June 15, 2024
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June 15, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Finally We Crossed the Border!

Finally the rules changed and we could—hopefully—go to visit our daughter Naama in Canada!

With trepidation and excitement we downloaded every piece of information that the Canadian government required of us in order to enter the country. (We have dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship). We had our PCR test results handy and were raring to go, although I was extremely nervous since only last week did I hear from friends who live in Montreal that they were turned away at the border. Intentionally we did not tell Naama that we were coming because I did not want to disappoint her if we were not able to get in.

Just a short while before we left Canada years ago, I decided that it would be a good idea to get Canadian passports, and my Mordechai thought that it was the most ridiculous idea. Who would ever have dreamt that the borders between these two friendly North American countries would be shut? It seemed almost as ridiculous as saying that one was not able to drive to Florida from Georgia. Yet here I was, driving for the first time in 14 months to see my daughter, and for my hubby it had been almost two years since he was in Montreal.

Our recent trip did not happen without some comedy and challenge. Everything that we had entered on the proper form was on the screen in front of the customs officer. We were the only car at the border. She looked at the screen and then asked for our COVID test results, which were from the day before. Upon looking at them she then asked me if my husband’s name was Mary. Slightly puzzled, I looked at her and wondered where she would have gotten that idea. She then shared with me that “nowadays” some men change their sexual orientation and on his form it said Mary. I asked to look at the form, which had his name written correctly, clearly and in bold letters, but then noticed that the person from Holy Name who had sent the results had written the name Marie. Fortunately I was able to correct that little slip-up quickly.

The next step was to take another PCR test at the border, but unfortunately the Red Cross tent was moving that day. Instead we were given two individual kits to use on ourselves under a nurse’s supervision through telemedicine, and until we did so we were considered “in quarantine.” The telemedicine nurse never answered her phone, and as a result… don’t tell anyone, but we disposed of our kits when we arrived back in Bergenfield two days later.

Finally and happily we crossed the border and as I drove on to Montreal and we arrived on the many familiar streets that were so much a part of our life I began to scream that “We. Are. Home.”

I feel it necessary to explain why this was so meaningful to me and why I am still feeling “New in the Neighborhood” in the wonderful Teaneck-Bergenfield community. When you live in a community for 42 years, where your children were brought up and where some of them were born, where you gave of your lives to so many different people on a daily basis, where speaking and hearing French was a normal occurrence, where walking to shul in 30-below temperatures was not considered unusual, where kids went ice skating each motzei Shabbat in the local arena with Hebrew music blasting away, where you never put a grocery bag in your car because the men who worked at the “car order” line at the supermarket automatically took care of that, and so on and so on, you just miss it when you leave.

I doubt that we can ever feel as “at home” anywhere as we did there. We left behind friendships that were developed over so many years. Just walking into the local pizza store and feeling the owner’s sincere excitement at seeing us, going into the bank and being welcomed, eating with friends with whom we could just pick up whatever we had last discussed … Never will we have that again. So, yes, I was excited to be home.

Our daughter Naama was in her glory, and the elation that we felt knowing the group home where she resides, Maison Shalom, is more than we could ever have dreamt for her, was indescribable. The care and love that she receives is very close to what her own family would extend to her. The fact that they got through this COVID plague and took such outstanding care to make sure that everyone would stay well and safe was amazing. Our trip was nothing but a joy.

The fact that we could top it off by bringing back cakes from La Marguerite, egg rolls, knishes, cheese bagels from Kosher Quality and the most important product, especially to our grandson Zev, plum sauce, was truly the icing on the cake. Try finding anything comparable here.

So yes, it is great to be back, especially with the knowledge that hopefully we will be able to do this trip again. We do love the kindness of this community but for us, Montreal will always be home.

By Nina Gllck

 

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