experience the breathtaking view of Niagara Falls that whole Thursday morning!

From this juncture, readers, allow me to make these photos speak for I have become “speechless” in painting my up close and personal encounter with this Natural Wonder of the World verbally. 

To use ‘majestic, stunning, hypnotic’ would still not give justice in describing Niagara Falls. *Gasp* Webster and Oxford must coin the perfect and patented descriptor for her asap!

And as for me, I took full advantage of what Canada offered under time pressure. Hahaha…

No one from my companions dared stop me. We were all in agreement to seize that day in any fashion that we wanted to. Jeff, a certified real trouper, included. 

Now, would I leave Toronto without taking a nonprohibited item into the US?  One of the routines of a typical tourist, we dropped by this shop before exiting Canada…

…and letting my insatiable eyes take one last look at this paradise.

Photo Credits:

Emy Geronga-Cebedo
Mary Ruth Tatel-Uchida

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