Today marks the 11th year that I’ve been writing this blog. It started off as an MSN Space that became a blogger site that eventually became the blog it is now. It’s been a great reflective tool over the years and a nice way to write. I believe this blog has helped me throughout my Master’s programme. It’s given me a lot of practice expressing myself and presenting my thoughts in written form. Right now I’m at Pearson Airport waiting for my flight to take off so I figured this would be a good time to do some writing about the vacation this year.
Getting out of Qatar this year turned out to be more complicated than other years. My initial flight plans had to be scrapped due to the ongoing diplomatic spat in the region. I was booked on an airline that withdrew their services from the country, so that was that. So I re-booked my ticket using another airline and an alternate route. This meant giving up on a triathlon in South Africa, but since my leg still isn’t healthy, that’s probably a good thing. A family member took ill in Mid-July, so I changed my plans a third time, cutting short a planned visit with friends in Alberta to prioritise time with my family in Saskatchewan.
I had a nice visit overall. I was hoping to see friends in Edmonton and Calgary, but I had to settle my attentions on Calgary. For B and J in Edmonton, I will hopefully get a chance to see them next year. Or maybe, they’ll drop by Doha, and I can show them around a bit. My friend J in Calgary was a gracious host as usual. We went to a national park near the US border and enjoyed a nice Korean meal before I left for Regina.
My girlfriend (R) and my younger sister (D) came out to Saskatchewan with me, and my parents got to enjoy a full house for a week. R and I did a little cooking to show off some of the skills we picked up this year. My sister and parents got to try one of our signature pasta dishes, and I got to show off my new pizza making skills. There was also trip to a local museum and the Saskatchewan Badlands, known as the Big Muddy. Other than that, it was pretty laid back. R, D, and I arranged our flights so we could leave together for Toronto.
R only had a couple of days in Toronto whereas I had about a full week. D and her partner asked what I wanted to do during my time in the city and my reply was, ‘It’s been a busy, crazy year. I want to be moss on a rock’. For the most part, I was quite successful. I got to relax and eat at my favourite restaurants. I also got to see JoLa and their new edition, a cute little baby girl, Clara. I also got to see a good friend from my stint in Kazakhstan as well, and it was nice catching up with her. Today I just enjoyed a final coffee with my sister before coming packing up and getting ready for the airport.
In a couple of hours I’ll be in the air again and on my way back to the desert. I never really know how to feel about this time of the year. Unlike other years, I have my own place to call home and come back to this time. It’s also a contract year which means I should get a 3-year renewal and the job security will be nice. The timing couldn’t be better, because a week from now, Gizmo my old Korean street kitty is coming to join me in the desert! K had to give him up because she moved to Ottawa to be with her new partner, who is allergic to cats. Fortunately, my living situation got sorted out this year, so I was able to step in and take him. I wasn’t able to rearrange travel again, and we weren’t able to get a foster set up in Ontario. As a result, I just got a company to take care of it in my place. Overall, I’m looking forward to the next year. New apartment, new contract, new (old) cat!