I went home to Texas for a week around Christmas and it was great to be home. I saw family and friends, ate Tex-Mex food, drank Shiner Bock and Shiner Cheer, ate Blue Bell ice cream, went shopping, and had an all around great time. It was 73F when I got off of the plane in Austin and I promptly stuffed my big down coat in to my suitcase and busted out my flip flips for most of the week.
I love it here in Ottawa, but there’s a certain ease about being at home where you don’t have to navigate a new and different city and culture. There are a lot of similarities between the United States and Canada, but there are also differences, and even within the United States, there are a lot of regional differences. Even with embassy colleagues from other parts of the United States, I still have to explain myself when I say things like “fixin’ to.” A little light bulb went off in my head when I said “fixin’ to” in a store in Austin and got no odd response from the store clerk. I’ve used the expression when talking to Foreign Service colleagues from other parts of the United States and gotten funny looks or responses and had to explain myself. So, it was nice to be back home where that explanation wasn’t necessary.
Anyhoo, now I’m back in snowy Ottawa. Before I went home to Texas and while I was there, Ottawa got a lot of snow and a decent chunk of it is still around. We’ve had some days above freezing which has melted some of it, but there’s still a lot left over. I’ve gotten quite good at bundling up and trudging through the snow and slush, and have even managed to get around to some fun winter activities like ice skating. So, while I’m still not a full winter convert, I’m making it through my first Canadian winter well enough so far. We’ll see what the next month or two brings in terms of winter though!