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Posts Tagged ‘Calgary’

Yahoo!

The Calgary Stampede begins tomorrow. For the next ten days, it’s chuckwagon racing, calf roping, bull riding and steer wrestling. Not to mention music, agriculture and a parade. Yes, it’s the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

They say Calgary’s culture resembles Houston. Both are known for oil and rodeos. Every July Calgarians get totally into it. Office casual makes way for wide-brimmed hats, belt buckles and boots. The Stampede also features free pancake breakfasts throughout the city, and Wycliffe gets in on the action with its own breakfast for the neighbors.

Two memories come to mind from my last visit to the Stampede. One-month-old Aidan loved to look up. We would hold him, all swaddled up, and he’d stare at the sky. When we introduced him to the Stampede, we looked for a shady spot. It didn’t matter. Imagine how bad we felt when we brought him home and realized he had his first sunburn.

Second is an image on the front page of the paper of a bullrider wearing a helmet, with a bull’s horn inside the helmet, the photographer catching the split second before the bull ripped the helmet free. It caught my attention because it featured the brother of a friend of mine, a bullrider who went on from the Stampede to go pro with the PBR. Anytime a bullrider wears a helmet, you know they’ve been gored before. It’s a mark of respect over bravado. Remarkably, this time the horn never touched his face.

Oh, and if this Stampede wasn’t big enough, Will and Kate will be there to kick it off.

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Ah, Calgary

In the nine years since we left Calgary, the city has changed. As an oil-based economy, its population has grown significantly, and its housing market has remained fairly healthy – in stark contrast to Orlando. It has moved into Canada’s top 5 cities in size, in cost of living and in influence. While most of the continent is slowly trying to pull itself out of economic stagnation, a recent headline in the Calgary Herald explored whether Calgary’s boom is back.

It’s a very multicultural city with people who love the outdoors. It has miles of bike paths, and easy access to the Rocky Mountains that line the horizon. We hope to take advantage of both.

Of course, there’s also a downside. Our blood has thinned quite a bit since we experienced the intense and lengthy winters. There are a lot of similarities between Calgarians in winter and Floridians in summer: they stay indoors during the worst of the day, and move from interiors to interiors. In fact, downtown Calgary features an antfarm-inspired maze of enclosed walkways above street level so you can work, eat and shop without ever going outside.

For us, it’s exciting to go back. We received a warm welcome from the staff at Wycliffe Canada, as well as from the church we used to attend, so it feels a bit like we’re returning home. We left a part of our heart there, and it’s time to get it back.

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