We’re back!

Home again jiggety-jog.

I’m happy to report that my worries about long-distance traveling were blown out of proportion. Flora traveled like a champ. She got good use out of the portable DVD player we bought (more than I would have liked, but it kept her happy) and was generally in good spirits the entire week despite not napping much. (Oh please let this not be the end of naptime though.)

The rest of us traveled pretty well too. No major meltdowns from any of us. Considering that we drove for nearly 18 hours (with stops) before we stopped in Bangor, Maine for the night, that’s pretty remarkable.

New Brunswick is a lovely place. A lot of Sean’s extended family lives there and it was great to see so many of them and in mine and Flora’s cases, meet them for the first time. Flora was a bit shy with most of them, but would usually open up and chat eventually.

Other highlights include:

  • The cottage we stayed at: ocean view, just big enough for us, lots of books to read and modern appliances (including a dishwasher and washer/dryer. Very different from the cottages I stayed in as a kid)
  • Whale watching on the Bay of Fundy. It was early in the season, but we saw a couple of finback whales. They were coy though, just flashing a bit of their backs out of the water.
  • Lobster! Even though Sean chased me around the cottage with one before he put it in the pot.
  • Watching Flora pet jellyfish, starfish and sea urchins (she’s much braver than her mama, who recoiled in horror at these creatures).

Here are our pictures from the trip.

We drove back on Canada Day and after our longer trip south of the border, I insisted we go through Canada coming home. We were lucky that traffic was pretty smooth most of the way (although it was busy going the other way). I wanted to get some Quebec cheese on our way through and I was thrilled to find a cheese shop on the Trans Canada Highway. It was early in the drive so I felt like I had to rush to pick what I wanted since Sean and Flora stayed in the car. The cheese made it home (even the curd!) and I’ve tried not to gobble it up too fast.

Sean and I returned to work today, but it still feels like a vacation. Flora is visiting family this week – my mum and sister are tag-teaming on taking care of her this week. Sean’s mum is getting some grandkid time too. Judging from the phone call I had with my mum last night, they are all having a ball. Boating, swimming and general fun with grandma and auntie is a good way to top a long-distance trip with your parents. Sean’s mum is babysitting the dog and cat so it’s just Sean and I at home now.

I keep saying “2003 called. It wants its life back”. (We got the dog in 2005, but the cat’s been around since 1998 so it’s not an entirely true statement.)

The break has been nice so far. I went and had my nails done and Sean went to see Soundgarden on Saturday night. We do plan to do stuff together: dinner’s on the agenda and possibly a movie (if we can decide on one we both want to see that’s worth parting with our hard-earned money for – too bad HP7 Part 2 isn’t out till later in the month). Outside of that, our plans are loose. Tips are welcome.

The weather’s been great and it’s shaping up to be a fun summer. Here’s hoping it stays that way.

Are we sure that travel is about the journey, and not the destination?

I fear that I have lost my mind.

Sean, Flora and I are traveling to New Brunswick on Friday for a week-long vacation. Sean’s extended family is down there and Flora and I have never been. I’m excited about the trip, but I am freaking out about the journey. We’ve never done this long a road trip with Flora before. Naturally, I haven’t even started packing yet. I’ve thought about what to pack, but I haven’t actually begun the act of packing those things into the various suitcases, totes and bags that we’ll need. I’ve been making lists (mental and written) and every time I say “we need to bring _____________”, Sean says “don’t forget, we’re renting a compact car”.

Sean is also one of those people who will drive non-stop until he has to get gas, coffee or go pee. He has been informed that he won’t be doing that with his wife or daughter in the car, but I fear that we will push the limits of our endurance.

I’ve done the things the interwebs tell me to do: we’ve bought a portable DVD player and loaded up on Dora, I bought some surprise toys for the car and I plan to bring out some old favourites. I will make sure to have the essentials in easy reach: snacks, drinks extra diapers/clothes and blankets. And garbage bags. And this. And that. And lots of other things.

(Pictured at right: the generic-brand MagnaDoodle the interwebs told me was good for the car. It was a hit when Flora tested in Monday night, so I hope it’ll still be good in the car.)

I know this is possible and I’m probably overthinking it to death, but I suspect that this is going to be less of a vacation and more of a test of my parenting and wife-ing skills.

Any tips on how to make this easier for all of us? Either way, if you could just send me some kind thoughts on Friday/Saturday and again on Canada Day (when we come home), I would be very grateful. In the meantime, I’ll try not to have a nervous breakdown packing and I’ll take some nice pictures of our trip for everyone.

Back from NYC

Last night, I returned from an extra-long weekend in New York City. I went with my mother, sister and some friends (seven of us in total). It was my first visit there. We mostly stuck to tourist-type stuff (bus tours, Times Square, Manhattan shopping) but there’s a reason those things are done by tourists – they’ve never done them before! We did go slightly off the beaten path for a couple of meals, asking for recommendations from locals. We weren’t steered wrong – both our Italian and Greek meals were great.

Things I learned on our trip:

  • New Yorkers are incredibly passionate about their city. Anyone on the street we asked for help (directions, restaurant recommendations) were always willing to stop and help thoroughly. This went double for any tour guides we listened to. I know that is their trade, but the amount of knowledge that came out during the various tours we went on was amazing.
  • In spite of “America’s obesity crisis”, it was difficult to find larger-size souvenir t-shirts for both men and women.
  • Times Square zoning rules say that the buildings there must have a certain amount of advertising and lights. One Times Square (the building that the New Year’s Eve ball sits on) is actually mostly vacant except for the lower retail floors.

I felt very safe in all the areas we went to. Mind you, we didn’t stray too far from the beaten path. The subway, while more complicated than Toronto’s, was reasonably easy to navigate once we figured it out. It was cleaner and had better wayfinding signage too.

I took a lot of pictures from moving buses (and from a moving boat). I took a lot of pictures of buildings as they were either landmarks or samples of beautiful architecture. The problem is that I don’t remember the significance of some of the buildings I took pictures of.

Now that I’ve given my pictures such a ringing endorsement, here is a slideshow of the ones I posted to Flickr.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
%d bloggers like this: