Ripping off bandaids

Do you rip a bandaid off or do you slowly peel it off? One gives a sharp searing pain that burns on the surface, though it generally will go away quickly and leaves just the memory of the moment. The other typically hurts less but is drawn out over a longer time and may leave lingering pain.

Which do you do?

I’ve only got a few more days left in Vancouver and so I’ve been saying a lot of good-byes. And good-byes are hard to do.

It is like ripping off a bandaid because each time I walk away from another group, from another good-bye, it hurts deeply.

And I’ve been doing it over and over again in the past few weeks so it’s like pulling it off slowly over and over and over again, drawing out the pain over a longer time rather than just once.

Tomorrow is the last hoop I have to jump through before I can leave and then… then I will have my final good-bye to this city. The difficult part is that I am not holding the hoop and so it’s outside of my control whether or not I’ll be successful in jumping through it. I am grateful to all of you out there who are holding me and my family in prayers and hope and faith that this will work out for all of us. I know in my heart of hearts that it will. It is just stressing me out in the meantime!

Today has been a day of tears and emotions as I said good-bye to my church family. (And man, that minister just HAD to give a message with a theme of Road Trips eh? And close with “Til We Meet Again”!? Thanks Rev. Scott! It got my tears rolling.)

I looked around that sanctuary at all the faces in the congregation that I know and have grown to love over my past 10 years attending. I thought of the faces that are no longer sitting among us as they have passed on or moved on themselves to new situations or church communities. I listened to the beautiful pianist playing her beautiful music and her wonderful voice ringing out strong and clear. I looked at the symbols of our church and felt such warmth and community and love. I listened the message in the sermon, that I am not alone on this journey, that we ARE on a journey and have not yet reached our destination, and I felt comforted and surrounded by love and family. And I am grateful for the home that I found there and know that I will always have it with me, no matter where I travel in life. Thank you Northwood. And thank you to the women I have met and found communion with. Thank you.

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Tears are therapeutic and cleansing. They are helping me move on and out. They are helping me clean my soul. I saw this little meme the other day on Facebook and it spoke to me and seems appropriate to share here:

tears

It is okay to cry when bandaids are being ripped off, or even after they have been removed. It is okay to cry in moments of deep emotions and sorrow.

It is okay for me to cry as I say good-bye.

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Wasn’t THAT a journey?

Momma T’s journey in Barcelona, on El Camino, and onto Portugal

 

It’s been a rough month here at home, which is why there haven’t been any posts for awhile! There simply hasn’t been enough time for blogging!

There have been some incredible highs and some devastating lows, but through it all we’ve journeyed together as a family and made it to the other side of the mountain… our legs might be shaky and we are pretty tired, but we’ve made it!

This post will be all about Momma T’s journey towards, on, and beyond El Camino in Spain. In looking back at the photos that she sent while she was away, it seems like the journey was about experiencing the culture through good food, good friends, and good spirits!

It was fitting then that before she left, we had a wonderful evening out at Vij’s, a restaurant that we’ve wanted to visit for several years and just never had the time to get there. We are thankful to family who babysat Miss D so that we could have a meal out together.

Momma T left Vancouver on Saturday April 22, traveling via London, England (9 hour flight) and then onto her final destination of Barcelona, Spain. She met her travelling friend A at a restaurant in Heathrow airport and they made the last leg of the journey together.

Day 1 – Barcelona, 14,912 steps

Today they took the subway and then train to find their way to Montserrat, a Benedictine monk mountain retreat about one hour north west of Barcelona.18057018_10155016792106343_1938256115001047943_n (1)

 

Day 2 – Barcelona, 17,644 steps (13.7 km)

Today Tracy and A explored the Barcelona waterfront and were excited to find that there was a Mexican tall ship in the harbour, which was inviting tourists on board to view and have photos taken with the uniformed crew! The two women also visited the Sagrada Familia basilica

After exploring some of the waterfront (and boarding a Mexican tall ship, with military crew present!), we then meandered the streets to the Sagrada Familia basilica, a beautiful Roman Catholic church designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi.

The inside of this amazing place of worship is made of  all different stones, and designed so that you feel like you are in a forest, with carvings of a leaf-like ceiling, and then stained glass windows that make you feel like the light is seeping in through the forest walls.

Day 3 – Leaving Barcelona, 17,305 steps (11.6 km)

The weather this morning was rainy and windy, which meant that a planned boat excursion was cancelled. Instead they did some window shopping and visited the Barcelona History Museum on their way to the train station and the 12 hour trip to Sarria where their Camino walk would begin!

Day 4 – Sarria, 12,798 steps (7.9 km)

Momma T and A arrived in Sarria at 9am on a brisk, sunny morning (4 degrees!), after a rough night with just a little sleep on the train. They gathered their things and walked to the hotel. You know the city is behind you when you lie on your bed, wind blowing in, no car motors, and you hear the cock-a-doodle-do of the roosters all afternoon. Welcome to the country-side!

Later that eventing the 10 women that formed their tour group met at the hotel to have an orientation meeting, then we walked to a local restaurant for a great meal. This Camino adventure is about to begin! We got to know each other in the group. There are two (60+) women from Arizona (AKA “the Arizona’s”), Marcia in early 50’s, Momma T and her friend A, and then 5 Hispanic women from LA, who are 60+ years… all the women are fiercely daring and have lots of spunk and life in them. 

Day 5 – Sarria to Portomarin, 36,177 steps (25.8 km), 7 hours of walking

Tracy and her friend were excited to finally start their Camino today! The tour guide walked with them for about an hour before leaving them to walk at their own pace.

The path was much more hilly than anticipated and T was pretty tired at the end of the day. She is rapidly learning to like Spanish wine… particularly since it is less expensive than pop or even water in many places! And so refreshing midday and with her meal at the end of the walk!

Day 6 – Portomarin to Palas de Rei, 42,241 steps (33.2 km)

Today’s elevation gain was substantial (see photo below) and daunting!

In the words of Momma T:

“Today it was hard to get those muscles going again, but after a light breakfast (smoked meats, cheese, and hard boiled eggs), we were off. By 10:30am we had walked 11km and made a cafe stop for a second breakfast. We weren’t even halfway!! We basically average 4km/hr, depending on the number of hills. I’m very thankful to be using poles, takes some pressure of my knees/legs and builds the strength in my arms too. Saw a couple of churches, and it was a cool, sunny day. At 2:30pm, with about 5km left, it was time for a break and we discovered this amazing “lemon beer” — OMG!! Delicious!!”

Today was an important day as T recognized a dear friend who had passed away in the last year. Before she left on this journey, Mr. H had asked Momma T to take a special stone and his photo of our dear friend and to leave her in a special place on the path, so that “God would help her find her way to heaven.” Today Momma T found that place: an old stone cross beside a centuries old chestnut tree. T spent a few moments in prayer and thinking of our friend and her family. Before leaving on the trip, T had called this family to tell them of Mr. H’s request. Our friend told T that it had been their plan to walk the Camino themselves, before Marlene had taken ill.

 

Day 7 – Palas de Rei to Castaneda, 38,579 steps (26.6 km)

Not exactly the weather forecast that you want to wake up to when doing El Camino…

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And it didn’t get much better! The hikers faced every kind of weather this day: snow, hail, thunder, lightening, rain, and yes, sunshine! What is a hiker to do when facing this? Dress in layers and use socks as mittens in a pinch!

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In the words of “Scaredy Squirrel”… this was NOT part of the plan!

Day 8 – Castenada to ? (TBC), 29,661 steps (20.8 km)

Momma T hit her wall today and had a super hard day of walking. After slogging through 15 km in pain, dragging feet that felt like they were cement blocks and calf muscles that kept seizing up, she took a ride for the final 7 km. She is super disappointed in herself but I believe she has nothing to feel bad about… she made the best decision she could in that moment and truly, the only decision that would preserve her strength for the remainder of the trip. I’m super proud of her! It’s hard to make that decision!

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Photo taken early in the day, while she could still feign a smile!

Day 9: — to Santiago, 31,631 steps (22.6 km)

Knowing that they would be arriving in Santiago today was a good motivating factor on the road. There was a steady climb upwards at one point that stopped just at the boundary of the airport. They then walked around the airport, amazed by the planes taking off and landing right above us.

After they got away from the airport there was a chance to stop of a small bite to eat. Most of the walking at this point was on gravel or paved roads/paths. T put her poles away as they were walking mostly on roads rather than the gravel and the sound of the poles on the road was quite loud, intruding on the sacredness of the journey. Sadly, T didn’t realize the full benefit of of poles until she was much closer to Santiago, when she started to get substantial knee pain. She believes this was due to the pressure on her knee with every steep descent and then climbing up and up… unfortunately the pain has continued well past the end of the trip and will result in several physiotherapy appointments, along with icing every day!

Day 10 – Santiago

Happy Birthday to Miss A, traveling companion of Momma T! Today they enjoyed massages and a lot of relaxation around the village of Santiago.

Day 11 – Santiago to Porto, Portugal

Today, Momma T successfully got her official “Compostela” or certificate, showing that she has completed El Camino. They then travelled just 4 hours via bus to Porto Portugal, finding their AirBNB accommodation and relaxing the remainder of the day.

Day 12 – Porto

Today, T and A took a boat tour of the Douro River.

The Douro River is a major waterway that flows from Spain and across the entire Douro River Valley in the Northern Portuguese countryside. It is known for its quiet tranquility, showcasing Portugal’s stunning river-based cities, from vibrant Pinhao to old world Porto, a city that has been deemed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. 18199395_10155049974346343_2164052668611786299_n

Day 13 – Porto to Sintra, via Lisbon

Today Momma T finally saw a castle,, which she’s desperately wanted to see for years!

They travelled by train to Sintra, a picturesque community set in the cooler hillside of Portugal. The cooler climate was attractive to nobility in by gone eras and so there are many castles, beautiful gardens, and extravagant homes to view.

Day 14 – Porto to Lisbon

Momma T said good-bye to her friend A today, but met up with a friend that she’d met earlier in the trip… J! T and J shared the Air BNB accommodation that T had booked and together they took in the tourist sights of the next few days.

T and J started their time in Lisbon with a “Hop On Hop Off” open air bus tour. With T’s knee still bothering her, walking any distance was a challenge. Much time was spent enjoying the local cuisine as she rested comfortably in cafes! They did see some great sights while in Lisbon though including a tile museum, and an art museum.

Day 15 – Lisbon

Final day of the holiday and T said good-bye to J, enjoying some time to just relax in quiet solitude before the long journey home again!

 

Good food along the way:

Momma T enjoyed much of the cuisine in Spain and Portugal, thankfully documenting much of it for us to live vicariously through her!

Here are some of the meals & “tapas” that she experienced… in no particular order!

 

And so we can see that T’s time in Spain and Portugal definitely had more highs than lows, new experiences and friends, and delicious tastes!

… Coming soon: “While you were gone”… tales from the rest of the family while T was traveling! Perhaps not as exotic as castles, boat cruises and pilgrimages, but just as life altering for us all!

 

Finding our Way

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About a year ago, possibly more like 18 months ago, Momma T and I watched a movie one Saturday night called “The Way”, and starring Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. The movie we watched followed Martin Sheen as he walked a path that his son had planned to walk but unfortunately died before completing it. While walking this path, he travels through some jaw dropping scenery, suffers through extremely difficult circumstances, grieves the son he lost and the difficult relationship they endured while he was still living and ultimately, he undergoes a personal transformation.

Halfway through the movie, T pressed pause and looked at me, saying “I want to do that.”

“That” is El Camino de Santiago de Compostela.

El Camino is one of many Christian pilgrimages in the world.Thousands of Christians undertake a pilgrimage every year from their homes, to Santiago de Compostela, walking the “Way of St. James” as it is known in English. Legend has it that the remains of St. James were carried by boat and donkey, from Jerusalem to Northern Spain, where he was buried in what is now known as the city of Santiago de Compostela. Annually more than 200,000 Christians make this same pilgrimage in whole or in part, as a spiritual journey or as a personal challenge.

Today we drove Momma T to the airport where she left on a flight heading to Spain and her own Camino pilgrimage. She is walking the final 120 km of El Camino with her best friend as part of a celebration of a milestone birthday, and with the support of a touring company which will carry the majority of her luggage for her. She will carry only what she needs during the day and not all her food, clothing, sleeping, and cooking equipment! She is also doing some touring of Spain and Portugal while in the region.

The journey seemed simple enough when she began planning for this journey 12 or so months ago… however life has a way of interfering with the best laid plans. As T often will say, “Want to make God laugh? Make plans!”

Despite the obstacles that were in front of us, it was high priority to us that T make this pilgrimage this year. For one thing, it was mostly paid for when everything else came up so there was no reason to NOT go ahead with it, unless we were willing to lose most of the funds that had been put towards it. But more importantly, at least in my mind, is that this was such an amazing opportunity for life changing, transformational, eye-opening, soul searching, personal development… despite all the obstacles and challenges I’ll be facing over the next 19 days there was no way that I would ever consider standing in T’s way to make this happen! I know that she will come back as a stronger, more vibrant, and much revived individual who will be ready to embrace our next journey of life! She deserves this journey and I cannot wait to hear all about it.

And while T is making her journey through Spain, I’ll be walking my own transformational path here at home in Canada! I will have sole responsibility for the care and feeding of three small to medium sized children. Not to mention holding down employment and a half (I’m doing some contract work on the side), packing up a household and preparing us for a cross Canada move in 6 weeks!

Perhaps my journey is not as ‘sexy’ as T’s El Camino de Santiago journey, but I have no doubt that it too will be transformational, life changing, eye-opening and full of soul searching and personal development opportunities!!! Much like T, at the end of it I will be able to look back with pride and say “I survived!” and “I did that!”

Of course, I should probably get a full night’s sleep!

Before I go, here is T’s itinerary so you can follow along:

April 23 – Arrive Barcelona, Tour the city

April 26 – Taking overnight train to Sarria, meeting Tour company there

April 28 – Walk from Sarria to Portomarin (23 km)

April 29 – Walk from Portomarin to Palas de Rei (25 km)

April 30 – Walk from Palas de Rei to Arzua (29 km)

May 1 – Walk from Arzua to Arca (20 km)

May 2 – Walk from Arca to Santiago de Compostela (19 km)

May 3 – Tour Santiago de Compostela

May 4 – Travel to Porto, Portugal

May 5 – River boar and train tour in Porto, Portugal

May 6 – Travel to Sintra, Portugal

May 7 – Travel to Lisbon, Portugal

May 8, 9 – Tour Lisbon

May 10 – Fly home!!!

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A life in contrast

I’ve been thinking recently about contrast, about darkness and light, good times and bad time, easy and hard… the polar opposites in our daily lives that seem so often to go together in close proximity.

I saw this video on Facebook, posted by Telus Optik, but about Josh Dueck, a sit skier that I’ve known since 2004. Josh was recently injured and just starting out on his paralympic sport journey when I worked for the Disabled Skiers Association of BC. I remember Josh so strongly because he was one of the first athletes to take part in an athlete development program that I designed. Not only was he one of the first to take part in it, but he is likely still today the most successful, having won a silver medal at Vancouver 2010 Paralympics and also first person to perform a back flip on a sit-ski. More about Josh here.

In the video (which I cannot figure out how to link here… forgive me!) Josh talks about how he contemplates whether we need darkness in order to appreciate lightness. As someone who went through a life altering accident, I imagine that he is someone who has experienced moments of great darkness. But without that accident, and the following moments of darkness, Josh would likely not have had many of the amazing life experiences that followed… Paralympic medallist, appearance on Ellen, international travel and skiing on some of the greatest slopes in the world, motivational speaking career, coach, mentor, innovator, and business owner… From his moments of darkness came his life of lightness…

light-in-the-dark

The past year has been hard for our family. We’ve had a lot of challenges on our road this year. Challenges with work, family, health, school… lots of darkness in our struggles. I won’t lie… there were some really dark days in the past 12 months.

Through it all, our family remained strong… and we have persevered and worked together and built ourselves into an ever stronger unit and ever stronger individuals. If it wasn’t for the darkness, we wouldn’t have grown stronger and we wouldn’t know how strong we truly are.

And we’ve also experienced great joys this year. When we look back on the photos from the year, we are amazed at all the wonderful experiences we managed during these dark days. We went on an amazing road trip to Banff, Jasper and West Edmonton Mall. We spent a relaxing week in Naramata. We went biking on the Kettle Valley Railroad and hiking on an adventurous trail. We walked a peaceful labyrinth and learned meditative spiritual practices. The kids learned how to play better together using dress up, and soccer balls, and a play pool. Mr. T tried out and made the B Team for box lacrosse, and got his first gold medal in a tournament. His skills and confidence in lacrosse grew exponentially. Miss D began speaking and communicating more fully. Mr. H built his confidence and started joining in on lunch-time soccer play. Both boys have learned and grown into the roles of big brothers.

We have had great moments of pride in our children’s abilities, accomplishments, and yes even their perseverance through their own personal struggles. We have great kids!

I wonder if the joys we have seen as a family have been bigger, stronger & brighter, because of the darkness we’ve had in between those moments of joy?

And then, because I am a minister’s wife, it makes me think of this: The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:5)

Maybe in those moments of darkness, we couldn’t comprehend the glimmers of light that could be seen? Maybe in those moments of darkness, the light was born and we just didn’t know it? If it wasn’t for those moments of darkness, maybe our kids and ourselves wouldn’t be as strong as we are now? Maybe it is through the moments of darkness that we are able to build our future light?

We didn’t know that our hope and our light was present in those moments of darkness but in looking back, as we stand in the doorway between dark and light, we see that there was light shining on us even in our darkest days. We just didn’t see it because we were facing the darkness head on. We were preoccupied with the darkness and fighting it.

And so now, we turn around and face towards the light.

[wallcoo]_spring_flower_162831Plants and trees and animals… we all go through periods of darkness, winter, hibernation… before the spring where light is stronger and warmer, and we poke our little tentative buds out into the first warm days, and contemplate bursting forth with great joy and colour and vibrancy.

 

 

Springtime is such a wonderful time of year perhaps because it follows winter darkness.

Our life is one of contrasts, darkness and light. We can’t have one without the other.

 

 

Camping or Comfort? What would you do?

We love to camp and to be outdoors.

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Happy Hiking Boys, Miracle Beach, July 2012?

Ever since the boys have started school we try to kick off our summer vacation with a week of camping, somewhere in BC, as a transition between the hectic end of school activities and the relaxation of summer months.

We’ve been lucky to be able to do this consistently for the past 6 years.

We’ve been to Miracle Beach Provincial Park, Tofino, Manning Park, Shuswap Lake, and Naramata. Usually we’ve gone camping but we have also been able to rent some rustic cabins when we needed a bit more comfort in certain years. We’ve all loved the time outdoors to reconnect as a family, and to experience the awe of nature.

We have had some unbelievable experiences along the way and it has very much become part of our family tradition. I also realize that this is very much a part of my childhood and growing up experiences. I was lucky enough to spend the majority of my childhood camping across Canada and indeed North America! I was very fortunate.

(I’m the one mugging it up for the camera… always!)

And I would like very much to recreate these memories with my children this summer, as we travel from West to East.

But I also know that we will be travelling in early June when weather is iffy at best, and mosquitoes are perhaps at their worst in some provinces. And we will all be exhausted by the emotions of leaving the familiarity of BC behind, combined with the craziness of April & May, wrapping up schools & jobs, packing up our house, box lacrosse season (which is ridiculously intense I have to say) and the added stress of H being at BCCH for 4 weeks before we leave.

So I’m considering staying in hotels along the way instead of camping. Or maybe a combination of camping & hotels? Camping will be fantastic, but there is something to be said for warm beds, hot showers, and no setting up/taking down of our accommodation every single night. I’ll be the sole adult responsible for all of this which is an added stress. BUT there is also something to be said for the peacefulness of a campground and sitting by a crackling fire at night.

It is Canada’s 150th Birthday celebration and we have a free National Park pass! What better way to celebrate our great nation by really getting out and seeing it from all angles.

And I really want to share my cross Canada camping experience with my children. But I’m also gonna be really really tired by that point!

What would you do? Camping or Comfort? Follow Family Traditions or Move to the Future?

There’s a lot going on these days!

It’s an understatement to say that our family is busy these days! Sometimes we feel like we are in a 3 ring circus!

We have the regular every day things like managing kids school schedules and extra curricular activities, but also so many other things going on too.

It’s amazing how many different things we have to think about when planning a cross country move. There are the usual things with moving like setting up utilities in your new place and shutting them off in your old place, but also getting quotes from moving companies and then actually hiring one to do the job, getting rid of ALL the extra things that we’ve accumulated over the years and that make no sense to move across the country when you are paying $10/lb, and doing your final rounds of good-byes and visits. There is a lot to do.

But we have a few extra things thrown into our regular April & May, even without the move across Canada!

BC Children’s Hospital: H has been on a wait list since the fall, for a program at BC Children’s Hospital. And we’ve been hoping and praying that we would get a space for him before the end of May. We were committed to extending our stay if we needed to. The program is a 4 week in-patient program, which provides multi-disciplinary assessment and support of children, youth and their families who are dealing with mental health and/or psychiatric issues. We found out a few weeks ago that H’s space is available April 11-May 12, which is perfect for us. We are very thankful that the program was able to rush his application and provide us with this opportunity before we leave. So next Tuesday, we will be driving to BCCH on a daily basis and taking H to this program. I don’t know much about how this will roll out for us, but I do know that it adds another layer to our daily complications!

Other Assessments: At the same time, we have been going through additional assessments and diagnoses protocols for H through private clinics. We get the results of these assessments at the end of April and are waiting with bated breath until then! These are important to do as they will inform future education placements for H.

Trips and plans: Momma T is heading out on the trip of a lifetime with her good friend A. This trip has been in the works for a year so there is no doubt in our minds that it is still happening, but timing isn’t ideal at this point! Momma T is heading to Spain to walk part of El Camino de Santiago. (http://santiago-compostela.net/)  This walk is partly a pilgrimage and professional development for her faith formation and to support her work as a minister with the United Church. It is really important that she have this opportunity and truly, the time to herself. She really needs this because she gives so much to our family and to others. She is gone April 22-May 10, which overlaps perfectly with H’s program at BCCH.

Box Lacrosse: And this is Box Lacrosse season. Both T&H play box lacrosse every year. For T it is the sport that drives him. He loves this sport and, if the weather is good, you will find him outside practising using an empty net with targets, or he’ll get H out there in goalie gear and practice taking shots on him which is great practice for them both. Last year, T & H were on separate teams, which meant a lot of juggling and running around all over the lower mainland. After much discussion and looking at our schedule with BCCH, we made the decision that H would not play this year. We are all making sacrifices so that H can do the program at BCCH and this is HIS sacrifice. It just isn’t his year for this one sport. This will allow me to focus my extra curricular energy on getting T to/from his lacrosse events. Which will be a job in and of itself given that I’m single parenting for much of that time and will have a toddler with a pretty strict bedtime routine to handle too!

Education: Trying to juggle the kids current extra curriculars, school schedules, pro d days, field trips… this is HARD work! We are also trying to wrap up this school year a month early with all the associated IEP meetings, conferences, etc. And then setting up the kids for next year with appropriate placements and supports in the Ottawa Carleton School Board. Thankfully we’ve made a great connection there and it looks like there is excellent understanding and supports that will be made available.

Moving: Did I mention we are moving? Well we have a cross Canada trip to plan in here too! While Momma T and Miss D are flying, T&H and me are driving & camping. I haven’t done a bit of work on booking campsites or figuring out our route, and I must get on that! Suggestions are welcome!

So yes, there is a lot going on. So forgive me if I don’t get back to you immediately or if I’m not calling everyone up to set up separate coffee ‘good-bye’ meetings… I am sad to be leaving and I’d love to see every last one of you, but frankly, we are overwhelmed and have a hard time keeping our heads above the water these days! We are planning to have an Open House before we leave but at this point no idea when! Stay tuned!!!

Moving on…

In 1989 I moved from Ottawa to Vancouver to attend school at UBC. I was following a hope and a dream, for a new life and a new vision and a new me.

I recall vividly standing on Spanish Banks Beach, shortly after arriving in Vancouver with my mother. It was Labour Day weekend and a glorious fall day like only Vancouver can do: sunny, slight breeze, warm but not hot. I stood there in absolute glee that I could touch the Pacific ocean and see snow-capped mountains, and I could visit them both on the same day. I felt such excitement about my future at that moment and I think I knew in my heart of hearts that I would find my heart and soul in Vancouver.

My mother has told me, years later, that on this day she knew I would be moving to Vancouver. I didn’t know it yet, but she did. But by 1992 I had made Vancouver my permanent home and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

I’ve lived all over the Metro Vancouver region, from Point Grey to Cloverdale, South Vancouver to East Vancouver, Kerrisdale to Kitsilano, South Delta to North Burnaby… I love the diversity of this town, how the Skytrain can take you over neighbourhoods and businesses that you would never know existed if you were just driving a car, how passionate people are about the environment, recycling, and biking. I love how so many international flights transit through Vancouver and I can meet friends at the airport for a coffee on their way to Australia or Asia or Alaska. I love how the mountains and ocean frame our city views and can orient you to the compass points, no matter where you are in the city. I love our arts & culture and how we attract such a wide variety of artists with such wide artistic views. Mostly I love the ocean and the mountain views… they give me a deep sense of peace and calm.

But there is a lot that I don’t love about this city. I am tired of the traffic, the bridges, the tolls. I’m tired of the hustling and bustling and constantly scrambling to get ahead. I’m tired of the rent prices and the knowledge that I will never be able to afford a family home in anywhere but the far far reaches of the Fraser Valley. I hate how far away my friends are flung, even if we have the same city address, we are always far away from each other geographically and psychologically, and this separates us from all our supports. We hate having to drive everywhere, even a visit to the local grocery store requires a 4 minute drive from home. We are tired of the struggle to stay afloat financially & emotionally, fighting for everything we get.

And so, 27 years after leaving Ottawa, we have decided to leave Metro Vancouver and return “home.”

Today we sign a one year lease on a home in Kanata with the hope of buying our own home after living there for a year.

We are gathering moving company quotes, setting up utilities in our new home, and securing employment details. We are also planning going away parties and yes, setting up this blog is part of it, in order to help our family stay in touch with the friends we have made in Vancouver.

Our plans…

  • Momma T and Miss D will fly from YVR to YOW around May 25.
  • T, H, and me (Mommy P) will pull out of the driveway on the morning of May 27th, driving across Canada and updating this blog as we go (and as wifi is available!). Our plan is TBD at this point… but we will be camping and hope to visit Yoho & Banff National Parks, and Dinosaur Provincial Park. Besides that? We have nothing planned at this point in time! Arriving in Ottawa week of June 12, 2017!

So stay tuned for details about all of these things but as of the week of May 22… we are outta here!