Friday, 30 August 2013

Constant Motion: Canada, Part II

I realized early on that seeing everyone I wanted to-planned to-wouldn't be possible. Unfortunately, my time at home was short and I felt exhausted during most of it...Even more exhausted than I'd felt when I'd stopped working for the university. I don't want to consider it, but I had to wonder if working in Kuwait is slowly sucking the energy out of me. I don't mean to sound negative, but between working from April until July, my trip back to Canada and returning to Kuwait, I'm so tired. I've tried eating more protein, getting more sleep, getting more sunlight, trying to stop giving 150% at work (I'm a big fan of strong work ethics, something I inherited from my parents), etc...I even got plants to add some greenery into my life and hopefully help with the overall environment of my home here. Sadly, these efforts have not been successful. Actually, I've gotten sick in Kuwait more in the past four months than I have in the past few years.

Back to Canada, after coming out of hiding (a mere two days of hiding), I started socializing: coffee dates, dinner dates, trying out the new frozen yogurt place, catching-up with all of my friends over alcohol and lounging around the pool. It was a fantastic start to my vacation! A visit from the Irish chef (who'd been off discovering Serbia and Vietnam), and then heading off to my aunt's family at her home in Ottawa and then to their cottage in Arden were just what the doctor ordered.

 At the pool: the lazy, hazy crazy days of summer
 Pool essentials! Although we could have done without the cheesy Janet Evanovich.
Canadian geese don't frequent this part of our apartment complex, so this was something new for me.

At the beginning of my trip in London, I was able to eat at all of my favourite spots and also check out a new frozen yogurt spot called Chil on Richmond Street (620 Richmond St, London, ON N6A 5J9, north of Symposium). Chil has a gorgeous AND comfortable outdoor seating area (BEWARE: in the evening the mosquitoes are ever-present!). Using 100% organic ingredients as well as all natural, dairy-free and vegan frozen yogurt, this place is fantastic for those who are conscious of what they consume. You'd think that the yogurt would taste...gross, but it's sooo good! I tried a flavour called 'birthday cake' and it was AMAZING! I will frequent Chil more in the future when I am back in Canada! For more information visit their website: http://www.chilfroyo.com/

Although we didn't get any frozen yogurt in Ottawa, we got beaver tails (like all enthusiastic tourists) and poutine that rivaled the best in London (Sammy Souvlaki's, in my opinion)! I had to visit the Kuwait embassy (to have my documents attested), and I also went up to the Peace Tower, which consists of a focal bell and clock tower which sits atop of the Centre Block of the Canadian parliament buildings. We also looked through the Memorial Chamber. The Gothic architecture is beautiful! Built in the late mid-1800s and then again in he 1920s. I saw Quebec across the water and I wanted desperately to visit. However, I've discovered that I truly have no desire to go anywhere I might bump into people who I don't want to see. It's enough to make me avoid certain places for the rest of my life. Even though it was slightly cooler, the weather in Ottawa was beautiful, the canal, sights and company were wonderful!

Mmmm, beaver tails! Although, as I had to clarify for my students, these are not ACTUAL beaver tails, but deep-fried, doughy treats that only look like beaver tails. Phew!
 Skor (chocolate bar) beaver tail.
 Apple cinnamon beaver tail.
Maple syrup beaver tail.
Ottawa: Canadian parliament building
 View from the top: looking towards Quebec.
 Good ol' fashioned poutine!
 Poutine with pulled pork and pickles (Montreal style).
Madras style poutine (my aunt's favourite).

Although my uncle had to work days while we visited, we still had sooo much fun! Much-needed family time can cure almost anything. I don't know if it was conversations with my aunt and uncle or the attempt to twerk with my 17-year old, female cousin (DON'T ask), or all of us, many of us slightly tipsy, playing the Game of Things while my uncle continuously fed me delicious red wine and the finest tequila, or maybe it was the fantastic company, but I felt so relaxed and...Happy. I felt really happy. I hadn't been really happy in Canada for a long time. I was surprised because the last time I'd been in Ottawa with my family I was devastated: I'd just left the love of my life (who wasn't making any attempt to reconcile), left my job in Canada for a job in Kuwait that I didn't want, but financially needed, and was trying to deal with knowing that I was going to lose some of my closest friendships. None of that was hanging over me this time.

Tequila has always been my drink of choice; the kind you sip, not shoot. BIG thanks to Uncle J!

The cottage, which is nicely situated on Little Crotch Lake (no joke, that's the actual name of the lake!), was just as fun as Ottawa! I canoed with my aunt (I hadn't been canoeing in ages), read voraciously on the dock while my aunt's dog went fishing (he wanders around the deck looking for fish and then jumps into the water in a sad attempt to catch the fish), and drank yet more alcohol and ate yet more food. Although there was a bit of rain, we still managed to get in some good diving off of the boat, swimming, and tubing! Poor Emi scraped up her knee on the first day we got to the cottage, so she didn't tube, but the Irish chef went at it like a pro! Early morning chats over coffee showed how much he was enjoying himself.

 My aunt's pooch down at the dock, nice and early, fishing.
 The partial view of the lake through the trees up on the hill from the cottage in the early a.m.
 Sittin' by the dock on the lake ;)
 Ahhh, LOVE that I could sit in the sun and not roast to death.
The beautiful view of the lake during a late-night boat ride. A little piece of heaven on earth!

I left Canada on a high note and felt much better about leaving this time in the sense that I didn't want to leave as much as I had in the past. I keep hoping that the country will pull itself together by the time I eventually return. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy traveling and spending time with friends in Kuwait! Since Eid will be here in no time (mid October), I'm in the process of booking tickets to Sri Lanka!

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