Living overseas creates a whole host of conundrums - how long will I be here? where will I send my money? where to go on vacation? hmmm, electricity, how to get it? - but living this far overseas makes one thing all that more difficult: getting home. And the longer I live here, the more trips I make, the less impressed I am.
I flew to Toronto and back for a two-week vacation last summer and it was not so bad. Night flight, helped along by my super-flyer combo: get too little sleep the night before, wear stretchy pants and do some tiring exercise day of, nip into the Piano Bar at Abu Dhabi International Airport (by the way, have you seen the Piano Bar? It has about four seats and no piano) and down a double Jack Daniels, followed by two Gravol. Read a magazine article, don neck pillow, eye mask and ear plugs, and Bob's yer uncle.
Yes, fine, but now Etihad flies out of Terminal 3 and anyway, the Abu Dhabi-Toronto jaunt has been moved to the day. In addition to three continually screaming toddlers placed strategically in aisles around me (who when they weren't screaming sadly, were screaming happily, which I have decided in the case of repeated Old McDonald Had a Farm refrains, is worse) I failed to come up with a foolproof flight plan that would ease my adjustment to the night ahead upon landing.
So on the fly I simply bought a Tim Horton's coffee in the airport, which I promptly spilled by jet-laggedly placing it in a place that was not a cup holder in my friend's jeep – sorry Amber, thanks for coming out to Pearson at rush hour to collect me – and narrowly missed splashing her new Uggs. Back at the hotel, getting ready to go out in the early evening I resisted the urge to ask if we could just go straight to bed. I made it through a delicious steak meal and a bottle of wine in the Keg Mansion on Jarvis Street – which is haunted, don't you know – and headed upstairs to the lounge before finally admitting at 11pm (when my eyelids felt like theatre curtains) we needed to leave the before I was (erroneously) kicked out for drunkeness.