The end of summer holidays brought us to a week in Canada visiting my family and friends in Mississauga.  I arrived earlier then David and promptly got some shopping out of the way. Not a day went by where I didn’t think ‘man, this is so cheap here compared to Paris!’  We did find exceptions to that aside from the obvious wine and champagne:  Boursin cheese and Lindt chocolate.  I may have actually drooled while touring around Costco.  Couldn’t believe how cheap and extremely large things were. And since David is an Aeroplan elite member and is allowed a ridiculous amount of luggage (3 bags at 70lb) you better believe we filled it up with all the things we like, things we can’t get in Paris, things that are too expensive in Paris and things just because Costco had a mega pack of them.

Here’s a glimmer of what our loot contained:  two 7kg bags of cat food for our finicky cat plus a new litter box, 2kg of coconut flakes, plus 1kg bags of all sorts of nut and nut flours, Nalgene water bottles, 12-count packs of razors, Tylenol Cold & Flu, 2 tubs of coconut oil, and… my carry-on had a big slow cooker in it plus some shoes.  Should have taken a picture of all it but then that would be REALLY embarrassing.  And you’d see how crazy we really are.

The first half of the holiday once David arrived was spent up at Sauble beach with my parents, Steph and Chris in our 5-person tent trailer.  Weather was off and on but we occupied ourselves with some sightseeing around Tobermory, some beach time, playing Trivial Persuit, Crossword puzzles, eating lots of BBQ, drinking lots of wine, and some workouts to hopelessly counteract all the gluttony.   That gluttony included French champagne by the fire followed up by S’more-stuffed bananas.  We certainly had an extremely relaxing time with some quality family time.

During our trip David and Chris geeked out on night photography since Sauble Beach is very near a night sky reserve.  It was the most incredible starry night.  We drove out at 1am in the morning. close to lake away from light pollution.  I admit I was scared a bear might come out of the woods.  But then we just soaked it in.  We stared at the stars for a good hour, in awe, trying to capture the wonder in a photograph.  Feeling insignificant.

And they tried some cool camera and light trips on the campground after all the families left on Labour Day and left us pretty much alone on the campground.

When we returned to Mississauga we had our days all booked up.   Wonderful dinners with friends every night that week, some trips to Crossfit Select, a haircut for me, some more shopping trips for both of us and more family time to round out a sunny week in Mississauga.  Not many pictures from this half of the trip.  My camera was always on me, but being with our friends and family, savouring and being present in the moment just took priority.  For now, I have heartwarming and happy memories to last me until we get another dose of friends & family in about a year…

A year is a long time.  And when you’re on the tail end of it, it seems like it went so fast.  But then when the goodbyes are said, the hugs are given and teary eyes threaten fresh mascara, a year seems like a long time.  Without a plane ticket booked, I don’t know when I’ll see the people that mean the most to me.  The people that are my second home.  And thus that is the life of an expat:  living with the distance apart but sincerely grateful for every moment together.

I couldn’t be more grateful for my parents who really pampered and spoiled us during that week, making it a really great vacation for us.  And likewise for our friends who despite long absences still make us feel part of the group and make the effort to keep in touch and continue making memories together.  It’s times like those, over dinners and laughs and fond memories that my heartstrings are pulled and I can’t help but think what would life be like if I never left.

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My name is Emilia - I love versatile trips! You might find me at a trendy new restaurant one night, but the next day you're just as likely to find me at a local market sampling exotic foods. I'm open to just about anything when I travel and I want to encourage you to be open too!