Monday, June 8, 2009

Family Celebrations

I found myself to be an excellent 'guesser' today. My brother-in-law had compiled a list of twelve questions about the Rideau Canal, which we were to learn about as we drove and visited the sites and museums along the way. Eric, Maya, and I stayed in Ottawa for the day and missed the leisurely drive. Eric had appointments with colleagues at the University and Maya and I visited the Museum of Civilization and marveled at the towering totem poles from the coastal Indian tribes. I was born in Vancouver, British Columbia and lived the first several years of my life there and again wondered what my life would have been like had we stayed there. Who would I be and what would I be doing with my life? Would I have studied medicine and practiced as a psychiatrist? I imagine I would not be moving to Ecuador next month!

Maya was impressed with the exhibitions at the museum (it is not so easy to impress nine year olds, I have discovered). I was intrigued by the architecture (Cardinal has designed many such buildings) and the collection of native artifacts. I wanted to spend so much more time there. Maya was more interested in an exhibit of Egyptian mummies, and we watched an IMAX movie about the same subject. There was so much more to see in the museum, but we met Eric and decided to have a sushi snack (I love Unagi-eel) and start our journey along the Rideau Canal to Kingston. Thierry had organized a scenic drive with several stops along the way. We picked up our list of questions but did not stop at the places that would have provided the answers ( and had no opportunity to check things on the internet). We met at the 'Keg', a steakhouse that I remember from teenage years. There we entered a competition regarding the questions, and my guesses were remarkable! I have never studied or read about Canadian history, and the questions that arose today certainly piqued my interest. I wonder if what I really want to do in Ecuador is read everything I have not read since my first two years of college. I have so much to catch up on! I always read bits and pieces, but never enough; I can fake it and pretend that I have read everything that is current, but I have not taken the time to be 'well read'. At this point I will never catch up, but perhaps I can just a little. I wonder if after a year off work I will want to stay unemployed while I catch up on all the things I have no time for now. I may enjoy it so much that I will never want to return to the office. Eric is convinced I will want to work, as much because I enjoy the freedom of having an income, as the fun of interacting with people everyday. I am confident that I will be perfectly happy not working. The toughest adjustment may be the limited income. I still find myself resistent to the idea of a budget, but I am confident that I will manage whatever our limitations are and may in fact feel lighter with less.

We are in Kingston to celebrate my niece's graduation. It is quite the fanfare! I don't remember any such events when I graduated for my BS, MD or residency. Perhaps it was not the tradition then, but each degree came and went without much ado. I am not sure my parents or family attended any graduations or celebrated. Each time it was just a done deal and life went on. I know my parents valued education and were happy about our university accomplishments, but there was definitely nothing organized to mark the events. For me, it is the chance to see the whole family together again that is most special. Maya is thrilled to see her cousins, aunts and uncle and grandparents. I am not sure when we will have such an opportunity again. My mother is not enhusiastic about computers, but Edouard will transport my IMac to Edmonton and set it up so we will never have to miss a day of videochat with my parents. That will help keep us connected while we live in Ecuador; Maya will play violin for my father and I will be able to check on them regularly. Not that videochat will make up for the distance, but it will be better than phonecalls or letters or even email. Hurrah for technology.

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