July 28, 2010

“Rain, rain, go away,
Come again another day.
Little Billy wants to… do anything other than stay indoors and try to stay dry!

Five more weeks. That’s it, and then I’m outta here for a holiday. At least, I’m considering it a holiday. Some of my workplaces are considering it a bit of a hassle because I’m leaving for a month. I have to keep reminding some of these people that it is only 3 weeks. In 9 years of being in Taiwan, and for over 25 years of my working life, I am finally taking a holiday that is longer than 2 weeks. Actually, in all my working life, I have NEVER had a 3-week holiday. Sure, I have had that many weeks allotted to me, but never taken them all in row!

For the most part though, once I explain that I haven’t seen my immediate family and relatives for over 10 years, they suddenly change their view. One teacher asked me why, all of a sudden, I want to take such a long holiday? How to explain what has transpired in a dozen years, in a few minutes before class begins. I can’t begin to explain. I just tell them that basically, traveling to Canada and back will take up 3 to 4 days, so I’m actually only going to be ON HOLIDAY for 2 weeks. Okay, so it is not accurate, but it does seem to get an ‘okay’ reaction from them…

Another teacher, when asking me the same question, I turned around with, “When was the last time you saw your parents?” She said last week. I looked at her and said it’s been 10 years or more for me. Ah, the reality sunk in.

I’m actually kind of wondering about this family reunion. I haven’t spoken to the parental units yet, and I will get to that later. I noticed that dad had posted a few pictures, taken on a rather sunny day, of the premises to be used. Wow, I’m actually impressed. Don’t kid yourself. It doesn’t really take a lot to impress me. I’m more wowed by the fact that we will have access to a baseball diamond, a two-story hall, covered outdoor pavilion, lots of trees and grass… Something that I haven’t really seen here in Taiwan.

I don’t know whether families have family reunions like this in Taiwan. I guess, since Chinese New Year is the time that all the family gets together, and the fact that people work all the time, the idea of taking a day off and enjoying family and relatives is just not done here.

I think the one thing that I am most looking forward to, is food! Yes, food! Not that I don’t eat well enough in Taiwan. I have found many great places that I frequent every week. But my ‘diet’ here is basically the same, week-to-week. Sure, once in a while I do deviate from the ‘schedule’, but my tastebuds are craving certain things. Here’s a short list…

Griff’s Cavern, St. Clair College
The day I arrive, September 7, my parents (and hopefully my ‘didi’ (younger brother and his family)), and a dear friend of the family from years ago in Granton, will get together for a lunch at Griff’s Cavern at St. Clair College. The manager and his wife (Dave and Marie Nugent) run this place. I worked there when I was attending St. Clair College almost 12 years ago. The things that I will be most wanting are: Nachos with ALL the fixin’s, and Marie’s bread pudding with caramel sauce and whipped cream! ABSOLUTELY worth the trip to Windsor!!

Aunt Mary Ellen
Now, I’ve heard so much about Aunt Mary Ellen’s cakes. I’m sure that at some point during my life growing up in southern Ontario, and staying with Grandma over the summers, that I’ve had the pleasure of Aunt Mary Ellen’s cakes. The only problem is, it has been too long! I honestly don’t remember. When I saw the pictures that were posted after Aunt Flossie’s memorial service, just looking at that calorie enhanced, sugary dessert, there was drool falling down my face. Aunt Mary Ellen, I’m really looking forward to a CORNER piece of cake!! Why? The corner piece always has three sides of icing!! Can you tell that I’m dying for some sugar here??

Mom and Dad
Mom always relates the story of her Friday night dinners when she was a young girl. “Baked beans and cherry pie.” Mom, I can hear you gagging now! HAHA. So, rather than tell you that my least favourite meal at home was “Shepherd’s Pie”, and sorry mom, just thinking about it gives me the same reaction you get to your aforementioned meal, I will tell you about my MOST favourite! Mom’s roast beef and dad’s mashed potatoes! For as long as I can remember, every time mom served roast beef, well, I can’t tell you how much I loved those meals. Roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn and gravy. If anyone were to ask me, if I were to have only ONE kind of meal for the rest of my life, it would have to be – roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn and gravy!

Dad, I don’t know what it is about the mashed potatoes. Maybe it’s because, and I don’t mean this in any negative way, the only thing I remember about this meal was you using the blender and making your mashed potatoes. Perhaps it was because you whipped the ‘poop’ out of the potatoes. Maybe the amount of milk, or GENEROUS amount of butter. I have tried, numerous times over my adult life, to replicate your mashed potatoes. I get close, but not the same! Mom had asked a while back about what meal I would really like when I came home, and before she could finish typing, I already had the answer. Mom’s roast beef, dad’s mashed potatoes, corn and gravy. Period.

Ricardo’s Pizza, Ottawa
In a small way, I kind of wish that we lived in Ottawa. There is a pizza place in Ottawa that I remember oh too well. Ricardo’s. When I was working part time at the casino, I’d get home around 2 or 3am. I’d call over to Ricardo’s, and I’d almost think they were waiting for my call! I’d begin by giving my number, and they would immediately say, “It’s on it’s way!” I love places like this. They get used to you, they know what you like, and man, it is wonderful.

There was a point when the casino was running later, so I wasn’t getting home until about 4am. By then, Ricardo’s was closed. One night, I got a phone call. It was from Ricardo’s Pizza! They were concerned that I didn’t like their pizza any more or that something had gone wrong. I simply told them that I was now working later, and that they were closed by then. I was asked if I was going to be home that night. Yes. Good… the pizza is on it’s way – no charge! Oh, just to try their pizza again!

Mexicali Rosa’s, Ottawa
This is another one of my most favourite restaurants of all time. This place became a regular hang-out for me every weekend – either Friday or Saturday night. I and a friend or several, would head over there, drink margaritas, each nachos, and then, the ‘piece de resistance’, Texas Red Chili. This chili was so unlike any other chili. Basically, sirloin that had been simmering for a very long time. Extremely tender and juicy. Red chili peppers were scattered throughout. And the broth, oh, another mouth-watering dish. I never really remember ordering anything else. The owner would come over to the table, take the orders of the my friends, look at me and say, “The usual?” I would just smile. She’d shake her head and laugh.

There are plenty of other things that I’m looking forward to, such as good old, down home barbecues, and potato salad, and cole slaw, and well, I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

This is going to be a trip home that I won’t soon forget.


1 Comment

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One response to “July 28, 2010

  1. Marie

    Awww Billy Boy, we don’t have the bread pudding any more and haven’t had it on the menu in about 10 years. Maybe you were the only one who was eating it cause it wasn’t getting sold and it was going in the garbage. But we still have the nachos and I’ll make sure you get an extra big portion of them.
    You’re coming down here on Sept. 7th??? Yikes that’s opening day and let me know closer to the date and how many and around what time so I can reserve a table.

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