Airport Story

The last time I visited Calgary, my friends (who lived in the far south) wanted to pick me up from the airport (in the north). It was a weekday morning and both of them worked. After a minor debate and delay, the husband was nominated to get me since he didn’t start his shift till midday.

I waited. And waited.

I enjoyed the wait, because I saw people come and go, and I made up stories in my mind about who they were, where they were going, or who they were greeting.

Most of all, I noticed a somewhat unkempt man who had made efforts to be presentable despite a seeming tendency to fray at the edges. He was carrying a small, modest bouquet of typical flowers, the kind that might have been purchased at Safeway.

I loved him.

I wanted to tell him how sweet and wonderful he was, to bring flowers for someone he was meeting at the airport.

But I didn’t.

His nervous eagerness shot out of his darting, seeking eyes, no doubt awaiting a fresh, new beloved. Perhaps it was an internet romance’s first face-to-face meeting. He was not young. He looked like he had already been trampled by a heartbreak or two. But his pacing was like a teenager who had never been kissed. He wasn’t quite sure how it was done, and he was long overdue for the experience.

As I waited… and waited… I saw this bouquet-bearing lover’s forehead start to glisten over with sweat. Repeatedly checking the arrivals updates, his cell phone with no messages, he walked distances down the airport halls and back again. The bouquet was getting increasingly limp, flower heads facing the floor, as his shoulders began to hunch over, sadness setting in.

About an hour after my arrival, I spotted my friend and rushed over to give him a hug. As we gabbed about the traffic and made our way out of the building, I took one more look back.

The man was still there, head drooped, flower stems slipping from his grasp as he stood there, waiting… waiting.

© March 3, 2014 | Annie Zalezsak

Transition from Merthyr Vale to Kelowna

Even though I’ll be back in Merthyr at some point, the pre-goodbye goodbyes were important. First, there was the announcement dinner with Canadian Jacquie’s family about 2 weeks before departure. Then on Friday the 9th of March 2012, there was “The Last Supper” with my former employers, Peter and Paul.

Zoe was there, too. Good laugh, great company!

On Saturday, Darren, Toby dog and I went for a lovely walk in Trelewis park, where we happened to see some Canada geese.

On Sunday, Viv came over to the house for a couple of hours to chat and help sort out some stuff.

She took a family photo of Darren, me, and Toby the dog.

Train to Gatwick

On Tuesday the 13th of March 2012, Darren drove me to Cardiff Central train station for the 12:25pm train to Gatwick Airport, via Reading. I arrived at Gatwick around 3:50pm and went straight to the Hilton Hotel, where I met my Loughton friend, Jacqui. We talked into the wee hours, as per usual, about anything and everything… after a filling dinner and a couple of drinks at an airport restaurant, of course! We reminisced about our trips to Portugal, and how life has changed for us in the last year.

We got up at 5:30am on Wednesday the 14th of March and Jacqui saw me off at the airport gate. It was sad, but at the same time, a healthy and happy look toward a new chapter in life.

Flying to Calgary

I usually fly with Canadian Affair, and I’m pleased they’ve gone back to using Air Transat as an airline. Much better than Thomas Cook. The service is excellent, and you don’t have to pay for soft drinks! I watched movies most of the way, but kept an eye out for the views. It was mostly cloudy over the UK and the Atlantic, but when we got over Greenland, wow oh wow!

Just so beautiful!

Leaving the coast of Greenland, it looked like glaciers on the water.

I was surprised to see snow over Alberta. Somehow, I thought it would be as mild as it had been in the United Kingdom.

When we made the descent into Calgary airport I was relieved to see that there was no snow there.

I took the airport shuttle to the Travelodge hotel near Sunridge Blvd for a few hours rest. My room had a view in the direction of downtown Calgary with the rocky mountains as a backdrop.

At 5pm, I met up with Genny and Jeannette for drinks and dinner at Tony Roma’s in Calgary’s northeast. (Genny had a pina colada, I had a blue martini.)

Jeannette had a red wine.

The following day, Thursday the 15th of March 2012, I headed out on the 10:30am flight with Westjet to the rocky mountain interior.

Despite the clouds, I could see some of the dramatic interior rocky mountain landscape as we flew over the Okanagan Valley.

I was still a bit dubious about whether we’ll still be having snow.

We made the descent into Kelowna Airport.

And landed safely in Kelowna.

I got an airport shuttle straight to the new apartment downtown. The apartment is very spacious. Apparently it’s 1200 square feet. It has a second washroom as an ensuite to the master bedroom, which I didn’t even know about!

It has a mountain view in the distance. (Everywhere you look in Kelowna, there is a mountain view!)

There’s a family of mallards that hang out just down the street. They make me smile! I also saw a car with a British Columbia license plate and a Cymru Wales dragon flag bumper sticker on it!

Exploring Downtown

A few short blocks down Bernard Avenue is the lake. I took this picture today, Sunday the 25th of March. It was only 5 degrees celsius, but there were people out walking in their flip flops and sandals, and others sitting outside cafes drinking their coffees. Typically Canadian!

It looks like visitors can take a short cruise on the lake.

There are some historical information boards on Kelowna.

I encountered the infamous Ogopogo (aka Nessie to the Scots).

Walking back on Bernard Street, I popped into a few of the boutiques that were open for a lazy Sunday afternoon trade.

Starting my second week at work tomorrow!