The Long Weekend Wasn’t Long Enough

05.21.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

 The Victoria Day long weekend apparently wasn’t long enough—though it was filled with enough activity to actually keep me away from my computer and my blog.

On Friday, I made arrangements with my parents to pick up the kids straight after school so I could trek to York University (where I’m proud alumni) to meet my husband after work. While waiting for him to finish his work at York, I browsed the bookstore—and got a great deal on an official York University hoodie!

While reacquainting myself with the new architecture on campus and reminiscing on my years of study in English Literature, Creative Writing, and Women’s Studies, my husband and I decided to have a cheap, but bountiful dinner at The Falafel—chicken shabob with rice, salad, pita, and a drink—a favourite dish I had when I was back in college.

Our purpose of the night? To check out the play, Oh My Godzilla, by Asiansploitation, a comedy troupe my brother, Rjay Garcia, who is an actor, singer, dancer, and comedian, recently joined.

Esly, Zara, Rjay, Isabel after the play, "Oh My Godzilla" in which both Rjay and Isabel starred. (c) Photo by S. Kanaan. All rights reserved.
Esly, Zara, Rjay, Isabel after the play, “Oh My Godzilla” in which both Rjay and Isabel starred. (c) Photo by S. Kanaan. All rights reserved.

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We took the TTC to Downsview, got off at St. George, and walked east to The George Ignatieff Theatre on Devonshire Place.

What was exceptional that night, aside from the comedy of the play itself, was running into my nephew, Cedric, and his best friend, Mike, who I haven’t seen since Christmas.

Cedric, Zara, and Mike outside of The George Ignatieff Theatre. (c) Photo by Esly R. Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Cedric, Zara, and Mike outside of The George Ignatieff Theatre. (c) Photo by Esly R. Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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I was also able to finally meet my brother’s girlfriend’s mother, Tita Shirley,  and a few of her brothers, Philip and Alex, for the first time.

Philip, Izzy, Tita Shirley, and Alex at The George Ignatieff Theatre. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Philip, Izzy, Tita Shirley, and Alex at The George Ignatieff Theatre. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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But, the highlight of my evening was being able to reunite with my long, lost best friend, Mae, who I lost touch with over time, and didn’t realize I haven’t seen in more than 13 years! We had grown up together, but became quite close in our university years.

Much to our relief, our personalities and chemistry hasn’t changed at all—so much so, the two of us together again felt very much like we hadn’t lost touch at all and that we started right where we left off! I was giddy all night and so pleased to connect with Mae again that we’ve already made plans to get together soon.

Best friends reunite. (c) Photo by Esly R. Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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For my review on the play, Oh My Godzilla, check out my blog later this week (or next).

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The rest of the weekend, I took the opportunity to spend more quiet and intimate time with the kids—outdoors. We visited one of their favourite hotspots—McDonalds, of course, largely due to the Happy Meal, which provides happiness in the toy provided…and French Fries. For me, the real reason it’s a Happy Meal is because it always keeps the kids smiling.

Why it's really called a "Happy Meal." (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Why it’s really called a “Happy Meal.” (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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After lunch at McDonalds, we visited one of our favourite family spots—Kariya Park in Mississauga.

Usually around this time in May, the Sakura trees are blooming with flowers, but not so this year. With the past, harsh winter, the blossoming flowers were delayed and it seemed we came too early in our visit to see them bloom. While there weren’t any flowers, we nevertheless enjoyed ourselves: our traditional walk around the small trail, our visit to the pond, our greetings to the geese, and our family poses.

Michael by the Kariya Pond. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Michael by the Kariya Pond. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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Xara by the commemorative bell in Kariya Park. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Xara by the commemorative bell in Kariya Park. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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The kids in front of children statue in Kariya Park. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The kids in front of children statue in Kariya Park. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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Kariya Pond. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Kariya Pond. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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As if one park wasn’t enough, we also made a trip to Gage Park, a popular spot for families situated in the center of downtown Brampton. While the children usually release all their energy on the playground, my husband and I usually enjoy a picnic reading or walking the roundabout appreciating all the new foliage come spring.

Gage Park. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Gage Park. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Xara taking a break on the park bench after a whirlwind of play on the playground at Gage. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Xara taking a break on the park bench after a whirlwind of play on the playground at Gage. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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This long weekend really couldn’t keep us inside. After BBQ hot dogs, we all hung out in our backyard and enjoyed the sun and the company of our neighbours (and a very feisty dog named Princess.) The kids played LEGO, tag, and hula hoops with Savion, Kierta, and Gracie, while my husband and I wondered where our kids get all their energy…

Xara with her hula hoop. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Xara with her hula hoop. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

Michael sharing his LEGO creations with his friends, Savion and Kierta. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Michael sharing his LEGO creations with his friends, Savion and Kierta. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

***

Xara reading quietly in the backyard. Notice her "Elsa" cape from the movie, "Frozen?" (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Xara reading quietly in the backyard. Notice her “Elsa” cape from the movie, “Frozen.” (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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But, that wasn’t the end of our weekend. It’s been a constant celebration in our house right from Mother’s Day, to celebrating my 13th year anniversary with my husband from the day we first met on May 14—

(c) Photos and photo collage by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
(c) Photos and photo collage by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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—to celebrating my husband’s birthday on May 20!

His day started by taking the kids to school in the morning, a special treat for all of us, and then a hearty birthday lunch at Spoonful, a buffet restaurant in which I ate far too much than I should have. (I actually ate so much that I conceived a six-month food baby!)

Walking to school with Daddy. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Walking to school with Daddy. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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The Birthday Boy, 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The Birthday Boy, 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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My plate filled with great food from Spoonful Restaurant. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez.
My plate filled with great food from Spoonful Restaurant. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez.

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And in the evening, even though Esly and I were both full from a gluttonous lunch, we celebrated with a small birthday cake—Xara and Michael’s favourite part of birthdays!

Esly's birthday cake, 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Esly’s birthday cake, 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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The Birthday Boy with the kids, 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The Birthday Boy with the kids, 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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Because my husband is such a mellow, down-to-earth, and private person, he never asks for much on his birthday—especially for his birthday, but it’s with gratitude to God that God has given him life and many years to enjoy it, and to me, a tender, loving, and steadfast husband, and to the children, a strong, responsible, and affectionate father. We’re so blessed.

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What did you do for the Victoria Day long weekend?

Do you celebrate Victoria Day with fireworks?

How is it that the long weekend is never long enough?

***

zara cat stamp

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