That pretty much sums up the sensation of waking up in my bed, in Japan, this morning. How did I get here! Wasn’t I eating Belgium waffles with maple syrup only a few moments ago! Am I Zoë living in Victoria dreaming I am in Japan or am I Zoë living in Japan dreaming I went to Canada?
After an epic one-month journey home to Victoria, I have a lot more to reflect on than my metaphysical self!
To sum up our trip: dash into Victoria, via Tokyo, for a quick hello before jetting off to Alberta with Teresa, Aki and Shauna. One 10 hour drive later, gap at the majestic rises of the rocky mountains and the miles of snow that roll across the planes before us.
We stayed in Alberta for four days, visiting with the long lost Herron clan (Ken and Barb, Chris, Lita, Cali and Paige) with intermittent visits to the Bad Lands, Tirell Dinosaur museum, Hoodoo’s, Shanks Sports Bar, Tack and Leather shop, and the smallest town you will ever see- population 4 people and shrinking…
I was also able to “reacquaint” my cousins Dan and Kathy, Evelyn, Codi and Devon, learning about the finer points of Calgarian hospitality whilst receiving tips on how to catch a cowboy… yee ha! Just point me in the right direction!
With all that excitement and melting snow behind us, we set out for the West coast once more, winding our way through the Kootney’s (Fort Steele was so cool!)- come sun, come snow, come sleet and finally typical west coast showers- to end up back on the Island with it barely having noticed we had left!
Second week in Canada: hair cut, shopping and maple syrup on everything! Marian and Stephan treated Aki, Rosa, Cori, Jay, Nancy and Daryl and I to dinner at Mattise! It was, it goes without saying, delicious! Mmm… lamb… Brule!
Oh… and let the wedding prep begin!! On Saturday eight glamorous ladies piled into two minivans to celebrate Kristy’s Stagette. We were driven out to Deep Cove and proceeded to drink our way back into town via some of Victoria’s finest wineries. My favourite: Sterling Farms. Their scientifically proven wines are rare and stunning.
Sunday Aki, Ian and I set up an Amazing Race Wedding Edition for Kristy and Sean and co. Teams raced around the city playing golf, answering questions and hunting down clues. It was such a gorgeous day that I got my first “colour” of the year… forgot how intense that Canadian sun can be!
We stayed with Stuart and Jan during all the ensuing madness, with hikes up Mt. Doug and my first Shabbat as intermittent moments of peace through it all!
Our third week in Victoria was a bit of a gong show… between taxes, dinner with friends, picnics in the park, Matteus took us out to the Victoria Symphony. And then the Isberg-Cunningham families united all fronts in pre-wedding labour. Joel and Olivia put together some stunning flower arrangements for the Wedding and Marian, John, Elijah and Co. and I put the finishing touches were put on the tables.
Michelle and Joel looked incredible on their wedding day! Michelle was so stunning as a bride that she could have done it for a living! Everyone enjoyed themselves so much at the wedding and we had a great chance to catch up. They had a beautiful reception out at Dunsmur Lodge, and though I didn’t catch the flowers I was confident that at Kristy’s wedding I could come through ;)
With one wedding behind me, the daunting task of Maid of honor lay before me. On Monday we went to stay with Pam and Bruce in their incredible home out in Saanichton. I have to say, I might be a vagrant the rest of my life! Food shelter and kayaking… who can beat it?
The night before Kristy’s wedding we stayed up late into the night (oh, and did I mention I played Wii for the first time!? Got a blister on my thumb from “rocking out” too much on the guitar…) giggling like girls. It was probably in the list of DO NOT’s before your wedding day, as we were a bit haggard the next day… Nothing a trip to the hairdresser and make-up wouldn’t fix.
Another beautiful and hot day in Victoria… Kristy looked breathtaking in her wedding dress. (one might even say Bell-like!). After a service at St. Josephs we spent the afternoon getting photos done at Sax point and down at the Admiral’s house, which was a stunning location! The reception, overlooking downtown from the Base, was fantastic. Marian did an incredible job on the flowers for the wedding… which made not catching them (again) all the more painful. Haha… Always a bridesmaid… All in good time.
Watching hockey at Pearks with Liz, catching a ride on Ian’s sexy motorbike, lunch with Daniel and Mike at Mattocks, dinner with friends at Glow, one last whip around Victoria… and somehow I found myself at my desk here in Niyodogawa, wondering if it all really happened!
I know I speak for both Aki and I when I say that this trip could not have been more epic. It was so much fun to see long lost family and friends, and to find time in all the wedding madness to so you all. Thank you so much to Ken and Barb, Shauna, Olivia, Jan and Stuart, Pam and Bruce, Grandma and Ruth for having us over to your homes, for feeding us, and most of all entertaining us!! You are all so kind and generous!
Thank you to Marian and Stephan for all their help and for the lovely meals! And to Mattise for such fine service and the most delicious dinner I have had since… well, since last time!
With such a choice of experiences and friends, I am not sure what Aki will say to her family and friends. But at the very least she will see that Canadians are a bit more than you ever bargain for!
I can’t wait to see you all again when I return in the summer (indefinitely). It sounds like Aki will come in July, so please make her feel welcome (again) and keep her out of trouble!!
See you soon!
ps. pictures coming soon! (it will take a while to cut them down from 1023!!)