Thursday, January 07, 2010

Ottawa Photos

Here are a few photos from my holiday break.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A Kind of Homecoming

2010-01-04 (Waiting in the Warsaw airport, I am unable to connect to the internet so will just write and post this later.)

It’s hard to come back. The holiday break was so wonderful with warm friends, family, and homes, delicious food, great wines, and don’t forget the vodka. I am so blessed to have my family in Ottawa. Each Christmas I have spent there just gets warmer and warmer. This year I particularly enjoyed getting to spend a lot of time with Piotr’s mother, Krystyna. We talked more in the past two weeks than in the 4+ years Piotr and I have been together and it was great.

The actual journey of returning hasn’t been easy exactly. It was snowing so much in Eastern Canada that most of the flights were at least a little delayed. When my first flight was further delayed out of Ottawa, I asked the gate agent if it would affect my connection. She assured me it would and booked me on the flight that was leaving in 10 minutes—which was actually leaving almost 2 hours after its original schedule. Regardless, I made it to Toronto though I’m unsure if my bags did.

The LOT flight from Toronto was delayed though they never fully admitted to that until we were on the aircraft. It was the first time I’ve seen a gauntlet of security for boarding a plane. About 15 uniformed and armed guards, one with a drug dog, watched and interviewed each passenger. The guard who pulled me over asked if I was aware of the laws about carrying currency, that one must declare if they are carrying over $10k Canadian. He asked me how much money I had on me. My honest answer: “I have 50 cents Canadian and 60 złoty. I actually have to hit an ATM in Poland so I can pay for a cab home from the airport.” I assume this heightened security was in response to the recent snafu in the states, but it was quite a show of force especially for Canadians. We were further delayed when one passenger didn’t pass the screening gauntlet and we had to wait while they searched and retrieved his already loaded baggage.

On the plane, I was lucky enough to get an aisle seat--an aisle seat without a functioning overhead light, a seat cushion that wasn’t attached and kept sliding around, but with a great view of the non-functioning video system. I managed to get a little reading in before they shut off the cabin lights and then relied on my ipod for entertainment which mostly consisted of classical music I could pretend to sleep to. Just like the flight over, the hot meal was quite good, but the cold part left much to be desired. Thankfully, at brunch earlier in the week, I stole a couple individual sized peanut butter packs which made breakfast much more enjoyable. We arrived only 90 minutes later than scheduled, and fortunately my connecting flight to Gdańsk is delayed as well.

When I did pull out my Anatomy book on the plane, I was surprised at my focus. For the two weeks in Canada, I couldn’t muster enough focus to read for more than 10 minutes at a time with negligible comprehension levels. Though as soon as I boarded the plane and opened up the book , the reality of school came back including the reality that I have class tomorrow that I’m entirely unprepared for and a colloquium next week for which I have been only passively studying. Before boarding I dreaded going back to an empty, cold, and lonely apartment. Now I realize that, just like a hamster creates a nest, this apartment will be my nest of intense studying until the end of the month. Pitor was right, this month will fly by. With the amount of work we both have to focus on, it will feel like the blink of an eye until we are together again. And with that in mind, I say Bring It On!

Updates: I am now back safe and cold in Sopot without my luggage. Thankfully I have some clothes here to wear to school tomorrow!