I’ve never really taken vacations. There were a few done with the family as a kid, but we all know how those are– it’s not the same as when you choose destinations for yourself.

About a month and a half ago Trez asked if I could pop out to join her and her family for a vacation to Jasper. I had planned on being in Calgary for my birthday but she had other plans, so I made arrangements. I can’t express how glad I am that I did.

Part of it is that I haven’t really gotten to see Trez outside of weddings we were both attending or Kilbourne-related outings; while I enjoy both, neither are conducive to chatting with your best friend for a real length of time. This was different; all of us went for bike rides, swimming, and even managed a canoe row on Lac Moraine. I finally got to hang out with Franni’s hubby, and Trez and Franni’s parents, and felt the whole time like part of the family.

But that’s not all of it. I’ve been back to Alberta a few times now since returning from Japan. It’s different, don’t get me wrong — Calgary’s C-Train goes all the way past Crowfoot now, for frack’s sake — but I get there and feel the prairie wind on my face and the sun on my arms and see my darling Rockies to the West and I wonder how anyone lives anywhere else.

On Sunday afternoon while we were grabbing supplies for soap making, half the sky went dark and those large drops of rain you don’t get outside the prairies came down, fat and cold and lazy-slow. I swear it smells different out there, the rain, dustier and sharper than what we get in Toronto. Or maybe it’s just that my allergies never flared up despite how green everything was. Maybe it’s all in my head. In my head or not, it was like slipping into a warm bath after a long day. I chased the sun westward for three and a half hours and ended up the only place I’ve ever felt home.

So as I started typing this I was on the plane back to Toronto and I, yet again, wondered why I’m living in the East. Sure there are a lot of animation and game studios in Toronto and MontrĂ©al. Sure there are those who say that going back would be like living backwards, like regressing. Maybe they’re right. Thing is, as smart as living in Toronto is for me right now, smart hasn’t been winning out in my mind.

Okay, enough with all that. How about pictures? They’ll be up on my Flickr account soon enough; I had to edit through pics from Jamie’s wedding first. I’m actually two sets of photos behind now, with the shots from my and Cory’s birthdays.