Thursday, October 27, 2011

back home away from home

I've been back in Cardiff just more than a week already. It was wonderful being back home in Canada and seeing friends and family. The weather was amazing with sun and heat for the first week. This poor deprived sun-starved Canadian just basked in it.

I ate turkey and risotto for Thanksgiving as the family gathered at my niece Kate's new home in Windsor and the next day most of us went for a walk along the Detroit River in glorious sunshine. It was good to be in Windsor as I'd been living in Toronto for most of the seven years before I came to Wales.

I saw the insides of probably four to five hockey arenas in Essex County and travelled to a tournament in Caledonia as my 10-year-old niece and 8-year-old nephew impressed their Aunt with their constantly improving hockey skills. I went apple-picking and walked through my first corn maze. I met up with long-time friends from well out-of-town who happened to be in the area around Thanksgiving. I met up with long-time friends from in-town.

Two of my Windsor/Toronto friends were running in the Detroit Marathon the weekend after Thanksgiving and I rose very early in the dark and was able to meet up with one on the Windsor side of the race before his relay stint began and hang out with the other after her relay stint ended.

One of my brothers picked me up and dropped me off at the Detroit Airport. The flights were smooth and good in both directions. I visited the small museum at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam where they have a Rembrandt on display -- no cost for entry. From the air I could see canals everywhere and wondered with the flat terrain why there weren't more Dutch people in Essex County, Ontario. As we were taxied in I could see the many bicycles used by airport employees to get to work. I was amazed at how many of the Dutch women working at KLM or at Schiphol are close to 6 ft. in height.

It was pouring rain and cold in Amsterdam on my arrival but the landing in Cardiff was sunny with a welcoming rainbow. I shared the bus ride back into town with a handsome Welshman whom I shall probably never see again -- an athletic man with an easy Gene Kelly grace and smile.

I'm back at work and my body is remembering how tough this job of room attendant is, but also that I enjoy it. Yesterday, on a day off, I had great success shopping at the charity shops for bits and pieces of a Halloween costume for an employee Fright Night at the hotel this Sunday. I am going to try and channel Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's. Have the sunglasses, the little black dress, the pearls and shoes and am pretty confident I have an easy way to make a cigarette holder.

I doubt though if I can stay in character on the dance floor.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

leaving on a jet plane

I'm Canada-bound -- via Detroit -- tomorrow. I'm so excited!

I will probably sleep for two days. I'm coming off a long seven day stretch at work and have to catch a train at 6:40 a.m. tomorrow to take me from Cardiff to Cardiff Airport. I'm guessing I will be trailing my luggage behind me on the half-hour walk to the train station. Thank God for wheels on luggage.

The plane from Cardiff takes me to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. It will be, technically, my first setting foot on mainland Europe, though officially it will be International soil. Kind of counts, but kind of doesn't count. The time for European wanderings will come.

Flying into unknown airports is always kind of intimidating as I'm not a frequent flyer. I always feel much better once I'm finally in the waiting area and ready for take-off.

My waiting time in Amsterdam is only two hours - probably just enough time not to have to rush crazily. I hope. Then it's a direct flight to Detroit where my brother Kevin is picking me up and taking me to Harrow, Ontario, Canada.

Now, I'm off to buy some Welsh cakes to bring over for Thanksgiving dinner.