24 July 2016

Ottawa trip (Matthijs' temporary exile in Canada)

In front of parliament
Matthijs's adventure in getting his student visa ended up with us spending a week together in Canada. I'd describe it as a combination of our normal vacation (where we explore a city) and what my visits to Canada looked like when I lived in the Netherlands (trying to visit as many friends + family as possible).

This was the itinerary: lunch at my father's house - get hair done at my sister's - pick up Matthijs at Toronto airport - visit Judith and Stephen - Ottawa - visit Dave and Crystle (go sailing!) - visit my sister again - visit my brother - visit friends in Strathroy - drive home. A little full, thus. But Matthijs came on Saturday and couldn't (re)enter the US until Thursday, so there was lots of time (and quite a few folks who we hadn't seen enough of lately).

Locks on the Rideau Canal
Our vacation got off to a bit of a rocky start, as my picking up Matthijs at the airport didn't go so well (driving, especially at airports, stresses me out - and my phone doesn't work in Canada, making good communication more complicated). While we were both looking forward to seeing the other, we nonetheless both managed to annoy and be annoyed with the other before we even met. Thankfully, Judith and Stephen were great hosts, and we resolved things fully when we got to Ottawa.
The view from the Peace Tower

Ottawa is a beautiful city, and I'm deeply thankful to see (finally!) the capital city of my country. I have to admit, though, that I found myself uncomfortable at times with how strong the nationalism was at times (sorry, but Canada also has a complicated, messy history). The closest I came to nationalism was when I was reading about the strong Canadian women who'd made a difference in the world.

It was a lovely trip, but it's also lovely to be home again.

I forced Matthijs to stand in the middle of this because I thought it was a great modern art display (it's meant to be symbolic of how many people see modern art to be as accessible as a can of soup would be to pigeons)

Happy to be together!

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