Monday, July 22, 2013

Ottawa is awesome!

So, Ottawa gets a place of pride, right alongside Pittsburgh, as a city on tour I had low expectations for, which has turned out to be fantastic.

The cycling alone makes this place, in summer, glorious.  I keep striking out on my own whenever I can find an hour or two, to explore the river paths and canal paths and parks.  At least by bike, Ottawa feels like one green space after another, and cycle trails that extend in every direction.

Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill

Cookies from Byward Market
Other things are marvelous about this city, too.  I can't post photos / videos of every single thing we've done here, but I don't want to forget about the kids getting tiny wire sculptures made by an artisan at Byward Market, and touring Rideau Hall and watching cricket practice.

We spent a full day last week at Calypso Water Park.  While I can't say this is one of my favorite things we've done here (crowds. long lines. high prices. thrill-seeking. sunburns) - the kids loved it.

Naturally, we still spend a lot of time at the library, and the one here in Ottawa is excellent.  Easy to get a card, unlimited checkouts, materials in many different languages, welcoming children's room.  And people seem to actually be reading here.  (always a bonus).  In this picture, Gipsy is reading in French to Isa - Gipsy has made remarkable progress on reading this past year, and Isa is just beginning to learn French.  As Isa usually reads to Gipsy, being at a much higher level in English, this was a nice change!

Besides the sightseeing here in Ottawa, there are other day-to-day things making it really good for us.  All of the families are housed together, which means lots of impromptu socializing.  Most evenings the kids are scrambling to get together for bike rides, playdates, etc. - and there is an indoor pool here, which makes a gathering point throughout the day.  A couple of additional kids are with us in this city - Iyiola and Kiana - so there is really just a critical mass of Totem children in this building eager to play together.  The other night Nastia scooped up Baz and took the 3 boys out for a nighttime bike ride all through the city, delivering him home after 9pm.  These are school nights, but it's final exams - which means no homework (and no real studying - they are tested on what they know) - so our schedules are looser.

Yesterday I took Isa to a farm (the Canada Agricultural Museum) where there was an Ice Cream Festival happening.  We saw ice cream being made, got up close and personal with cows, horses, pigs, and goats, and generally enjoyed a beautiful day together.  Our days are numbered - Baz and Ayla only have a couple more days left of the school year.  After that, we'll have a few weeks off, and then all 3 kids will begin school together at the end of August.  I am nervous about this on all kinds of levels!  But Isa is ready, and I am trying to prepare myself to let go of this little girl, my sidekick of the last 3 years.

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