My sister has two cats, Stu, and this little cutie, Zoe. (Pronounced Zo-ee) Zoe is the young curious cat who gets into everything and loves to snuggle with people as well as keep them company no matter where they are in the house. (Especially the bathroom.)
Saving the best for last, Connie and I spent our last full day in Canada in Toronto shopping and visiting with my best friends Chad, and then Anthea (pictured here with yours truely). It was a hectic and busy day of running around, but a lot of fun and I bought far too many books as I prepared to return to Taiwan. Chad, who is too camera-shy to appear here, is a storyboard artist in Toronto’s animation industry, and has probably helped to make most of the cartoons that have come out of that city in the last 10 years or so. He’s one of my oldest and best friends, and one of the funniest and most cynical people I know. I would say I miss him a lot, but the truth is we’ve lived in different cities for a long time, so we’re used to being apart and only seeing each other once or twice a year. If he can just get over his MSN phobia, we’ll be talking a lot more in the future too!
I met the lovely Anthea during my first year at the University of Western Ontario, and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. We sat down across from each other in the school cafeteria and started to talk, and in a way that conversation has never ended despite the passing of the past 5 years. No matter how much time passes, we always talk like we just met each other the day before. She’s a businesslady in Toronto now, and doing quite well for herself. I have little doubts she’ll be running a company someday.
Connie and Anthea. In the background you can see the All-You-Can-Eat Japanese restaurant Anthea took us to called Syogun, which I assume is an odd transliteration of the word usually written “Shogun”. As usual for Canada, it was completely run and staffed by Chinese, as there are very few Japanese restaurants run by actual Japanese people -my favorite Sushi Chef in Vancouver was Vietnamese, in fact. There aren’t very many Japanese living abroad, for some reason they seems to like Japan a lot and don’t leave very often. I only know of one Japanese restaurant run and owned by real Japanese offhand. Still, the food was pretty good, and we had a great time. Thanks Anthea!
So, on a chilly Saturday morning we tossed our luggage into the car and bundled up for the trip to Toronto’s Pearson Internation Airport. Here’s one last shot of Connie standing in front of Ellyssa and Kirk’s home as we’re packing the car. You can see there was a lot of snow during the two days we were in Toronto, especially considering there was none when we got there!
A final very quick shot of myself with Ellyssa, Kirk and Connie before I handed them my winter coat and headed into the airport to return to Taiwan. It was a great trip home, and it reminded me how lucky I am to have such good friends and family in Canada, I do miss all of them, but I will return to stay someday.
Actually the return flight was one two short flights (Toronto-Newark, Hong Kong-Taipei) and one very very long flight (Newwark-Hong Kong), and actually felt much shorter than when we returned to Canada two weeks ago. I just watched CSI on the TV, read and slept, and then suddenly we were there! This flight also taught me the folly of bringing young children under 2 on a 16 hour planeflight, as the second half of the trip turned into all those kids crying and screaming because they were so uncomfortable. (Thus making the rest of us who were trying to sleep REALLY uncomfortable. 🙁 ) I think I won’t take such young children on a plane in my life, at least not if I value my sanity.
The other problem that happened on the trip home was that a tin of the Tim Hortons French Vanilla Coffee mix we bought developed a leak when the bag was thrown into the airplane. So…When I opened the bag I discovered all of my books I bought were covered in French Vanilla coffee powder. 🙁 It is really astounding how the powder managed to get into everything, even the books sealed in plastic are covered if they had a tiny hole. I had to clean everything off, and it’s still a little sticky and smells like French Vanilla!
Since I have returned to Taiwan I have been spenting my time waking up at 3am and sleeping at 8pm because of the jetlag. In some ways I’d say the jetlag this time is worse than it was going to Canada, probably because my body had only just adjusted to Canadian time and now here I am back in Taipei! On the plus side, it was -6 in Canada, and it’s 23 degrees here in Taipei! ^__^ It’s like walking from Winter to Summer in a single weekend!
Overall, though, it feels good to be back. Taipei really has become my second home, and while I love Canada, I love my friends and students here too. They have helped to make this place a good part of my life, and I look forward to seeing them again and getting back to work.