The Holy Grail is a building superintendent with a heart of gold (ideally backed up by an equally noble building owner), and, after a couple weeks of heartbreaking near-misses, this exact combination was our ticket to a small but lovely 3-bedroom apartment, in an up-and-coming neighborhood close to the homes of several group members.
At a final pre-move meeting, we reviewed the list of furniture and goods promised to us by donors around the city, and prepared a battle plan for our Saturday move. I'm not sure how, but local live news channel CP24 became aware of our plan to move in and asked to witness the moment. Then their sister organization CTV heard about it, and somehow Cabinet Minister John McCallum got in touch to ask if he could help us move in. Frankly, we had a lot of furniture to assemble, so we said yes.
|He is not pretending to screw in the bolt; he is really doing it.|
|Leasing Director Lucy, with the Hon. McCallum and Colin D'Mello of CTV.|
At the end of the day we could not believe how great the place looked. We still need to hang some drapes (my drill bit was not up to the job), and we are missing one twin mattress (since sourced, as a donation, and ready to go) and a few odds and ends (it just dawned on me right now that there are no wastepaper bins, and I'm not sure there's a laundry basket). But the volume and quality of donations were received: outstanding. We have great pots and pans -- a whole new set, plus some specialty items like a Syrian coffee pot. Some tiny Art Deco patterned coffee cups with gold trim (thanks, Aunt Ellen! -- OK I'm sorry to regift, but I thought you would approve). Excellent lamps. A bunch of Lego for the 8-year-old, from a 12-year-old who has disturbing amounts of Lego. In the end, I sort of want to move in to this apartment myself.
Now we are waiting for the notification of our family's exact arrival date. We've been told to expect them "before Christmas", and we've also been told that we'll get 10 days' notice, which in theory would shrink our window down to Dec 16-24. But I wouldn't be surprised if they came a few days later, or on less notice. I wouldn't be upset, either -- it is clear that everyone over at the Canadian visa office in Beirut is dancing as fast as they can, managing this enormous plan to rescue large numbers of the most vulnerable refugees from the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War. We await them, with our tiny coffee cups.