Friday, 16 August 2013

Long Time No...Post: Canada, Part I

Dear readers, I sincerely apologize for the disappearing act I pulled. I left Kuwait for Canada a mere two days after Ramadan began in July and was so busy at home that even when I had some free time all I wanted to do was enjoy the moments of simply BEING in Canada! I'm back in Kuwait now: Eid Mubarak! To everyone I missed seeing in Canada, I cannot say sorry enough. I just didn't have as much time to meet and see your lovely faces as I thought I would.

I left Kuwait after work on a Thursday and got to the airport early in fear that it might be insane there. Thank God it wasn't half as bad as I'd anticipated! Before going through security check I wandered around, grabbed a coffee (what else?) and stopped dead in my tracks as I saw the newly renovated bookstore. I think my jaw actually dropped because the previously itsy bitsy shop wasn't great...Actually, as far as airport bookstores go it was pretty pathetic. However, imagine my surprise when I walked in and saw SHELVES of books in English! How was I supposed to suppress a smile? Grinning ear-to-ear I entered the shop. The selection of English books was impressive and I spent a good amount of time looking through the titles.

Kuwait Airport bookstore: this is only ONE of the shelves!

As I went to my gate I bumped into my co-worker (who teaches HES), who was on his way to the UK. We were both travelling to Schiphol (Amsterdam) before heading to our respective homes. We met again once as we waited for our flights out of Amsterdam. My co-worker, Mr. M, told me all about his wife, kids and grandchildren and it made me really excited to be going home! Since I'd missed seeing ALL of my extended family (on my mother's side) at Christmas because the university wouldn't allow me to go home at Christmas (in 2012), I was anticipating seeing my aunt, uncles and any cousins I could!!

Now extended family (on my mother's side) has always been a touchy subject for me since I am not close with half of my mother's siblings. It's a very long story, but let's just say I don't like how some of them treat people and this has stopped me from even communicating with them. I still speak with my one aunt and one of my uncles and we have good relationships! I saw my aunt and her family when my family travelled to Ottawa and then her family's cottage (in Arden near Nappanee, you know, where Avril Lavigne grew up?). When I returned I also spent time with my uncle D, a man who I spent a large portion of my early childhood around. Even though the main purpose of my return to Canada was to get a new police record check, I made sure that I made the most of every minute I had there!

WARNING to anyone who ever wants to travel from Kuwait to Canada/Canada to Kuwait, if you ever make this jaunt, it's a long one. With an almost 24-hour journey home and the time difference, I got home almost 24 hours after I'd left Kuwait. I left Kuwait on a Thursday night at around 1am and arrived in Canada on Friday evening around 5pm. My sister picked me up from little London airport (I LOVE our airport because it's quiet and easy to navigate!). She drove her little standard Hyundai Accent and I have to say I was very impressed that she was able to drive standard so well! Seeing her inspired me and I asked her to teach me how to drive stick-she did, by the way, and I'll say what I said to London drivers via Facebook: WATCH OUT! I still suck at driving manual and stall on hills...Even almost flat hills, hahaha! I spent the first weekend in Canada at a cottage in Port Stanley (almost) in hiding and first thing on Monday morning I was off to the police department to order a new police record check.

 Okay, so maybe I wasn't craving an iced cap from Timmies until I saw the hard-to-miss sign at Pearson (Toronto Airport).
Commonly seen at Tim Horton's: LOOOOONG lines.

Beginning my vacation in Canada hiding in Port Stanley-a sleepy beach town not too far from London-was the perfect idea! My sister was house-sitting there and so after being home for only a an hour and a bit and repacking my bags, my sister, father and I all jumped into her little Hyundai ready for a quiet weekend, and quiet it was! I don't know if it was the bloody Caesar she made me or jet-lag, but I passed out pretty early that night, hahaha! Not to worry! I was up bright and early to enjoy the beautiful sunny morning! I made my way to a coffee shop a few blocks away. The walk was too short, but the fresh air, light breeze and sunlight were enough to make me want to cry since the blistering sun, dust and dry heat of Kuwait had prevented me from doing any outdoor exercise in recent months. I returned with coffee and pastries in hand and shortly afterwards we all went to enjoy the day outside. We are all geeks and brought reading material (Emi brought her drawing materials as well-she's really good!), music and sunblock. We found a little spot with shade and sunlight and plopped ourselves down for a few hours until we needed to eat. We made a quick lunch, rested and then went out for dinner at a busy joint...I completely forget what it's called and didn't I just realize that I had a whole whackload of pictures on my sister's camera that I forgot to upload to my laptop??? Ugh, I'm definitely going to have to update this post once I get those pictures, hahaha! We spent the Sunday pretty much the same way and then made our way back to London. We made sure to stop at Shaw's for ice cream on the way home (http://shawsicecream.com/home.html). Although my sister and father hadn't had Shaw's in years, I remembered that a friend of mine, who I'll call čika D, and I spent a lot of time beach combing last summer and we went to Shaw's on our way out of Port Stanley.

Port Stanley: morning at the lake!
Port Stanley: getting coffee and looking towards the cottages

Staying in hiding can't last forever though, and by that Sunday evening, I was out and about socializing!

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