CANADA. We made it – hanging out here for just under two weeks and then…. home!!!
Our last few days in New Zealand were smooth. Almost tooo smooth. Of course we needed a little something to spice up our life… cue cyclone Debbie. We left Dirk’s and got to Rotorua City Center and waited for our bus that would take us to Auckland International Airport – an hour early, just in case. Cyclone Debbie was at the climax of her storm which caused road delays which meant that our bus to the airport was just over an hour late. If it had been on time we would have had 2.5 hours to check in and get to our gate but with the delay we would have just under and hour and a half. My mind kept flipping between “this is no problem we have plenty of time and we will make it” to “holy crap we are going to miss this flight.” We were sitting near a lovely Dutch couple who were flying from the airport the following morning. They witnessed our small little panick attacks and tried to be encouraging and supportive saying things like “we will pray for you” and “You will have to run but you should be okay”. Not exactly reassuring but I suppose it’s the thought that counts! Turns out we were one of the first people at the gate. The flight ended up being a bit delayed and we got on without any problems at all. PHEW.
My amazing Mum flew out to Vancouver to meet us at the airport and give us some hugs after a long 13 hour flight. Rachel’s parents couldn’t physically be there but Mum facetimed them in so we could give them virtual hugs and say hello! It was nice to be back on Canadian soil.
Our first stop in the West Coast was my Aunt Alison’s & Uncle Mike’s who live in the National Park of Belcarra. We stayed with them for 2 nights and spent our time sharing lots of stories, hiking around (despite the rain), and eating the deliciously prepared food that they made us. The last time I was here was 2007 and before that I don’t remember because I was still crawling. They are the only part of my family that lives out here so we don’t get to see them all that often making this time we had together extra special! We learned lots about the area and enjoyed the lush forest.
After two nights we said our goodbyes and took off to North Vancouver to visit our family friends Jo-Ellen and Brian. My Mum booked us a hotel (!!!!) for 2 nights so we had a temporary home base. On our first evening in North Van we enjoyed a delicious dinner with Jo-Ellen, Brian, and their son Matt. Matt is Rachel and my age and just graduated from Western so he was home. His two other siblings Sarah and Chris are both still in school and studying for exams so they weren’t able to join us.
The next day Jo-Ellen was the ultimate tour guide and took us to all kinds of places around Vancouver. It was still raining – what else is new – but we didn’t let that stop us! We explored Deep Cove and had some breakfast, and then continued to Lynn Canyon to walk to suspension bridge. We drove around Stanley Park, the Olympic Center from 2010, English Bay, Gastown, the University of Britsih Columbia, and lots more. It was a busy day but absolutely wonderful.
In the evening Matt and Brian went to a Canucks vs. Oilers game and Mum and Jo-Ellen had a ladies night so Rachel and I grabbed a bottle of wine and went to visit Rach’s Whistler friend Kris (the girl). Kris is really cool! We made ultra healthy veggie pizzas and relaxed.
The next morning we said goodbye to my Mum as she was headed off to Baltimore for work and Rach and I caught a bus to Squamish! Here we are staying with a family that Rach knows from Joyride. This family; Sarah and Matt (mom and dad), William (7), and Juliet (4), woke up one day and decided that they loved the West Coast and life was too short not to live in the place that had their hearts so they sold their house is Barrie and moved out here. They run an Airbnb and a Mountian Bikig Guide company. Yesterday Sarah, Juliet, Rachel, myself and their cute pup Gypsy went for a hike through some trails by their house. One of the hikes (probably the hardest one) was called In-N-Out Burger. We wandered for about three hours, occasionally coming to a look out where we could see some Mountain tops including Sky Pilot, Co-Pilot, and Diamond Head.
In the evening we watched Moana – Juliet’s current favourite movie, had a hot tub where in which under Juliet’s instructions we all pretended to be mermaids, and ended the evening with a little bonfire. HOW LUCKY ARE WE.
We woke up this morning (more rain) and took it nice and slow. Sarah, Matt, and Juliet are off to catch up with William and the grandparents for the day so Rach and I are on our own. Originally we planned on hiking the Cheif trail but with the rain it might be a bit slippery. Perhaps we will decide after our coffees… keeping our fingers crossed for a little bit of blue sky.
Sending love from west Coast Canadian Soil. ❤️