150 things, the start

It’s all about 150 in Canada this year as we mark the anniversary of confederation in 1867, so I thought I’d try to compile my own list of 150 things about this country I still call home. It’s a bit much to ask people to read a 150-item long list, so I’m breaking it down into somewhat more delicious bite-size chunks (and hoping no one notices if I don’t actually make the 150).

We’ll begin with 15 things I love about our Canadian adventure:

  1. Snow! (I may as well start with something controversial) The unusually cold winter for the southwest coast has meant snow for Vancouver and the island – so, hooray! Lots of fun in the white stuff. It makes a simple walk a novelty and adds another layer (literally) of beauty to the trees. I love the look of evergreens with snow artfully draped on the branches – makes the kitchen window view altogether lovely. dsc_1424
  2. We get to try new activities (and polish up some old ones): snowshoeing was a first for all of us, and a big hit. Snow, trees, mountains, friends, blue, blue sky and lots of work for our hearts made for a wonderful day. Skiing and snowboarding are coming up quickly (and I’m praying it won’t be a blizzard – that’s not a new experience for me, and I’m hoping it won’t be one for everyone else). We get to work on our ice skating skills too.
  3. Walking to school. I really wish our schools in Dublin were within walking distance. Ten minutes to one, 15 to the other.
  4. Thrift stores: we shop in charity shops all the time at home, and I have some of the coolest stuff from them, but there just seems to be better deals and more variety here (or maybe it’s just what we’re looking for). We’ve managed to boost our winter wear with style and quality – including a like-new Helly Hansen jacket ($8) and a pair of purple Cougar snow boots ($12) that I am grateful for almost every day. Even my teen has embraced the trend (can we call it that?) and has bought brand name running gear and oversized men’s shirts.

    The purple boots on a walk to Jack Point.
  5. Sales in the grocery stores, genuine sales. Mundane? Okay, maybe, but it is brilliant to see regular items significantly marked down – and to know that if it’s not on sale now, it will be sometime in the near future.
  6. Such very little homework! None for one, not too much for the other. Again, hooray!
  7. There are lots of financial incentives to get active: from free skating sessions over the holidays to an extremely good deal from Ski Canada ($25 for a day pass, a lesson and rentals – see, I told you it was very good!) and $3 Fridays at one of the swimming pools. This year my son qualifies for 12 free passes to swimming and skating and will also be getting skating lessons through school. Plus with all kinds of programmes offered through Parks and Rec, there are many ways to have fun without spending a fortune.
  8. Opening hours: banks on Saturdays, evenings. Library the same.
  9. Free refills in restaurants. I love being able to order a coffee as soon as I sit at a table and know that if I want some with dessert later, I won’t have to pay again (and again, and again). Has my caffeine intake increased?
  10. Maybe. Another bonus!
  11. Catching up with people from the past: part of me thinks “How can it have been this many years?” and part thinks it was another life, but all of me is glad this extended time is letting me get together with people I just don’t see when I’m around for a shorter visit.
  12. Big, fat, fluffy pancakes. Is it that robust Canadian flour? I don’t know, but pancakes are always fatter here. dsc_1410
  13. Hiking trails: so many to explore! Ammonite Falls, Mount Benson by Witchcraft Lake, and Jack Point so far, and Pipers Lagoon, Neck Point and Bowen Park for shorter walks; most of these are a 20 minute drive away or less. We have more on our list!
  14. The sound of the cello. One child has put aside violin while we are here and has taken up cello. That mellow bass sound brightens my day.
  15. It could be a cliche, but the time with our Canadian family can’t even be measured. Just to have the chance to have coffee and a chat without using technology or crossing time zones makes it all worthwhile.

11 thoughts on “150 things, the start

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