It was Easter weekend and I'd found myself magically gifted with 4 days off, plus a rest day following my previous flight. I immediately began looking at flights to plan my escape from Dubai for a mini-vacation. I considered several options... Rome, Amsterdam, Athens and Istanbul, before finally reaching my decision and booking flights to... Toronto, Canada.
I know what you are thinking. Here I am with the whole world available to me and I fly right back to my home country.
There were a few factors that influenced my decision. It was Easter and flights to Europe were jam-packed. I'd have to book accommodations in advance and if I didn't make it on the flight (the joys of flying standby), I'd have wasted my money. After a failed attempt to bring my mom to Dubai, her and my brother were in Ontario visiting my grandparents. If I was able to make it on to the flight, I'd be able to finally spend a holiday with my family... something that I hadn't done since Easter 2009!
After landing from Paris I headed to my apartment to unpack and then repack my suitcase. I'd checked the flight loads and I wasn't feeling overly confident that I'd make it onboard, as there were very few spare seats. Despite this, I hauled my luggage downstairs, hailed a taxi, and sighed as the driver watched me struggle to life my suitcase into the trunk. True gentlemen do not exist in Dubai. I made sure to pay him the exact fare, as he had not nothing to deserve a tip.
In the airport I nervously made my way to the staff travel counters to hear my fate for the weekend. I was actually a bit shocked when I was handed a boarding pass, thinking that perhaps it was a mistake. Before they could change their minds, I rushed through immigration and security, emailing my mom to inform her that she should be waiting for me at the Toronto airport. How exciting!!
I boarded the plane, where even the crew were surprised that I'd made it on as it was completely full. I made myself at home in my seat, hoping to catch some sleep on the 14 hour journey.
I landed and proceeded to have a fantastic weekend with my family and my puppy, who had also traveled with my mom and brother... his very first airplane ride! Because I'm too lazy and you likely don't care, I won't bore you with every detail of my weekend. Here is a quick summary in case you are interested:
Friday: Reunited with the family. Hugs, chats, and dinner of fish, for Good Friday. Fought fatigue and went out for karaoke. Sang with my mom and grandma!
Saturday: Headed off to the horse races! It was my very first time, and I was the only one to win any money. Sure, I spent more than I won, but I won either way. Stuffed myself with the buffet and endured torture as I stared longingly at the chocolate fountain... the end of Lent was only a day away.
Sunday: Woke up early, proceeded to consume chocolate for the first time in 46 days!! Went for a hike with my mom, brother, and puppy in search of geocaches. Found one! Got coated in mud. Headed back to the house to celebrate Easter and eat a delicious dinner surrounded by family! Yay! Drove to Niagara Falls with my mom. Took photos of the falls and proceeded to karaoke. Ate delicious appetizers at Boston Pizza and sang several songs.
Monday: Went for lunch with my Great Grandma... 4 generations, all of us with the same middle name! Ate too much, felt yucky. Relaxed for a few hours before driving to the airport. Quickly hugged mom goodbye and made a mad dash for the terminal building before the tears arrived. Flew back to Dubai.
It was a quick trip and a busy weekend, but worth the long haul flights and fatigue! It was the best holiday I've had in over 2 years! I hope that everyone else enjoyed their Easter, wherever in the world you happened to be!
Grandma, Great Grandma, Mommy, and Me!