We have returned safely to our home, with the realization that vacation will never be like it used to be again, or at least not for a long time. Travelling with an infant in tow is a vastly different experience than the travelling we've done previously. That's probably obvious to everyone, but I guess we were overly optimistic, since Harper is so good at home. But vacation means she's off her schedule, and she really likes that schedule, it really works for her. I feel like she was perpetually tired for 9 days and somehow even when she slept it wasn't the quality of sleep that she gets in her own bed and didn't rejuvenate her the way it should've.
I'm making it sound worse than it was. She was still really good a lot of the time but I'm just not used to her being so moody. American Harper is far superior to Canadian Harper.
Other than the insane stress that comes with flying with an infant and a resident alien with a misplaced green card, and driving in Toronto (with their incredibly short left turn arrows and badly spaced turning lanes that make every left turn a game of Russian Roulette), we had a good time. We got to spend a lot of time with family and Leah's sister, Elana, and her fiance, Ian, came in from London for the week as well. Ian's a scientist doing stem cell research, which to me is like being somewhat of a rock star.
Sometimes its hard to see the differences between Canada and the U.S. But one huge difference is the way our patriotism is expressed. Both countries are incredibly patriotic with flags waving everywhere so let me give you an example of what I mean. Not too long ago, someone here in my office was expressing his discontent with Obama because Obama apologizes for the U.S. around the world. I said how I thought that we should apologize when we'd done wrong and that there's nothing weak about humility and why didn't he think America should have to apologize? "Because we're America!" was his answer, and apparently that truth is self evident, to him anyway. In Canada, patriotism most often materializes itself in endearingly innocent proclamations. Things like: "IMAX is amazing! DID YOU KNOW ITS CANADIAN?!?"
Toronto is great, but alas, Austin, you are my truest love (as cities go, of course).
Toronto is by far the most multi-cultural city I've ever been to, more than NYC, more than San Francisco, more that Austin. We were staying in a really Russian area, so most of the people we encountered in the neighborhood sounded like Bond villains, but were friendly enough....I guess. Drivers in Toronto don't give "the Wave" which is a problem. That little gesture says so much. It can mean "thanks" or "I'm sorry" but when its not there its absence might as well mean "go to hell." Its just good manners, and I think I only saw one other driver give the wave the whole time we were there. And Canadians are usually so friendly.
The best perk of multi-culturalism is the food. They easily have 10 times the options that we have here when deciding what to have for dinner. But they also have Tim Horton's, which is an amazing restaurant that has perfected the apple fritter. I've been known to punish myself with an obscene amount of apple fritters when Tim Horton's is available. We also frequented Swiss Chalet and a few different Crepe places.
Another experience worth noting was when I got to sit in a room full of my Canadian family and listen to them all talk about how much they love their health care system, and though it isn't perfect, they would never, ever trade it for ours. And that's the extent of my political agenda for this post.
On our last night there, Leah and I went dancing with Ian and Elana and some friends of theirs at a club called Stone's Place, that plays all old Motown and early 60's rock and roll. I love watching Leah dance, she has a unique style that makes her joy infectious. The DJ was on his game and played ABC and then Signed, Sealed, Delivered back to back. We left on a high note, and the next day began our harrowing trip back to the colonies.
I was so happy to visit everyone in Canada but I hated to leave just when the recording was starting to really get going. All week, I was thinking of ideas for songs but there was nothing I could do with the ideas. I've been jonesing for the studio and missing my band brothers. I know we need a rehearsal this week for the show on Friday but I really, really hope that we get in a day of recording as well.
When we were in the Houston airport, somebody came up to me and said "Are you the lead singer of Quiet Company? I've been to like 5 of your shows." Totally made my day.
Next week is Thanksgiving and I'm really looking forward to seeing my family. I feel bad that they haven't gotten to spend more time with Harper but these past few months have been ridiculously busy and we're at least 3 1/2 hours away from everyone.
Elana & Ian gave me a copy of Richard Dawkins' new book, The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, which is an awesome gift that I will enjoy. It will probably be a while before I'm finished with it, as its one of those books that you have to actually put forth effort to absorb the content, and I'm still reading The Great Gatsby. Oh yeah, and I'm a slow-ass reader.