Took me a while to get around to updating this thread (as usual), but I took a short little vacation to Ottawa around the end of February, right before things got crazy with COVID-19.
I basically just needed to get away for a bit - work was really rough, I’d been passed over for a promotion that I really wanted, office politics was a complete clusterfuck, and everything culminated in me having a total meltdown in front of my boss when he asked me to show the new person around (not my proudest moment, but shit happens and I’m a human with emotions). So I decided I needed to get away for a bit. Have a couple friends in Ottawa, so I texted them and asked if they’d be up for a visit. They both said sure, and one invited me to crash at his place (he’s a colleague and has worked in the same field as me for years), so I decided to head on up.
Trains weren’t running due to protest blockades of the tracks, so I ended up taking the Greyhound. Boarding was mass chaos, but the trip itself wasn’t too bad, and we made good time. Met my friend at the station, and then we stopped off at his place to drop off my bags before we headed out to the hippie vegan restaurant near his place for dinner. He also told me he’d taken the week off so we could hang out, which was really nice of him. After dinner we went to go visit with a mutual friend and ex-colleague of mine, and has a good discussion hashing out all the work bullshit, which was nice to get another perspective on the whole thing.
The following morning, we got up and headed to the spa. Collected a friend of the person I was staying with, and the three of us headed to Nordik spa. It was so lovely - thermal pools, cold plunges, saunas, and a panoramic pool that offers a gorgeous view of the city. Spent the day there, just chilling, chatting, had a martini at noon on Tuesday because I was on vacation. Shared a couple bottles of wine with my friends in the afternoon, had some great snacks, just such a nice relaxing day. Mulled wine in the hot tub was lovely as well.
The next day we went to the National Gallery, which I really enjoyed. There was an exhibit of indigenous artwork which was really interesting, and we got to see some other cool art, including the famous painting “Voice of Fire”, which the Canadian government paid $1.8 million dollars for and is a red stripe on a blue background. There were also works there by Monet, Picasso, Pollock, which were all super cool to see. It was also nice to take a break, and drink a glass of wine at the cafe while looking out the window at Parliament hill and watching the snow fall and chatting with my friend.
The following day there was a huge snowstorm. We’d planned to visit the bank museum, but it was closed, so we spent most of the day just walking around Ottawa, taking pictures with statues, stopped for snacks at the national arts centre, rode the new light rail line and admired the public art, and spent a good part of the day window-shopping at the Rideau Centre. In the evening, we went to the Urbanism Lab, which was a panel discussion on Parliament Hill and its future (it is being renovated now). Really interesting.
Friday, we headed to UOttawa where my friend works, wandered around and talked about some of their sustainability initiatives. Had lunch with some of his coworkers at the pub (I’ve known some of them for a while too) and chatted about various things. Then we got the visit to the bank museum in, which was an absolute riot. There’s a video game where you’re a spaceship pilot, and you need to fly your rocket ship through the asteroid field of inflationary and deflationary forces to keep inflation at a steady 2%! There were some cool displays there too, but man the video game had me in stitches.
That evening we met up again with my ex-colleague, had drinks, and pub-hopped a bit. Hashed our more job stuff, but it was nice to talk to friends and get a fresh perspective on the whole deal (as well as be reassured that I am capable, and not being unreasonable to be so upset at not getting the job).
The next day I had to head home, so I packed up, gave my friend a thousand thank yous for being such a wonderful host, and got back on the Greyhound for the ride home.
It was a very last-minute trip, but I’m so glad that I went. Running away from all my problems certainly didn’t do anything to solve them, but it was nice to get away from them for a bit. Ottawa is a great city - highly recommend visiting it if you can.