Next week Andrew and I are heading back to Canada.
We hadn’t planned to go home this month. In fact, we’re planning a three week vacation to visit friends and family back home in July. April was supposed to be a relatively quiet month. But, as is often the case, Andrew’s work had other plans for us. So, because Andrew is required in his Halifax office for a week, we decided I would tag along and we would extend the trip by another week.
It’s not an ideal time to be going home for a lot of reasons.
Spring hasn’t sprung yet in Nova Scotia and after spending the past long weekend lounging on my deck in the sun, I’m not looking forward to the single digit temperatures Halifax is experiencing. I’ll have to dig out the sweaters and heavy jackets I had optimistically packed away.
Also, many of the people we would normally visit aren’t available over the next two weeks. Andrew’s parents are still in their winter home in Florida. One of my friends has moved to another province and another will be away for the period of our visit. My Mom and another friend are teachers and will be working through the week. And of course, Andrew will be working and won’t be available either.
Despite all this though, I’m looking forward to going home. We haven’t been back in over a year and I’m looking forward to seeing my old home with new eyes. It will be the first time since before I went to university that I will stay in a hotel in Halifax and I hope to experience the city a bit like a tourist.
When I lived there, I rarely photographed Halifax and I didn’t take advantage of many of the attractions. This time I hope to take my camera out and capture my old home, as well as visit some of the galleries that I haven’t seen in years.
And of course I will be shopping.
My first stop will be Shopper’s Drug Mart – the huge over the counter medication superstore. I will stock up on cold medicine, vitamins and anything else that comes to mind, without having to describe a single symptom to a pharmacist.
Then I’ll hit a grocery store to stock up on maple syrup, maple cookies, maple butter… and maybe just a few boxes of Kraft Diner.
The next stops will be for second hand books and DVDs – as many as I can fit in my suitcase and haul back to Belgium.
Finally I’ll case out the camera shops and plan the new camera purchase I intend to make when we are back in July.
I’ll spend some evenings with the friends and family that are available, hopefully dining in some of my favourite restaurants and then talking until the wee hours of the morning. Maybe I’ll even convince a few to books trips to Brussels for the coming year.
One upon a time, these kind of last minute travel plans bothered me. If the conditions weren’t perfectly planned, I felt frustrated. Our expat life has helped me let go of (most of) my obsessive planning.
Our trip home next week may not be the ideal visit, under perfect conditions, but it will be a good opportunity and I’ll take any of those that come my way.