A to B in 4500km

Apparently it is May.

In the last month, Matthew and I have: completed our Master of Divinity degrees, finished up my work with CMHA, said goodbye to family and friends in London and surrounding cities, packed up our house and overseen it being loaded onto a moving truck, and packed up the corolla and driven through six states and five provinces with ourselves and a cat.

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After 4500km, we are in Victoria!

13091910_10101404984637131_5467908939173001290_nIt is a bit surreal. A month ago, we were both finishing up our last week of classes and looking at spending the next couple of weeks writing papers. It is hard to believe that three years (2.5 for Matthew) are over and done already. In so many ways, it feels like just yesterday that I was packing up everything in Victoria to move to London. And now it is all in boxes again…

The boxes remain on the moving truck and we are eagerly awaiting their arrival sometime in the next week or so. Meanwhile, we drove ourselves across the country, stopping in Minneapolis, Brandon, Lethbridge, and Sorrento before heading over to the Island.

For Matthew, most of the drive was new. For me, the entire route south of the Great Lakes was a new adventure and the cross prairie trek was a lovely reminder of the beauty of our country, as it has been 20 years since my family made our first major move from Belleville to Lethbridge.Attachment-1 IMG_7009 IMG_7011We crossed Manitoba and Saskatchewan in nearly one day, flying along the prairie Trans-Canada highway. Matthew marvelled at the flat flat flat of the land, attempting to see the horizon at every turn (who am I kidding: there were no turns in the road) but continuing to remark instead: “Nope, it’s still very flat!”

I drove from Swift Current to Lethbridge. Once we turned onto Highway 3 from the Trans-Canada, it was remarkable how familiar things began to look. I learned to drive in Lethbridge and it showed. I was still able to navigate the city quite well, taking Matthew by my old home, down to the Oldman River Valley to see the famous high level bridge, and around by my old high school.

bridgeThen it was off north through more prairie to foothills, through Calgary to the mountains. We could see the mountains from Lethbridge, but it never ceases to amaze me how one can drive all day and not seem to get any closer. Three hours from Lethbridge, however we finally entered the Rockies.IMG_7017

Their majestic peaks were still topped by snow and there were some valleys thick with snow alongside rushing streams as we wound through the mountain passes. Then we were out, into the Interior.

We stopped the night in Sorrento, BC, about an hour outside of Kamloops. The Anglican Church has a retreat centre there and a good friend works there full time. The last time I was at Sorrento was exactly three years ago, when I attended “ACPO” – the Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination and was recommended for theological training in advance of pursuing ordination in the Anglican Church of Canada. Talk about full-circle. It is a beautiful haven on the Shushwap Lakes with amazing programming all summer long.Attachment-1 (1)

From Sorrento we drove down the Coquihalla, through Vancouver (waving at Dad and Colleen as we travelled the new South Fraser Perimeter Road to the ferry terminal. After a one-sailing wait, it was onto the Spirit of Vancouver Island and over to Victoria.

We are blessed to have wonderful friends and colleagues in Victoria with whom we are staying while we wait to be able to get into our new suite. It has been an adventure and we are looking forward to what comes next!

Turkey: A Sneak Preview

Silence here the last few weeks has been because I was travelling in Turkey. We got back earlier this week and I’ve gotten as far as uploading my zillions of photos to my computer…but no further.

Until I get a little more organized, here are a couple peeks into the gorgeousness that was our trip there. (These are from the NEW! real camera, other pics from my phone can be found on instagram.)

Click on one photo to enlarge to a slideshow.

Friday Photo

Photos of fog are difficult to capture. They seem to look better in black and white.

I haven’t said much about my trip to St John’s 2 weekends ago. Here is the St John’s bit…

It was the spring meeting of PWRDF youth council, the council for which I am BC/Yukon representative. Since it is a 14+ hour trip to get from this Island on the left coast to that Island on the right coast (and Oh did I ever complain about this a whole heap on twitter!), I went two days early to spend some time in St John’s before the meeting. I was last in St John’s when I was 11 years old and I couldn’t tell you if much has changed. I have some specific memories of St John’s: Signal Hill, Cape Spear, fog, and rain. I was able to experience them all again this trip.

We walked up Signal Hill on my first afternoon in St John’s, and proceeded to be nearly blown off of the top (unzipping my jacket and trying to fly may have helped). We were unable to see much of anything. There were many cannons up on the top of the Hill and I’m not sure how the cannon operators could have ever seen their targets for all the fog. The lady operating the gift shop inside of Cabot Tower was fairly surprised that we had walked up the hill. Really, it wasn’t too far, but it was very foggy. From the top, it was as if we were in a cloud with no view of the city whatsoever.

I was booked into a hostel right downtown, in the middle of a street of colourful houses, with the other BC/Yukon rep. We befriended another in the 4-bed room and the three of us wandered around, exclaiming at colourful houses, going into shops, and finally stopping for fish and chips and beer at one of the local hot-spots for fish and chips.

The next day saw us needing to head out to the conference site mid-afternoon. Oh what to do for a morning in St John’s? With Signal Hill down and an iceberg seen (but others, not me… but it was out of our reach for that day), what to do but steal/borrow a van and drive the very hill and foggy half-hour drive to Cape Spear.

Cape Spear. The Most! Easterly! Point! in Canada. (L: The rocks and waves and crashing waves at the Most! Easterly! Point! M: Me contemplating the rocks and waves and crashing waves in the fog at the Most! Easterly! Point! while Tessa takes pictures. R: DANGER!)

The conversation went something like this:

Gillian: If my Dad were here, he would say something like “You’re not really at the most easterly point unless you are touching the water off the end of those rocks.” Mind you, it would mean jumping the fence and climbing down slippery rocks in the fog. Oh look, a Danger sign!

Tessa: Remember that we are the only vehicle in the parking lot right now and you have the keys and we have no cell reception. Maybe don’t go. It would be a long walk and I don’t want to get stuck here.

Gillian: Its okay, that’s just what my Dad would say. I never actually listen.

The End.

Friday Photo

I upgraded my phone a few weeks ago and boy has it been fun to be able to do things with it again. It really is a personal computer that fits in my pocket. These are all the same photo, edited on my phone… A gloomy day looks a whole lot happier when it becomes a rainbow!

Chinatown

When I returned to Victoria in February 2007 after my first prolonged absence since I initially moved here in 2004, I lived in the growing area known as “The Railyards” in Vic West. At the time, there were only a couple of townhouse/condo buildings there. Now the area has exploded with popularity. There were a number of things I loved about living there; proximity to downtown, views overlooking the Gorge waterway, and being right on the Galloping Goose Regional Trail were just some of the perks. I often did my grocery, or vegetable anyway, shopping just over the bridge in Chinatown.

Then I came back from Offshore and moved out to the “suburbs”. Not quite as far out as I had lived during my undergrad and certainly a more manageable bicycle ride into town (20-25 min), but nevertheless, not downtown. And there I lived from October 2008 until December 2011. It was wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoyed some of the perks of that area.

However, now that I am downtown, I am basking in my downtown-ness. The other week, I walked the four short blocks to my friends house and we walked her dog around downtown, coffee in hand. Sunday morning – New Years Day – I rolled out of bed less than half an hour before church began and made it in the door before the opening hymn. My commute to work is less than 10 minutes on the bicycle. But the thing that I enjoyed most today was a quick stroll down to Chinatown to obtain a tea ball for my teapot and do some vegetable shopping at my favorite Chinatown market.

It was doing that thing right on the edge of actually raining. That light sprinkle on already wet streets that gives a certain glow to the city. Add to the rain that twilight time of night when the lights are already glowing as well as Christmas lights still up all over the city, and you have a lovely evening of walking around and looking at glowing, reflecting lights twinkling all around. I began taking pictures just before entering the market, and by the time I left, not fifteen minutes later, the sun was well and truly down and darkness had descended on Chinatown. However the lights lit up the area like beacons in the darkness.

It’s September?

Apparently getting back into town means one has to already be running at top speed when land is hit. Since I arrived home on Friday, I have managed to take first aid, schedule orientation shifts at a new job (more later), attend 2 meetings and give a presentation at a third, work, sleep, eat … you get the picture. All of this sunshine doesn’t help with the need to be indoors to accomplish most of this. I’ve got some crafty stuff I want to finish – inside – but find myself fairly reluctant to stay indoors when it is so stunningly gorgeous outside. I just want to be outside with a book! Not inside with a sewing machine!

I did manage, partially because this machine travels outside, to get through some of my photos and put about a dozen of my favourites online. They’ve been added to my Sailing the West Coast album, beginning with this photo.

UPDATE: It appears that I’ve been slack on the updating of photos. So in the Europe album, begin here for some from my time in France last spring and in the Daily Life album, beginning here are a few from this summer.

This week on Offshore

I haven’t done one of these posts in awhile. It was prompted by a sudden recollection of running into a Japanese pop duo performing whilst a friend and I were wandering a mall during our weeks of being stranded in Okinawa – 3 years ago this week (I remember because it was around Valentine’s Day when we were in the mall… they were into Valentine’s Day in a big way in Japan). Then I wondered, what else happened this week on Offshore?

We finally left the Island of Okinawa and the wonders of its shopping streets. Crossing the South China Sea and experiencing a series of mishaps: snapping a fore stay, breaking the stove, and exploding anchor winch hydraulic lines, we finally ran up Chinese colours and entered the Yangtze River. There were possibly more boats than we’d seen all at once in months (or ever) and the banks of the Yangtze and Huangpo rivers were overloaded with boats and buildings, garbage and miscellaneous detritus. Finally, we were able to dock in Shanghai with a stunning view of Pudong.