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2011 The Nightingale's Oddessy Our exchange year in Canada.

The Last Canadian Blog

CANADA | Thursday, 29 December 2011 | Views [724]

The Last Blog from Canada

Yes, as the title states this will be my last blog from the Great White North and so I would like to dedicate it to our following Canadian friends who have made this last year so much fun; Sue and Cam, Ian and Mary, Dave, Brenda, Sophie, Ethan and Melissa Brown, Jill and Gary, Paola and the wonderful staff at St Helen’s, Enia, Bill and Jeanette and the other volunteers with Clee. I’m sure there are others I failed to mention, you know who you are. So thank you each and everyone for all your friendship.

I am currently sitting here writing this blog at a hotel close to Toronto Pearson Airport on our last night before we fly out. It is with heavy hearts that we said our goodbyes this afternoon (and over the last few days), but it has also made us determined to come back, either to do it all over again or to visit and hopefully the people we have met, will come to visit in Australia.

As might be expected, the last few days have been a whirlwind of packing, visits and goodbyes. Starting with a lovely meal at Ian and Mary’s on Sunday night, closely followed on Tuesday with Natasha’s class performance of Frosty the Snowman. Our little drama queen has been living and breathing this play the last three weeks and despite a last minute bout of butterflies, everything went off without a hitch. Chelle had a busy last week too, beginning with no car on Monday due to engine belt woes, followed by a night time Xmas pageant followed by her staff dinner the following night. As I mentioned in my previous blog , Dec 23rd was the last day for all of us, and we were all tired and emotional by the time it was over...

Christmas Eve, was another busy day going out to the movies at midday, a bite to eat (thank you Brian Diogo) and then a last skate down at the waterfront. Then to add more drama and mayhem, we had the stress of thinking Chelle had lost her wallet and so we were forced to then drive around looking for it. Thankfully it turned up jammed under the seat of the car – where she had deliberately put it so as not to LOSE it!!! After that excitement(!) Chelle and the kids went off to Christmas Eve mass with Sue and Cam next door before spending a very pleasant and relaxing evening celebrating the season at Sue’s, where the kids spent some of their last time with our adopted dog, Amber.

Christmas Day was a lot more laid back than last years, no getting up at midnight to open presents, this time we didn’t see anyone until after 7am, very civilised. Because the kids have seen and done so much and we don’t have a lot of room to take things back with us, it was agreed that maybe giving back to someone less privileged would be nice. So Ryan bought three chicks and rapidly reproducing rabbits for a village in Africa and Natasha choose to give a village an endless harvest all courtesy of PLAN Canada. This isn’t to say that the kids didn’t find some presents in their stockings.   Ryan came through in the morning decked out in a Boston Bruins shirt and Cap and Natasha had a new fleecy jacket from her favourite store Justice.

Mid morning we headed into Toronto to meet the Barnards and McMahons for Christmas. We had all booked into a hotel in the city and booked Christmas dinner at the Sheraton Hotel. After we checked in we headed down to the outdoor ice skating rink at City Hall for an hour of skating before heading out to dinner <take 2> at the Sheraton....

After a big feast we all waddled back to our hotel via the centre of Toronto to take in our the last senses and sights of this great city. Christmas night was an Aussie affair, the kids off in one room playing computer games, watching TV, while the adults sat, relaxed over a few drinks listened to Aussie music and Kev, Mick and I clustered around an IPhone listening to the Boxing Day Test being streamed live. Boxing Day in Toronto after a nice big cooked breakfast we headed in to the Eaton Centre for some last minute bargains before saying our goodbyes and heading our own ways with promises to catch up back home during 2012.

Driving back from Toronto to Burlington Chelle couldn’t help but reminisce on the fact that Dec26 last year we were being driven to our new accommodation and there was snow piled up at the side of the road; this year the sky was clear and blue and it felt as if it was a summers day.

Dec 27th; we had big plans to meet Dave and Brenda Brown and their kids for one last skate, but unfortunately Mother Nature had different ideas and the freezing rain put paid to that idea. This proved to be a bonus however as we spent the time packing and we soon realised that we weren’t going to get all that we had into four suitcases and so raced out and bought a fifth. With the day back on track the evening was spent at Dave and Brendas, enjoying our last taste of Canadian cuisine; once again a special way to celebrate our last days and friendships. 

Today has been spent packing cleaning and saying our last goodbyes, which brings us to the present and our last night. The kids and Chelle are sitting and watching TV and I’m sitting here nursing a Bacardi and Coke typing this out and trying to work out where 2011 has gone. It is hard to believe that 12 months ago as Michelle puts it we were so “Green” and starting an experience of a life time. I hope that meanderings through this year haven’t been boring and that maybe it has inspired one or two of you to attempt something similar, believe me it is worth it.

Anyway happy New Year to you all, I hope to see a large number of you in the not too distant future and the rest, friends old and new down the line.

Ken 

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