Two years ago this November I set out to bicycle across Mali with LG, who is one of my best friends. We were standing in front of our hotel in Bamako when H pulled up in a small dilapidated car, West African music blasting out the windows, a drum in her lap, and full of stories about visiting the surrounding villages with a wayward guide named Bubba. The three of us spent our days cycling across the desert and our nights in small tents pitched in front yards and on roofs. When I crashed my bike on an escarpment outside of Bandiagara, LG and H were there to pick me up and put me back together.
One year ago this November, LG, H, and I met just outside of Freetown and bicycled across Sierra Leone. There were a few unexpected mishaps along the way, but we eventually ended up in a spot where the river crosses the mountain to meet the ocean in a swirl of deep blue. We ate oysters during the day and stepped on fire ants at night and didn’t ever want to leave.
LG and H – this November I miss you both and am looking forward to our next adventure. This wonderful continent is not the same without you.
Gate 56. I am sitting at the Edmonton airport waiting for my flight to London. I’ve sat on these stiff green seats so many times before. On my way to India that summer between undergrad and law school. Countless trips between Edmonton and Vancouver. That time my brother and I met my parents in Italy and Turkey.
On the way to the airport this evening, my mom remarked that my trip to Tanzania would be almost like time traveling. I leave Edmonton on Tuesday evening and wake up in London on Wednesday afternoon. I leave London on Wednesday evening and wake up in Nairobi on Thursday morning. Two days and a whole world from now I will be in Tanzania.
The past week has also been like traveling through time. Goodbyes are kind of like that. My last few days in Vancouver consisted of reminiscing with good friends over good food. Remember that time in law school when we stayed up way too late studying and ate too much sushi? And KC started reading out inspirational quotes to get us through the night? And remember that time during articles when we both had that horrible week and we went to Joe Fortes and ordered champagne and crab? Remember when we ran that half-marathon in Victoria? Remember our bike ride through Sierra Leone? I can’t believe we did that.
And then I was in Edmonton and it was time for more goodbyes. My first morning, I met an old friend for breakfast near the UofA campus. It had been a long time since I’d been on that campus and for a moment it was almost like it was ten years ago and I was just starting my undergrad. Crisp sun. Fall leaves. The excitement of new beginnings.
There were more shared memories with family and more friends over still more food. Remember when we all met in that women’s studies class? And that time we had that meeting with the dean of students and convinced him that we were right? Well maybe we didn’t really convince him but things still went our way. And remember making those banners in my garage that cold winter afternoon? And then we hung them in the SUB. Where are those pictures?
Good people and good times in both cities.
Goodbye Vancouver, goodbye Edmonton. Until we meet again.