We had one week to go until our scheduled flight back to Canada. We made the most out of it, especially my teenage siblings. Almost every night they were out doing something!

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I was beyond excited. I planned a get-together at my husband’s mom’s house in Toronto with all my friends from university. While these kids were out and about, I was planning our menu! (I told you guys I was a planner extraordinaire.)

I also began to set goals for myself now that I was in the Minerva jacket. Bearing in mind that it was August at this point, my plan was:

  • Be out of the jacket by mid-September
  • Start therapy on my neck and upper body and gradually get back into exercise and sports until December
  • Attend this work-related workshop (which I looked forward to all year) in Vancouver in October
  • Go back to work in December AND LIVE A NORMAL LIFE

Because I was more mobile in the Minerva jacket, I amped up my walks and turned them into full-blown hikes, going on the more advanced hills in the park nearby. At first I aimed to do a half-marathon walk (21 km) in early October in Granby, Québec. The training plan was do-able, given that I was already walking so much everyday. I would just have to complete the half-marathon walk in four hours. I did a training session wherein I walked for 30 minutes at at least the pace needed to complete it in time. Did I say walk? It was pretty much a speed walk. My head bobbled too much at 5.5 km/hr that I thought it was unsafe for my broken neck. My husband also didn’t want to commit to driving there for the weekend with the workload for his Master’s.

Instead I began to train to do 15 to 20 km day hikes again by mid-October. My husband and I looked up some difficult day hikes we could do around our new apartment in Québec City. I set my sights for this hike in the Chic-Choc Mountains:

Tour du la Mont Albert (Parc National de la Gaspésie)

17 km loop, 6 to 8 hours

According to Hike Bike Travel:

Hiking to the top of Le Mont-Albert is one of the most surprising and rewarding hikes I’ve ever done – and that’s without a caribou sighting. But the reality is that it should only be attempted by seasoned and prepared hikers.

I’ve done many crazy difficult hikes before (like this!) and this wouldn’t be problem for me pre-accident. But now I needed to actually train to get back into shape. We completed four- and six-mile hikes that week to start (6.4 and 9.7 km) plus our hour-long walks on the other days. I had no issues myself, but my siblings complained way too much! “Ate, I’m so tired!” they whined every 15 minutes.

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I also took the opportunity to meet with my friends from the Philippines again over all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ and bubble tea!

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The day before our flight, we went to the Sta. Monica Pier. Going here was a highlight of my stay in California.

We went to the shopping centre, chilled out at the beach, and went down the boardwalk to all the attractions. My siblings went on the rides, of course. We got home quite late and still needed to pack!!!

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Leaving California was bittersweet. Ria’s family came over and we gradually bid each other goodbye in tears. My lola was crying when we were getting in the car to go to the airport! 💔 I am indebted to the love and care of my relatives who hosted my extended US vacation. They served as my family when I couldn’t go back to Canada to my own. I don’t know how I would have managed living with my terrible halo brace without their support. Lola, Lolo, Tita Lolit, Tito Leo, Simoy, James, Charlie, Tito Ariel, Tita Myrna, and Ria – thank you so very muchPagaling muna ako bago ako bumalik sa LA!

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Oh man, what a summer I had in California.

My thank you card to my aunt's family
My thank you card to my aunt’s family
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