New Scotland is what Nova Scotia actually means, and Old Stomping Ground is what this was to J, who grew up in Cape Breton, though he wasn't actually born there (he doesn't really like people to know that he was born in... Regina! Sorry Babe, the secret's out...). It was my first time in Nova Scotia, and my 2nd time in the maritimes (I was in Newfoundland when I was nine).
We went there for the wedding of one of Js high school friends. Of course, everyone moves away from Nova Scotia once they hit about 20; they have to go to school, and find jobs, and you can't get jobs in NS, not many anyway. But J's friends have formed this loose but totally strong web that spans time and distance and very diverse lifestyles. They may only communicate via Facebook and the odd phone call most of the time, but when the chips are down, they're totally there for each other. In this case, that meant flying in from BC, and Calgary, and Ottawa to be at the wedding. I envy them this connectedness. Oh, and they may have lived Away for over half their lives, but never, ever doubt that they are Nova Scotians to the core.
So for J, it was a journey down Memory Lane, complete with drives past his old house, highschool, and oddly named fast food joints:
But for me it was a journey of discoveries and new things: Halifax (which I adored) and its British military heritage:
Fortress Louisbourg with its French military history
sailing on the Bras D'or Lakes
and big cities, spooky after dark.
J reconnected with old friends and high-school sweethearts (no, that wasn't weird and she was totally nice)...
...but we had time alone together, too...All in all, it was the perfect vacation.
(except for the part where we were flying back home and hit some heavy turbulence and the plane hopped around in the sky like a giant metal frog for an hour and I am so motion-sensitive that I still felt as if I was in that bouncing plane hours later as I was sitting at the computer and I was terrified. The end.)