As the door of apartment 104 shut, a whirlpool of memories flooded my mind as i made my way home back to Australia. An overwhelming sense of nostalgia struck me like lightning.
From the first breath of freezing air to the warmth of the local Calgary people, i knew this trip would inspire and motivate me for the rest of my life.
As a bright orange poster greeted me as i walked through the exit doors of Calgary International airport i knew the person standing behind that poster would make my trip enjoyable and that of course was my best friend Jamie who i stayed with whilst i was in Canada. No matter where we are in the world we always are there for each other and have each others back.
From the taxi window, light snow was surrounding me and in the distance i could see the city of Calgary known for its trade in oil. I was surprised how big it was considering everything from the plane looked so flat and vast. The urban structure of Calgary was modern and the Bow River which was partially frozen instantly hit me as a great place to run.
As i crossed the bridge into the suburb of Kensington little did i know of the people who i would meet there would inspire me and make me feel so welcome.
The best way i found to get around the city and to really experience the cit (even if it was snowing or minus 30) was to walk… or run. My circuit around the city and up through the hills of Kensington was inspiring and magical, especially around 3pm as the sun went down and created a kaleidoscope of colours across the bow river and city. I was so surprised how many people were oooooot and running and this really helped me with my training.
Some of the highlights and fond memories from the trip included:
- – The amazing drive through the rocky mountains of Banff national park on our way to Lake Louise ski resort. Lake Louise Ski resort was pretty massive and the scenery was priceless staring at the top of blue run at the peaks of mountains with endless amounts of snow.
- – The last day which invloved Jamie, my new brother Matt driving our HRV down the highway to the Nakiska ski resort as well as Banff and heading to the hot springs to relax after a morning of skiing. The skies were Blue and the scenery was priceless especially whilst relaxing in plus 40 degree water whilst its negative zero outside.
- – Heading to the top of Calgary tower with Jamie and eating a 5 class dinner and staring at the amazing view of Calgary city… followed by fire alarms, homeless men saying “Hubba Bubba” to Jamie and very strange dramatic dancing which involved red ribbons and broken eggs.
- – My first ice skating experience with the purchase of my new skates from Walmart on the icerink inside Princes Island park and doing expressive dance moves like the movie “Blades of Glory” with Jamie.
- – Dragging Alex D, out at 8am and going for a walk and almost freezing despite having 5 layers of clothing on. The hot chocolate with mint at starbucks regenerated the heat.
- – Heading to a Calgary Flames Ice Hockey game organised by one of my special friends Donel and Oscar. I will say the atmosphere was not as good as our rugby league games back in Australia but it was still amazing to see a sport which was not common in Australia.
- – The first snow fall in Calgary when Rich woke me up at 6:15am and it was snowing outside. As the run rose it was the most spectacular scenery as everything had been painted white.
- – Playing ice Hockey in the at a local ice-rink in kensington with Rich, Oscar, Donell and Jamie and falling in soft ice whilst Jamie was chasing me.
- – My unforgettable runs around the city and big white rabbits jumping out in front of me and also as it was snowing, i could never experience that whilst in Sydney.
- – The trip to Fernie in British Colombia. In Fernie i met some amazing people who i will be friends with forever. My skiing improved and despite the steep runs i overcame the fear of falling.
- The snow was ridiculous having over 80cm of snow in one day which pretty much shut down the whole town. i couldnt get over how i woke up and looked at our cars and there was a meter of snow on top of them.
- Ill never forget the outdoor jacuzzi and sitting in it whilst it was -30 outside and snowing and also seeing the fellas jump out of it and shake the pine trees and roll in the snow. The feeling of freezing snow on your back and then jumping into a hot spa almost was painful!
- -Heading to Ranchmens where the film “Cool Runnings” was filmed.. and dancing in pairs with Matt and louring girls because of our Australian accent, not to mention the Pole dancing on the stage when LMFAO came on!
- – Partying at Den bar organised by my friend Kaetyn and meeting a ton of cool students and having 6 buck jugs of Canadian beer and triple shot vodka jugs!
- – Tobogganing with my mate Oscar down one of the hills above Jamie and Rich’s apartment and creating our own path where there wasn’t much snow haha.
- – The drive down to Fernie with Chelsea and singing boy band songs for 2 hours.
- – The endless amounts of Hot chocolates at the starbucks cafe with Alex on Kensington Rd.
- – Heading to the gym to see Oscar and to do a workout at SAIT with Matt.
- – Ribs and Wings night in the Mission.
- – Chris Dale wearing the creepy mask and getting into character.
- – Heading to Alex’s house to meet her mum and family.
- – Having a big Mexican feed and a hige bukkdog cocktail with Jamie, Rich, Oscar and Donel.
There are way more but these ones in particular struck my mind.
Here are the people id like to thank:
My bff Jamie and rich for letting me stay. I had so many good times with Jamie going for runs, iceskating, shopping, heading to calgary tower, dinners, singing skiing and snowboarding with her and always just having the best times. When we get home, that sacred hill bottle is going to smash hard off the gap! I thank Rich for all his hard work spent on the videos, they are so awesome and really highlight the trip.
Oscar and donel: i will miss Oscars friendship and our sayings like “Please be gentle” and Donel because of her hospitality and kindness.
Alex also known as Penelope Jones, i will miss our catchups and coffees and our 8am walks in the freezing cold. You have changed my life and i am sure there is a positive future for the two of us no matter which direction we decide to take..only time will tell! Remember communication is one of the keys to success.
Matt, i had a million good times with you.. gotta love a bromance you better come to Sydney brother because you and i will tear up Sydney. Yeaaaappppppppaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.. remember my sister is here waiting hahahahaha. “Finally see our way.”
Red: Your aussie slang will be missed and your farmer boy attitude. When i head to Wagga im riding a tractor.
Chris: i will miss you wearing the scary mask and also mashing potato like a psychiatric patient.. and our talks of bodily fluid in the jacuzzi.
Kaetyn: For organising the Den Bar night as it was one of the best nights of my life.
Dev: Your whacky sense of humor and our jacuzzi antics.
Chelsea: our boyband singing and you ripping into a steak with a steak!
Matt and Siobhan: You guys are the cutest couple ever and i reckon you guys should marry soon.
Alina: Our run through the meter deep snow when it was snowing non stop!
Shawn: Our d & m at the top of the hill in kensington.
From the experiences i had a this trip, i know 2012 will be a new beginning and a new chapter for me. it opened my eyes to the amazing people of Calgary. I have made so many amazing friendships whilst being there and i know i will have some of those friends for life.
I was so fortunate to travel to such an amazing country and i definitely appreciated each and every day. Despite my amazing sony alpha camera capturing all the memories, its those memories you share with people which are priceless which will stick with you for eternity.
“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins–