I'm back! And feeling fairly recharged! Our trip home was great and this will be the first of a few posts on the subject!
But to deviate for a moment - yesterday was a great day! Why you ask? Because yesterday I finally found a long lost friend! Yannick of Australia!!! I have been searching for her online for a few years now and with no luck. I've even tried tracking down her brother but my google searches still produced no joy. Yesterday, I tried Facebook again and viola! There she was! So, to recap how Yannick & I became friends: in grade 6 my teacher, Mr. Rogers, had a friend teaching year 6 in Keysborough, Victoria, Australia. We spent 3 weeks learning all about Australia and at the end of it we wrote generic introductory letters that Mr. Rogers sent to his friend Down Under. After several weeks, we each received letters back from the Australian students we had been paired with and Yannick and I became pen pals. We wrote back and forth for several years and spoke on the phone a few times as well but lost touch about 10 years ago. Well, I sent her an email yesterday to make sure it was her and yes, she is Yannick of pen pal days! It totally made my day and my week! I can’t wait to get caught up on everything that’s been going on with her!
Anyways, back to the trip! This trip home provided a lot of firsts for my little boy Moose. It was the first time Moose was in his other home country (I’ve decided and have granted him Canadian citizenship through my citizenship, all legal you know, naturally…), the first time he stayed in a hotel, the first time he flew, the first time he went for a swim in a hot tub…, the first time he went off-leash, the first time he went to the cottage and swam in a lake and the first time he went out on a boat. He was a total superstar on the plane and the Air Canada cabin staff couldn’t believe how good he was. He loved my parent’s home and its 2 flights of stairs, which on the first night there he ran up & down one flight of them 8 times in row as though it was a new toy. That same night he got his first hot tub experience by (hilarious) accident – earlier in the evening he had been burning off energy by jumping on top of the hot tub cover so he could get a good view of us and the backyard. A few hours pass and we humans decide to get into the hot tub to relax, however, Moose being 10 months old and a canine failed to realize that with the hot tub lid off and as I was about to step into the tub he sailed through the air and plunged into the hot water and then struggled against the jets to get to the surface. Now this probably shouldn’t be all that funny, but it took us all (Moose included) by surprise and when I pulled him out he looked like a drowned and frightened rat! I wish I had had my camera there to capture it.
Apart from Moose and his adventures, we humans had a great time at home too. Summer finally arrived in Ontario just a few days before we did so Mike got to experience 28C with 10 degrees of humidity – gloriously gross! We went into Ottawa a few times and Mike got to see his first Canadian Changing of the Guard. They have the same ceremony outside of Buckingham Palace (and likely Her Majesty’s other palaces) but her guards wear rather drab gray tunics where as our Governor General’s guards are kitted out in striking red! Below are pictures of the ceremony and I’ll post more of the city over the next couple days!
Finally, the last of the photos attached below are that of the newly decked out Vancouver aiport. The last time I flew out of YVR was April 2008 and much of the domestic arrival/departure gates were in various stages of construction or renovation and having forgotten what it previously looked like I was super impressed at how spiffy it looks now and so much so that I took pictures - odd, I know, but its really pretty, trust me. And I think the changes will make a great first impression for those arriving for the Olympics in a few months time!
Parliament Hill (Centre Block) - the ceremony begins several blocks away from Parliament Hill with the Guard marching up Elgin St to Wellington St and then onto the Hill itself.
Marching onto the Hill - the old looking building across the street with the Canadian flag is the old US Embassy - they built a new one a few blocks away 10 or 12 years ago and now the old building has been turned into a portrait gallery.
The red tunics are made from 100% wool and their dapper hats are made of real bear fur. I've heard that the temperature inside the hats can get up to a torturous 50C/122F!
And as a result of the thermal uniform, additional members of the army are on standby to pick up those that drop, like this guy on the stretcher. Had the day been sunny and hotter, several other Guards would have likely passed out.
Mike taking it in!
Last one of the Guard...I promise!
Now for Vancouver's airport! Below are photos of the new & improved interior!
Children's tv area
Aboriginal sculpture installations at the gates
The Bathroom - ok, I realize its a bit odd to take pictures of the airport bathroom and in other contexts with people behaving inappropriately, it would no doubt lead to arrest but the tile work and wood doors have to admired! Some hotels don't even have bathrooms this nice! And you could tell that the tile had been laid by hand. Very impressive.
And last but not least - a few shots of Moose being off leash at the park!
We threw the ball about 5 times before he decided it was too warm for him to continue! He really is a West Coast boy!
Congratulatory Side Note: My sister-in-law and friend, Keisha, just today got a job with Veteran's Affairs!!!! She's going be to the region's Veteran's Services Representative!!! YAY!!!!!