My days of discovery in the sun

September 2021

SUN is the source of life. It is unimaginable to think of our existence without the SUN. According to Indian mythology, we consider the Sun to be a GOD (In Sanskrit known as SuryaDev).

For the first 25 years of my life, I had experienced a summer of extremes (35 to 45 celsius) in the hot climate of India.

After shivering in -40 celsius temperatures in the weeks after I arrived in December 2020, I was excited to experience my first summer here. Thunder Bay has adopted me as its own child, and after building my bicycle I was eager to get out and explore summer in the city and what people here do for fun.

Back home in India, vacationing in the summer means heading to the hills, to enjoy the pleasant weather and then come back refreshed. India’s summer lasts from the end of March to the end of July. During extreme heat waves (known as loo) the temperature can reach 47 degrees. We have hill stations (vacation towns in the mountains that we go to for cooling off) such as Saputara and Mount Abu, Diu, Daman, Goa, Lonavala, Khandala. Some prefer to cool down by going to North India, to states like Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir.

I usually summer at my maternal uncle’s place, where we eat lots of ice cream and consume cold drinks to beat the heat.

It was interesting to watch the ice melt, and I saw the Thunder Bay summer begin. I saw people swimming, fishing, biking and skateboarding. I also saw camping facilities everywhere as people enjoyed many of the vibrant and scenic camping areas. At one point, when

I wore my bathing suit for the first time on Sandy Beach. I was totally nervous and hid behind a tree. In India I had never worn a suit. But a friend told
me it is not like in India, ‘come out freely’, which gave me strength to stand in front of people.

This summer I celebrated my first birthday at a friend’s home and she made burgers on a BBQ. It was my first time experiencing a Canadian backyard cookout. Barbecuing and chatting in the backyard is the best summer activity anyone can do.

I went for a picnic at Big Trout Bay, I did some hiking and then found a river with different kinds of stones.

I visited Mount McKay, which has been on my bucket list since arriving. I went there at dusk. Thunder Bay looked beautiful from the mountain and as

I watched the sun go down the lights of the city came up. It was spectacular!

Another great thing about summer in Thunder Bay is that you don’t have to wear layers. You can wear regular clothing, feel the fresh air and stay outside as much as you can.
In India, sunrise and sunset happens at almost the same time all year, with only a slight variation of about a half an hour. In Thunder Bay we have more sunlight in the summer, which surprised me. When I came here in December 2020, I only saw white snowy streets & trees, but by May, that colour changed to green, and I felt the start of a new season. In western India, you can see green trees the whole year, because there is less of a change in the weather. Other exciting discoveries were Kakabeka Falls and the Persian Man (I just love those pink pastries).

And I even played golf at Emerald Greens golf course.

On July 17, I attended the Festival of India, which was arranged by the Vedic Cultural Centre. Indian dances were performed, we participated in a chariot parade on the streets of Thunder Bay and the authentic Indian food was provided. Many local people came out to enjoy the exotic Indian experience. It reminded me of my former home.
I like to fly in the sky with wings, like a bird, see the sky and the clouds, enjoying my freedom in this huge garden of the universe. I am alone but not lonely because I have the world around me with such nice and beautiful people with smiling and helping faces.


Komal Vijay Shah

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