Tomorrow I’ll get on a plane for the first time in 20 months. The last time was when I flew home from Spain; I ended my blog post about that trip with, “…I’m excited about returning to Madrid in the spring”. Little did I know.
Anyway, tomorrow’s flight is significantly shorter: just to Nova Scotia, to see much of my family in person for the first time in even longer. I’m not looking forward to it the way I used to look forward to travelling — I’m sure that’s just the uncertainty wrapped up in this COVID-y travel experience. But I’m definitely looking forward to a week off.
Last Sunday we drove down to Beamsville for the latest Hidden Bench wine club release. We made a grave error and ate beforehand — there were grilled cheeses, lobster & shrimp rolls, duck spring rolls, and lamb chops. Harald chastised us for not coming hungry enough.
These were the wines released, in the order we sampled them:
2016 Natur Zero Dosage Traditional Method Sparkling
It’s kind of hard to believe it’s been twenty years. Really intense, indelible memories have a way of shortening time, I guess.
I still remember my colleague Dom standing up on his chair and telling us planes had hit the World Trade Center. I remember there was no TV in the office, and all the news sites we visited were overloaded so we ended up using Ananova, and going downstairs to the Radio Shack to watch the news through the window. I remember everyone going home early when the banks evacuated the big towers downtown. I remember stopping at the McDonald’s at Bloor & Avenue for some lunch, back when TIFF was centered in and around Yorkville, and hearing several American film industry people on their phones trying to figure out how to get home. I remember meeting my friend Jane on the patio at Hemingway’s (I was there yesterday for the first time in years, weirdly enough) that night as we tried to reconcile what had happened, gazing at it through the bottom of pint glasses. I even remember going to a Sigur Ros concert at Massey Hall nine days later (documented here, in what would end up being my first blog post, before I even knew the word blog I think) and everything still felt fuzzy and surreal.
It was an event born from decades of tragedy and violence, and begat decades more. It seemed trite and overblown to say it at the time, but with so many years of hindsight it really does seem one of the defining moments of history as I know it.
Brother #2, his lovely wife, and (temporarily) a niece — the same niece we brought to school last year — were in town this weekend, transporting said niece to university. We had a short but fun visit, eating at Brickworks Cider House‘s curbside patio, hanging out in the back yard, playing Exploding Kittens and Bananagrams, ordering from Chula Taberna, coaxing Kramer into the living room for a visit, and — after the uni drop-off — sabering open some sparkling out back before going out for dinner at Gare de L’est.
They’re gone <48 hours after arriving, but it was still good to see family again. Fingers crossed, we’ll see more in a few weeks.