First, I have to acknowledge our deep sadness and try not to freak out too much as news from the Air Asia tragedy unfolds. It almost seems like something is pushing us not to end up in Malaysia but we also understand that all travel entails inherent risk so for now we offer condolences and move on. After returning to California we only have about 90 days until we file MM2H paperwork and see where life goes from there.
On a cheerier note I wanted to share a few brief thoughts and pictures on being back in my pseudo-nation and first expat experience. Having left Edmonton after Christmas with Diane’s family, we’re back in Calgary where we spent six years of our lives.
Perhaps the only place on earth where the temperature can rise or fall fifty degrees in 24 hours, today is no exception. It’s minus 21C with a -28 wind chill as I speak and the forecast calls for +3 by tomorrow morning (for the metric-challenged, that’s way below zero rising to almost 40 in the same day). As I’ve mentioned before , Diane’s sister works for the Calgary Flames, an NHL team, so naturally the first thing we did was take in a game.
Having once had a permanent residency card, I regret never applying for Canadian citizenship. Calgary is a bustling metropolis with lots of employment opportunities (although not for me due to the nature of what I did for too many years). Arriving at the arena early to enjoy dinner and the pre game skate, we pulled right up to the premium parking garage thanks to our employee parking pass and only walked a few feet in the frigid cold.
Recently renamed the Scotiabank Saddledome, the arena was built for the 1988 Winter Olympics, a very successful event that put Calgary on the map. Noticing a huge refurbishment since 2007, we headed to the concession stand where we feasted on a full slab of Alberta raised pork ribs with salad, potatoes and veggies all for under $20 (much cheaper than an equivalent meal in a USA arena)
Devouring the food I miss so much, we headed to our center ice seats and watched the teams practice. Shortly before the game start they sing the US and Canadian national anthems and drape a huge maple leaf flag over the ice
Although the game itself was not the most exciting one, Calgary did beat the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings by a 2-1 score and I reflected on how much I will miss hockey in the tropics. Many patrons opted for the bar instead of the game because Canada was playing Finland at the same time in the World Junior Championship tournament (they won 4-1). Only in Canada can you watch another hockey tournament while at the hockey game.
New Year’s Eve will be a quiet one at my sister in law’s house with our niece and nephew, ages 11 and 13, rather than compete with drunken mobs of partygoers and I assume this will be our last quiet New Year’s Eve for awhile as we will want to partake in whatever celebrations occur in Penang next year (15 hours before California rings in the 2016). We hope you are all enjoying your holidays and wish everyone health and prosperity in 2015. For us, the real adventure begins. We have a lot of catching up to do as evidenced by the about pages on any of your blogs. Chow for now !!