a very special visitor!

Jul 16, 2013

When my friend and former roommate Kim told me last year that she'd be coming to visit me this summer, I was beyond excited. We'd have cocktails and late nights, chaos at the Calgary Stampede, and all of the adventures we could manage to cram into one week.  A few months later, I found out that I was pregnant.  By the time July rolled around I assumed that I'd be huge and waddling, wanting nothing more than to laze around the house shoving food into my mouth. Fortunately, Kim shares my love of food and time spent on the couch and didn't change her vacation plans even though she'd now have to sleep next to a crib in our soon to be nursery. For somebody who does not like babies or kids, this was a pretty big deal and she handled it like a champion! I've also been lucky to have had a relatively easy pregnancy (past the initial morning sickness) and I had enough energy and motivation to tour her around and show off my beautiful country.  
I could go into detail about everywhere we went and everything we did... but we kept ridiculously busy so I'll just sum it up with some photos.  

Timing was on our side, and without having ever even heard of it, Kim booked her vacation during the Calgary Stampede! I wouldn't be able to join her in the beer gardens and get Stampede silly, but we made the most of our day regardless.  She was pretty excited to own her very first cowboy hat.  

As I'd promised, this vacation would be filled with food. The Stampede never lets us down. Deep fried Oreos? Definitely a hit. She also sampled her first ever perogies loaded with sour cream and bacon bits. It's currently Ramadan and she is a resident of Dubai, so feasting on bacon was especially exciting. She may have even returned to Dubai with a bottle of bacon flavoured vodka.  

Spending your days with somebody as pregnant as myself, you'll never go hungry. After the Stampede we headed for Banff, where she tasted elk and my beloved Beavertails. Delicious.  Our faces were coated in chocolate and we couldn't have cared less. 

We explored the beauty of the Canadian Rockies. We took the gondola up Sulphur Mountain in Banff, and made the mandatory tourist trip to Lake Louise.  We also made a stop at the less visited Moraine Lake, which in my opinion is even prettier. It took awhile for giant me to hike up the hill for the view, but it was certainly worth it. 

While some people can spend a couple of years in Canada and never see a bear, we were lucky. We saw not one, not two, but three bears... including a grizzly close up in the parking lot.  This made for one very, very excited Australian.  

On our last weekend together, we headed out for a quick camping trip. My desert dwelling friend survived the cold mountain air and spent the night in the tent. The outside temperature was only 2°C but we were armed with a mountain of blankets and sleeping bags.  She experienced her first camping pies... and (brace yourself) her first ever s'mores. How somebody goes so many years without experiencing the sticky goodness of marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers is beyond me. Needless to say, she enjoyed it.  

The rest of our time was spent driving from place to place, stuffing our faces with other Canadian treats (such as poutine and Tim Horton's) and plopping our butts on the couch to watch TV, just like old times.  Yesterday I reluctantly drove her to the airport and we bid farewell... until next time. Someday, somewhere on this planet we will reunite again!  

Now that all of my big plans for the summer are in the past, it's time to relax and start to wait out the impending arrival of Baby Shippelt. Only 6 more weeks to go!  


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