January 22-Feb 14, 2015
Continuing on with my trip home…
What I loved most about being home: (not necessarily in this order…)
1. Sleeping in. Every day. For a good week. Between the jet lag and the Saudi hangover (Saudi hangover being the accumulated stress from 6 months in a strange country where nothing is every even remotely close to as easy as it would be at home, working more hours, the stress of not speaking the language, etc) I could sleep 12-14 hours every day for that first week!!!
2. Driving. Still own my car but it was going to cost a good chunk of cash to insure it for 3 weeks, so daddy dear kindly donated a business car for me to drive. A freaking Yaris (ick) but at least it was a set of wheels that I could drive on my own… without worrying about being arrested, unless I broke too many speed limits in my eagerness to really experience driving again (not really a possibility in a Yaris with its teeny tiny little engine).
3. Breakfast conversation with my mom.
4. Walks at the river with my sister and my niece. Just sparkles and sunshine and giggles.
Look at the eyes on that beautiful little girl!!! Mashallah!
5. Babysitting my niece.. she is just precious. My hearts melts!!!
6. Coffee with Grandma. My grandmother is my only living grandparent and she is a wonderful woman. She is warm and friendly, energetic and vivacious, and so caring and compassionate. No verbal filter though. It is hilarious sometimes!!!
7. Visiting work to say hi to all my old colleagues. The familiar nursing environment, filled with colleagues I highly value and respect who raised me from a brand new baby nurse to the nurse I am today…
8. Sushi & Sake. Movie nights. Lunch dates at the harvest cafe. Catching up with good friends from nursing school! Bowling with friends and their kids… Unfortunately, most dinner/lunch dates I was too busy talking to take pictures so there’s not many pictures from those moments… but I absolutely loved having time to catch up with all of the most important people in my life and those moments don’t need pictures… treasuring them in my heart!! And anyone I missed… it wasn’t because they were less important… but it’s crazy how fast 3 weeks can fill up and then disappear!!!
9. Icecream cake. Pretty impossible to pick up an icecream cake in this country as by the time you get it home its definitely melty!!!
10. Tim Horton’s coffee. The famous Canadian coffee company. There’s actually a couple shops in Riyadh, but they’re difficult to get to. And they’re always out of tins of coffee so you can brew your own “Timmies” at home! And it was even Roll-up-the-Rim-to-win time of year!! (Didn’t win a thing… but I’m home with my family so I feel like a winner anyways!)
11. River runs!! In the sun (it was gorgeously sunny and dry almost the entire time I was home, unusual for January-February… but very welcome for me… not accustomed to the cold and rain anymore!!).
12. Getting my hair done by my favorite stylist ever!!!!! She always does a fab job!!! And I never have to worry it will turn out badly… (I’ve heard so many horror stories of Western girls who have gotten their hair done in Saudi and it turned out absolutely atrociously… so I had a nightmare one night that I got my hair done in Riyadh and ended up with cornrows!!! Not sure what that was about but it was terrifying!! lol)
13. A really really good bottle of wine. Proper red. Not homebrew. Specifically British Columbia wines from my favorite wine store… the Sardis VQA wine store. Bottles and bottles of beautiful reds and blends… For a girl living in Saudi Arabia for the last 6 months and not setting foot in a wine store for as long… having options was a bit mind boggling and challenging! But… I picked up a set that is supposed to be just beautiful… going to save it for some special occasion. Like the next time I come visit.
14. Walking through the greenhouse. Smelling that earthy smell of soil and growing things. The warmth and humidity. The feel of a childhood spent growing up in and around a greenhouse. The pride of walking through your fathers life work…Bumping into people who’ve known you since you were a child…
15. Family dinners. Family dinners are by far the best part of the whole trip. Made a warm, homey, love filled pot of Morroccan beef stew for the family…and even my brothers who are hesitant to try anything new… loved it!! And anytime my family gathers around the table, there’s bound to be some debate. Over healthcare. Politics. etc. It is so stimulating and I really miss this about being so far away from them all.
16. Games and laughs with my siblings. We played Cranium one night and it was a riot! So much fun!! Heartwarming. Belly warming too… hot coffee with Baileys… dad’s specialty coffee…
17. Silly faces with Eric, my little brother.
18. Silly Sunday afternoon shenanigans… and just relaxing at home with the family…
19. SNOWBOARDING!!! I’ve missed this. Unfortunately the snow season was shit at home this year. Too little snow and too much warm and rain… but we still made it out one day. Daddy dear and baby bro and I. The snow wasn’t the best, but it was sunny and clear and the air was fresh and pine scented… And the view from the top of the mountains was unbeatable! (Pictures to come in the next post… )
20. A pedicure with my mom and sister. So relaxing. Good mother-daughters time. Followed by a homey lunch at the preserved seed cafe. A cafe that reminds me so much of nursing school lunch dates…
21. Canucks games. Watching them on TV. Especially during the Stanley cup playoffs. But also going to games. The freedom to freely mingle among men and women… carrying a beer in hand… surrounded by thousands of people enjoying our national sport… (Pictures to be posted in the next post… )
22. Sunrises and sunsets and gorgeous mountain views. Probably one of the things I miss the most. The green. The mountains. The brilliant blue sky. No dust storms. No sand everywhere. Vibrant shades of azure, emerald and rich browns. Not the dull grey/brown/yellow I usually see in Saudi unless I’m lucky enough to go outside the city into the desert where the sky is bluer and the dustiness turns to reds and golds and browns…
On that beautiful sunset, I’m going to end this post… because it is getting far too long. Next up… just a few of the bigger events of my trip home… Snowboarding, a Canucks game… and my final family dinner…
Thanks for reading… if you ever get the chance… please do come and visit British Columbia… Obviously I’m biased, but Vancouver and the Lower Mainland in general are probably some of the most beautiful places on earth!!!
Ok… I’m out now… xoxo