Hello! Thanks for stopping by my blog. 🙂 On today’s post, I will be recounting the adventures I went on during December 2015 when I went to Edmonton, Alberta! 😀
Right after Christmas dinner (also my uncle’s birthday dinner), I ensured that all my goodies were packed and my blog posts were completed to be scheduled while I was away (this didn’t go as well as I thought because one blog post took way longer than I expected so I didn’t get to work on the rest to schedule. Oops. :P).
My flight to Edmonton was super early at 8 a.m. in the morning which meant an early trip to the local Go Bus station and trying not to fall asleep at the terminal gate while I waited to be called to board the plane… it was tough and because I’ve actually missed a flight before while waiting at the gates, it wasn’t something I wanted to end the year off with. 😉
The main purpose and intention of the Edmonton trip was to visit the newest partners of our business team who were growing steadily and exponentially in Edmonton and Calgary! While there, we would be staying at our dear friends and partners’ home and also fit in some sightseeing and fun to finish off the year. I was quite excited! 😀 😀
Upon landing on Boxing Day — the flight was fine; I tried to sleep and succeeded, kind of — my friends picked me up from the Edmonton airport. This was my first time at the Edmonton airport but not my first time in Alberta. (The last time I was here was over 12 years ago on one of our very last family vacation of three. We had booked one of those Chinese tours which took us from Ontario across Canada to finish up in BC; that was my first time seeing Banff, Lake Louise, and this side of Canada.) We went back to Christian and Melissa’s home where Tita Violy and Julie were preparing for that night’s dinner. I hadn’t ate all day so after settling in, I got to try some amazing home-cooked food!
Mind you, this entire trip was full of food and that couldn’t have been me happier! Here’s what I had and enjoyed: ^_^
After dinner, we also surprised Christian with his belated birthday cake. It was made by one of our partner’s friends — it was a homemade Ferrero Rocher cake that was extremely dense and chocolatey!
The next day, we had an HKO so we prepped and prepared for it. There were lots of potential partners and it was really good that our Edmonton team saw what an HKO looked like for the first time. Our hope is that one day Edmonton will grow ferociously and have their own HKOs, but until then, this was a really great opportunity to see more of our partners and help them learn.
On the 28th, after breakfast, three of us were dropped off to cruise around at Southgate Mall. The highlight for me here was the food at State & Main and seeing how many stores had wifi available for me — Sephora had the strongest and most reliable wifi signal.
That night, we enjoyed dinner together out at Earls at West Edmonton Mall. It was also my second time returning back to North America’s largest shopping mall. It felt like walking down memory lane… we saw the big pirate ship and Galaxyland. Last time, I had only taken a picture in front of the amusement park but this time, we actually went in and tried to play a few of their games.
That night, we also took a ride to visit the Alberta Legislature building. It was cold outside but we were able to take some pictures before we scurried back to the car.
The next two days, December 29 & 30, were spent building from home to home. It was absolutely amazing because our partners were becoming more and more skilled at explaining what we do and we were successfully able to help new partners get started on this new venture with us. It was really exciting! I really didn’t do the bulk of the work to be honest but it was a pleasure to stick with the team and meet the new partners and learn during the process. 🙂
Can I also mention that everyone are such great hostesses and hosts? Every household that we visited, we were welcomed with food and ensured that we were comfortable and well fed. It was such an honour!
On the eve of the last day of 2015, we packed up our bags for a short trip to Calgary! We awoke before the sun and started off on our trip at 5 a.m. in the morning towards Calgary. It was a 3-hour drive but we got there in less time than that. Juliana and Alejandro were sweet enough not only to provide us with breakfast every morning that week but to pack us a sandwich while on the drive there. It was awesome. 😀
Thank you to our drivers Christian and Ronny for taking us safely to and from each location! ^_^
We stopped by Chinook Centre first for an appointment — I had some time to go to the local Chapters to do some reading. It was pure bliss!
For lunch, we went to Shibuya Izakaya for Japanese food. This was so fun! Read the review here.
We then checked into our hotel in Calgary — a really nice en suite of two rooms, a living room, and a kitchen. Thank you Melissa for picking out this awesome hotel! We rested a bit before we went out for the night. During this down time, I was able to write up my year-end review of 2015.
Dinner was at Seoul BBQ Restaurant. It was a great time to eat Korean BBQ with everyone. 🙂
Close to 10 p.m., we drove out to the City Hall and waited to count down with everyone in the city for the arrival of the new year. Yay! It was very cold that night so most of us spent it huddling together and watching the skaters skate around the rink (isn’t it funny that the City Hall in Toronto also has a skating rink?). Although it was cold, we were able to wait until the clock struck 12 and count down together to the new year. Awesome!
On new year’s day, we finished breakfast and headed towards Lake Louise and Banff! YAY! Like I mentioned before, the last time I had been here was 12 years ago with my family. I certainly felt a little emotional and reminiscent about it all. It was extremely amazing to witness Lake Louise in its frozen beauty too. The entire lake was frozen such that everyone could walk out on it and there was even an ice castle there too! It was really amazing. It was also quite chilly and I was really glad that I had prepared with my thick scarf, hat, mittens, and double-layered pants. I spent some more time out there in the cold just soaking it all in while some of the friends were indoors and nearby taking pictures.
Finally, it was time to leave and we still had Banff to visit! It was getting quite late actually and we rolled into Banff just in time for dinner. Juliana was able to search up a restaurant called Melissa’s Missteak and we ended up eating there for dinner. It was nice! By this time, it was getting late and we still had to drive all the way back to Edmonton to get home.
It was about a 3 hour 45 min drive and again, I was thankful to our friends for driving us safely back home. Thank you, guys! 🙂
On January 2, it was our final day in Alberta. After a quick breakfast and one more final (result-producing) appointment, Ronny headed to the airport and the rest of us who had to fly back to Toronto also got ready as well. We said some good-byes to the Serantes mother and daughter team for allowing us to stay in their residence for the full week and then we embarked to the Edmonton airport. Good-bye, Edmonton! This was such a whirlwind of a trip with lots of activity produced. I was very grateful for this opportunity and to help out the team. :3