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Home sweet home…

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My nephew the monkey - aka veteran tree climber (photo: Carissa Hickling)

My nephew the monkey – aka veteran tree climber (photo: Carissa Hickling)

We’re back in my hometown of Winnipeg, Canada to visit family, friends and catch the 40th Winnipeg Folk Festival. As it is impossible on these trips to see everyone everywhere, my sister and her partner host a “Meet & Greet”. Typically on a Sunday afternoon, the tradition began almost 10 years ago with a Facebook invite to a few folks and has grown into a lovely multi-generational gathering with an age spread of a few months to 80 plus!

It was a beautifully sunny day with a glorious blue sky typical of the prairies – perfect weather for climbing trees and a BBQ. As always, we had a delightful mix of family and friends from various walks of life. I’ve not been surprised to see a priest joking with an ex con, 80s flashbacks of punk school shenanigans shared with earnest academics, folk fest volunteers, survivalist instructor, aerial dancer, politicos, film, digital media, nanny, scientist, environmentalist, geeks to creative types of all kinds, self-made international business person, homemakers (male and female persuasion)… It’s a kaleidoscope of near and dear – each distinct characters that come together for a rollicking good time.

The Hicklings - 2013 summer edition

The Hicklings – 2013 summer edition

I’m one of those fortunate folks who genuinely LIKES her family – they are an interesting bunch of people who even if we were not related, we would still enjoy each others company. My aunt and uncle drove 4 1.2 hours from Fort Frances for the gathering. My other aunt called from Calgary – had seriously considered flying in. I love how my cousin and sister’s kids delight in playing together – clearly the next generation LIKES each other too. I especially love how my family has embraced my partner and get a kick out of how both my cousin’s hubby and my partner have acted in the same award-winning play – August: Osage County – just one in Manitoba and the other in Maharashtra!

I’m equally blessed to have an extended family of close friends – their partners, kids and parents. There is something about friends that have known you since your earliest years, the temporary lobotomy teenage times, academic indulgent wanderings, early professional explorations, marital mishaps  – all the good, bad, gorgeous and ugly that go into a rich life full of experience and zero regrets. We know each other, accept each other, warts n all and its wonderful.

Gotta BBQ! (photo: Carissa Hickling)

Gotta BBQ! (photo: Carissa Hickling)

And the food?? Tooooo amazing! Special treats galore – smoked gold eye and white fish from Gimli, roasted figs with chevre cheese, grilled stuffed portabella mushrooms, maple pudding with butter-toasted walnuts and maple fleur-de-sel… The fabulous thing about potlucks is the eclectic variety that just goes remarkably together. Confession time – I was too busy enjoying and eating to take even one single photo of our feast!

Though Mumbai, India really is my ‘home’ now, my roots are and always will be here in Winnipeg, Canada. So thanks again Chandra and Brad and everyone who made it or tried to make it for a fabulous afternoon! So good to be ‘home.’



  1. Brad Pragnell says:

    Sounds like you had a fabulous time – thanks for sharing it. For myself, living in Sydney with my partner and children for what is now nearly half my life and having my parents, siblings and others relatives all in Canada, I went through the same “where is home” conundrum for a spell. Then one day it hit me that “home” is not necessarily an “either / or” – it might actually be that us long-term “ex-pats” are incredibly lucky in that we have actually two “homes”! Cheers Brad P

  2. […] family, friends and join the Winnipeg Folk Festival’s 40th Anniversary – shared in “Home sweet home” and related […]

  3. Shanta Bhalla says:

    Just discovered your blog Carissa – and I love it! Knowing you, knowing India – and knowing Canada, just makes it even more special:))

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