Sunday, July 20, 2014

Canada Day

Anna is one of my oldest, dearest friends. My best friend, you might say,  if that's not an immature label to use at 27 years old. We met in grade 8 and have been close ever since.

When we graduated from high school I started undergrad at UBC and she took a gap year and went to England. That summer after graduating high school was pretty great, pretty much as close to coming-of-age-movie-perfect as it could be. At the end of that summer I quit the part-time job I'd had for during high school--at the concession of the cinemaplex--and taken a new one at the mall. I remember I'd gotten that job, where I was making a whole 25¢ more than minimum wage, in order to save up to visit Anna in England.

I remember the excitement and anxiety of saving up--would I make enough to afford to go? Working maybe 12-16 hours a week at 25 cents more than minimum wage made it a challenge. In the end, I made my savings goal and booked my flight to London for the late afternoon following my last exam.

As I recalled in a travelogue post at the time:

As I began my exam on April 22nd, I was relieved to see that I knew something about everything asked of me on the exam, and as such began writing furiously. Such erratic scrawling got me discrete looks from my friend ... I finished my exam 20 minutes - half an hour early, and was off to the airport.

Nine hours later I was landing at Heathrow Airport in London, England.
I think I once heard that the island of Britain is either the same size or smaller than Vancouver Island. However, England makes itself big in part due to how difficult it is to travel within the country. Four hours after having landed, Anna and I arrived at her cottage in Oxfordshire, after having taken a supplemental bus from Heathrow to the Underground, the Underground to Paddington Station, a train to Oxford, a bus, and a taxi. Once we arrived, I was given fifteen minutes to shower and get ready for a dinner invitation at Anna's Irish coworker's cottage. 
Anna and I walking through some English ruins on our way to dinner at said Irish colleague's cottage.

So remembering that excitement I felt when I visited Anna in England, I was thrilled when she told me she was going to visit me here in Ottawa for Canada Day.

Anna was here for just three days, but we packed those three days. Anna had a wedding the weekend before Canada Day, so she took a red-eye flight and arrived in Ottawa Monday morning. After meeting at the airport we took a bus directly to my place and went for breakfast at the Baker Street Cafe in Westboro. Afterwards Anna had a nap, while I went to the grocery store; my fridge was bare and the grocery store was going to be closed for Canada Day.

That afternoon we visited the War Museum. I thought it was really well done; I recommend the temporary exhibit Witness, which features paintings by soldiers of World War I scenes. Afterwards we met up with her cousin-in-law, John, at watched the Germany prevail over Algeria in the World Cup. We concluded the evening by having a drink on a patio in the Byward Market.

For Canada Day, Anna and I had had the idea of getting matching Vancouver, Canada tourist t-shirts.

Anna is actually only 2 inches taller than me, but for some reason looks way taller in this photo.

We started Canada Day off with brunch at some intern colleague friends of mine. Downtown was bustling. By the time we made it to Parliament Hill, we actually only caught the last of Serena Ryder's act and then my room mate's boyfriend's swing dancing demo. We hadn't realized that there was nothing much happening on Parliament Hill between the noon show and the evening concert. So we spent the rest of Canada Day barbecue-hopping, hitting three in total.

The next day I had to go into work, despite feeling a bit of the after effects of my patriotism. Anna met me for lunch and then visited the Canadian Museum of History. After I finished work, it was time to head back to the airport and see her off.

It was an amazing short, but sweet visit. Love that girl!

1 comment:

Anna Felicity said...

Aww, this is so sweet! I'm pretty sure the Vancouver shirts were all your brilliant idea, I was just happy to buy them :) (I've actually worn mine since, I like it) I really cannot figure out how I look so much taller than you in the picture, must be because the picture taker was sitting down.