This might not look like the most exciting place to spend a holiday, but let me tell you, after over a year in a city like Colombo, it was delicious.

Not since I was a kid have I spent a vacation longer than a long weekend in my hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan.

Whenever Trina and I have had time off work, we’ve flown to far off places to see new things, eat new things and meet new people.

Nothing against Regina (it does have a great name), it just never crossed our minds to spend any longer than we had to in the city.

Needless to say going back for a three-week visit this July seemed like it was going to be a bit much. After all, what do you do in Regina for 20 straight days?

Well, we actually never had time to ask that question.

We had more supper, breakfast, lunch, golf, running, coffee and beer-dates than we’ve had in our entire lives. Every morning, noon and night was jam packed hanging out with friends, family and people (I think even some family members) that we have never even met before.

Everyone in the city seemed to want to say hi. And I wanted to say hi to them.

Being away for a prolonged period of time from the place I’ve lived for 30-plus years made me see it in a much different way. I wasn’t noticing the potholes, strong winds and ridiculous traffic light signals. I was noticing the great parks to run in, the quiet streets and all the familiar faces. Life had become comfortable again, easy – and I liked it.

With the huge footnote that my experience would have been much different if we would have visited in January (it was sunny and close to 30 above everyday we were home), here’s a list of a few things that are awesome about vacationing in Regina when you live in Sri Lanka:

1) Running outside – 18 out of the 20 days we went running outside. The air was clean, no stray dogs nipped at us and we didn’t pass out due to heat exhaustion. And, we were able to pick up a brand new running partner with some pretty fresh legs in my dad, Rob. We/he had him/us up to 12k by the time we left. He’ll be lapping me by the time I’m back in March. Good times.

2) BBQ – Nothing beats grilled meat in the summer and I think I had every variety possible. Did I mention I gained over 8 pounds in three weeks? Yikes.

3) Energy – I’ve never had more energy in my life. Even though we didn’t have a second to rest, I never felt tired. I’m guessing it’s due to the cooler temps and fresher air, but I’m not sure. I hope that holds up when we come back again.

4) Golf – Even though there’s a few courses in Sri Lanka, the fact you need to rent a caddy and a ball-spotter have really turned me off. Hitting up the Par 3 with my buds was something special.

5) Quiet – My ears rang for the first few days I was home because there was no banging, honking or gagging to fill the space between.

6) Regina Red Sox – Went to a baseball game in Regina for the first time ever I think. Cheap beer, good company and plenty of ‘hookers’. Not real hookers, just what Rob calls girls that our dressed up nice? Not sure if that will catch on.

7) The Riders – Nothing like Taylor Field after a Rider win – even if it was one of the most boring games ever played.

7) Long days – The sun rises at 4ish and sets at 9ish. A great boost to your spirit.

I also have to say that some things weren’t so hot – like, when you only make $7/day, a $9 pint seems a bit out of reach. Or the need to wear a watch. Time actually mattered again and didn’t exist in some sort of vacuum or void like it does in the tropics. Weird.

All in all it was a great trip home. For everyone I connected with, thank you for the good times. For those I didn’t, don’t worry, I’ll see you soon.

Back in Sri Lanka, things are good. There’s still plenty of work to do, not to mention a lot more new places to go, new food to eat, and best of all, new people to meet.

Take it easy.

Shaun

P.S. Pictures will follow soon. I need to crack the whip on my junior reporter, Trina.

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