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By Katherine Kiang
KaTsZoNe Newsletters > KaTsZoNe - Issue 117 - Road Trip Called Life

3 Oct 2014

Hi everyone,

Fall has arrived!  For me, a change in season is a treat.  It keeps me looking forward to something new and different.  We all have our favourite season, if we get to choose.  I use to say, spring and fall are my favourites but, in recent years, I have learned to get excited about any change in season.  I would be bored if there was just one season and the weather was the same all year round.

September 10th was the first year anniversary of my mom's death.  I still cannot believe that a year has passed.  I had decided to take a year off after my mom passed and it has just come and gone so quickly.  I wanted to do some road trips this year and I feel that I accomplished more than I thought I would do.  I still have not made it out to the east coast Canada to visit friends, but, I think that getting a new car was a start, and I went on road trips that I was comfortable with and learned from my personal journeys. 

Last month, I wrote about my OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation) Slots and Racetrack tour in August.  I went to 6 OLG Slots locations.  As I've mentioned above, I wanted to do more road trips this summer.  So, in September, I continued on more tours of the OLG Slots and Racetracks in October.  I have now been to 10 out of 14 OLG Slots and 2 out of 5 OLG Casinos.  So far, my incredible Slots and Casinos tour has taken me to Ajax Downs (Ajax), Flamboro Downs (Dundas-near Hamilton), Georgian Downs (Innisfil-near Barrie), Grand River Raceway (Elora), Hanover Racetrack (Hanover), Kawartha Downs (Fraserville-near Peterborough), Mohawk Racetrack (Campbellville), Western Fair District (London), Woodbine Racetrack (Toronto), Woodstock Raceway (Woodstock), Casino Brantford (Brantford), and Great Blue Heron Charity Casino (Port Perry).  I have not been to Clinton Raceway (Clinton), Dresden (Dresden), Rideau Carleton Raceway (Ottawa), Sudbury Downs (Sudbury), Point Edward Charity Casino (Point Edward-near Sarnia), Casino Sault Ste. Marie (Sault Ste. Marie), Casino Thousand Islands (Gananoque), and Casino Thunder Bay (Thunder Bay) and I am sure that there is more good driving weather left this year and I am open to continuing that tour.

Going on “tours” is not unusual for me.  I remember for a couple summers, years ago, I took my mom to several farmers’ and flea markets.  I listed just about every flea market and farmers’ market I could find within 50 kms of my house and would go somewhere different almost every weekend!  Sounds a bit crazy, but, I thought it was a great way to spend the summer!  As some of you know, this year, I have toured three outlet malls this year including the Outlet Collection at Niagara (Niagara-on-the Lake), Toronto Premium Outlets (Halton Hills) and Tanger Outlets (Cookstown).  I want to be as creative as possible when I venture on my road trips.  I just want to come back home and sleep in my own bed at night!

These days, I am quite dependent on my GPS during my road trips.  I wonder how I had ever lived without it!  I have not had to stop at a store or a gas station to ask for directions.  I don’t need to buy new paper maps every few years.  I don’t even print out directions from the internet.  I feel like I have a co-pilot to tell me where to go when I don’t have anyone travelling in the car with me. 

Having a GPS for our life would be an awesome asset, don’t you think?  It would be great if we had something to give us good directions when it comes to relationships, family, career, health, etc.  When I miss a turn, I love how the GPS will re-direct me.  Wouldn’t it be great if we messed something up in life and something can re-direct us and send us on the right path?  We are all born with natural instincts.  Our Creator literally put some sense into us!  But, as we grow older, things, events or people can distract us.  Oops, we missed the proper turn.  Oops, a road is closed due to construction and we have to take a detour.  The GPS can tell us where to turn but if you ignore road signs, that could take us down a rough path!  We also cannot know for sure if the estimated time of arrival at a destination given by the GPS is accurate due to traffic, road construction, and the vehicle you may be driving – not to mention the fact that my GPS may not know that I need a Starbucks and washroom break at the next ONRoute stop!  In life, we may have a plan, but sometimes, the timing may need to be adjusted.  I call them unexpected “bladder breaks”!  Let’s not get too upset by them.  Nature calls!  Well, what I mean is, everyone has their own pace.  We should not compare our timing with someone else’s when it comes to anything we wish to do.  Believe it or not, road trips has taught me a thing or two about life.  It’s not just driving and music eh.     

This past summer and up until the end of September, I am thrilled to have met up with friends whom I have not seen in decades!  I met up with four friends from high school – three of whom I have not seen since we finished high school!  It was so amazing to see them!  I am glad that they have become strong and beautiful women.  I look forward to keeping in touch with them from now on.  Everyone is busy these days but if friends really want to keep in touch, they will.  I also met a friend whom I met in church about 30 years ago!  In spite of all that has happened since she left for school in the US, when we got together for dinner for the first time, it’s like we had never lost touch all these years!  I give Facebook a lot of credit for helping me find old friends and keeping in touch with friends whom I may not be able to see very often.  These revived friendships are nothing new.  Although one of Larry’s brothers and I met years before, I spotted Larry’s profile on Classmates.com back before Facebook was a household word.  Larry and I were classmates 30 years before we met again.  Many people may still be afraid of participating in social media, but, I really have embraced it for the positive part – I met old friends again and can happily say that I am so glad to have them in my life again!  Meeting friends I had not seen for 30 years – WOW!  I remember my parents and older folks talk about seeing old friends from decades before and I thought they were OLD!  Well, now it’s happening to me!  Hey, I love it!!!

I wonder, at times, what my life and my friends’ lives would’ve been like if we had never lost touch for all these years?  Would we have created a different life than the one we have now?  Would we still be friends?  Would things have been better or worse than the life we have now?  And, the ultimate question for me is, why has it taken decades for us to meet with certain people again and what is the purpose of it all?  The book about our lives is filled with different chapters and I believe that there is an author who has planned everything out.  We are characters living our lives, page by page, until we get to the end.  We may not know what is coming up, but, the author does!  Somehow, things will come together.  Not all characters will have the same ending to their lives.  Again, why has it taken so long for me to meet some of my friends again?  I think there are more pages before I can answer that question.  For now, all I can say is, it’s about time!

I thank God for all my family and friends for all your love and support this past year.  My life would be full of dark clouds, murky waters and a big stink if not because of you.  Thanks for the lunches, dinners, shoulders to cry on and supply of Kleenex!  Thanks for sharing your own experiences of grief with me and words of love and encouragement.  And this, especially to Larry, thanks for making me laugh when I’ve been crying buckets of tears.  I just wanted my family and friends to know what a huge difference you’ve made at least in one person’s life.  You are all wonderful people and I know that each of you can make a difference in many lives.

God bless you all! 


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