I arrived home from Edmonton on Sunday after a happy but exhausting trip. I'd gone to see my niece and nephew graduate from high school and to celebrate the occasion with my sisters and their families. Although I'd planned to call some friends while I was there, I ended up seeing only one friend and spending the rest of my time with my family.
I felt honoured to celebrate the graduations with my sisters. Watching both my niece and nephew walk across the stage to receive their (fake) diplomas, I felt so proud of each of them: they made it! I also realized that finishing high school was a rite of passage not just for my niece and nephew but for the adults in their lives, too, who'd watched them grow into adults. It seems like just yesterday that they started kindergarten and now here they were, finished their public schooling. They're basically adults, now, and they get to choose whether and where they pursue further education.
While I was there we had a family gathering to celebrate my niece and nephew's graduation, which is something we haven't done for quite some time. It was a ton of fun and I really enjoyed myself. It felt relaxed and casual and it seemed like everyone had a good time. One of my sisters hosted it and I got to see her beautiful garden in the summer for the first time in I don't know how long. She has a number of sweet-smelling, very healthy roses and lilacs and has planted gorgeous sweet peas lining her fence, as well as some other ground cover and a healthy ash tree (side note: I didn't know that ash trees grew in Edmonton. There are oak trees now, too, and I didn't think they grew there either).
The trip wasn't all good, unfortunately: my cell phone battery refused to charge so I wasn't able to use it to send or receive texts about halfway through the week. My Kindle was also starting to misbehave with the buttons not working properly and now only every other line is displayed.
I wasn't able to rent a car at all, either. I tried to, I really did. My plane was late arriving into Edmonton so I changed my booking for an office near my hotel. To my surprise, I discovered that that particular Avis doesn't take Sears cards. I thought about going with my backup plan but then I decided that I didn't need a car... I just wanted one. so I did without and it worked out just fine.
Also, while my hotel was lovely - and it was; in fact, I highly recommend staying there if you're in Edmonton - the only alarm in the room was a radio and I don't easily wake up to a radio because the voices end up being incorporated into my dreams. Usually I use my cellphone as an alarm but since it was in paperweight mode, I had to rely on the radio alarm in the room. Yes, I could have called for a wake-up call but I needed to wake up from naps, too, and multiple wake-up calls in a day seems a little silly. Therefore, I ended up not sleeping so well for the latter half of the trip because I was so worried about waking up on time.
Even with these technical issues, I really enjoyed myself in Edmonton and I was sad to have to leave. Edmonton is beautiful at this time of year: the weather is warm but the light wind makes it bearable, everything is blooming, and the air smells so clean and fresh. Every time I walked outside I'd just stand there, breathing in the air. I'll be going back to Edmonton in a couple of months as one of my sisters is moving to the UK this fall and I want to see her in Edmonton before she moves away.