Saturday, May 15, 2010

home again

we've been back home for a week now and the transition from vacation mode to normal life mode has been a little bit bumpy. tristan, who was quite used to his grammie or uncle james playing with him all the time, started to say things to me like, "i'm lonely" and bursting into tears if i was too busy to play a game with him. i was also getting quite used to my mom's help, especially at 6:00 in the morning when i'd bring the boys upstairs, knowing she'd be awake and willing to watch them, and then i'd go right back downstairs into our warm and waiting bed for another hour or so.

still, i do have to say that we are happy to be home. it was a very nice, long vacation and we enjoyed it thoroughly. that being said, we found that 2 whole weeks was a little bit too long. it was great to see lots of family and friends that we often don't have time to see when we visit, but by the time we had been away for 10 days, josh and i both agreed that we felt it was time to go back home.


i had not been in BC in april or may since before i was married....that was 6 years ago! so to see the rhododendrons begin to open and the wisteria that hugs my parent's roof line in full bloom was breathtaking. springtime is BC is really something to behold.

*me & my sister*

the thing that surprised me the most about this trip was how much my old home no longer feels like home to me. to live somewhere for 24 years means that a part of me will always belong there, but it was very evident this time that much more of me belongs now in southern california. the day after we arrived we went to Superstore to get a few groceries and it felt like we were definitely in a foreign country. first of all, i completely forgot that we needed a loonie in order to use a shopping cart. we had no canadian money on us, so we ended up carrying the baby and jugs of milk and jars of baby food throughout the store. second of all, the products themselves in canada are so different than the ones i've become used to. the cookie and candy aisle was chock full of things we had never seen before, or things that i had forgotten existed. and then, when we paid for our groceries, we realized that everybody brings their own reusable bags to the store, so we had to pay for each plastic bag we used.

*waiting for the garbage truck*

there were street names that sounded so familiar, but i couldn't quite remember exactly where they were, or places that i had been to a hundred times before, but could not figure out which roads to take to get there. (of course, i realize that much of this forgetfulness could be due to mommy brain)

*blueberry blossoms*

the cultural differences were also much more evident to me during this trip. people in canada tend to be very polite and well mannered. they never forget to say "please" or "thank you", they use both a knife and a fork during the entirety of a meal, and they know that it is polite to wait for the hostess to take her first bite of dessert before starting on your own. but (and i cringe while writing this, expecting a few hate comments to follow) i now find that people in canada aren't the most friendly folk around. they are much more reserved than americans, not nearly as enthusiastic as i'm used to, and they don't just strike up a conversation with you simply because you are breathing the same air as they are.

*about to go on a date*

where i live, if i am at a park with my kids and i see another mom with kids of a similar age, there is a good chance that she and i will begin talking to one another, oftentimes exchanging names and sometimes already planning a future play date. not only did i learn that young moms in canada don't chat with people they don't know, but also making eye contact and smiling at every young mom i passed who was also pushing a stroller seemed to make them a little bit nervous. this difference in culture could be due to the fact that i now live in a small town, which usually means that the people are friendlier, but i do have to say that the general reservedness of canadians was something i had forgotten about.

*flying home over mount st. helens*

but the food....oh! the food! my mom kept busy baking rhubarb pie and crisp, farmer sausage, and meat perishky. we enjoyed such canadian treats as sour soothers, raspberry temptation cookies, dad's cookies, wine gums, and coffee crisp, white spot burgers, earl's delicious pizzas and salads, not to mention dill pickle chips... (i couldn't help but put my diet temporarily on hold for 2 weeks).

yes, we had a wonderful time. and yes, we are happy to be back home. and yet i am already very much looking forward to july, when my parents will be driving down to visit us once again.


Darcy and Sharon said...

Glad you had a great time. I love that first picture of Tristan in the woods!

Sara said...

It looks like you guys had such a great time!

Nicole said...

It was so nice to officially meet while you were here!!

dj kosmotronix said...

I had forgotten so much about Canada, too. Dad and I commented often about the kind encounters we'd had with the general public. I didn't notice the reservedness so much - a guy from Ontario came from two pumps over at the petrol station just to ask Dad what kind of license plate we had. He didn't recognize the mountains.... :)

As for the beauty of BC in the spring - it's second to none specifically on the coast. Your dad's wisteria took my breath away - and it had only started to blossom when we left. So beautiful!

Glad you guys are home safe and sound - if a little "lonely". Tristan, we'd love to have you over for a play date one day. Just let us know when you can come, K? Kaiser would be thrilled to see you again. He's got new Hot Wheels cars to show you......


Leanne said...

Looks like a great trip. So sad that I didn't meet you :( And I think it depends on the area you are in with playground moms. At our neighbourhood playground we always chat with each other. Very interesting observations regarding culture though. I always take note of such things - even when in a different province, or area in Canada.

Hopefully there will be a day that I will get to meet you!

Korinne said...

I totally get what you mean by the reservedness of Canadians! I find Americans to be super friendly and outgoing. It also differs from where you live - Where I grew up tended to be very open, friendly, etc. I moved to THIS city and found that I couldn't look people in the eye without almost offending them! It was SUCH a culture shock. Even over half my life later, I still haven't adjusted to it!
I wish we could've gotten together one more time before you went home - it was nice to catch up with you briefly anyway :)

Grandma J. said...

We too are looking forward to July visiting and playing with your precious family. XO

Kathy said...

When I would visit family in Camrose, Alberta, I was always struck with the friendliness of the people. Once I walked into Wal-mart there and the greeter said hello to me in such a sincere manner I thought they were greeting a close friend - but it was ME! I would soak up this warmth, familiar to me from Minnesota, and bring it back with me to my town now. I'd start chatting with folks in Super Store and get blank looks - or even looks of slight alarm - I kid you not. I switched to shopping at Safeway because they are always friendly and I get a little human connection with my groceries - at least from the staff!

I'm glad to hear you're feeling more at home where you are. I remember that gradual and surprising transition too. A visit is lovely and coming home is nice too. Sorry Tristan is lonely - but it's a beautiful thing for a grandma to hear - that's for sure!

Jessica said...

Those pictures are beautiful! Looks like a lot of fun!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

I hear you about coming "home" and not being able to remember how to get to places any more.
I also get the two week thing. It is hard to spend that much in airfare for a short trip, but after about five need some space to be yourself again. May I suggest that you plan to get away with Josh for a couple days,leaving the grands to the grandparents, during the visit?
I know they would love to have their grands to spoil.

lil said...

Great observations about the cultural differences!! The Lord is gracious in letting us get comfortable with where He has place us, eh?