Departing the crazy, busy airport that is YYZ, I managed to catch a few photos of YTZ, too, as we departed to the south east. Covered by concrete, buildings sprouted everywhere below. But less than two hours later, I looked out the window again to see green, green everywhere, with a touch of red and gold. And when we touched down, the only plane on the tarmac, I knew that I had finally landed once again... in dearest Charlottetown, PEI!
The great thing about the Lakeshore is that it offers something for everyone -- truly, whether I turn left or right out of my building's driveway, whether I walk, bike or TTC it, I can drink tea, meet with colleagues or friends/family, shop for fresh produce, gourmet chocolate or Kleenex, drugs and toilet paper, I can swim, do laundry, eat Indian, Thai and Mexican, I can fly airplanes and more.... all along the Lakeshore!!!
person at Birds and Beans next door, I headed off in the opposite direction, to meet some fellow parents of multiples: three sets of twins and one set of triplets enjoyed an afternoon of soaking and soccer at the splashpad on Lakeshore, near Dixie.
Back at home later on, I met a friend for dinner -- Thai! Just short walk from my building, still on the Lakeshore, in the other direction once again.
The next morning, it was off to the Airport, also along Lakeshore, to go flying...
(Flying pics -- click to enlarge)
Upon biking back home after flying, I enjoyed lunch on the balcony of my apartment overlooking the Lake and the CN Tower I had just encircled at 2000 ft., and celebrated my good fortune at having found a place to call home along the Lakeshore.
How do you stick up for your girlfriend and protect her from "predators" when she's a few thousand km away, and the predators are her students? Lol!
After a week surrounded by two million LGBTQ brothers and sisters in Toronto last month, Tats headed off to a small town in another province this month for a flight-related job, and the contrast couldn't be starker: In Ontario, we just elected our first female premier, who also happens to be a lesbian. In PEI, Canada's last province to bring about marriage equality, real live same-sex married couples are few and far between. To complicate matters further, aviation is a notoriously homophobic industry as it is (although the tides are slowly turning even in the cockpit, it would seem).
So, being a female pilot is challenging enough. Being a gay female pilot on PEI is a whole other level of interesting. Additionally being the only flight instructor on the island, surrounded by straight, male pilots, most of whom have probably never flown with a woman or an LGBTQ pilot before, is something else entirely!!!
Having flown out there for a few summers now, I can honestly say that most of the guys are great and lots of fun. And the flying community -- many of whom are eager to upgrade their ratings and have been desperately awaiting the arrival of a flight instructor -- has been super supportive of Tats' arrival on the island.
But when one of them tells her she's "cute" and has a "sexy" name, I want to POUNCE on him and yell, "dude, that's MY girlfriend -- BACK OFF!"
Having had the luxury of being "out" now for almost three years, I sometimes forget that there are places -- even in Canada -- where some people don't understand the concept of homosexuality and same sex couples. Could it be that this guy really doesn't know that his flight instructor "flies for the other airline", so to speak???!!! ;-P
Then again, as Tats herself pointed out when we were discussing the issue, does it really matter? I mean, seriously, who tries to pick up their flight instructor (oops, oh, wait..., hehe... yea, but at least I waited a few lessons. And brought her expensive cheese. And wrote her beautiful, endearing emails. And sent her links to obscure Romanian gypsy wedding songs!!!)
Anyway, Tats -- ever the professional -- wasn't sure how to handle the situation, and just threw her hands up in exasperation as she shared the tale with me. So, in the absence of a good, old-fashioned, in-person street scrap, where I stick up for my girl and beat the other guy up, let me send a virtual message in no uncertain terms:
In celebration of this summer's flight training on Prince Edward Island (no, really, it's finally happening!!), I thought I'd share a little video of a formation flight over the Island from last Friday, June 27, at sunset.
Piper Cherokee C-FVLA -- Pilot: Colin Corbett
Bellanca Citabria C-FFQK -- Pilot: Jim Ewing, Passenger: Eric Brookins
Cameras: Colin Corbett, Eric Brookins Video Production: Colin Corbett
Let me say first of all that Toronto's Yonge line in morning rush hour can give the Buenos Aires Subte a pretty good run for its money, as far as congestion is concerned! It was already 8 a.m. when I squeezed onto a nearly-jam-packed subway at Davisville station this morning with my "Math for MathPhobic Teachers" workshop in a carry-on bag and a backpack, and I did not manage to get a seat until we had nearly arrived at Union station.
I was pretty impressed with the new, bigger-feeling, more open subway cars, though, as well as the working announcement system that actually calls out the correct subway stops along the way, AND displays them electronically (and accurately) in several locations above the windows of the subway!
Union Station, where are you?!
The ensconced-in-fog CN tower that greeted me when I stepped out onto the misty morning downtown street from the subway around 8:30 a.m. was eery enough; the fact that Toronto's union station had almost completely disappeared behind construction scaffolding gave the normally busy downtown core a strange impression.
Underground, a crowd to rival that of Retiro in BsAs pushed through Toronto's busiest train station, but up on the street level, things were strangely quiet. With so much construction, people had traded in Front Street for alternate routes to their downtown destinations.
The Porter Shuttle
Like an out-of-town tourist, I lugged my baggage to the nearest entrance of the Royal York hotel, and enquired as to where the temporarily displaced Porter shuttle stop was currently to be located -- the workshop I was facilitating was out of town, and I had to get to the airport to catch a 10:30 flight out of City Centre airport.
Two friendly porters directed me to the shuttle stop a few blocks over, and I was soon seated on the bus amidst fellow travelers on their way to CYTZ.
As we made our way through construction- and rush-hour-traffic-packed streets and down to the also-under-construction waterfront terminal, I reflected on how the city had changed... in addition to the massive Union Station construction project, several new buildings had sprung up here and there over the past 10 months....
Soon we arrived at the ferry terminal; it, too, was under construction, as Porter patrons will "soon" be able to walk to the airport, rather than take the world's shortest scheduled ferry.
"Big" Airplanes for a Change
How strange it felt to be embarking on the ferry not to fly a Cessna, but to board a "real" aircraft that would carry me further than Claremont!
Upon checking in, I was told that all flights were grounded due to the fog: My 10:30 flight was now delayed to at least 11:45 a.m., and did I want to book onto the 8:30 a.m. flight instead? (That one was currently slated to depart at 9:45 am.)
I took the rebooking, and settled into the Porter lounge for some free tea and shortbread cookies.
Not for long, though, because they soon started boarding my new flight, and by 10:35 a.m., the 8:30 flight was in the air with me on it.
A short time later, we descended into Ottawa, and I was able to capture our break out of the clouds, and the opening of the landing gear on my trusty iPhone camera, in time for this quick blog before I head off to the workshop!
For our first family bike ride since returning from Argentina, we decided to check out the HBSCA Farmer's Market and then head over to the Island Airport for the boys' first flight with mommy as PIC!
The farmer's market was considerably more exciting than last year's attempt, with approx 25 vendors peddling everything from fresh veggies to maple cream goat cheese to cut flowers to acai berry smoothies.
We were very impressed, and quickly unloaded the last of our weekly budget on some home-baked peanut banana chocolate chip muffins ("Mommy, this is quite possibly the best muffin I ever ate in my life", quipped Alex!), a tomato, some fresh field greens, a few pretzels and a container of stinging nettle goat cheese, most of which we packed into our bike panniers, to eat later in the day (the baked goods we devoured on the spot).
After the Market, we continued along the bike path to City Centre, or rather, to the ferry terminal at the foot of Bathurst. Tats stayed at the playground there with one boy while the other flew with me, and then we switched.
Simon went first, so he did the walkaround with me, too -- he even climbed up to check the fuel!
The airport was super busy today with the usual weekend commercial and general aviation traffic, so we each did a few circuits, and then set off again on our bikes, to ride to the "beach playground", where we stopped and had our little picnic lunch from the Farmer's Market stuff. Yum!
Anybody want to go flying with me??? :))) Let me know!
Went flying today, with a friend -- my first flight with another pilot friend since my finally finishing my licence requirements last fall. And what a gorgeous day to go flying... Marias -- this blog post is for YOU, to convince you to come visit us soon!!! ;-P
(If you hover over any of the photos, there is a caption.)
After my flight, I rode my bike home, and stopped to take a few more photos. I love the Lakeshore, both from the ground as well as the sky! :D
I will confess that the outrage I feel at shivering in this FRIGID climate after wearing shorts for the past several weeks is somewhat mitigated by the arrival of my long-awaited, official, Transport Canada Private Pilot License documents in the mail.
Everything here seems very quiet in comparison to the booming, summer metropolis of Buenos Aires. There is so much space here, and so few people!
I'm definitely still in shock. Surrounded by snow and not-yet-wrapped Christmas presents, and boxes and suitases which are neither packed nor unpacked, it all seems very surreal, and I can hardly believe that we're going back to that magical place in just about a month's time....
Just a few days ago, I was waking up in a big, comfortable bed with a premium mattress after sleeping in the blissful silence and total darkness of the PEI countryside. If I saw anyone at all during my days in St Peter's Harbour (and for many hours at a time, it was not uncommon to NOT see anyone out there), we smiled or nodded as we passed one another.
Now I am sleeping on a single air mattress on the floor, surrounded by light and sound: light from the master bedroom closet of our host, who likes to sleep with a light on, spills down the hall and interrupts my sleep, as do the endless city lights from the parking lot outside, the park next door, the street lights and lights from the apartments in surrounding buildings. The streetcar whizzes by every 20 minutes... noisy revelers yell outside in the parking lot... there are no crickets here at night, or, if there are, the city soundscape drowns them out!
My clothes are in boxes, and in suitcases (some marked "Argentina", others marked "winter/Vus/PEI") and in a pile next to my mattress. My kneeboard is missing, and I can't find an empty surface on which to "stage" the next three days' materials. The kitchen is not my own, and I can't find the groceries I need to make the food I want. My chequebook is lost again (and there's no money in my acct anyway, since I am "unemployed" for the year), I can't find a clean pair of underwear, and there always seem to be doors opening and closing as people come and go.
I miss the gentle island, where there is space, and silence, and fresh air.
On the upside, I got to go flying today!
After writing for several teacher and multiple birth publications, including ETFO's Voice Magazine, Multiple Moments, and the Bulletwin, Vera turned her written attention to prolific blogging for some years, including BiB, "Learn to Fly with Vera!" and SMARTbansho . Homeschooling 4 was her travel blog in Argentina. She now spends more time on her Instagram (@schalgzeug_usw) than her blog (pictures are worth a thousand words?!) Contact Vera by clicking the photo above.
The views expressed on this blog are the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the perspectives of her family members or the position of her employer on the the issues she blogs about. These posts are intended to share resources, document family life, and encourage critical thought on a variety of subjects. They are not intended to cause harm to any individual or member of any group. By reading this blog and viewing this site, you agree to not hold Vera liable for any harm done by views expressed in this blog.