Re-Entering the Atmosphere

Two and a half weeks have passed since we completed our 99-day adventure abroad. It’s been blissful. A few of you have encouraged me to keep this humble blog going, so I’ll oblige by filling you in on what we’ve been up to since our triumphant return!

The descent into Montreal was exciting as well as a slightly rude awakening – the landscape looked brown and dreary, and the crisp air as we exited the plane physically felt like a slap in the face. Riccardo’s brother and several of my relatives were waiting in the arrivals hall to greet us with hugs, flowers, and piercing, blood-curdling shrieks!

The long journey didn’t deter us from spending a great evening with my family (or me from having a few too many glasses of wine from the box – yes, box – my aunt sweetly brought). Upon walking in the front door of our apartment, we were greeted by the sight of our comfortable, familiar couch; the skyline of our beautiful city; and champagne and cupcakes left by great friends to welcome us home.

Waking up the next day felt surreal – the city below our window seemed deathly still and the quiet in the apartment was strange but heavenly. We unpacked and washed EVERYTHING, concocted epic breakfast sandwiches, strolled around our beloved neighbourhood, caught up with some friends, and had a wonderful dinner at Riccardo’s parents’ (gnocchi, in case you’d wondered). I know it’s absolutely the most boring expression in the world, but petty politics and chilly weather aside, there really is no place like home.

A few days later, my fantastic future brother-in-law, with the help of a few friends, caught us completely off guard with a surprise welcome-home party! We were thrilled to see everyone – and laughed in the face of jetlag by partying until 6am (which, incidentally, has otherwise been our typical wake-up time since returning). Since then, we’ve been having a blast catching up with everyone (and finding creative ways to socialize on a post-trip budget). We managed to let an entire week pass without hitting a grocery store, subsisting instead on the kindness and hospitality of friends and family.

Lovely invitation to our surprise homecoming party, courtesy of Davor

Here are a couple of lists, since I love lists:

9 Things I Missed While We Were Away (apart from family and friends, of course)

  1. Jeans
  2. My hair dryer
  3. Heels (when I first put them on, I hobbled around like a preteen trying on her mother’s shoes, but then quickly regained my stride)
  4. Good wine
  5. Good cheese
  6. Fresh(ish) air
  7. Personal space
  8. Falling asleep without wondering if an unidentified insect is about to crawl across my face
  9. Paying for things without feeling it necessary to haggle (it would have been socially unacceptable to say, “you want HOW MUCH for this coffee? Three bucks? I’ll give you 75 cents.”)

6 Questions People Have Asked Me Upon Seeing Me For The First Time Since Our Return 

6) Where did you go again? (“Nine countries”, I say, and list them off – occasionally having to argue that Germany counts because we did leave the airport)

5) What was your favourite place? (I always answer differently)

4) So, you had an accident! What was that like? (I direct them to this post)

3) Were you expecting [to be proposed to]? (I insist that I wasn’t, but noone believes me)

2) What was the best thing you ate on your trip? (This one always stumps me – it’s like being asked to choose your favourite child)

And the most common question I’ve been asked:

1) How was your trip???? (I never know what to say to this one, so I usually just pick a superlative at random)

Now that we’re home you may think you’re safe from my lengthy monologues. Consider yourselves warned – I just might continue to (ab)use this space as a creative outlet between wedding planning and job hunting.

I leave you with a few random snaps:

Our first afternoon at home - hot chocolate, cookies and couch.

Taking a shortcut through the familiar parking lots of our beloved neighbourhood in the wee hours

Taking part in the time-honoured Quebec tradition of the cabane à sucre, complete with tire sur la neige, hot dogs swimming in maple syrup, sad-looking petting zoo, and familes - yes, entire families - with mullets (not ours).

We didn't truly feel like we'd come home until we'd hit up Cuisine Szechuan and devoured a plate of twice-cooked fish.


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3 thoughts on “Re-Entering the Atmosphere

  1. Wow – what a trip! I can relate to #8 (the insects – yikes!) I was in Venice with friends one summer, and the mosquitoes were plentiful (you know they don’t have many window screens in most Italian hotels). Our room was buzzing with a few of the pesky b@st@rds, so we all slathered on the mosquito repellent spray, but left our eyes clear — in the a.m. (with what little sleep we had) we all had bumpy eyelids from being their overnight snack – ouch!

  2. Oy, what an ordeal. The healthy tolerance for bug sightings I developed while in Asia seems to have remained with me – I saw an ant on the kitchen counter at our friend’s cottage last week and didn’t even blink.

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