Right now I’m sitting on the bed in my hotel room, looking out through the window ahead of me at the skyline of the capital city of Canada. The sky is blue with a fluff of cloud here and there, and the traffic is speeding past on the Queensway. I can see a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Rideau Canal, but not the canal itself right now. My son is playing a French version of Age of Empires II, and my beloved is playing his turns in a Conquer Club tournament. We were fortunate to get a wonderful room here in the city, really an executive suite, with a separate little office space, a refrigerator, a small dining table, and a sitting chair.
This week, we have toured a cold war nuclear shelter, explored a sugar bush (though the syrup wasn’t flowing yet), crossed a swinging bridge, visited the Mississippi River (at my favourite point, the five-arch stone bridge in Pakenham), seen Parliament, toured the Museum of Civilization and the Museum of Nature in Ottawa, rode the train from Ottawa to Montreal and back, were thrilled by the Biodome, were a bit creeped out by the Insectarium, and had our breath taken away by the butterflies from all over the world at the Botanical Garden. My son and I accompanied my fiancé and his choir at church on Easter Sunday on violin, flute, and piccolo. We’ve had a wonderful week, and the trip back home tomorrow will be bittersweet.
Vacation is always a time outside of time, and while I’m not anxious to leave my love and his beautiful home, I will admit that I’m quite looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, showering in my own bathroom, preparing (at least some of) my own meals, and being with my kitties again.
I’d been pretty silly up to this point, refusing to pronounce any French words, because my love has worked to keep in practice with his French and definitely qualifies as bilingual. I know I don’t know the rules (if French indeed has any rules – NYAH! 🙂 ), and that I have a laughable accent. So during this trip, I’ve taken to using the most dreadful southern accent in conjunction with horribly and intentionally mangling the pronunciation of words I encounter. The emergency instructions on the inside of the door of our room in Arnprior said restez calme, which has been “ray-es-tay cal-may” and has ended up as sort of a catchphrase for the entire trip. My son was quite amused in Ottawa with “Hellobonjour!” being the standard greeting, and he definitely noticed how in Quebec it changed to “Bonjourhi!” – that is, if we got any English greeting at all.
My son has had a great time trying to get to Tim Horton’s every day, and he has to have the steel travel mug from them before we head home. I haven’t gotten him to try poutine yet, but I’m not pushing terribly hard on that one, because then I might have to try it, too. Pleh!
My daughter spent her spring break week spelunking at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky and visiting her aunt and uncle and four-month-old niece in Texas. It sounds like they had a much more restful trip than us, but we definitely explored and saw many more new things. And my son now has one more Canadian province than she does… and he and I both have one more province than my Canadian fiancé (hee hee!).
Peace be with you, my friends! And if you have them to spare, please send up a traveling prayer for us as we take our 13-hour drive home tomorrow.