I see that it is already January 21st and I have yet to make a post this new year. Although I have not yet had the chance to snap a few pictures of the poor Burtons Pond ducks, I thought that I could summarize what has happened since my last post.
The fall semester ended after writing two exams and presenting a semester long project all in on day. It was a hectic end to a busy semester - but looking back it all seemed to go by so quickly and with relatively little stress. That same night, I received an e-mail from Air Canada, alerting me to check-in and select my seats online as my flight to Ottawa was leaving the next morning. While doing this, out of curiosity, I decided to also check the status of my flight from St. John's to Ottawa (via Montreal) - the e-mail from Air Canada made no mention about flight status. My flight was set to leave the following morning and I was concerned about delays because St. John's was forecasted to receive snow overnight. To my surprise, I discovered that the connecting flight from Montreal to Ottawa was canceled! So, I called Air Canada and was able to make changes to my itinerary (free of charge) such that I would be able to fly out of St. John's directly to Ottawa. I did not question the service agent why this flight was canceled and the Montreal to Ottawa flight was canceled - in the end I was just happy to be on my way.
Although there was some turbulence, the flight was uneventful. I was able to catch up on some tv and movies (Superbad was hilarious and just the thing to watch at 7:00am) given that for the past four months I have been living in an apartment without any tv. Landing in Ottawa, it was great to see Lucia and immediately begin our Chirstmas holidays together. The first week I spent in Ottawa, Christmas shopping, visiting the Vietnamese embassy to arrange our visas to Vietnam, and meeting up with friends and old co-workers for lunch. It was great to see everyone! It was also great to eat fruit and vegetables and affordable Chinese food!
At the end of the first week, Lucia and I made our way to Hamilton (via Toronto for a stop at Sushi on Bloor). This week we made a few trips to Toronto to see Kelly (mmm... Korean BBQ) as well as a hop across the border to Buffalo for some shopping (mmm... Cold Stone ice cream). Christmas gatherings were had in Fonthill with the Eberts as well as in Toronto with Lucia's family. One of the highlights of our week in Hamilton was the "behind the counter" experience at Sweet Paradise - a very poplar Italian bakery in Hamilton who make the best tiramisu! We finished the week with copious amounts of delicious Chinese food and a couple of stops at T&T Supermarket to stock up on some Chinese groceries. A trip through Toronto would not be complete without a stop at Sushi on Bloor (again) before we made our way back to Ottawa.
Back in Ottawa on the 30th of December, we spent most of the last week of the Christmas holidays shoveling snow and skating in the back yard at Sandra and Sean's place. Hopefully next year Riley will be able to join us. Later in the week I picked up our visas at the Vietnamese embassy, went out a few more times for lunch with co-workers, and got a few hours of research in for our upcoming trip to Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
On January 5th I flew from Ottawa to St. John's (via Montreal) without any problems. Arriving early Sunday morning in St. John's was a bit of a shock. The Christmas break had gone by far too fast! Regardless as to whether or not I was ready, the winter semester began on Monday and I soon found myself back in the routine of classes and homework. The past two weeks have flown by and I can hardly believe that it is almost February! This semester is shaping up quite well. I have some interesting classes with some terrific professors. I have a fair amount of research work to do this semester as well, but so far so good.
With the arrival of the new semester, so too has winter. While the temperature is relatively mild, the winds are strong and can bring with them a numbing wind chill. Snow has begun to pile up around the city; however, Ottawa may still have more snow. I will be sure to post some pictures soon!