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April 24, 2007

Ooooo Canada

So here I am. In Canada. Not entirely sure how I got here. Okay, that's not really true. I obviously got here by plane. I flew from Bangkok to Vancouver on April 2nd, and then to Toronto on the 6th. But sometimes I still feel a little surprised that I'm here. Other times I feel a bit surprised that I was ever anywhere else. I surprise others by telling them I'm not staying.

That's correct. I will be off again. Haven't picked a date yet, but likely in late June I will get on yet another plane and fly off to Dublin (with a brief stop to visit my friend Renate in London first). And yes, I will do yet another one of those lovely one-year working holiday visas. "Why", you may be asking yourself, "can't she just stay still in one place?".

Ummmm... Oooooo... Good question. It's not that I don't love Canada, my friends and my family. I get lonesome for them when I am away. I guess, as lame as this might sound, I'm just not ready to sit still. Not yet anyway. Besides, I'll be too old for these work visas soon anyway. Might as well take advantage while I can!

There are so many narrative gaps in this blog now. I do hope I'll get around to filling them all in at some point, but right now I'm going to leave another one. I will skip my stories of Cambodia and Vietnam to tell my story of Canada, while it's still fresh my my little mind.

I bought my ticket home in Thailand and I had been hoping for months that I'd be able to stop in Vancouver. I've been before, but not for about 10 years. I was worried that because money was going to be tight by the time I returned to Canada that I wouldn't be able to afford the stop. Luckily the price to fly into Van was substantially cheaper than flying to Toronto. Thank you China Air for providing an excellent excuse. And thank you Angela for putting me up and putting up with my jet-lagged, reverse-culture-shocked self.

My flight in British Columbia also helped to solve the mystery of whether or not the South Island of NZ looks just like BC.

I now have to put in my vote as "same same, but different " ;-}

I will admit that flying into BC made me feel quite homesick for New Zealand. It seems that I can get homesick for almost any country these days.

As I mentioned earlier, I flew from Vancouver to Toronto on April 6th. My wonderful brother-in-law Cory was kind enough to pick me up at the airport at about 12:30 am and drive me all the way back to Whitby. Early the next morning started the never ending parade of "Surprise! I'm home!!!" You see, only my sister (Jennifer and her husband (the afore mentioned Cory) knew that I was coming home Easter weekend, the rest of the family had been lied to (by myself) and given a later date. The first (and one of the best reactions) was from my nephew Dougie. He took one look at me, turned around, ran into his room and slammed the door behind him. About five hours later the whole Gill family (with me hiding in the back seat) were sitting in my Mom's driveway. Jennifer came up with the plan of diverting Mom by asking her to change Beth's diaper so I could sneak in a surprise her. It was excellent. She screamed. At some point I'll get the video from my sister to post on my blog. My other sister also made a surprised yelp when she saw me. One of my aunts gasped.

I do like to make an entrance...

Here's a few photos from the weekend:

Mom & me -- taken on Mom's birthday

me, Mom, Linda, Jennifer

Dougie, Taylor, Steven

Lake Clear

***

Next stop was Toronto. I was very very excited to see my city. Its changed a lot in a year. There is ceaseless construction here and I'm very curious to see how it will all come out in five or ten years from now.

It was cold when I first got home. I came home in April so I could skip the cold, but I was a little early. And although I was shivering and shaking most of the time, I was happy to see some all-Canadian moments like this one:

Its not cold anymore though, thankfully. It warmed up just in time for me to pack up my bags (a little bag for a change!) and head to Carleton Place and Ottawa to see the other side of my family.

The above collage was from Leslie and Charlie's 20th wedding anniversary. A most excellent party where we all danced our little butts off.

The last person to visit in Ottawa was my lovely cousin Jackie:

Now I'm sitting on my bed in Toronto (Did I mention that I found a cute little room in Yorkville to make into my temporary home?) wondering why I'm updating this blog instead of sleeping since I do have a very busy week ahead of me.

Sigh.

It's time to get serious about replenishing the bank account before the next leg of the journey. Luckily I've been to this city many times before and so have lots of contacts and possibilities.

Good night all! Leave a comment if you feel so inclined. I'd love to know who's reading my postings these days.

April 2, 2007

Same Same but Different - Part 2

This is Red, who came to meet my bus in Phenom Phen and took me back to my hotel.

Back in Canada soon. I'm getting very excited.