July in Costa Rica was relatively quiet. Many of the staff take their leave periods in July and August, making the office a rather quiet place. I had been on a standby list to deploy to South Sudan shortly after returning from Colombia, but that ended as quick as it started. So, I could now think of spending a week with my kids in Canada.
I was initially slotted to assist with a HEAT training in Honduras following my leave meaning my return trip would be through Tegucigalpa (it took me months to be able to pronounce that one). However, this training was canceled by the Office of Corporate Security, meaning I could enjoy my leave and time with the boys.
Again, one of the perks and benefits of working with the big orange were the trips home, all expenses paid!
Arriving on July 30 to a humid Ottawa via Toronto was quite a difference from Costa Rica. The raining season had started in the tropics.
Most of the time in Ottawa with my boys was just enjoying our time together. We had planned many activities during the week. Ottawa, being the Capital of Canada, always seems to have a long list of things to do during the summer months. I thought I would take this time to play “Tourist” in my home town.
The Byward Market, situated in the heart of the city is always a bustle of activity. On a weekend, all the vendors are out selling their wares. Mostly, you can find fresh vegetables and fruits, meats and dairy here. It is a market in the truest sense. There are also many restaurants and pubs for a great nightlife.
Bringing my boys here was a lot of fun. There were buskers and some nice cars parked around. Although, it was a very hot and muggy day and at one point, my younger son passed out from heat exhaustion. But, nothing a few gallons of cold water could not fix (actually a few bottles)!
Another attraction to Ottawa are the Parliament Buildings, where the so called government runs the country. Regardless of who is running it, the buildings will always remain more stable and beautiful. Not far from the Parliament Buildings is the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court of Canada.
Go Carting and Relaxation
Not all of the activities around Ottawa are located in the center. We did spend one day out go carting, which was a great deal of fun. For the first time, my younger son was able to ride in his own cart…they have height restrictions on drivers. In Ottawa South there is a place called Karters Korners, which has the best go carting track in the area.
We also spent time just relaxing with family and lounging around. Even though I could have done the same in Costa Rica, without my kids, it was not equal. It was also a good time to spend time with my mother and her husband up at the lake and do a little fishing.
My older son was working at a place called the Chandlery, which is a store for boating supplies. I visited him at the store one afternoon and he gave me a quick tour. Having been a sea cadet and loving sailing, this was a great place for him to have a part time job. Eventually, I would end up making some purchases from here.
I was not home a week when I received an email from Perry announcing my first real deployment. Having been with the GRRT for some eight months, this was the first real deployment call. Sure, Japan was a response, but Nepal and Colombia were small assignments, one training and the other an assessment.
My notice was that I was to start making plans to deploy to the Horn of Africa Drought. This response eventually was given the name HARD (Horn Africa Response – Drought). My leave was to end on August 8, giving me only 4 days to start my planning. Perry wanted me out on the first available flight from Costa Rica after my leave.
Having made the arrangements to start the journey to Kenya for August 10, it was time to enjoy the remaining time with my kids. The final night of my leave, I took my boys out for a really nice dinner in Kanata at the Baton Rouge restaurant.
On August 8, I started the journey back to Costa Rica to have a day to re-kit myself and get back on a flight on August 10 for Nairobi, Kenya.
Next Story – Horn of Africa Drought