Sometimes you just need a weekend away to renew, restore, re-energize. And this past weekend I was lucky enough to do just that with three fabulous friends on a weekend adventure to Ottawa and Montreal. This was my first visit back to Canada in 9 months. It was a bit of a culture shock to say the least. My big joke about Ottawa is that what they lack in height they make up for in width. There are beautiful, sprawling wide open spaces everywhere!! After landing in the super quiet, empty Ottawa airport the lovely Kelly took me to Starbucks at the local Chapters and then we made a quick stop at Farm Boy, one of the local grocery stores. I enjoyed simply standing in the large aisles looking at the rows and rows of merchandise and then leisurely wandering around the store with no one yelling at me to move out of the way or running me over with their buggy. It was odd to be driving around in a car without dodging and weaving through traffic and pedestrians. Back in the old ‘hood of Findlay Creek it was wonderful to catch up with old friends and simply enjoy being back. A hot tub under the stars was a truly spectacular treat. Despite the pitch dark room and the lack of noise, I had a great sleep in the guest room in the basement. A basement that I observed was bigger than most Manhattan apartments 😉
The whirlwind 24 hour trip included a quick visit with my parents and a reunion with some colleagues and students at the high school where I used to teach. It was a bit overwhelming but it made my heart happy to re-connect with some of the people that I have been missing since our big move. On Friday after lunch, our road trip began and four wild and crazy moms headed to Montreal for a wee bit of fun without kids or husbands. We arrived at the fabulous Le Crystal Hotel and promptly started exploring the city in search of a suitable patio to sit on and enjoy a beverage. Starting the weekend off right…
The weekend was a perfect mixture of laughter, drinks, great food, relaxation, shopping, dancing and a bit of “What happens in Montreal, stays in Montreal!”.
The only thing missing was sleep, although we did have a chance to lounge by the beautiful rooftop hot tub and pool.
It was hard to say good-bye to my good friends at the end of the weekend and I had to admit that I was a little apprehensive about going back to the Big Apple. I had really enjoyed the open spaces and slower pace. Did I really miss NYC? Would it feel like coming home? Would I be happy to be back in Manhattan?
As the plane touched down at LaGuardia, immediately the energy changed. People were up and moving. The buzz of excitement began. Tourists pulled out maps, native New Yorkers walked at an impossible pace. It was crowded and noisy. I got in the taxi line. The taxi zipped and weaved through heavy traffic. We crossed the bridge over into Manhattan just as the sun was setting behind the buildings. And that is when it really hit me. I was coming home, I live here on this crowded, crazy Island. It was better than good to be back, it was right. I WAS home. This was my new reality and I had missed it. Last night I crawled into my bed and snuggled under the covers letting the sounds of the garbage trucks, sirens and car horns lull me to sleep.
In the end the weekend was exactly what I needed. A perfect escape with cherished friends. A bit of me time. Also, a bit of time for reflection about the past, present and future. It really is always an adventure… except when it is not, because sometimes your only job is to “change the paper”- right, Kel, Nina and D??!! 😉