29 October 2012

Fish otta wa-ter

to ottawa for our finnish embassy appointment.

funny story, we thought we could take care of our finnish residence cards in town since halifax has an "honorary consulate of finland"...a nice, convenient way to start ourselves off in the government paperwork/moving jungle. right? heres the part where i laugh manically like a mental patient. convenience was not to be the case here, though im trying not to let it set the tone for this whole huge move. three months before our move-to-finland date we contacted said honorary consulate and were informed of the bad news. we had to go to an actual embassy because we needed to be fingerprinted. this could occur in ottawa, new york, or dc. since flights to the u.s. from halifax are the price of a kidney, we were SO grateful that ottawa was even a choice for us. we took it. and lucky we did (frankenstorm anyone?). we still had to book last minute flights for three, and two nights in a downtown hotel to make it happen, on top of paying the price of the residence permits (you dont even wanna know what they cost). but i digress.

our appointment was on a monday afternoon so we flew in saturday night to get settled and benefit from the slightly cheaper flight prices. our hotel was a modified apartment suite with full kitchen so we could have some comforts of home. dave and i had been to ottawa twice before: roadtripping in the summer of 2003 and on the way to ski at mt tremblant in the winter of 2004. i like ottawa, its a very subdued, friendly capital. seems like a parallel universe compared to dc. anyway, we were staying in an area south of where we had been both previous times, so i was looking forward to seeing a new part of the city and to exploring it in its fall color glory. the city did not disappoint.

our relatively short flight was kind of a challenge. doing travel over dinner and bed time seemed a bit too much for X (normally we have try to just do one or the other). it took a lot of concentrated effort on everyones part to remain calm, but there were no shit fits on the plane so that was good. we chose to bus it from the airport to town, so when we finally arrived and got X down...we were STARVING. dave acquired some indian take out for us and we gorged on that and tried to get some sleep (i say tried, because i never get sleep when i share the bed with X the wiggle worm).

-did breakfast in our apartment room. lovely. then X and dave swam at the hotel pool. i hadnt had the pleasure of seeing her swimming enthusiasm in a while. she LOVES it. the smiles and excitement coming off of her were a sight to behold. she was jumping off the edge to dave over and over and over. eventually we had to tell her pool time was over, or else im sure she would still be there today. back in the room when her swimming high wore off, she was a total tv vegetable. since we dont have tv at home, we all tend to flock to it for the novelty that it is for the first day or so. then we are all kinda done with it.


-walked to a nearby grocery store for lunch items. just a handful of blocks south of parliament hill, we were in the downtown residential area of ottawa. regular, happy people were out doing their weekend things. the beautiful streets were lined with nice brick buildings, iron gates/fences, and bright fall leaves.

-after lunch back at the hotel, there was no sign of a nap coming on soon, so we decided to go to the canadian museum of nature before it got too close to closing time. what a lovely museum. it was large (5 floors) with spacious rooms, interesting touchable exhibits, and kid-specific areas in each section...really well thought out with nice details. X was a bit manic because of the lack of nap so she went kinda fast through most areas, but she did find things to stop and take interest in. she especially loved the kid-section of the bird room, it was a pretend vet clinic for birds. so cute. and then we spent the rest of the time in the lowest level...the live bug room. to cap off the visit, i bought her a plain rock candy from the gift shop (she was allowed two bites). and she finally conked out on the walk home.

(moose tiles in entryway; bird clinic)

-for dinner we grabbed some sri lankan take out while X had odds n ends from the grocery store. 
-before bed, we found ourselves again going down to the pool. X jumped and jumped and tried to paddle and swim on her own, until again, we had to tell her it was time to go. good activity for wearing her out before bed though!

-X woke up and the first thing she asked about was going swimming. lol. she went 30 minutes straight just jumping in. she wasnt even bothered when her jumps landed her in over her head (literally). and she doesnt freak out or get detered from trying again.
-after swimming and bathing and eating lunch in the room. we checked out and headed to our most important task:
-our embassy appointment at 1:30p. other than their office feeling like a sauna, it went well. oh, and their computer system wasnt liking me or something...i had to submit my fingerprints three times. the lady was nice though. she confirmed, like all other finns ive spoken to, that october and november are suicidally depressing (suicidal being my word). im so SO glad we didnt chose to arrive in august and plunge into their crummy late fall. january may be brutal for a short while, but then we will start climbing out of that hole.
-after our appointment ended (at 3:15p!), we were in constant motion toward the airport. we got back to the hotel to collect our luggage. we walked to the bustling bus station at the u of ottawa, did the 30 minute bus ride, and finally arrived at the airport. once through security, we realized we didnt have Xs dinner with us (we packed it in our checked bag. smart). i had to locate an alternate in the airport. not easy. i acquired: special K cereal, apple juice, and a banana. thankfully i always bring other snacks too. ugh. but, we were glad our flight got off at all as all flights to dc and nyc were canceled due to hurricane sandy. we were SO lucky we didnt have to go to the embassys of finland in the u.s. for this appt. we landed and had some fog, rain, and wind to contend with but we were finally home. and i was exhausted. X was a bit hard to wrangle again (due to only a short nap on the bus). also, my stomach really hurt. i was glad to be home.

*link to full album of pics from the trip
**i realize the blog title has the negative meaning of being in a situation that you are ill-suited to, so this doesnt really apply to X in ottawa, but the fish and water and using the name ottawa to link those two...it was cute alright. go with me.
***i originally was going to feature frankenstorm in relation to this trip because i was thinking our big move was going to feel like a hurricane (this was even before sandy had formed off shore). i kept thinking "this is the calm before the storm" and that this trip was going to be like experiencing the first outer bands of the storm coming in with other levels of chaos to come as the 'real storm'. but this analogy falls a little flat since actual lives were lost in hurricane sandy and many people are dealing with far more challenging things than we will during this move. so, i will knock those dramatics off and simply wish the hurricane survivors the best and i hope they can find peace enough to enjoy the holiday season.

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