Thursday, December 24, 2009

Patrick's Frist Visit to Canada: Day One

Wow! We made it! It is so amazing to be here, in my home, with my family and friends, and Patrick by my side! At times, surreal, at other times, so normal, my two lives merging...

We left Kampala Monday. Emmie, Patrick's baby bro came with us to the airport. We stopped at our favorite eating spot in Entebbe, on the shores of Lake Victoria to eat roasted fish and chips (fries). I drank my favorite, Alvaro, a pear flavored malt drink. Yum!

On the way to the airport and all through the trip, Patrick would occasionally lean over to me and say, "In case you didn't know, we're going to Calgary." And we would laugh in disbelief and wonder.

Our first stop was Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We were surprised to see many people smoking inside the terminal! And the A/C was on high, so we bundled up in our warmest clothing, laughing that we weren't even out of Africa and we were already cold!

Then, to Frankfurt, where skin colours became increasingly paler and Patrick began feeling the odd one out, much the same way I do in Africa! How interesting to watch the world through his eyes! They let us off on the tarmac which was covered in slush and we laughed together as we navigated walking in the snow with our inappropriate footwear and braved the cool air. Inside the terminal, we went to the duty free shops to smell perfume for a while. Trying to find a place to sit was hard so we ended up at a table in the McDonald's facing the runway so we could see the planes taking off and landing. Patrick got a craving for fries, so we got some food and as were eating, I told him, hey, did you know you're eating McDonald's? He didn't know and so we "celebrated" another first Western experience for him.

At the gate for our Air Canada flight to Calgary, we prayed and hoped for seats together because there had been a problem with our booking. The woman at the counter was understanding and told us to wait as she worked on it. We were almost the very last people to get on the plane as they waited to see what seats were available. Finally, they found us seats together and one of the other women happily presented us with our boarding passes. She said, "Now you can hold hands!" And "Merry Christmas." A very sweet way to begin our journey home!

On the plane, I met an old friend going home after spending a long time overseas. We were both wondering how it would be to adjust to being home.

As we descended to Calgary, both Patrick and I had these goofy smiles on our face. Patrick was amazed seeing the snow everywhere.

We were greeted at the airport by my sis, Michelle, Kirk, Keenan, Bronwyn, and Rob with Emily and Kaylee. Rob had brought us a whole bag of warm clothes. Coats, toques, mitts, boots. I think Patrick was overwhelmed as we hadn't even stepped outside yet!

It was -15 C, and the cold air shocked our lungs! I had told Patrick in Entebbe, that once we got to Calgary, he needed to breathe and smell the air and notice the difference between here and there. Uganda has a warm, sweet, smoky, humid feel and smell to it. Calgary, has a clean, crisp, fresh, dry feel and smell. He noticed. :)

As we drove, he was impressed by the order of the roads and traffic, the wideness of the city, and again, the snow everywhere. Though very cold, he appreciated the beauty of it.

Once home, we were treated to the most wonderful hospitality by Rob and Stacey. They had made up our rooms, put heaters inside, treated us to dinner (pizza) and really great conversation. I felt like I'd never left. 6 months went so fast!

Patrick enjoyed the food, something I had worried about. He doesn't eat cheese, and we eat so much cheese here. But Rob had some lactate pills that seemed to help a lot so he could enjoy eating everything!

We had an amazing sleep after all that traveling, woke up refreshed, and I for one, definitely enjoyed the hot water shower!!

It is the coolest, sweetest experience having my dear Patrick here with me in my home!