Thursday, 19 October 2006

The Grand Voyage Home

JK: With the UNDP imploring (well, perhaps more accurately "calling") Melanie to begin a one year contract in Rwanda at the end of October, we decided it was "now or never" to make a short trip back home to Ottawa (Canada, not Illinois). So, at literally the very last minute, we hopped on a plane in Brussels, suffered through the indignities of London's Heathrow (bring on the new Terminal 5 because the current state of this airport is tragic!), and eventually made it back home.

Mel had been back to Canada as recently as February, but it was JK's first time home since moving to Belgium a full two years earlier. (This led to some reverse culture shock, see separate entry below).

Our eight days and nine nights spent in Ottawa and Toronto were tremendous (what were you expecting us to say, that they sucked? ;). Although, sleep was at a premium, but it was all worth it. Shock-quality hospitality in Ottawa was provided by Kootch "the sleep adventureman" Mertikas (when he does sleep, which is not often, the Kootch likes to try out several rooms, floors and sofas over the course of the night) and his tremendous wife Anabela "Tavaresa". Their home, and particularly the living room, looked like it came straight from the set of a designer TV show. Very nice. The same goes for our other hosts, Zvonimir Martin and Sweet Leonard Nimoy, who occupy a glorious pad downtown complete with an authentic Metallica shrine. What messiahs.

Despite the abbreviated time in Ottawa, we consider ourselves lucky to have seen so many "critical friends", titans, and legends. We accomplished tons: from the Scotsman's surprise birthday dinner, poker with Ottawa's "man-mountains", lunches with legends, elbow drops with NHS'ers, dinner with the Baron and his Italian wife, re-uniting with the Duce and co., dining and debating with the Perrakides, seeing Will sell apples for his Beaver colony, thanksgiving with the Illingworths (amongst a few other family get-togethers), and of course our impromptu wedding reception. Seeing so many new babies (all cute of course -- don't worry moms and dads!) was quite a shock for JK in particular. All this and my wife still managed to - unbeknownst to me - get a pedicure at the York Street Spa and stock up on all the necessary Aveda, Lancome, and MAC products that are crucial to her existence in Rwanda.

Toronto was also great, but the visit was far too short (one night only). The city is so interesting, but we did not have time to even scratch the surface. Still, we received excellent hospitality from my bro, "Iasonas", and his wife (Caro)'lyne. They too have a great pad north of the beaches and south of -- where else? -- the Danforth. In TO we hung with the Nico-Man and Mara, downed sushi with CK, coffee with Mel's older brother Mike, and guzzled margaritas with Dawn, my bro/sis-in-law and the Nezanator/Rob.

The reception in Ottawa, expertly organised by none other than -- how did you guess? -- Mélanie (actually, with the tremendous help of the Kootch), was a true highlight. About one hundred people came to gobble on nibblies, exchange banter and have some laughs. We were honoured that so many people came to see us on what was a Thanksgiving long weekend!!!

For photos of our wedding reception in Ottawa, click here.

For scenic photos of Ottawa, click here.

For silly photos with friends, click here.

For fun photos with family, click here.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an awesome trip! There is no place like home that is for sure!
    Mel, you're off here pretty soon! Wow, that is exciting!