Okay, to explain, Brad was asked at the last minute to present at a conference in Ottawa. And when I say last minute, I mean last minute. Tickets were booked the Friday before his Tuesday morning departure. What this meant for Brad was the inconvenience of a last minute trip, and a chance to have dinner with some friends we haven't seen in a while.
What this meant for me was that my usually busy life became much busier. As it turns out that last week there was a few of us without a partner in crime, so we decided to have a dinner party exchange. I cooked one giant lasagna and was fed a Moroccan stew and a Thai soup. Anyone with a three year old can imagine the chaos that such a dinner exchange might cause. Any mix with more than 2 kids tends to be hectic and we were travelling at a rate of 4 kids per dinner.
Anyways, my evenings were shot with doing chores, wrestling my three year old to bed and dutifully working with Steffi on one of my more pressing projects. In addition, Nikolai took to waking up at 3 am, deciding it must be morning, turning on all his lights and starting to play. This seemed to last for about 2 hours, at which point he'd realize the sun really wasn't going to come up (apparently my authority on this topic wasn't sufficient) and he'd go to sleep. The end result was that by the time Brad got back on Saturday morning I was as exhausted as he was. He may have had the overnight flight, but I was racking up 4 nights of sleep deprivation.
The last minuteness of his trip had meant that it was slotted into an already busy week. Saturday afternoon we had tickets to the GAA anniversary games at Croke Park. Not the high caliber of playing of the County teams, but some pretty decent beer leagues from the transport authorities. We were too slow to make it for the Camogie game, but we got to watch a Hurling match and a Irish Football match. This requires a small aside on Irish sports. I've previously blogged about the GAA, however, this was my first attendance to an actual game.
Hurling seems to be a very skillful sport. It's a bit like field hockey, but you're allowed to catch the ball (sliotar), and carry it, as long as you occasionally hit it with the stick (hurley). I definitely found it to be one of the more interesting sports that I've seen (I'm about as interested in sports as I am interested is something completely outside my sphere, like, say, the sexual reproductive pattern of mice).
Hurling was interesting because the ball travels far and fast through the air. Then people catch it (about the size and hardness of a baseball) with their bare hands. Then they run with it, all the while balancing it on the end of their hurley.
I found the football match to be less interesting. Probably more like a rugby/basketball cross than something akin to soccer. The general point is to score by getting the ball over the goal. You're allowed to use your hands but you can't just carry the ball more than a few steps without bouncing it or kicking it.
(I realize I'm totally bastardizing these sports... but you can look up the real rules up for yourself. This is just my view as an anthropological observer who isn't terribly interested in sports.)
Sunday we threw a Thanksgiving Party for nine non-Canadian friends... made the Christmas dinner from our Vegetarian Entertaining for Friends cookbook... rich and yummy.
But the gallop doesn't stop there, this week we've got a cake eating party for Brad's birthday, a bus trip to the countryside to visit our friend (and landlord)'s new baby, then the whole affair gallops into the weekend when Brad's parents arrive for a 10 day visit (they booked last minute too... on the same Friday that Brad's tickets to Ottawa were booked). As my projects are all coming into fruition all I can say is PHEW. Here's hoping for a slightly less hectic November!
Nikolai at the train station with Croke Park in the distance.
The National anthem before the football game. I noticed no one in the stands was singing (it's known to be a difficult song). Also the game was played with the Northern Ireland Translink Team... and interestingly enough, only the Irish national anthem, in gaelic, was performed. Though I guess if you play a GAA sport, then you are showing some allegiance to Ireland.
The Vancouver GAA teams