Happy Canada Day! (A Timeline of Canada Days in the Life of Gillian)

I like to do retrospectives from time to time… not long-winded narratives of life but “This Day in History” sorts of things. It is a fun opportunity to reflect back on events that have happened in one’s life and to recall stories connected with those events. My memory usually works best at thinking back on special days, so Canada Day it is. It occurred to me the other day that I haven’t been in the same place on Canada Day for at least the last five years:

2011: I’m in Vancouver, hanging out with the fam.

2010: Victoria! I think this was the first/only time I have been in Victoria for Canada Day. It is certainly the first time I was down watching the fireworks in the Inner Harbour. It gets a little crazy down there, but the show is pretty fun, and even more fun when there are good people to hang out with.

2009: Kenya! We went and visited the parents in Kenya and were on a food distribution around Mt. Kenya. Dad brought some flags and so there were lots of pictures taken with us and the Samburu women (Dad had some pictures on his blog.) I don’t think the Kenyan women had any idea what was going on, but they were all too eager to pose for photos with us, and with the food we brought.

2008: Montreal. I don’t think we went to the fireworks that night, if there even were any! We went to the ones the week before for the National Holiday of Quebec. On Canada Day I’m pretty sure we wandered around the Old Town before heading to the Atwater Market (a must-visit destination if in Montreal in the summer) and then retiring at home with a movie. Or a brown paper bag in the park. Either way, it was a fun visit with my sister in my first few weeks home from the epic Offshore voyage.

2007: Honolulu. On Offshore, we were in Honolulu for Canada Day and the 4th of July. Needless to say, the locals celebrated the latter, and celebrate they did. I was partially in awe of and partially disgusted by the whole performance. Our ship was docked at a wharf typically used for cruise ships, and the fireworks were in the area of the harbour just off from the wharf. We just stood on the end of the dock and watched the show while patriotic music was blared over the loudspeaker system. Maybe it is the understated Canadian in me, but such dramatic (and jingoistic?) patriotism turns me off… But jingoism or not, the fireworks were spectacular.

2006: China. This was the first day of our Global Partnership in China, we’d just arrived in Beijing for orientation before training out to Xining a week later. Hello culture shock! I wrote in my journal on the 2nd… “CHINA!! We arrived really late last night [July 1] – the flight out of Shanghai was late leaving by about an hour. Today we drove out to the Badaling portion of the Great Wall of China. Wow. It is absolutely spectacular! I felt like I was at the top of the world… the wall just keeps going and going. For me, the Great Wall of China is a defining moment about being in China, sort of like the Sydney Opera House was in Australia. It is crazy to realize I’m here. I have no idea what to expect in the next while.”

2005: I would have been in Vancouver. It was two days before Dad and Colleen got married… (Happy Anniversary!) and the family was all gathering. I remember fireworks from the balcony of Dad’s condo, but that might have been New Year’s Eve instead. Either way, 2005 was Vancouver! And weddings!

2004: Australia! Coober Pedy, to be precise (yay journal!). In Coober Pedy I stayed in a hostel that was underground. It is so stinking hot there in the summer, and even in the winter when I was there, that nearly everyone in Coober Pedy lives below ground in old opal mines that have been made into homes. In Coober Pedy, I was nearing the end of my two week trip through the Outback from Darwin up top, through Alice Springs and Uluru, to Coober Pedy and, lastly Adelaide where I met up with a wonderful friend of the family. From there, I headed back to Sydney to hang out with all my friends and former roomies. I can’t believe it has been seven years since I was last there. Apparently a return visit is in order.

2003: I’m pretty sure this one involved standing on the edge of the Fraser River in Fort George Park, Prince George, watching the fireworks with good friends before running away from all the crazy drunks that Canada Day usually brings out. Oh PG. Oh Fort George.

2002: Australia! I was in Sydney, it was days before the beginning of Hillsong Conference, the biggest conference Hillsong Church hosts annually (think 20 000+ people). A friend and I were going to dye our hair red for the occasion, but chickened out. I wasn’t sure how it would go over with all of the delegates from all around the world that I was supposed to be showing around the conference site. In retrospect, it would have been fine, especially as I was assigned to do sound and lighting at the youth part of the conference, but I probably just wanted an excuse not to dye my hair with koolaid.

2001: …

My memory stops there. I have no idea. But, I figure that going back a decade is pretty darn good. So, Happy Canada Day everyone! Enjoy responsibly, wherever you are!

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