Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | September 18, 2014

A Much Needed Mini Break: The Ottawa/Gatineau Experience #4


Things you just don’t see in Yellowknife. But maybe you should.

Well, it is my last evening here in the National Capital Region. I head home tomorrow on what will be a ridiculously long day – Ottawa to Toronto, an hour layover, Toronto to Edmonton, a five hour layover, then on to Yellowknife after more than twelve hours in the air and airports.  Still, there are worse airports to spend hours in than the Edmonton International Airport, and I have plenty to occupy my time, so I won’t complain terribly.

I got up early this morning so I could get to my course early. I took the Effective Oral Presentations and Briefings to Senior Management through the Centre for Excellence in Communications.  I’ve taken another course with them previously and quite liked it, and was glad to have the opportunity to develop my presentation skills with them, even if the facility was quite far from the centre of Ottawa.  It is in the Nepean area, and even though I left early to limit traffic issues as much as possible, it was still a very long time.

The course was very good, and I did better than I expected at the presentation I’d had to prepare. I get very nervous even when I’m well prepared, and I’ve taken other training to help me deal with some of the aspects, but knowing what to put into practice doesn’t mean I’m always able to do as much on the spot.  I’d gone over my presentation with my team back home and had done a major overhaul based on their suggestions and was much stronger as a result, even if I had a hard time hiding my nerves through a shaking voice.  At least I didn’t pick up too much speed this time around, as it is one of my worst nervous habits. Then I realise I’m speaking quickly, panic, and speak even more quickly.  Overall, I’m pleased with my improvement and have some new tools to take with me.


This is a genius way to present the federal and provincial taxes. Very clever and funny, Pizza’za!

After the course, one of my classmates was kind enough to drive me part of the way back to my hotel so I didn’t have to spend as much on a cab.  The traffic was pretty crazy, and what had taken me 40 minutes in the morning took an hour in the evening, and I’ll bet mid-afternoon would only take 25 minutes.  I’m not used to traffic like that, and I’d even missed the worst of it.  Once at the hotel, I dropped my course materials off, then was picked up by my family friends, as we’d managed to connect and arrange to go to dinner.

M and M had moved to Yellowknife at the same time as our family and our families spent a lot of time together, and even though they no longer live in the territory, they are some of my parents best friends and I always love to see them when I’m over in the Ottawa area. They often eat out on the Ottawa side, but we decided to see what Gatineau had to offer, and went to a pizza place they’d been meaning to try out but had never been to date. It was fabulous.  It is called Pizza’za and the selection reminded me a bit of my time in Rome. They make the thin crust pizza (though not over the fire) with a variety of ingredients that are more typical of Italy. Mr. M had a pizza with pepperoni, I think, and Mrs. M had a pizza with escargot that she quite enjoyed.  I had one with prosciutto and arugula drizzled with balsamic vinegar and lemon oil, and it was top notch. Then I had the panna cotta.  Everything was wonderful, almost as good as my authentic Italian experience and way less homesick and lonely! After a good dinner, fabulous company, and a great catch up session, they dropped me at the hotel.

I’ve now finished packing up my dirty clothes and settling on what I should take in my carry on.  I’ll be making my way to the airport early in case of traffic (again), so I want everything to go quickly tomorrow so I don’t have to cut in on my sleep. It’s been a lovely short trip, and even though I’m not quite ready to go home, I’m content at least to know that exactly three weeks today I’ll be on vacation, ready for my next adventure.  And it’s a big one.  I cannot wait.  Australia, here I come!

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