The newest bundle of proverbial joy was not nearly as quiet as me, but not as loud as Mina. She looked quite a bit like her maternal grandmother, with near-identical facial features.
Ah, yes. Grandparents. Yet another subject that needs to be covered.
Let me explain in the simplest way possible. My mother's parents are both alive today and live in Pakistan currently. My father's, however, are unfortunately not the same; his father died before he was born and his mother is bed-ridden and suffering from dementia. On a recent trip to Pakistan, she was unable to recognize her son.
But let us return to Ham.
Her name was chosen by Mina, after one of her friends, and roughly meant 'mother's moon'. I was named by my maternal grandmother, a name that appeared in the Qur'an. Mina's current name also appears in the Qur'an, and means 'true muslim'. She used to be named something else (and still legally is) but apparently the name was causing ill fortune or such. Odd, but I suppose this is an odd world we live in.
My mother would drop Ham off at the daycare when she had to work, and the caretakers there apparently grew very fond of her.
When we were leaving for Canada, with Ham still very young, one of them asked to be left the child to raise in Saudi Arabia.
Naturally, my mother declined.
When I first heard we were going, I thought that it wasn't a place, but a woman we were visiting who I imagined to live in a cabin high up in the cliffs, amid escarpments and gorges like the Grand Canyon or something.
I couldn't be more wrong.
Our family stayed first with some family friends in their apartment. I, apparently, used to be extremely bothered by their daughter, Amie, when she tried to follow me about, and became possessive of the room that was actually hers.
We did some sightseeing as a group, of which I still have some pictures.
Our family got an apartment of our own, in another town. I briefly attended the school there before we moved again into another apartment.
Now I was in a new school.
Most of my memories of the school are pleasant; Water Fun Day, various food stands, running about in their large fields, eating the red tendrils from what was presumably some kind of grape vine.
I was almost surprised at how good it felt to socialize, to have friends. Once I was nominated for some kind of 'helpfulness' award and actually won. That felt wonderful. I also remember winning this pumpkin colouring contest. My pumpkin was a classic orange with a fang-filled grin and crescent-shaped eyes, entry number thirteen. The prize was a cute mini pumpkin and a tube of m&m's.
We also used to have skating trips in this school. I stank miserably, of course, but would have enough fun sliding along on the ice while gripping the railing, wrapped up in a jacket and snowpants. I happened to miss their 'Swim to Survive' trips when on a trip to Pakistan, and sulked loads.
I was put into a grade 1/2 class, with a Ms. Brown as my teacher. She was nice, with a long blonde ponytail and pretty eyes. I think she used to do these draw things where you could get a prize, but I never won. I also remember a Ms. Z., who wasn't my teacher but still did some activities with our class, like reading this depressing story called 'Faithful Elephants' and handing out apple pie slices to the kids.
We may have even made apple chips once, on this drying fan thing. They tasted funny.
I don't remember much of anything about grade two. There was this lady, Ms. Ali, who had the wildest hair and this funky accent. I think she did reading activities.
Grade three, I believe, happened in Mrs. Johnson's class. Naturally, she went on mat leave, and we really had Ms. Martin for the whole year. She had reddish hair and sharp features, and was nice as far as I can remember.
And so end my memories of that time. I do remember, however, that I was always losing my glasses. Another snippet of recollection is having a green caterpillar fall on said glasses as I waited in line outside. That was scary.
I also did tell this sweet girl, Jillian, about the end of the world. Miiissssssssstaaaake.
There was also this creepy guy called David who disappeared and reappeared. Shudder.
I think I also remember being told about some bully who was hitting people with sticks. I thought that was pretty dang dumb, and I was right.
Oh yes, and I was also in this 'fashion show' for a cultural potluck. Some guy from the news came and I was so mad that I hadn't brought my better lengha, or a long skirt with a long shirt too. Apparently I was on the news, but we didn't have the channel and I sulked some more.
Another field trip does come to mind; our class went to some Sugar Shack to see how maple syrup was made, and I managed to nick the slice of wood me and another kid got to saw. It smelled good. I may still have it in my house somewhere.
And I would be lying if I told you I didn't remember my two greatest pestilences from those years, a certain Juhi and Joanna.
Joanna was a know-it-all who constantly locked horns with me in the fight to be number one. We went on this trip to an old Schoolhouse once, and we were the two finalists in the spelling bee. I slipped up and said the American spelling, and she won the certificate, dang it.
Juhi, well, I don't have a clue what I had against her, except that she was quite annoying and followed Joanna around like she was the cure to cancer.
There it is for you, my life from grades one to three.
After this, my family buys the house I am living in right now, and we move to the suburbs.
But that is for the next chapter.