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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Canada (01/29/09)

TITLE: A Lovely Neighbor
By Joy Bach


My first recollection of the word “Canada” came as a child growing up in Kansas. My sister and her family traveled by car to that far-away land and returned with stories of the beauty of Lake Louise and Banff.

Years later, living in Idaho and planning a honeymoon, it seemed only right that we go to Canada. Heading north, we crossed the border and traveled west on Highway 3. Spending the night in a town called Osoyoos, I could only wonder at the origin of that name. As we continued westward, I marveled at the pristine countryside. The town of Surrey caught our attention with its well manicured lawns and an absence of trash lying along the roads.

Stanley Park, in Vancouver, was such a delight. Then traveling north to Horseshoe Bay, we parked at the ferry terminal. Our goal was the ocean side of Vancouver Island. But while we waited for the ferry, we took the time to enjoy some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had.

Once on the island, we traveled north again, waving to Victoria as we passed. When we reached Highway 4, we cut westward across the island. The streams beside the highway were so clean we could see the rocks on the bottom and the fish swimming. My new husband spied a bear cub, pulled to the side of the road and proceeded to climb out of the car to take a picture. He was given a little lecture on the dangers of a mother close by, but we still have the picture…three cubs in all.

Again with the strange sounding names for the towns, we came to Ucluelet…and then north to Tofino. It was getting late and we needed lodging. Everything said “No Vacancy”. After a meal and a little prayer for help with finding a spot, my husband’s right foot became very heavy as we traveled from one “No Vacancy” to the next.

I placed my hand on his knee and asked, “Do you believe in the prayer we just prayed, asking for help?”

“Of course”, was his reply.

“Then why are you going so fast?”

He slowed down to the speed limit.

Finally, we passed a sign where a man was just removing the “No”. We turned in. They had just had a cancellation. We had a cabin with an ocean view. Beautiful.

My next journey to Canada was not so pleasant. My first grandchild had been born three months too soon in Chilliwack. She was transferred immediately to Shaughnessy Hospital in Vancouver. She remained in that hospital for 117 days. Due to their care…one nurse for every two babies…she is alive today.

Two years later, I returned to Canada again. My trip took me north to Highway 3, turning east to Lethbridge. This time the goal was to retrieve my granddaughter. The Christmas pictures had shown far too many bruises on the child.

Other trips to Vancouver have been delightful. My husband and I and some friends spent time there with our visit culminating in a night at the opera…”The Phantom of the Opera”. It was wonderful!

Through my job, I have made connections with a company in Canada who sold us a software program for my bookkeeping. Every year they hold a “User’s Meeting” in Vancouver. I have come to love that city. For a break one evening after all day meetings, my boss asked if I would like to walk around in Stanley Park. Of course I agreed.

But he hadn’t been real clear about his offer. He meant to walk around the park. When we began the walk, it was a beautiful clear evening. An hour into the walk, it began to get dark and I could see the lights of Vancouver far off in the distance. More walking and we were now on the north side of the park…no city lights.

But we were in for a treat. There was an eclipse of the moon and we had ringside seats. Only after our return to the hotel did we discover that it is about SEVEN MILES around Stanley Park. Boy did we get our exercise.

One of the best parts about that company in Vancouver is that I have made a new friend. We keep in contact in our “off hours” too. When my daughter and her foreign exchange student daughter traveled to Vancouver recently, he met them and took them to dinner. He’s like extended family.

How rewarding to have nice neighbors.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Connie Dixon02/05/09
Thanks for the tour, you brought back many warm memories of trips through the north, and even of my own honeymoon in Victoria! Good job!
Margaret Gass02/05/09
We cut short our hike around Stanley Park because it was so far! :-) My memories of Canada are also punctuated with "snapshots" of beauty, starting with the border crossing. Your husband's lead foot likely wouldn't have been noticed when I was there...it seemed to us that pedestrians do NOT have the right away--drivers did not always yield, and a cab drove on the sidewalk! I like your perspective over time.