After 6.5 hours of flying, Athena and I arrived at the Halifax International Airport and I still think it took us longer to pick up the rent-a-car than the entire flight time combined. It’s all well worth it though. My senses were delighted as we arrived “home”. (At least my Canadian home; Charlotte is definitely my real home where Darren and I are continuing our beautiful life together.) The smells, the sounds, the sights, the tastes… all uniquely Nova Scotian.
If I lick my lips, I think I can actually taste the salty ocean air and I didn’t realize how much I’d missed it until I stepped outside of the airport and a took a deep breath. Even when I lived in California on the Pacific Ocean, it didn’t quite have the same effect on me. I thought about Ingonish Beach in Cape Breton when I was leaving the airport parking lot. At first, I just thought it was simply because I was in Nova Scotia but then I realized that it was the air that transported me back to my childhood. Oh Atlantic Ocean, you bring about sweet memories. John F. Kennedy said, “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.” The only thing he left out for me was, “We are tied to the [Atlantic] ocean.” Everything else was correct.
It wasn’t just the air that was an obvious sign that I was home. While waiting in line at customs, I chatted with a friendly lady that cooed over Athena. I didn’t need to ask her where she was from because she ended at least 5 sentences with “Eh” and even more obvious was that it wasn’t even a question but her voice raised slightly at the end of each sentence like she was saying, “Eh?” I had been completely oblivious to this unique Canadian trait until that moment. Then, I listened to others around me and I could easily pick out the Canadians. By the time my sister arrived, I had to consciously think about something else so I was focusing on the accent. The funny thing is, I think I might do it do, eh?
As for the sights, seeing kilometers again instead of miles or liters instead of gallons put my mind a little at rest. I’m still getting use to the “American way” and constantly converting can be taxing. When the guy at the car rental said that gas was $1.42, I knew exactly what he was talking about. Instead of hearing $3.75 a gallon and trying to convert that to liters so I knew if it was a good price or not, I just knew I was getting ripped off and gas was ridiculous. But… put a Nova Scotian doner in front of me or a Cape Breton pizza, and I don’t care if gas is $3.75 a liter. I’d still drive an hour out of my way for The Wheel any day.
Tomorrow, I’ll be driving to Cape Breton for my first Celtic Colours, notice the spelling of Colours; also Canadian, eh?, event. The Cape Breton Fiddlers and a Thanksgiving Dinner will continue to heighten my Canadian senses, providing reminders of my culture around every corner.