Sunday, September 17, 2006

So we're off................

Written by Lynn

Well friends, family and assorted others……………….for those of you who we have been negligent in keeping in contact with we apologize. It’s been a busy year for us. So we're here to update everyone and let you know what's happening.

Back in August 2005 we loaded ourselves up the in car and drove across Canada to move to Edmonton, Alberta so that Gilles could go back to school. Gilles had made the decision that enough was enough and that he could no longer work for the federal government. So he decided to go to college to learn about motorcycle mechanics, in the hopes of eventually working in the field of motorcycle fabrication. By his own free will he was ostracized 6 hours north of Edmonton to the town of Fairview where he became just another college student. He lived in a little 7ftX12ft room in the geeky quiet dorm (no smoking, alcohol or noise after 10pm), cooked for himself in a kitchen shared with other students and managed to study hard enough to graduate with honors. He came out of it with a little more appreciation for the hard work involved in getting an education, and a diploma from one of the most unique and in depth motorcycle mechanic courses in North America.

Myself, I stayed behind here in Edmonton and took at job at the Mayfield Veterinary Hospital. It was hard to leave Kanata Animal Hospital after 6 years, but I had a great experience where I was. MVH is a dental specialty clinic here in Edmonton, owned by Martin Schiebel, who is presently going through the rigorous process of becoming a board certified veterinary dentist. As it turns out, I knew NOTHING about dentistry, so it was a steep learning curve for me. I learned lots and had fun working with an amazing team (cheers to you Brandy, Kathy, Connie, Charlotte, Des, Lyndsey, Holly, Martin and Anabelle).

Happily Gilles was able to come home every 2 weeks to Edmonton to see me, Cara (the black lab) and Zeke (the cat). For a few months we also had a new friend, Puss Puss, living with us. He was a 20 year old, diabetic, blind (obviously), hyperthyroid, renal failure cat that had been owned by an elderly lady that just couldn’t care for him anymore. But since he wasn’t really ready to give up the ghost yet, we kept him happy for awhile until the big litter box in the sky called him home. For those of you who are worried about our little family, it's all worked out. Zeke will be residing in North Bay with Gilles' parents for the year and Cara has decided to stay here in Edmonton. Our friend Kevin and his dog, Gaia, have offered to take care of her, which we truly appreciate, because we KNOW she can be a pain in the ass sometimes :)

Over the course of the year we managed to get out to Jasper and Banff National Parks several times, as well as doing lots of camping in the interior of British Columbia. I managed to make it home to Ottawa twice in the year, once for Tanya’s baby shower, and again in June for Sue and John’s wedding. In February, while Gilles was on reading week, we went to Las Vegas for the Western Veterinary Conference. We rented a car so that while I was attending lectures and learning lots, Gilles was off in LA schmoozing with all the famous motorcycle fabricators. Chica (of “Biker Build Off” fame) being one of them, even mentioned Gilles could start working there if he wanted to stay, which he of course couldn’t.
After the conference was done we went to see the Hoover Dam and Death Valley. Death Valley is an amazingly beautiful place where you can stand on one promontory and see the highest and the lowest spots in the contiguous USA at one time. We would highly recommend it(though not in July, when you can literally fry an egg on the exposed rock surfaces).

Socially, we made some great friends here in Edmonton (Ryan in pic). There was all the guys that Gilles went to school with. When he came home he even managed to get a job at the same shop, Echo Cycle, as a couple of his school mates, Chris and Warren.

Myself, I joined a running group at the local Callingwood Running Room. They were a bit crazy, to say the least. I joined in November to train to run the local Hypothermic Half Marathon in March, but got caught up the fever these people inspired. With the encouragement (bordering on harassment at times - just kidding) of the group I managed to complete not only the Hypothermic Half, but also the Vancouver Marathon, my first sprint triathlon (Leduc women’s, where the underlying lesson was that I just can’t swim!), my first trail ultra (the Blackfoot 25K), my first cycling race (the 100K Tour d’Alberta) and (one of those momentary lapses in judgment) Leg 4 of the Canadian Death Race (see if you want to know what I’m talking about). So thank you so much to Mia and James Clark, Lawrence and Kerry Avery, Don and Louise Wheatcroft, Bing Phung, Brian and Cindy Stewart, Glen Horner and so many others who helped to remind me that running is for fun, and the social aspect is WAY more important than the physical. I’ll miss my Sunday morning/post-run coffee :)

I was also lucky enough to reconnect with my mother’s side of the family here in Alberta. We spent our holidays enjoying the closeness of family with the Kadonaga’s and Near’s. We can’t begin to thank them enough for making us feel at home, even after so many years apart (I hadn’t seen most of my cousins since I was about 15 years old!). As an added bonus, when I was in Vancouver for the marathon I was also able to stay with Auntie Sonia (dad's sister) and Uncle Earl. They were kind enough to not call me crazy for running that race, even when I could barely walk the next day.

But all good things must come to an end and this is what this website is really about. We sat down about 6 months ago to discuss what we wanted to do now that Gilles had finished his schooling. After much discussion our final decision was that what we really, truly wanted was to see the world. And we mean THE WHOLE WORLD. So we have bit the bullet, done what nobody believed we would, and have decided to take the year off and travel. We’ve bought our round the world trip tickets, we’ve made the arrangements, and soon we’ll be on our way. We want to keep everyone (or at least the ones who are interested) up to date on where we are, what we’re doing and how things are going, hence the website. We’ll be checking in regularly at internet cafes along the way, so feel free to email, comment and keep the gossip from home flowing. We’ll miss you all, but we are so incredibly excited to have this opportunity to see all the things we’ve only ever heard about. So…………….here we go!


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