Jul 16, 2010 by Krysta
I'm currently sitting in the Toronto airport killing time before my flight back to Dubai. I've just spent almost 2 weeks back in my beautiful home of Alberta, Canada. I'm currently fighting the urge to hide in a bathroom stall and break down in tears, but I won't. I've done enough of that already today. Goodbyes never get easier, and leaving home gets more impossible as time goes on.
Despite the sadness that comes with heading back to the sandpit, I had an amazing time during my short visit and the good times that I had overshadows my current emotional state.
I arrived home on the 7th after a total of 18 hours of flying. Ryan and I had a movie scene reunion in the Calgary airport. I spotted him and ran to his arms. He even brought me flowers. We hugged like we'd never hugged before, and we even snuck in a few kisses....because we could. Hand in hand, we walked to my beloved coffee shop... Tim Horton's. Clutching our iced cappuccinos, we headed for the baggage carousel to collect my suitcase, and then we were off to hit the highway.
I stared out the windows in awe. Endless yellow fields surrounded us and in the distance the Rocky Mountains peaked out from the horizon. Despite growing up there, life in Dubai has brought me a newfound appreciation of the beauty of my amazing home.
I reunited with my mom, my brothers, and my adorable puppy, Titan. It was great to be back.
The next day I dragged myself out of bed early, forcing myself to adjust to the time zone in a desperate attempt to avoid jet lag. I headed for a long overdue haircut, thrilled to find that my stylist was also a good friend of mine, Talin. We chatted and caught up on 7 month's worth of gossip. With my hair styled for the first time in a long time (aside from the flight attendant bun), I made my way to my shopping paradise... Wal-Mart! Call me a loser, but I don't care. I've missed the giant store that sells everything. I loaded up a cart full of makeup, snacks, flip flops, and everything else that I figured I needed based solely on the fact that it would cost more to buy in Dubai.
Once Ryan was off work he picked me up and we hit the road, headed West. We were going to spend the entire weekend camping in the mountains and I couldn't have been happier. On the way, we stopped at Calgary's famous "Peter's Drive In" to get our fill of greasy burgers and milkshakes. We eventually made it to Kananaskis, surrounded by snow capped mountains.
The next few days were spent hiking up mountains (in flip flops, might I add), eating great camping food, and catching up with Ryan and his family. His mom is famous for her delicious homemade ice cream cakes. Obviously transporting one camping would be hard to do, but she surprised me with a great alternative... an entire tub of ice cream with candles in honour of my belated birthday. Mmm, ice cream for breakfast. After a great weekend it was time to return to Red Deer to shower....and more importantly, to reunite with the rest of my friends and family! My mom had planned a barbeque birthday party at her house and invited all of the people that I love most. Everyone showed up and we had a great time catching up while eating mass amounts of food (a common theme you'll read about for this entire vacation). My aunt gave me a really cool gift for my birthday... she printed every single blog that I've written and put it together into one book. It was really thoughtful and I'd never have the patience to do it myself. Once everyone had left and my lovely friend Carley had entertained us all with her alcohol induced storytelling, I headed to bed. Monday had another exciting event in store... KARAOKE!
From the time that I turned 18 until now, I've spent nearly every Monday that I've been in Red Deer at Bo's Bar, singing karaoke. Hosted by my very own mommy, it's the highlight of Monday nights. It was a great night, and I sang my little heart out.
Rather than sleeping in the next morning, I woke up early, forcing my mom and Carley to get out of bed and get ready. We were joined by my mom's friend Brandy and the 4 of us set out on a girl's day out. We drove to Edmonton for some serious shopping at West Edmonton Mall, which was formerly the biggest in the world and still beats any of Dubai's giant malls as far as I'm concerned. We spent hours aimlessly wandering, meeting up with my crazy friend Jake and trying on ridiculous outfits complete with hideous accessories. Our great day was completed with a visit to Red Lobster, where I indulged in an amazing meal of snow crab legs, king crab legs, and crab stuffed shrimp. I was in Heaven.
Wednesday brought on more fun. My friend Michaelle was celebrating her 25th birthday and we joined her at Bo's for wing night. Ryan and I left early to stop by the steam room. We used to love going there to relax after the gym. Rather than working out this time, we'd ate excessive amounts of chicken wings... it was relaxing regardless.
Thursday was another early morning. It had been raining for a few days, so I was determined to take advantage of the sunshine on the first nice day of the week. I persuaded my mom that we should go to the Calgary Stampede. We took the roadtrip to the city, watched a performance, briefly met up with my Godmother and her kids, played midway games, and of course.... ate greasy delicious carnival food. It seems like every year they find something new to deep fry and sell. Deep fried Oreos, jelly beans, and cheesecake were among the many unhealthy dining options.
Friday rolled around again, and once again it was time to head to the mountains for another weekend of camping. This time we were joined by a group of friends, and the 9 of us headed for Radium, British Columbia. Our weekend was filled with sunshine, smores, and non-stop laughter.
Before I'd even realized it, Monday had arrived and it dawned on me that I'd be headed back to Dubai in only 2 days. The thought made me a bit sad, but I cheered up as I headed to my Grandma's house for a great big German dinner. Ryan and I were so full that we could barely walk, but we made our way to Bo's for one last karaoke night. My mom and I sang one last song together... the same one that 7 months earlier had brought her to tears as she realized that I was moving to the Middle East.
Tuesday came too soon. After meeting Ryan for our final Tim Horton's lunch date, I headed back to pack my suitcase. It was much fuller than it had been leaving Dubai, stuffed full of new clothes and snacks I'd robbed from my mom's pantry. In the process of packing, I somehow lost my camera battery. Not my easy to replace, small point and shoot camera. Nope, it had to be my DSLR battery, one that would cost me a whopping $90 to replace. After hours of searching the entire house, I lost hope and sadly accepted that it had disappeared into thin air. I can't think of any other reasonable explanation. As my flight was early the next morning, Ryan and I had decided to head to Calgary that night to go for dinner and have the chance to sleep in a bit longer. Once I'd packed up and loaded the car, I was forced to say goodbye to Carley and my mom. I joked and help my composure, fighting back tears as I said "No big deal, it's only 4 months until I have holidays again!" As we drove away, I clung to Ryan's arm, wiping away my unavoidable tears. I cheered up once we'd reached our hotel. Carley had been awesome enough to book us a room using her hotel discount, and she'd even requested fruit and wine to be placed in our room. The wine was M.I.A, but the chocolate covered strawberries were delicious! We'd worked up our appetite in anticipation of dinner... Red Lobster, once again. This time we went for the Ultimate Feast... lobster, crab and shrimp.... all amazing. We ate until our plates were empty and then ordered an appetizer instead of dessert, much to the surprise of our waitress. I'd hoped that the night would never end, but of course, it did. We headed back to our hotel to catch some sleep before an extremely early morning.
The dreaded 21st of July had arrived, and nothing could shake my sad mood, not even chocolate covered strawberries for breakfast. I got ready and we sleepily headed to the airport. Poor Ryan was exhausted, but sweet enough to wake up super early to send me off despite having to work all day. I checked in and not surprisingly, my bag was over the weight allowance. Fortunately, it was only by one pound and they were kind enough to let me off without paying any extra fees. The lady at the check in counter advised me to hurry through security before the lines got too long. We walked hand in hand toward the gates, stopping in the same corner where we'd said goodbye in December. He pulled out my camera and took my photo, much to my confusion. How was he using my camera without a battery? Turns out he'd rushed and bought a new one the night before and slipped it into my camera at some point. It's the little awesome things that he does that makes me love him even more. I wanted to stay longer, to hug him forever, but it was time to go. I didn't even try to hold back the tears, I knew it was useless. I hugged Ryan, cried like a baby, and then said goodbye and headed through the door. I knew that it wasn't the end of the world, but it sure felt like it. As the plane took off I stared below as tears streamed down my face. Goodbye, Alberta.
3 hours later I was in Toronto, where I sit now wasting my entire afternoon waiting for my flight back to Dubai. Believe me, the thought of buying a one way ticket back to Calgary has definitely crossed my mind, but I know that I have to go. When it comes down to it, I do love my job, and I do love my life.
I just hate goodbyes.
Keeping optimistic, I'm headed back to Australia this weekend. My second home, and second best if I can't be home right now! Time to go catch a flight, next update from the sandpit.
To all of my amazing friends and family back home... I love you all and miss you so much already. Thanks for an amazing 2 weeks!!