Alana and I have been travelling, bouncing around eastern North America thanks to the annual conference of the American Academy of Religion, visiting family, and a few legal technicalities. The full tale will have to wait for another time (if it ever gets told, as I am not sure how much of the detail we will remember). This has meant that attempts to put together regular posts have been delayed, or waylaid, really, yet again. There were some topics from our first stint in Jerusalem that I wanted to present in a bit more detail–like the visit to a colleague’s workplace where he casually placed items such as Mycenaean pottery into our hands, and the strange way that it is easier for a Christian man to wear a kippah in the streets of Jerusalem than for an observant Jewish woman–but those will have to wait until I can think a little less breathlessly.

Instead, I thought I would muse a little about the type of things a person looks for when she or he returns to childhood and teenage haunts after being away. There are some things I always look for when I visit my parents. (The list does not include no-brainer things, like visiting friends and family, without whom the items would not mean very much, really.) So, in no particular order:

  • Canadian culture: books and music.
  • Tim Horton’s doughnuts. With steeped tea–as in a North American establishment that does not just give you hot water and a tea bag.
  • Hockey on TV. More specifically, the Montreal Canadiens.
  • Chocolate Milk.
  • Poutine. Mmmm, French fries, curds and gravy.
  • Root beer.
  • Real beer: Canadian microbrews like Wellington Dark Ale or Mill St. Coffee Porter.
  • Going to parks and gardens. Looking at wildflowers or feeding chickadees, depending on the season.
  • Anything maple, when it is in season. (Food and drink seems to figure heavily, doesn’t it?)
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    I’ve checked off most of these on this trip, except for the root beer.

    What about you, dear readers? What kind of thing do you go for when visiting places of your youth?