I’ve just returned from a long overdue trip home to visit my family in Vancouver, Canada. The last time I saw them was December 2019, just after Lucy and I moved into our house, and just before the pandemic hit. I had such a wonderful holiday visiting family in Canada, and catching up with good friends! In this post, I share a few highlights of my holiday in British Columbia with you.
I think this was the first visit home since I moved away from Vancouver in 2009 that I was able to focus on quality family time. I’ve always been stressed with school, visas, or moving, and it was so nice to just be present. My brother took a week off and spent every day with us, and it was fantastic catching up with him. I also ran errands with my parents, which is how I spent quality time with them when I was younger. Although adventures and new experiences can be fun, the most important thing for me is the people you spend time with. Of course, Watson was thrilled to see me and clung to me throughout my visit!
Most of the outings I did on my holiday in Vancouver were walks. Where my parents live, there are some beautiful dyke walks as well as forest hikes. On one walk, my mom and I collected blackberries by the Fraser River. It’s been very dry in the Lower Mainland and the berries were a bit under ripe, but we still managed to harvest a few handfuls!
I Spy a Bear!
One hike was at Minnekhada Regional Park. This is a forest and marsh walk with several paths varying in duration. I had anticipated only walking on the boardwalk around the marsh, but we ended up hiking a substantial hill with tree roots and boulders. Needless to say my thighs were very sore the next day! We were about 2/3 of the way finished our hike when we encountered a bear. There were lots of bear caution signs but we weren’t expecting one to be right in the middle of the path! Thankfully, it was mostly interested in the blackberries and we eventually scared it off with some loud music and clapping. As soon as we had passed, the bear was back on the trail looking for snacks. No photo of the bear as I was more concerned about our safety than a photo opportunity!
Fun and Games
One of my family’s Christmas traditions is playing a board game. Since I won’t be visiting at Christmas we thought it would be fun to buy a new game. We opted for Scotland Yard, which is a classic strategy board game where the detectives try to catch the criminal evading capture around London. We must have played at least 4 rounds and I look forward to playing again on my next visit! Furthermore, my brother and I picked up a jigsaw puzzle and we spent several evenings feverishly putting it together.
Reuniting with Old Friends
I was also fortunate to get to spend time with some friends while I was visiting. One friend dropped by to introduce her two children to me en route to visiting her family. It was delightful chaos to have two little ones in the house, if only briefly! I also had a delicious sushi lunch and plant-based ice cream with a close high school friend. Later in the week we went to our local cinema to watch Where the Crawdads Sing. It was so nostalgic being back in the movie theatre of my youth! Lastly, although I didn’t get to see her, I received news that another friend had her third baby while I was visiting.
I’m not sure when I will be visiting family in Canada again, but I hope it will be next summer. Meanwhile, I will cherish the memories of a wonderful holiday and quality time spent with family and friends. Although international travel and jet lag are a pain, the past few years have reinforced the importance of not taking travel for granted and valuing time spent with loved ones.