Friday, September 16, 2005


Home at last

In the Ottawa airport, there is an escalator that brings arriving passengers down to the main floor. I had a hard time not vaulting over the side or shoving other passengers out of my way as I rode down the escalator and caught sight of my menfolk waiting for me. Possibly, it was one of the best moments of the trip.

Not that it was a bad trip. I'd never been to Vancouver before, and it is a truly gorgeous city. There was a fire burning in a peat bog the entire time I was there, so even though the weather was good, the smoke over the city was so thick and hazy you couldn't see the mountains.

I now know the definition of western hospitality. The last night I was there, I was invited for a family dinner by a man who works in the same organization as me, but with whom I had only spoken once or twice by e-mail. He and his wife and their adorable kids hosted me and his boss for the best Indian food I have ever had. Everyone I met in British Columbia showed that kind of friendliness and welcome. I brushed elbows (literally, in a crowded van and helijet) with some pretty important people from my organization, and they were all incredibly nice to me, and not just in a "tolerate the flakey peon from Ottawa and she'll go away soon" kind of way.

And another night I got to have dinner with one of my oldest and dearest friends and his family. The first night I was in Vancouver, I spent playing Cariboo and watching Thomas the Tank Engine videos with his five year old daughter and three year old son while my friend made dinner for us. It doesn't get any better than that!

My only complaint is that other than the two lovely home-cooked meals, it was a crazy-busy week. I would have loved to take a touristy kind of look around Vancouver, but I didn't even have time to wander the shops near my hotel for a guilt-induced present for the boys. Luckily, I had six minutes to comb the airport gift shop before my flight, and when I saw the Air Canada dinky car sets with planes and buses and baggage trucks, I knew I was in luck. I also grabbed a "sounds and lights" chubby jet for backup.

Last night when I kissed Tristan good night, he was still holding the die-cast jet he hadn't let go of all evening. "Mummy," he said, "This is my most favourite airplane ever since I began to be a little boy."

Traveling is great, but home is better.