home, plus summer 2010

Would you believe me if I said that I haven’t really had time to write an update since arriving home? Okay so it’s not entirely UNtrue, but it’s been one hectic busy summer! And I’ve enjoyed every minute of it (particularly the moments of rest!).

I suppose I have to start pretty far back, considering the last real update was from Athens? Shoot. Well suffice it to say that Athens was incredible and just a totally unexpected trip. For one, I don’t think I ever thought I would be going to Greece when I left for France a year ago (it’s actually been a year! Wild!), and for two, even in our Greek Island plans there had been no time to make it in to Athens. So it was kind of a blessing in disguise when we realized we had to leave our island abode a day early because there was no ferry that ran the next day thus allowing us to catch our flight. Anyway, we made it up to the Acropolis (seriously, the Acropolis? Was pretty surreal to be honest), and wandered around the city a bit, had dinner at a really cool restaurant in the Plaka, and even hung around the parliament building despite warnings against doing such (what with the riot police everywhere and a mild feeling of unrest). Anyway, we all had a good sleep at our awesome hotel (another unexpected upgrade), and left the next morning: me for Aix, Cait and Naz for Egypt, and Claire for Amsterdam and more travelling with her sister and soon to be brother-in-law.

the Acropolis, Athens
the Plaka, Athens
friends in Athens!

My last weeks in Aix were a blur. Trying to fit everything in that I loved and wouldn’t get to do for a very long time again, trying to spend as much time with everyone, trying to travel to as many places that I hadn’t yet been as possible… Soaking it all up. I went to the beach in Cassis, had Bouillabaisse in Marseille, climbed Mt Sainte Victoire, amongst other things. Eventually the day – the last day – arrived. It was very bittersweet, as all goodbyes like this tend to be. I was excited to go home, and I knew my time had been winding down, but gosh… leaving those people, leaving that town… was extremely difficult, to say the least. We had an amazing last supper at a great restaurant in town, cried some tears, laughed some tears, and went to the hookah tea bar we’d been meaning to. And then I left Aix for the last time at 5am June 23rd.

the beach in Cassis
Bouillabaisse in Marseille

me, atop Mt. Sainte Victoire
Cait, atop Mt. Sainte Victoire
my girls
the last supper….

There followed the final and greatest escapade of Robyn the Travelling Piece of Luggage. It was, epic.

Arriving at Toronto Pearson was relief. Canada, at last. Friendly, helpful people. All my luggage arriving in once piece. No customs issues. English everywhere. And Alex. 🙂 And then driving up Cherry Avenue… seeing my dad, my mom, Brandon… and BRIER?! And Branwyn! Another surprise! A few days later Shawn arrived and my whole family was under one roof again. The 1920s themed pigroast welcome home party that Alex threw for me at Ravine was one for the history books. Seeing nearly all my good friends in one fabulous setting (and all wearing fabulous 20s outfits!) was just incredible and so much fun. I think I wore a permanent smile for at least the first week I was home.

family minus Brandon!
the Minors 🙂
Brier and their new border collie puppy, Finn
1920s friends at Ravine (credit: Suresh Doss – thanks!)
Alex and I (credit: Suresh Doss)
Brando (credit: Suresh Doss)
Mom – looking good! (credit: Brandon)
Bribot (credit: Brandon)
Belle of the ball… Branwyn (wearing Auntie Rah-rah’s clothes) with dad.

Alex and I took the second week of July and made the 20hr drive up to Atikokan to visit Shawn and Bri (and Bran) in their element. I love driving my new Focus, it’s such a great little car! (Caitlin – you should know that the platypus from your parents adorns my dashboard). We had a great relaxing 5 days with them in the north. I loved spending that much time with my niece, who calls me Auntie Rah-rah (seriously, adorable), and Bri and I got to cook together for the first time probably ever. Alex helped Shawn put up a fence in the backyard for their new puppy Finn, and we had homemade poutine from scratch one night, and even some ribs from Ravine that Alex and I brought up in a cooler! I got to see Bran take her first faceplant into the lake (she loved it!) while Shawn took a flight refresher in the float plane, and Alex and I caught sight of a moose on the Trans Can (on the ginormously long stretch of northern highway where you won’t see a gas station for about 8 hours). We even got through almost all of Harry Potter #7 on tape while driving home (love you, Stephen Fry!). The chocolate covered espresso beans helped.

The foggy morning drive up
Bran!
One of the planes Shawn flies!
My bug encrusted grill after the trip back…

After that I started a contract job at Meridian’s Corporate Office, full time for what started out as a 3wk position and was extended to 6. That brought me up to last week. Working 9-5 Mon-Fri made time go by lightening fast, and my evenings were filled with dinners at Ravine (and elsewhere, since I’m spoiled by my boyfriend), winery tours and tastings, jaunts to visit friends or attend events in Toronto, euchre nights, Star Wars, Harry Potter Lego for Xbox, markets, BBQs and a party or two.

My desk at Meridian for 6 weeks…
One of many dinners out with my boy 🙂
Yes, we beat Zelda Ocarina of Time together on Gamecube! Amazing, I know.
Nina, Joel and Suresh at Brickworks!
A picnic at Brickworks Market with some Toronto friends
One of many summer thunderstorms. Ahhh it’s good to be back.
Another storm… looking out over Tawse from the balcony.

So… My summer since France in a really large nutshell. I’m surely forgetting things… But there you have it. In two weeks I am back at Brock for my 4th year (but not likely my final year), and will most certainly be swamped with readings and articles and papers and other such assignments that I haven’t been used to for the last year. I’m looking forward to French classes, to see how easy they feel to me now, and to subconsciously dread the first day only to realize that I can, in fact, understand everything – and BE understood! Amazing! Stay tuned for updates, though they will be less frequent than the past year. And now for some photos…

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