Despite the fact that I’d been planning to go home for Christmas for months, my actual journey to Canada was fairly last minute. When I finally made a plan, I’d decided to spend the first week of December alone in Phnom Penh while Kevin went to Dubai for work. The night before he left for Dubai, we decided it was probably not smart for me to spend all that time there alone, so I booked a one-way ticket to Canada for the next night.
And there it was. Instead of doing my Christmas shopping in Phnom Penh, I hopped on a flight and went to Canada. When I arrived at the airport, I had to call around to find Tyler to come pick me up (turns out I’d given him the wrong arrival time). When I called my mom and said “I’m at the airport in Toronto”, her exact (happy/surprised) reaction was “Are you fucking kidding me?!”.
She hadn’t expected me home for another week.
So, there I was, staying in Grimsby. I wasn’t sure when I was leaving, but I’d resolved to enjoy my time with my family without rushing around too much. I’d get up early, go to yoga, Christmas shop with my mom, etc. Then in the afternoons and evenings I worked. Since I work Australian hours, that was the arrangement that worked best. Sometimes I also went to Toronto to see my former colleagues at Influitive, and used their increasingly beautiful office space to get some work done.
Other benefits of being in Canada? I got to decorate for Christmas, I got to play with our beautiful (spoiled) cat Jean Luc Picard. I got to see friends and family (though certainly not as many people as I wanted to see).
Kevin came back to Canada almost two weeks later, just in time to engage in some Christmas party hopping in Toronto.
Christmas party season rolled right into actual Christmas, which rolled into my parents’ friends Doug & Kathy visiting, which rolled into New Years. Somewhere in the middle of all that, we also found time for a super wild night out at the Grimsby Legion!
Around that time we started thinking about where we were going next. Wanting to visit Kevin’s grandmothers, we booked one-way tickets to Portugal.
So, that’s where we are now, reflecting on the places we’ve been, and where we think it makes sense to be.
Being home in Canada felt great. It was comfortable and comforting and exciting all at the same time. The weather leaves a bit to be desired, but I was so happy to be there.
Here’s quick run-down of the highlights from our trip back to Canada (photos below document some but not all of this nonsense):
- Decorating Christmas trees – probably my favourite holiday activity
- Started a new family tradition (hopefully): Post-breakfast nature walk on Christmas Day
- Went to back to back parties in Toronto, driving in from and back home to Grimsby both nights, in a ridiculous caravan containing me, Kevin, my brothers, and (for one night) my friend Kirsten
- Watching Mitch carry Kevin several blocks on our way home from the bar one night
- Making an elaborate birthday brunch for my Mom
- Many, many visits from friends who were generous enough to come to Grimsby to see me and Kevin. Seriously. Our friends are the best.
- Decorating some truly absurd gingerbread cookies with my friends Graeme and Eric who stopped by for a whirlwind of a visit.
- Eating delicious homemade fish tacos while visiting friends in North York
- Doing most of my Christmas shopping in downtown Grimsby
- Tearing up the dance floor at the Grimsby Legion with friends (some of whom I hadn’t seen in ages) – the bartender said we were the most lively people they’d ever seen there
- Tweeting for 1 week from the People of Canada Twitter account (more on this later)
- Kevin flipping out when he got a used Eibach spring from a Williams Martini Formula 1 Car. This was a really big deal, pulled off thanks to my awesome dad
- Spending lots and lots of time with my entire family – laughing, talking, loving.
Overall, it was a great trip home, and I’m hoping that we can get back to see everyone again next year (or perhaps even sooner). I have lots of thoughts on how I feel about living in Asia vs Canada vs somewhere else, and what that experience has been like for me. I’m saving those up to share them later. For now, enjoy a variety of photos from our trip home!
PS: huge love and apologies go out to all of the people we didn’t see or didn’t see enough. 4 weeks seemed like a lot of time, until it was over.
PPS: much thanks to my incredible mother, who emailed me all of these photos today (and who let me use her phone for most of my trip home to document all of our antics)