First Christmas in Canada……
This was to be our first Christmas in Canada and it had been decided that we were to spend the Yuletide season in downtown Vancouver, enjoying the kind hospitality of Sholto, Berit & Finn. So, it was with some degree of pre-Crimbo excitement and early morning lethargy that we piled into the car to make the journey to Nanaimo for our ferry to the big city. It was whilst we were in the ferry line-up that Albie-Jack (age 3) announced that a bathroom visit was imminent. Hannah exited the vehicle with no small amount of stress, so that Albie-Jack might avail himself of some al fresco bathroom facilities. This visit turned into a larger deposit than was initially announced and Hannah being civically minded had no option but to collect and ensconce the ‘deposit’ in one of our paper coffee cups, to be disposed of slightly later. This was to the considerable nasal chagrin of the vehicle incumbents……………...considerable. Arrival in Vancouver was swiftly followed by some last (and in some cases first) Christmas shopping, I mean who doesn’t like shopping on Christmas Eve? Berit (Sholto, my brother in law’s wife) is from a Norwegian/Danish heritage and to that end we were treated to ‘Little Christmas’. An excellent meal of roast pork and red cabbage was followed by much dancing and general merriment. Christmas morning followed, with what could only be described as an obscene amount of gifts or as Richard Gere may have termed it ‘really offensive’. This was followed by a lovely family walk around the neighborhood, marred only by Danny, my mother-in-law’s dog, who decided to make a bid for freedom and terrorize the residents of Strathcona. He’s not the sharpest tool in the box, and the box I have in mind is one filled to the brim with particularly blunt tools. The festive bird was duly consumed as was the Christmas pud, wine was imbibed, and I enjoyed reading a book I’d been sent by my friend Stephen about the ‘correct’ way to swear most effectively, possibly not headed for literary classic status, but riveting, nonetheless. Our Vancouver Christmas festivities were brought to a close by a family visit to the cinema to watch the Star Wars film ‘The Last Jedi’, after which we boarded a ferry back to our home on Vancouver Island.
Our 2 older children Emily & George, not yet resident on Vancouver Island, were flying back to the UK from Seattle, so we thought we would use the opportunity to visit the U.S. After ‘enjoying’ the car park that is the I-5, we very much enjoyed our time being tourists and visiting the classics in Seattle. Pike Place was the usual gong show, but lovely to visit and the kids enjoyed spending time in and around the city.
Sadly, it was time to say goodbye at the airport as they started their journey back to the UK. George was starting school in Canada at the end of January, so would be back again very soon. Emily was in the middle of a degree in Veterinary medicine so we probably wouldn’t see her again for 6 months. We loved the fact that we had made the move to Canada, but the hardest part was always going to be, not seeing our family as often as we would like.