You might expect that returning home after over a year on the road would be something of a shock. But as always seems to happen, it felt just as natural as can be.
My dad and sister met us at the airport at around 17:00 on Christmas Eve, and in less than forty minutes we were at my parents’ home, hugging my mom, filling ourselves full of food and drink and, of course, finishing off the decoration of the Christmas tree.
I’m actually not going to go into great detail about our time at home because A. most of the people who it would interest were there themselves B. I’m falling way behind in ‘blogging and a couple of good short entries are just what I need to catch up and C. our visit was actually quite short itself (indeed, when we went through Canadian customs and Immigration the officer said, in a slightly surprised/confused tone, “you’re only staying for four days!?”
Me putting the finishing touches on the tree: the reindeer enclave. A group of eight or so anthropomorphic reindeer that I took to arranging in a little diorama on the tree when I was quite young. The tradition continues.
So, a short summary of our time in Toronto:
December 25: A (just) white Christmas! Out for an 8km morning run with my mom, sister Christi and Sarah in the snow to get bagels from a Jewish grocery store that’s open on Christmas. Return home for unpacking our stockings and lots more eating. A visit from uncle Chris, his wife Kim and my (~30 years younger than me) cousin Ben, who I hear has been enjoying reading about our trip and receiving our postcards
Ben and I on Christmas morning.
December 26: Downtown for shopping to re-stock on stuff that’s been lost/broken/worn out over the course of our past year’s travels. We did actually get a couple of good boxing day deals, but would have much rather been shopping on NOT Boxing Day. (For non-Canadians, the day after Christmas, called Boxing Day in many countries, is the biggest shopping day of the year in most Canadian cities. Shops open ridiculously early in the morning and people queue up all day for sale prices on stuff.) Evening with our cousins the Chiovittis in Brampton. Joined by sister Melanie, bro-in-law Ka Hung and nephew Dante who were coming back up from Christmas with KH’s family in Wallaceburg. HUGE meal featuring delicious pasta and salad and Joe’s homemade wine, though only a sip for me since I was driving home. In what turned out to be the first solid snowstorm of the year.
Ridiculous crowds in the Toronto Eaton’s Centre mall on Boxing Day. We bought new pairs of hiking shoes and left our old hiking boots on the kerb of the downtown street outside, hoping that they’d be useful to someone.
The Chiovitti’s house in the nighttime snow.
Nephew Dante with Santa hat. We spent a good chunk of the night running around circles chasing eachother around the house. The evening also featured a game of Rummoli (card game played for pennies) that ran waaay late into the evening.
December 27: Drove out to Mitchell, Ontario in the morning to visit my Grandma, who I hadn’t seen in almost 18 months! Had a very nice visit with her (and with my aunt Irene and cousins Ian and Laura, but they were kind of incidental, as we’d be seeing them the next day and spending a week with them in Cartagena shortly.)
In the afternoon we finally get to open the presents! Lots of useful travel stuff and yummy treats to take along with us, which was really unnecessary, as just being with everyone (and having a trip to Colombia with them!) was gift enough. Also cracked open some of the Westvleteren 12, which made it to Canada with no bottles broken.
Finished off the evening with the haircut and beard trim that, for some weeks, I’d been promising Sarah would be done before we left Canada.
Sarah and I with my grandma. Quite looking forward to being home for her 90th birthday in June.
Westvleteren Blond (the prelude to the 12) in proper branded glasses. Sadly I managed to break one of these having only gotten one use out of it!
Bye bye beardie Part 2!
December 28: My dad’s birthday! Opened his gifts in the morning (as well as an early birthday gift for Sarah from my parents. An awesome e-reader which will give her something else to do while I monopolize the netbook playing games and (occasionally) writing ‘blog entries.
Early afternoon, off to the airport where we meet my Aunt Irene, Uncle Dave, cousins Andrew, Laura and Ian. All aboard (13 of us in total!) for the flight to Cartagena, Colombia!
It was absolutely wonderful to see everyone, especially the Chiovittis and my Grandma, all of whom we hadn’t got to visit in WAY to long. Fortunately I’m pretty confident it won’t be quite so long next time
Tags: Canada, Christmas, Family, Llew Bardecki, Travel