Thanksgiving Weekend '07

Ah yes. My first trip “home“1 in about a year and a half, since my par­ents got divorced.

The entire­ty of my trip was in the com­pa­ny of Andrew and Alex, who host­ed me for the week­end. Pictures tell the sto­ry.

Drinks at the Madison

Thumbnail: Wide-angle Madison
Thumbnail: Jason and Kerry
Thumbnail: Alex and Emily
Thumbnail: Anne
Thumbnail: Rob and Sampson
Thumbnail: Alex and Kerry

On Friday night, we went to The Madison to catch up with their old drag­onboat team­mates. The Madison is a mas­sive pub, made from two or three amal­ga­mat­ed hous­es in the down­town dis­trict. A very pop­u­lar spot, which was appar­ent from the amount of peo­ple in it as the night went on.

I had­n’t been out drink­ing in…two years? Something like that.


Thumbnail: BBQ pork ramen
Thumbnail: Beef ramen kimchi
Thumbnail: BBQ pork ramen

Food was a high­light of the week­end. After drink­ing on Friday night, we went for some greasy wings. Saturday night was filet mignon wrapped in bacon at Peter’s Fine Dining Steak & Seafood. Sunday was a Chinese Thanksgiving din­ner. Monday was dim sum. Even on the way home, Annie and I got talk­ing about Chinese food, so we stopped off at a Chinese restau­rant when we arrived in the city, and I took the left­overs home.

I tried to put my foot down on being treat­ed to only one meal, but in typ­i­cal Chinese fash­ion, Andrew and Alex refused.

Visiting Brian

It’s been less than a year since Brian passed away, and it was his birth­day that week­end. I did­n’t know Brian very well. We were part of the same clique, but oth­er than that, we nev­er spoke much. I only have a sin­gle mem­o­ry of him: when all the guys were at my house and we were watch­ing Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life Part VII: Death.

A bunch of his friends decid­ed to vis­it him on Saturday morn­ing, but Andrew and Alex went them­selves for a lit­tle more pri­va­cy.

Thumbnail: Mausoleum
Thumbnail: Canada goose
Thumbnail: Canada goose
Thumbnail: Canada goose
Thumbnail: Canada goose

Even though I nev­er felt a con­nec­tion with him, or even believe in such rit­u­als, it was aching­ly poignant to see the twins touch his stone and talk to him so casu­al­ly.

I’d been fol­low­ing his progress since last Christmas, when we were told that he was diag­nosed with a brain tumor, and his friends had such nice things to say about him. It made me won­der. What will my friends write of me when I’m gone?

Old places

Thumbnail: My old house
Thumbnail: Dave's street
Thumbnail: Autumn neighbourhood
Thumbnail: Autumn colours

A trip “home” is a chance to see the old stomp­ing grounds. Places I grew up, hung out. Next time, I’ll vis­it the path I took to Ashley’s house. Ah, mem­o­ries of child­hood girl­friends.

Thumbnail: Chinese Herb store
Thumbnail: Loaves of bread
Thumbnail: Sample table
Thumbnail: Store turtles
Thumbnail: Stuffed animals

Chinese stores are also a some­what nec­es­sary vis­it. This time I was look­ing for a ceram­ic teapot, so I can build up some flavour in the stone, as opposed to mak­ing tea one glass at a time. No dice, I’ll wait until I go to Hong Kong next year to find one.

Thumbnail: Candy store
Thumbnail: Viva poster
Thumbnail: Cat card
Thumbnail: Markville fountains

Markville Mall has changed tremen­dous­ly. It was the clos­est mall to us by far, so the one in which we spent the most time. I remem­ber see­ing my old class­mates work­ing there all the time. It’s filled with Chinese peo­ple now.

Old faces

Thumbnail: Dave and Andrew
Thumbnail: Annie and Alex
Thumbnail: Millie and Annie
Thumbnail: Andrew

The Annie who drove me was some­one I knew through Andrew and Alex back in grade three and four. I remem­ber her sis­ter, now about 20, run­ning around in dia­pers back then. Andrew, Alex, and I would go to her house, and I would steal rock sug­ar from the cab­i­nets.

I also met-up with Dave, whom I had­n’t seen in about eight years. “You haven’t changed at all”, he said. As kids, we lived a block away from each oth­er. We used to walk to ele­men­tary school, until I switched to a dif­fer­ent one in grade five. Then I switched to his school in OAC, and all grown up, he would dri­ve me. The whole time, we were always in the same clique.

I also saw Joe (or Uncle Joe, as I used to call him), who’s the father of Rockson and Cason, and also used to be one of my scout lead­ers. We both rec­og­nized each oth­er at the front door, but could­n’t remem­ber each oth­er’s names.

Who knows when I’ll see these peo­ple again.


Thumbnail: Decaying flower
Thumbnail: Flower curls
Thumbnail: Torn flower
Thumbnail: Flower heart
Thumbnail: Drying flower
Thumbnail: Curbside leaves
Thumbnail: Daddy longlegs
Thumbnail: Leaf carpet
Thumbnail: Mini flower garden
Thumbnail: Pollen junkie
Thumbnail: Pollen junkie macro

Since the tem­per­a­ture is falling and the flow­ers are dying, I tried to cap­ture the theme of decay. Leaves on the ground were most­ly red, but there were a few green ones, filled with life, stick­ing out. Most of my shots were in the morn­ing, when the dew was still on the ground, and the sun was just peer­ing over the hori­zon.

I had hoped to get pic­tures of our old camp­grounds, but it was just too much to fit into one week­end. One day I’ll get a chance, but it must be dur­ing the sum­mer and in the morn­ing, as I remem­ber it.

At home at home

Thumbnail: Doggie!
Thumbnail: INSULIN DEPENDENT. DIABETES MELLITUS. Alex's MedicAlert bracelet.

The week­end was some­what non-stop, stick­ing with Andrew and Alex’s social cal­en­dars. It was­n’t over­stim­u­lat­ing, but exhaust­ing. It was only this week­end that I felt caught-up with sleep. Before leav­ing, Nora gave me some man­go green tea and white tea in pyra­mid bags, which Annie once gave her.

It was a strange cou­ple of days, maybe because I was rid­ing off my momen­tum. I nev­er felt so at-home in the world, and it was a pecu­liar feel­ing indeed.

But this is where I belong.

  1. I’ve decid­ed that from now on, the quot­ed “home” will refer to Toronto, and the unquot­ed home will refer to Ottawa []


  1. Like the con­trast in the Rob and Sampson pho­to, and the drink­ing goose and dog­gie. Media watch of images and client tar­get­ing is fas­ci­nat­ing to watch (like the tran­sit sys­tem you not­ed). I can final­ly say Ottawa is home too. That only took me 13 years or so.

  2. I don’t yet feel at home in the Detroit Suburbs (Farmington Hills). But the leaves are falling and the sky always changes grey despite sun­ny morn­ings.

    If I have a roar­ing fire and a hot tea when I get home, it feels more “at-home” than at any oth­er time in the year.

    I’m glad to see turn­ing leaves in the Homeland. I haven’t see trees chang­ing in Canada since I became an adult. I hope to move back one day. (I’m still Canadian despite liv­ing Stateside for 20+ yrs.)

  3. @Pearl — By con­trast, did you mean Rob and Sampson’s faces? I espe­cial­ly like the expres­sion in Rob’s face in that one. Why did it take so long for Ottawa to become home for you?

    @Maeko — I can def­i­nite­ly under­stand how a roar­ing fire can instant­ly give one an “at-home” feel­ing. A fire­place is one thing I wish I had in my house. If you hope to move back, why’d you move away in the first place?

  4. It real­ly was­n’t my choice. I was 5 and the archi­tec­ture indus­try in lit­tle Victoria was­n’t exact­ly boom­ing so the firm let my dad go. At the time San Diego was grow­ing and so he found a job through a col­league who had been axed and found a great busi­ness there.

    I grew up there and have been lit­tle by lit­tle real­is­ing that Canada is so much bet­ter than the US. Now that I’m old enough to do this mov­ing thing, once he and I are mar­ried I hope to bring my chil­dren up near their fam­i­ly up in CAN.

  5. You must feel much more American than Canadian, emi­grat­ing there at such a young age. Good thing you real­ize what you feel, and are will­ing to do some­thing about it.

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