O Canada: part three – Ottawa

Our time back home in Ottawa was a whirlwind of visiting, shopping, doctor’s appointments and what seemed like an awful lot of driving around the city. We are blessed with many family and friends, but it meant we had someone to see or somewhere to be nearly every day and night. (Seriously, I had an hourly appointment chart for the week.) It was great to catch up with everyone and see how the past year had treated them. I was especially happy to see my old colleagues and school friends. And we had a great moving party redux. I think that’s going to become an annual event, so mark your calendars!

Our time with family was short and precious. Even though we only had a few hours with the Caya/Hinz crew, it was memorable for an especially great meal, great conversation and a great game of pick-up hockey. A lovely evening-slash-almost-sleepover with Brainslie and the smalls was also perfect.

My sister and her kids followed us to Ottawa, so we were able to spend the week together. I would have liked more free time to spend with them, but we were able to have a few fun outings, including the Red Bull flugtag and our family tradition of Sunday Dim Sum.

Some highlights – last-minute trivia night with a gathering of friends and a tasty dinner with the same group at a bbq joint a few nights later. I will never complain about platters of meat followed by gelato! I was also lucky to enjoy multiple outings with my best friend, and B had the chance to do some kind of hockey/man things with his buddies. (I assume these man gatherings mostly involve drinking and trading insults about …) I capped off the week with a girls’ day out with my mom. We had a great time at the spa and a delicious lunch in the Byward Market.

It was a great week and I wish it had been at least one hundred times longer!

Turning to a bit of introspection, there’s something vaguely strange about returning to a place that used to be home but isn’t really anymore. Of course it was nice to see our family and friends – and that was the main reason, other than doctor appointments, why we went back. It’s comforting that we were able to slip back into our old lives and routines so easily: driving around the city without a map, knowing where to shop for the things we want, eating familiar foods and easily doing everyday things like laundry and cooking. But we also unexpectedly felt a bit out of place. Maybe it’s because we don’t really live there anymore, so we had to depend on the kindness of our relatives to get us through. Maybe the fact that it was so easy is what was unsettling. I think I assumed that during our time abroad we would have substantially changed in some obvious way, but I guess we didn’t and that was what seemed weird. How could we have moved so far away and lived such a different life yet stayed so much the same? Or maybe that’s really a blessing. Despite everything, passing through all the challenges and trials, we come out the same on the other side.

Anyway, we are looking forward to our next visit! And to all of you who we didn’t get to see for one reason or another – sorry! I hope we can meet up next time!


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