In the past few years, I have written several travel blog posts about my trips to California, Turkey, Albania, and Kosovo. While these posts are not directly related to Quest and its academics, they do give a more personal perspective into students’ lives and what we are up to during summer and winter breaks. As a result, I have quite enjoyed writing them and also sharing them with family and friends.
While I have enjoyed writing each of these travel blogs, there is something about my trips to California, when I visit my brother Blin, that I enjoy writing the most. This may be due to the fact that my visits in California always consist of a lot of adventure and fun – from swimming in the ocean to taking pictures with Cinderella in Disney Land. I have written many blogs about California. Now that I am thinking, I have written a blog post about each trip that I took to California from visiting my brother for winter breaks (“Winter Break in California”, “Winter Break in California 2.0”), block breaks (“Block Break Adventures in California.”), and lastly – summer break.
This summer I will be working in the Admissions Team as a Summer Ambassador alongside my friend and colleague, Zuber. I am truly excited to have this opportunity, since I will get to give tours to visitors, meet prospective students, and share my love for Quest. However, I did just take two much needed weeks off to go to California, where I had the most beautiful time with my family and friends. While every trip to California has been magical in its own way, this last one was by far the most emotional and magical one since I got to see my brother – Blin, walk down the aisle and get married to Sarah.
In an attempt to not spoil the whole blog post and give too many details too much in advance, I will now go into more detail about what I did during this trip.
I left Vancouver on Friday – May 13th. Due to the amazing public transport, I made it to the airport simply by taking one bus from Squamish to Vancouver and a train from downtown Vancouver to YVR Airport. I am always amazed how easy it is to get to the airport from campus, even without a vehicle. After a quick, direct flight during most of which I worked on one of my Touchstones (a reading to allow me to better understand my question), I made it to Los Angeles. The big city lights, tall buildings, and wide freeways – all easily seen from sky – reminded me that I was back to the city that I love so much. I could not wait to see my family!
Like usually, Sarah (my brother’s fiancée), came to pick me up to the airport. We spent the whole drive home chatting about life, our excitement for the wedding, and my summer thus far working at Quest. I was really looking forward to seeing my family, who had arrived from Kosovo the day before, so they would have some time to get adjusted to the time zone and also rest. The drive home took longer than I expected, or maybe it just felt like it did since I was so excited to see my family. Minutes felt longer! Once we made it home, I run as fast as I could, and opened the door. My sister – Melodi, jumped in my arms and gave me the warmest hug in the world. I felt happy and safe – I was surrounded by my mother, father, brother, and sister – all of us for the first time in one room in five years. Words cannot explain the emotions that I felt!
The following days went by very fast. I made it to California six days before the wedding – six short days during which we had a lot to accomplish – from doing the dress alterations, preparing for the rehearsal dinner, buying the flowers, making sure that the wedding venue was ready, and so on. However, we did manage to find time to do other fun things. We went to Santa Barbara and rode a four-person bike, came up with different hairstyles for Melodi (she was the flower girl at the wedding), and cracked lots of jokes in those long car rides. I truly felt whole and happy!
Like the wind, six days flew by very quickly, and the wedding day arrived. Sarah and Blin were going to get married on May 20th, in an all-outdoor wedding venue in Southern California. The last wedding that I attended I was 13 years old, so I did not know what to expect. However, upon arriving at the venue, I was truly speechless. Everything – from the tables, dance floor, ceremony aisle, cocktail venue – was perfect. I must have cried many times during the day – from seeing my brother walk down the aisle to seeing my mom cry so much during the speech – it really was an emotional day. I am so happy to see how far my brother Blin has come in life – from graduating from University, getting an amazing job, to getting married to Sarah and taking such good care of my family and I. I am one proud sister!
After the wedding we spent the following week exploring California – we went to two museums, explored different beaches, and even went to the largest waterpark in California. In addition, every night we cooked amazing meals for dinner, and spent a lot of time eating, talking, and just spending time with each other. It is in these simple moments, such as while eating dinner, that I was reminded how thankful I am to be surrounded by such amazing family members who have always been my biggest supporters.
I came back to Canada on May 27th and went back to work the following Monday. Now, I feel refreshed, relaxed, and really motivated. I am excited for this summer and all the adventures I get to experience. It sure will be an awesome one!