Aunty Margot lives in Horseshoe Bay. She lives, with her son Jesse, in a small, two room apartment that overlooks the comings and goings of the ferries at the terminal below. It is a picturesque scene, with the hills climbing up and around in a bowl that encircle the town on every side, except where it opens into the marina and out into Howe Sound.
For some crazy reason, Aunty Margot has allowed us to stay with her, in her apartment, for two weeks after we arrive in Canada. We exit the limo that brought us from the airport and carry our bags up the long street, stopping when the weight becomes too heavy to lift. The walk feels like eternity after a long flight, customs and figuring out how to get to Horseshoe Bay.
Down the back stairs and inside, where we are greeted by Jesse - a tall man, with a slim figure and a Canadian Chin. He smiles and invites us in, as we allow the awkward greetings to pass between us all, until the stories begin and we find our family connection. Not too long after Christina arrives after school, and hugs are exchanged with more stories that again draw us back together.
It is amazing how distance can’t break the bond of Family. Family is more than skin deep, it runs in the blood. After a few stories we were comfortable, and hanging out like old times (the “old times” were from a few years ago when Margot travelled with Christina and Jesse over to Australia).
Margot came home from work and it was a party all over again. The sun set behind the hills, shining a dim light on the bay below while we ate dinner, sitting in chairs, watching the ferries in the bay below, and telling stories about our travels and the day that each of us had.
The first adventure down to Horseshoe Bay begun with Adeline falling head first onto small stones, and cutting an indent into her forehead, she made herself bleed. The deep cut was clean, no stones were embedded in her head, and she didn’t put up too much of a fuss after the band-aid went over it.
A few days later the boys were off adventuring in the woods, and Someone flicked a wasp away that was bothering them. Being close to a hive, and agitating a wasp is a bad idea - the wasp will call the others into the fray. The wasps in the hive got mad and set off in pursuit of their attackers, five Australian boys who had never seen a hive of angry wasps. Panicked, yelling and screaming they run back to the house, and right inside with mad wasps climbing on their hair and clothes.
Elijah was left behind in the panic, and got stung on his head twice. Nathanael gained the runners up prize, getting a sting on a knuckle. We killed 9 wasps inside the house, it could have been worse. Next time they will have to stay outside, so not to bring the wasps inside to share with everyone else.
Jesse came to the rescue, bringing vinegar to calm the stings, and a smile to say that it was perfectly normal to be set upon by wasps - the key is not to agitate them in the first place. He also had a few stories about times he had been walking in the woods and got stung too. Before long all became calm again, and Elijah started to feel a little better.
Up to Whistler
The trees are tall, and thin, covered with green. Green, green and more green. There is more green than I have seen in such a long time. The trees are green, the grass is green. We drive on through the scenery that doesn’t stop changing, Howe Sound, the islands, the cliffs of Squamish, and the long roads that wind up to Whistler.
There is no snow. There is green, and there is mountains. Off in the distance is a glacier. A glacier - you will have to forgive me for being so excited about seeing a mass of ice on top of a mountain, I am new to this whole “mountains, snow and frozen thing”…
The road is wide, and we take the gentle curves around the mountain as we head toward Whistler. There is no snow on the road, only long stretches of grey that is nestled between the tall trees of green. It is a beautiful drive from Squamish, and the boys had taken the opportunity to stop yelling at each other for a while, and to look around outside.
We finally find a car park, it is busy and look around to see women covered in mud, running up the mountain side. Mudderella is either getting started or finishing up in the car park at Blackcomb. We find a gondola and ride down to the town of Whistler. Mountains bikes and dirt covered riders descend the mountains, then wait for the ski lifts to take them back to the top to do it again. The boys all ask if we can hire bikes, so we let them investigate and on hearing the prices they decide, instead, to save their money.
The mountains stretch further and further up into the clear blue that stretches over us. The green and brown trees line steep mountains, which are separated by long stretches of grass that will become ski runs in the winter. The autumnal sun streams from the clear sky, casting a warm yellow glow over everything, a gentle breeze passes between the shops and pubs, all filled with people.
We walk the streets, past the expensive stores, along the pavement that is soon to be covered in snow. Here, with nothing to do but walk, we have found a wonderful place to window shop, and to soak in the atmosphere of a town buzzing with activity. Relax, chilled out on such a beautiful day, it is easy to see why so many people are here.
The playground gets huge points, if you are in the area with kids, we could have spent longer playing there…
This was not all that we did in Vancouver. The most memorable for us was spending time with our aunty and cousins - our family. The older boys went hiking with Jesse, hunting for mushrooms in the forests that grow around the village. We all were invited to a school fate, where we spent tickets in exchange for fun things to do, or eat. We sat on the kitchen floor, talking into the night as long as our tired bodies would allow.
We allowed the business of the day to be reduced to words in each-others ears, sharing tales of adventures (past and present), sharing jokes and sharing our lives together. It was a little tight in the small apartment, but that made it more memorable, and we enjoyed the benefits of spending such a rich time with family.
From Australia, to New Zealand and on to Canada we have been welcomed into the home of family, and made to feel like part of the clockwork that continues on around us. The “ties that bind”, the blood in our veins. Family, all over the globe.