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We had a good run, didn’t we? Two and a half years ain’t bad.

We had our moments: mistagged photos, incorrectly spelled updates, thoughtless pokes. And yet, we managed to remain civil, cordial even.

And think of the friends we shared; nearly 400!

It was bound to end, though. We’re no good for each other. You, always wanting more… information, friends, updates. Me, suspicious of your true intentions, yet drawn in by a network of friends that literally spans the globe (and a mild case of voyeurism).

Oh well. No hard feelings.

I’ve been told you’ll be keeping a copy of all the information I’ve shared with you. That’s okay. I knew the risks; though I’m not sure how valuable my being a male, English-speaking, university-educated Winnipegger will be to you. But hey, go nuts!

Of course, if ever you — or any friends we shared — need to get a hold of me, you can find me here at krisade.ca, on Twitter (how else can I keep tabs on Sarah Silverman?), and through LinkedIn (because a professional networking site, sans photos, actually has some merit).

So, I guess that’s it then.

Adios, amigos.

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What a weekend!

As I already mentioned, I made a quick trip to Chicago to attend a friend’s wedding this weekend. And even the fact I went straight to work from the airport upon returning to Winnipeg, hangover still lingering in my head, didn’t diminish the sheer delightfulness of it all.

What wasn’t to like about the past 36 hours?

Great food.

As always, Chi-town didn’t disappoint: a fantastic rehearsal dinner at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Snow Crab; a quick breakfast at Rick Bayless’ fantastic short-order Mexican joint, XOCO; a surprisingly wicked Moroccan lamb burger at Sable; and, best of all, an absolutely stunning dinner at the wedding itself.

Great weather.

Sure it was hot and humid and the risk of showers ever present, but, for a better part of the day on Saturday, we were able to take in the sights and sounds of the Magnificent Mile and the even more magnificent Millennium Park without a drop.

Heck, I even managed to squeeze in a quick visit to the Art Institute and, along the way, glimpsed Seward Johnson’s latest sculpture along Michigan Avenue.

Great times with old friends.

The best part of all.

On the heels of nine straight days working, I find myself sitting in the international departures lounge of Winnipeg’s James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.

No, I’m not fleeing the country for a non-extraditing South American refuge. I’m off to Chicago for a friend’s wedding. And by my count, I’ll be in the city — and what a city! — for no more than 36 hours.

Jaunt, indeed!

I’ve been to Chicago before. It’s a first-rate city and one of my favourites. Sadly, my tight schedule means I’ll have less time to sample the city’s remarkable culinary delights than I would have liked. (Alinea continues to elude me. Grumble.) Still, I’m hopeful I’ll have enough time to squeeze in a quick visit to the city’s eponymous Art Institute.

More to the point, and more importantly, I’m incredibly excited to witness my dear friend’s nuptials.

Chicago, here I come.

I had the privilege of attending a friend’s citizenship ceremony yesterday. I’d never attended such an event. It was quite something.

Held in a converted room in Winnipeg’s remarkable union station (undoubtedly a shadow of its former self), I sat among nearly 80 individuals who anxiously awaited the moment when the presiding judge would ask them to recite Canada’s Oath of Citizenship. Doing so would signify an extraordinary transition: from foreigner to local, landed immigrant to citizen. The mood was light, joyous even.

I affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.

Once recited, each new citizen was invited to receive a certificate marking the occasion and to pose for a photograph with a red-coated Mountie. Kitschy, sure; a special moment for those involved, absolutely.

And so, for a brief moment anyways, I set aside my own views about citizenship, nationalism, Canada, and the myths Canadians tell themselves and honoured my friend and so many like him who, each in their own way and with their own story, chose to call this country home.

2010 has been a fantastic year.

And if I could summarize it with just one word, it would be this: travel.

Las Vegas not once, but twice. Twice to DohaQatar, too. Colorado, Kansas and Chicago. Summer through Spain and Morocco, in Paris, LondonEdinburgh, and Toronto, and across Ireland. Phew!

Along the way, I ate, I drank, I laughed and I loved.

And then, come the fall, I returned to school, to the kitchen, to chase down a dream.

Yes, 2010 was a pretty good year. And while I doubt 2011 will look anything like it, I’m hopeful it will be as exciting — replete with new sights, new sounds, new tastes, new adventures.

Onward.

There was a time in my life, not so long ago, when I would have seized the opportunity an unexpected long weekend presents to travel. I’d fly out on the Friday night, fly back on the Monday afternoon. Easy.

When I was living in Ottawa, I was able to indulge my jet-setting urges fairly frequently. After all, Ottawa’s proximity (and direct flights) to so many fantastic destinations — Montreal, New York, DC, Chicago — made it relatively painless. Better still, I’d become expert at playing off my two travel rewards programs (Air Canada’s Aeroplan and RBC’s Avion) against each other to my maximum benefit.

But that was then.

Despite having just such a long weekend this weekend, I’ll be staying put. My jet-setting days are over.

Granted, for a brief moment earlier this fall, I was gearing up to make fairly regular trips to Toronto. Air Canada was even offering a student pass that allowed individuals to make six trips to a specific destination. It couldn’t have been more perfect. But things change. Sometimes in an instant. And so, I’m grounded. Indefinitely.

I suppose it’s for the best. As I revealed earlier this month, I’m a student again. I might as well start living like one.

Still, I’m comforted by my fond memories of those many weekend excursions. Each one was an adventure, a marvel, a treat; always to see friends, eat well, laugh lots and soak up the many delights of whatever city I happened to be visiting.

But of all the weekend excursions I made during my extravagant years in Ottawa, I’m proudest of the weekend I spent in London. (England, not Ontario.)

It was the May Long Weekend of 2009. A dear friend of mine was celebrating his birthday around that time and I thought it might be fun to wish him a happy one in person. So, on that fateful Friday morning, I went to work with my weekend duffel and then headed straight to the airport that afternoon. By the next morning, I was eating breakfast in my friend’s kitchen, steps from London’s Pimlico tube station. Amazing.

Anyway, as I said, that was then.

Will I have more amazing weekends in the years ahead? Will I ever again be able to pick up and fly away at a moment’s notice?

Fingers crossed…

Rounding out my two-month adventure was a weekend with dear friends in the marvelously medieval Edinburgh, capital of Scotland.

I opted for an East Coast Rail train from London. It should have been a pleasant, four-and-a-half-hour journey northward along the eastern coast. Unfortunately, in classically British fashion, the train broke down moments after leaving Kings Cross. (Had I not had the pleasure of efficient, fully-functioning trains in Spain, France, Ireland and, to a certain extent, even Morocco, I might have been more forgiving of this mechanical malfunction!) An hour and a new train later, however, I (and a car full of screaming children) were on our way out of London.

Thankfully, my time in Edinburgh was otherwise worry-free and altogether delightful.

Aside from the usual things one does with old friends (wine, dine, reconnect, reminisce), we took in the curious Jupiter Artland on the outskirts of town. A sizeable outdoor sculpture garden, it afforded us the opportunity for some air and culture at the same time. (Always a great combination.) While it obviously fell short of the splendours on offer at the Gardens of Versailles, it was a lovely little place all the same.

Also, worth noting: Edinburgh Castle. I’d had the opportunity to visit this spectacular site when I last visited the city in 2004. Unsurprisingly, little had changed; it was still the same, imposing grey fortress overlooking the city that it was six years ago.

The return train journey to London was, to be fair, much more pleasant than the journey up. Even if the train had malfunctioned, however, I suspect my recollection of the trip would have still been quite positive: I was travelling with two very good friends, both of whom had joined me in Edinburgh that weekend.

During our trip, we reflected on the weekend that had just been and concluded it was splendid. We’d spent it together at the home of our dear friend and, despite the rain and altogether dreary weather, were thrilled to have had the chance to make the trip.

For me, of course, the weekend in Edinburgh proved bittersweet: it was, after all, the final leg of a summer adventure that had begun in Barcelona nearly two months prior, taken me southward along the Spanish coast, across Morocco, to Paris, then London, westward across Ireland, back to London, before finally arriving in Edinburgh.

All in all, it was a remarkable ride; one I’m so very thankful to have taken. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend the summer!