Well here we are on a ferry back to Vancouver from Vancouver Island. We began our trip with Sandi and Gord at Malibu, and finished it with them again at Nanaimo, 4 months later. It has been an amazing time, and we feel really blessed to have had the opportunity to do what we have done over the time we have been away, It has been a great time of rest, exploring the world, spending time with old friends and making new ones. Now to get home on time!!!!!
Having a house to stay in Vancouver has been fantastic. We spent a lovely couple of days with Monica and Irwin (Vanessa's parents) before they left for South America. Sam is now reading up on the whole Mennonite history in their books, and loving it. He is also trying to educate everyone else on the facts!! We had a great evening with the whole Loewen family the night we arrived, being entertained by the beautiful Cheyenne, and the next day picking up a rental Kia before exploring the local area on foot, finishing in the dark after we misjudged the time!!!
Beth, Dan, Fern, Meg, and James arrived and we had a Christmas meal and presents time together - family Christmas number 2 - James had to leave the next day for Utah, but we spent the next week or so with the kids, on a off (between Beth and Dan going to Whistler, and Meg and Fern going to Toronto), op shopping, visiting Stanley Park - once in the rain with the girls where we went looking for coyotes, visited the outside of the Aquarium, where we were able to view the show for FREE - and had coffee at the Lions Gate Bridge café, and once with Beth and Dan where we rode tandem bikes around. I discovered that riding a bike behind Sam where you could only see his back, and had to duck low hanging trees and rock outcrops can be a little daunting, and I know how Heidi felt when she had that experience as a young child. Beth's reaction to being on the back of a tandem was similar to the aforementioned ride - wanting to ride faster and delighting in the experience!!!! I did eventually get the hang of it, and kept Beth and Dan entertained as my feet kept slipping off the pedals when Sam pedalled too fast.- I aim to please -!!!.
Our next Taurenhof meeting was at Ray Rempel's place in Tsawwassen where he and Sandi had managed to get 5 more from our class together - Mel, Roberta, Kathy, Sue and Dave. It was a fantastic evening, as has all out catching up with old friends been. Dave and his wife Joanne had to leave early to catch a ferry back to the island, which was disappointing, but we had a good catch up with everyone else.
On Sunday, we walked with the girls to the Baptist church around the corner - a nice church with a baptistery up with the organ pipes, a gymnasium, lots of youth/SS rooms and smaller chapels etc. We took ourselves on a tour after the service after standing in the foyer with a cup of coffee for a while,but no-one talking to us!
We took Fern and Meg up to Whistler and stayed with Dianne and Greg in their beautiful condo - where Beth and Dan were staying. Chelsea, Jeremy and Rachel were also there so we all went out for dinner at the local Wood Oven Pizza restaurant where the waitress managed to tip a whole pizza over Dianne and Greg!!! Such entertainment and the resulting free pizza and t shirts for them is hard to come by!!! We had a day of skiing at Whistler. The low point - sore feet again - am so sick of rental boots…I wish I had brought my own… The high point - skiing well, and actually surviving the Peak to Peak gondola - the longest span and highest in the world I believe!!!What a trip for being out of my comfort zone!!! It was certainly less embarrassing than my Eiffel Tower experience - I didn't cry once - just busied myself the whole time with cleaning my goggles and taking quick peeks outside!! For our last run, Sam, Beth and Dan skied/ boarded to the bottom, and I rode the gondola down with a film crew from NBC news Seattle, who were doing a story on all the Australians at Whistler - evidently 1:3!!! After skiing, we crammed the whole family into our compact car, for the 2 hour trip home via Tim Hortons for coffee and donuts!!
I started having withdrawal symptoms from school, so went and visited Fraser Academy, a school for students with dyslexia and literacy learning difficulties. We had met a teacher from there at Malibu who had invited us to visit. It was really interesting and inspiring.
One evening, we had dinner Kayla and Jen (who stayed with us at home), and their families at Surrey. I don't k now what it is with the GPS, but every time we drove anywhere, we went completely different routes there and back - and usually much shorter coming home!!! I will never think that Adelaide has traffic congestion after our time in Europe and Vancouver!! Another evening, we had our hair cut by Vanessa, and had more cuddles with Cheyenne, then dropped Beth and Dan off at Surrey. These farewells are beginning to get to me!!
For our final time in Canada, we decided to go over to Vancouver Island and try and actually catch up with Dave and Joanne at Victoria, and Sandi and Gord in Nanaimo. This worked out really well, and we spend a lovely day with the Hatherleys, seeing Victoria and catching up, and had a great evening with Sandi and Gord, staying the night, and going to First Baptist church with them in the morning., before boarding the ferry.
So here we are, heading back to the mainland, to return our car, pack,….aaagh… and head off to catch a train to Seattle, and hopefully an earlier plane home.
Thanks everyone who we have spent time with on our journey. We will miss you all. Please come and visit us!!!!!
Thanks everyone who has shared out journey through this blog. We have missed you, and are looking forward to catching up gain REAL SOON.
PS I am finishing this off on the Amtrak train to Seattle - a real winner. You can move around, use the loo, and get a coffee or snacks anytime you wish, and the view as we wind along the waterfront and through countryside is amazing. Sure beats the bus!!!!
PPS Qantas officially are below Greyhound now on my facourites list. They would rather fly with empty seats than let loyal customers change their flight and return early!!!