Tuesday, September 11

Bucket lists at the ready

My parents have been counting down to the start of our forthcoming Canadian vacation.  Less than 24 hours from now they’ll depart from Auckland for Vancouver.  My flights to the USA and Canada also depart tomorrow morning.  The weather forecast for our first ten days of touring looks promising.  Only one day of passing showers is currently forecast late next week.  This inclement weather hits us on the day we plan to tour the sights of Toronto. However, many are indoors so the impact should be minimal. 

I’m looking forward to sharing many memories with my parents in the weeks ahead.  We’ll start our vacation in Vancouver.  Garry and I were here in July 2010 preparing to board  a cruise to Alaska. The photo above was taken downtown.  Our travelling trio will then spend two days travelling by train through the Rocky Mountains to Banff where we’ll spend a day touring in a rental car.

From Banff we fly to Toronto.  Garry and I were last here in 2005 enroute to London for the start of our five-year UK adventure.  This was my second time in the city as I’d first come here as an exchange student in June 1984.  This time, while in Toronto, I’ll be taking my parents to Niagara Falls for day.  This will be my third visit to the Falls.  You may recall that I took a day trip here while in New York last year, almost 18 years after my first visit.

Our journey then takes us to New York for two days where we have helicopter flights scheduled, tickets to Broadway booked and reservations to view the new Ground Zero 9/11 memorial.  From the Big Apple we head back to Canada to drive from Montreal to Toronto via Ottawa, replicating the journey that Garry and I took five years ago.  We hope to be there just as the autumn colours hit their peak. 

Highlights of our road trip will also include a visit to Boldt Castle, which sits on an island in the St Lawrence River, and a day trip to Syracuse, New York where I was an exchange student in 1983-84.  I’m sure this will be a special day for my parents as they’ll finally get to experience a little of my life as a teenager in America.  I’ll be showing them the house I lived in, my high school and the mall I hung out at. 

I’ve been back to Syracuse once since 1984.  I visited my host parents overnight back in 2001.  I recall the experience as being somewhat surreal.  It was as if I was being taken on a tour of familiar places but they felt like images from someone else’s life rather than my own.  This makes me a little unsure what emotions I’ll encounter more than a decade later. 
Finally, on September 28, we’ll drive to Toronto Airport to catch our respective flights back home.  I’ll be returning to Sydney with my long-term career still unresolved, while my Dad will return home with more items ticked off his bucket list.  2012 is certainly turning into a year of unexpected twists and turns.

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