Bonjour everyone! I’m so sorry it’s been basically a month since I’ve updated you guys. If it makes you guys feel any better, I was caught up in happiness!
Bare with me today, I have a long update. But first thing’s first:
HAPPY (belated) FATHER’S DAY to all you amazing dad’s out there!! Sorry I’m so late in saying that. How did y’all celebrate Father’s Day? I worked during the day but when I got off at 4 pm Alex and I went to Evanston. We did a chocolate sampler at this adorable Belgium Cafe (called Leonida’s) and then we had French food and wine at our favorite French restaurant (Jilly’s Cafe). After dinner we went to Dave and Buster’s and played arcade games for hours. By the time we got home Autumn was already asleep but it was an amazing day!
Canada was amazing. I can’t even put an explanation point after that sentence because I’m too sad to have left Canada. Alex and I are about 100% sure that we will live there one day in the near future. We want to apply for dual citizenship and live in Ottawa. I have never fallen more in love with a place in my life. St. Louis was beautiful. But Canada was home.
It was a 7 day trip. The first day we got to Toronto basically just to lay our heads down at night. Toronto was nice, but it was rainy so we barely got to see it (yet). The next day we went straight into Montreal. Wow. I was dumbfounded when we arrived. Everything is in French. The street signs, the stores, everything. Alex and I went on a dinner date, and we were the only English speakers in the restaurant. Everyone greets you with “Bonjour!” A trait which I also picked up. The first day we just explored a little bit, and then went to the hotel and went swimming (that’s the night that we had the dinner date). The next day we went into the heart of the city and parked and walked for miles. The city is beautiful! Not as large as Chicago but still traditional looking and beautiful. We went to St. Josephs Church. It’s HUGE. We climbed all of the stairs to the very tip-top. Something I would have never been able to do a year ago. The sight was intoxicating. It over-looked the entire city. The clouds seemed so close that at points I literally felt like I was floating up to heaven. For lunch we found an adorable French cafe called Duc Du Lorraine. It only had 10 tables. I felt like I was in Paris. We had dishes like roasted chicken in a white wine sauce, and finished our lunches with 3 amazing desserts (the cafe doubles as a pastry shop). I probably gained three pounds that day, but luckily I walked it off. Our time in Montreal was like something from a dream. My smile couldn’t be moved. In fact, I don’t think I stopped smiling for the entire trip.
After Montreal we set off for Ottawa. for those of you who don’t know (I didn’t until this trip), Ottawa is the capital of Canada. The first day in Ottawa we explored the city a little bit. We drove through to see all the buildings. Then we went swimming at the hotel. Timur and Soph were nice enough to watch Autumn again so Alex and I could have another dinner date. We went into the downtown area and ate dinner together on a patio over looking the city. I was beaming. By the way, it just-so-happened that we wound up in the capital for Canada Day (our equivalency to the 4th of July). The next day we took a taxi into the city again (all of us) and walked around. We took a tour of the Parliament Building (even went up the clock tower), went into souvenir shops, ate lunch downtown, took a tour of Rideau Hall (home of the Governor General), etc etc etc. This was one of my favorite days of the trip. After about eight hours of exploring the city we went home, ate dinner together, and swam. After swimming I asked Timur and Soph if they could take Autumn out for a bit so Alex and I could have some alone time (#sorrynotsorry). Well, after Alex and I had some alone time we got dressed and left to find the rest of our crew. It was the night before Canada Day and there was an insanely loud party across the hall. Tons of people (our age group), loud music, etc. Long story short, we met some of them and they invited us to the party. Since we didnt know where Timur Soph and Autumn were, we went to the party. Everyone was so friendly and incredible. The vibe was amazing. We were dancing, mingling, and just celebrating life. Did I mention how much I love Canada?
The next day was Canada Day. We woke up bright and early to see the changing of the guard and watch the Prime Minister speak. Celebrating Canada Day in the capital was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. We saw the Prime Minister, saw a bunch of Canadian bands and singers play on stage, and proudly waved our Canadian flags as we did so. All the roads were shut down and the whole city was literally one huge party. I have never seen anything like it. It was one of the best days of my life. I was actually horribly sad to leave.
After a long day of celebrating in Ottawa we drove to Toronto. When thinking of Toronto, three words come to mind: huge, modern, and gorgeous. All the buildings were literally breathtaking. Pictures would never do that place justice. We ate dinner downtown and explored the city, then went back to the hotel and went swimming. Though I love Toronto, I felt fine only having a day there. There’s not as much to see as there is in Ottawa.
We woke up and immediately “set sail” for Niagara Falls. Oh. My. Gosh. All of our jaws dropped when we got there. It was like the holy land of adventure. First we walked around the town (before we went to the actual fall’s). We rode the Skywheel (a giant Ferris wheel over-looking the falls). Then we went to an awesome wax museum! We went shopping, had ice cream, and ate lunch (sushi for me, hot dogs for everyone else). We went on a ride where you go through this “haunted house” (it’s kid friendly) and you have to hit these ghost targets. Very fun! Finally we walked up to the Fall’s. Wow. We all just stood there to breath it in. We decided on a last minute whim to buy boat tickets to go up to the Falls. This, I think, may have been the most amazing memory for me on the whole trip. We all put on poncho’s, got on the boat, and literally went in the middle of Fall’s. Everyone was soaking wet but cracking up hysterically and having the time of our lives. Autumn has never looked happier. It was the perfect finale to a perfect trip. We explored some more and eventually we headed back home.
As I said before, I have never fallen more in love with a place. I can honestly say this was the best trip of my life. Being home just hasn’t felt the same to any of us. We are already researching home prices in Ottawa (that’s the place we’ve decided to eventually move to), how to attain dual citizenship, etc. We will go home one day. Canada: Until we meet again! Next time hopefully it will be a one-way drive.
Oh yeah, and HAPPY (belated) FOURTH OF JULY!!! I just missed everything this month, didn’t I? What did you guys do the 4th? Do y’all have cool traditions? We brought our friends to my in-laws house were we saw family, grilled, drank, and played games. It was VERY fun! It was cool having a bunch of our friends hang out with Alex’s family and get to know them better. Afterwards we went home with out friends and cooked a huge feast! We made burgers, hot dogs, potato salad (was store bought), corn on the cob, etc. After dinner we had flag cookies and then drove over to a carnival. We all went on a bunch of rides (including Autumn) and then at night we watched fireworks together on a blanket. It was an incredible night and it made coming home from vacation much easier!
In other smaller update news: we’ve been swimming a ton, and I love it! During the colder months of the year I feel like a fish out of water. Every summer it’s amazing to be reconnected to my “second home”. Also, Autumn celebrated two firsts! Her first time having her nails painted, and her first movie in theaters. And they were both on the same day (July 5th)!
Back to the trip (kind of). I was absolutely fine doing all the walking (which by the way, there was a lot of). I did gain 5 pounds of the trip (EEK!), but I’ve since lost it all and even another pound. I stopped watching what I ate for a while, but I’m starting to get back on track again. The biggest thing I need to watch is water intake.
I promise not to go so long without updating again!
Love, happiness, and adventure to all,
“Weight loss is like driving: if you ever veer off the road, just make a U-turn and head back in the right direction.”- Unknown
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”- Unknown
“Always find time for the things that make you feel happy to be alive.”- Unknown
^^Happy Father’s Day to the two best Father’s out there!!^^
^^Our Father’s Day celebration!^^
^^Did I mention how good I look in a swimsuit now?!^^
^^Bonjour from Montreal!^^
^^Fourth of July Festivities!!^^
^^A day of first’s!^^