Two Day Retreat: Banff & Calgary 2012

This past week, I went on a road trip to Banff. You might not know this, but it’s an item on my Bucket List to “Ski in the Rocky Mountains.” I don’t quite think my ski trip ~10 years ago with my uncle counts. The only thing I remember was going down a blue square run as my first run. That time was at Jasper’s Marmot Basin. That does not count – I don’t even think I went on a gondola.

Nevertheless, this time I went on almost every chairlift and even felt my ears pop as we rose to higher elevations. The view was absolutely majestic and I challenged myself — I did a black diamond run. (I partially blame the guys for leading me there, but it was so worth it and all the green runs prepared me for it.) I was hesitant to do some blue square runs in the beginning and even felt a tad uneasy telling the lady from the ski shop so confidently that I was a moderate skier… but after that black diamond experience (where I scream most of the way down and prayed every second of the way…) I was eager to do all the blue runs! It was so much fun!!

Those 2 days felt like a week. Every single moment was so fulfilling. From the people I spent my time with to the personal one-to-one conversations I had to the heartfelt connections and calming environments I was in, everything seemed so comfortable. It was perfect. A retreat, for my mind to reset, calm down, and remind myself of the simple pleasures in life.

Indeed I did reunite with Impact! alumni and Millennium Network members in Calgary, but I also immersed myself in the life of a close girlfriend of mine from high school and spent an entire day with my RIM 3 brothers. Seeing my girlfriend’s life moving so quickly and having such philosophical/life conversations with my bro’s, it hit me that I have graduated. I am no longer a “university student.”

The road trip was eventful and the beautiful scenes of one of Canada’s largest national parks was a bonus. I am most grateful for Mr. A. Chow for picking me up at 5am, helping me pick up last minute accessories, and for ensuring my safety for the trip! (haha) To my friends in Calgary, thank you. Thank you for reminding me that at any moment of my life, our friendship is just as strong as we left off and that I can count on you to be there for me, always. I vow to do the same and promise not to take your friendship for granted.


Below is an uncut version of my gratitude journal from those 2 days. (It’s much longer than usual, but I considered this a mini vacation…before next week’s…. to Asia.)

– Road trip to Calgary
*- the view of the mountains and nature was absolutely phenomenal
*- Banff skiing: Black Diamond! With friends 🙂 Majestic views from the top! Took all the chair lifts: green+blue squares
– took the C-Train
– Peace bridge (Bow Bridge)
*- Ethiopian food in Kensington (Impact! Millennium Re-Union): amazing conversations
*- Reunite with Arunan and Marc and chat up life with A
– heart-to-heart with Emily on life and perspectives; learn about Calgary’s 4 quadrants, immerse in her life and stories, chat about Millennium Network and her opportunities, met Ryan
– great way to wind down in the evening. Just chatting in a really zen enviro; thankful for such hospitality and a nice hot shower

– text msg telling me to eat whatever in here kitchen for breakfast and where things were 🙂 so sweet!
– nice big breakfast and Talal arrives with Halls bc I say my throat is scratchy 🙂
*- Meet up with bro after 6 long months!!
– saw the SMART Technology office building
*- Tour UofC for 2.5 hrs: EEEL building tour with Marc, awesome photos, saw the entire campus and all faculties+new library+their SU+gym facilities (olympic oval)
– Heart-to-heart all day long with Talal
– Re-unite with Asif! Crazy RIM talks, career chats, life discussions; Bangladesh chai, 7-month old baby
– Cafe Med for Juliet+amazing Mediterranean food
– Tinu walked through crazy snow to see me. Got an update on her life and talked life.
– peaceful + safe drive back to Edmonton. Drafted Millennium emails in the car: Ham+Emily connection, Awards talk/perspective, update

*got lots of amazing photos
*re-connected and had the most amazing personal conversations
*Calgary: comfy. Campus: student-friendly, new.


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