Sunday, September 14, 2014

Canadian Summer

Summer finally arrived in Toronto and although it's not been as hot and steamy as usual, it's been a very pleasant one.

In May, I completed the Sporting Life 10k for the third time. Thanks to everyone who sponsored me.  I raised $775 in honour of my friend Sue, who died from cancer earlier this year.  The money raised will go towards helping kids with cancer benefit from a Camp Ooch experience.

Shortly after, I jumped on a plane and headed out west to Vancouver.  I had a few meetings there and then extended my stay over the
weekend.  Vancouver is a lovely city and you can smell the ocean and forests as you sit watching float planes come and go in the harbour with the mountains ahead of you.  My counterpart at UBC gave me a gourmet tour of the city and I had a lovely relaxing couple of days.

Not long after, I headed south to the beautiful city of San Diego for a conference.  Again, I added on a few days and had a super time exploring this border town.  I loved the laid-back California feel and had fun shopping, exploring the Mexican sites, seeing the animals at the world-famous zoo, visiting the Coranado Island Beach (where Some Like it Hot was filmed), reliving my Top Gun-obsessed youth on the USS Midway and checking out the seals along the shore.  I was also lucky enough to
be invited to join some Canadian government colleagues on an evening sail around San Diego harbour.  We sailed past the huge aircraft carriers, submarines and hospital ships stationed there whilst enjoying the perfect evening weather.

After the conference, I headed north by train to Los Angeles and spent a few days exploring this huge, sprawling city.  I particularly enjoyed Santa Monica, seeing the space shuttle Endeavour and having a VIP tour of Paramount Studios.  I didn't spot any famous movie stars but it was great to be walking in their footsteps almost everywhere I went in the city.  Having said that, walking is no easy task in really is car central!
Back in Toronto my summer has meant quite a lot of theatrical adventures.  I enjoyed a couple of plays at the Toronto Fringe although a few others was not so great!  I also discovered Stratford in southern Ontario - home to Justin Bieber and an excellent theatre festival.  Naturally, given the town's name, there is Shakespeare on tap and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing King Lear but also the musical, The Man of La Mancha.  Another highlight was seeing Cirque du Soleil again.  This time they were performing their new show, Kurios.

In early August, I had a super day watching the Rogers Cup tennis once again and was lucky enough to see my hero, Roger Federer, win in straight sets.

Later in August my friend, Janet, and I flew out to Newfoundland for a two-week road trip.  We landed in St John's amid a torrential downpour which set the tone for the next couple of weeks.  Despite the fact, Newfoundland had enjoyed a scorcher of a July, we had dreadful weather with cold temperatures, rain, fog and grey skies.  We tried to make the best of things and had a few enjoyable experiences but it really put a dampener on things and meant we didn't really see the island at its best.  We managed to see puffins, whales, a moose and icebergs though so not all was bad! Oh, and we ate A LOT of cod!

Just after my return from Newfoundland, I was called to attend my Canadian Citizenship Ceremony having passed the Citizenship test in July with flying colours.  The ceremony itself was lovely and along with about 95 others from all over the world I swore my oath to the Queen of Canada (in English and French, which sounded awful!), received my certificate from an Order of Canada recipient and sang O Canada.  I am now a proud Canadian and Brit - a good feeling!  My friends helped me celebrate in style at a Canadian-themed "Citizen Becky" party held in my honour.  Given the amount of travelling I do, I have to say it's quite useful having two passports!