January 22-February 14
I nearly forgot… another highlight of my trip back home… unexpected free tickets to a Vancouver Canucks game!!
While I was in Saudi Arabia, I had a checklist of things I wanted to do when I went back home on leave, and going to a Canucks game was one of them. As a note… nothing make a Canadian, especially an expat Canadian, feel more patriotic than a good game of ice hockey!!!
One day, a pair of tickets unexpectedly landed on my brothers desk at work, but he didn’t want to go, so he offered them to me. Obviously I gladly accepted… and took my sister along with me!!
So we were off to Vancity to take in a game at Rogers Arena… Vancouver Canucks vs. Winnepeg Jets! A Canadian rivalry!!
We stocked up on some beer (just for me cuz my sis is procreating… just found out I’m going to be an auntie again and I’m SOOOO excited!!!!) and pizza… and found our seats…
It was a really intense game… lots of action… and a really good fight at one point!!! There were so many sticks and gloves littering the ice…
For me though, I loved being there with my sister, because we’ve never watched a game together before… obviously on TV but not live before! The hour-ish drive into the city was really nice actually because it gave us time to just sit and talk together… have a good heart to heart, because we’ve been missing those lately. And as much as I adore my niece… she’s a little bundle of energy and makes it difficult to get into a deep, focused conversation with my sister when she’s around!
Then of course… the energy and excitement of the crowd at Rogers Arena… yelling at the ref and shouting suggestions to the team… singing/chanting along with the crowd… Fin – the orca, the team mascot… the wave that goes around the arena…
And through all of it… being there with thousands of people, passionate about the sport… in a mixed crowd. Men and women sitting together and mingling freely, publicly drinking… so free. In a way that I haven’t been free in months and months!! I don’t mind the gender segregation in Saudi usually… or the lack of freedom compared to what I’m used to at home. But being here at the Canucks game really highlighted for me how really un-free and restricted I am in Saudi Arabia!! It gives me a much greater appreciation for my freedoms in North America!!!
The icing on the cake: We won. Of course. It was a really great game and I was so excited that the Canucks had a win and that I got to be there to see it!! (Unfortunately my Canucks didn’t do so well in the Stanley Cup playoffs… but at least Vancouverites didn’t riot and burn their city down this year… unlike that one infamous year in 2011 when we lost the Stanley Cup playoffs in game 7, and people went crazy and rioted, smashing windows and burning cars…)
Leaving Rogers Arena… we walked along the water by Science World… the beautiful ball of light at night. I love Vancouver in the dark. Actually I love it in the day also. It’s such a breathtakingly beautiful city at any time of day… and any time of year. Riyadh is so grey and brown and dusty and dingy during the day… although it is gorgeous at night. But Vancouver is beautiful during the day and night. Shades of bright green and blue during the day… and bright white lights, black, navy blue and dark purple at night… I miss this place!!!!
And so ends hockey night in Canada.