After weeks of anticipation the day was here. Last minute packing, pre-anxiety about forgetting much needed items and worry that we might not get there on time! I had to drive to Glenn’s where I would leave my truck and he would drive us to the airport in Fredericton. I was finally able to relax when Glenn took the wheel – I was able to sit back, relax and let out a sigh of relief. Knowing that I did not have to drive at all for the next ten days allowed me to really begin to unwind.
We were just early enough for the plane. Rachel’s GIANT bag was exactly at the allowed weight. Our seats were decent and the girls were excited. Neither had any memory of ever flying. They are girls who get scared but this time they made sure they were ready. Pee, check! Gravol, check! Eat proper breakfast, check! Chewing gum, check! They got on the plane, sat in their seats and were quivering with excitement. I was ready for the crying or fear as the plane taxied down the runway. Prepared for the sounds of terror as the plane sped up and the nose lifted off the ground. Instead I was pleasantly surprised to see the joy on their faces (mixed with relief) at how fun flying could be. They watched us go higher and higher and were overwhelmed at the view and the ‘ants’ on the ground. Stage one of trip – SUCCESS!
The trip was long. An hour and 40 minutes from Fredericton to Toronto. Then about a 45 minute wait for the next plane and almost 7 hours from Toronto to Vancouver. We were rather worn out as we climbed off the plane in Vancouver but thrilled to see Annie with a luggage cart waiting for us. Big hugs all around, excited talking everyone at once and then the wait for the bags. Although it was only 5pm in Vancouver it was 9pm in New Brunswick. By the time we travelled across Richmond, Vancouver and finally to Burnaby and the Best Western Plus. YAY! We dropped our bags and then headed to a favourite Vancouver icon the ever popular International House of Pancakes aka IHOP! Until we sat down at the table and looked at the menu we decided breakfast sounded wonderful! Note: I highly recommend the butter pecan syrup! MMM!
We returned to our hotel around 10pm and felt wired. Although back home we would have been in bed for hours, we had to update our FaceBook, check our email and start to come down from the day before we could sleep. Finally around 11pm (Pacific Standard Time) we all managed to fall asleep… fast and deep on the big comfy beds! The next morning although we woke up at 7 and 8am it felt like noon to us.
Our personal driver and tour guide – the lovely Annie was so fabulous! She took us to meet up with the girl’s cousin Angel who also happened to be in Vancouver from Australia and the 5 of us had a wonderful long lunch at an organic flatbread restaurant. MMM! One thing I miss about the city, the plethora of amazing and unique foodie establishments! Fig and goat cheese salad followed by 3 types of vegetable fettuccine noodles covered in a spicy tomato sauce with kalamata olives covered in fresh local veggies – button mushrooms, chives, sundried tomatoes and more… Of course we toasted our reunion with a sweet pint of freshly made Sangria! LOVED the lunch Angel, the company and the friendship and family! A wonderful afternoon! The girls treasured getting to know their cousin better. Kathy – Anne’s twin and my other BFF joined us near the end of the lunch and we continued the reunion from there.
We spent the evening in South Surrey at Kathy and her husband’s brand new town house. Gorgeous! We were sold on the club house – a movie room with projector and theatre seating, an elegant and contemporary design with red, black and white leather, red felt pool table, stunning pool and Jacuzzi outdoor but covered so useable year round, yoga room, full fitness room with all the latest equipment. There is a high school across the street and Kathy and Alain have a spare room – I know Rachel’s mind is thinking she should move in with them! Not quite sure that the Vallee’s would be in favour though!
After a late night including a 10pm visit to Dairy Queen we headed back to Burnaby to call it a day. We were tired and in bed shortly after 11pm – with a wake up call for 7am to make our appointment in Vancouver. A 40 minute cab ride, 2 hour medical appointment, return taxi ride and we were ready to check out of the hotel. Our personal assistant – Anne! Was again at our disposal and she drove us down the street to pick up Rachel’s childhood friend Chelsea to join us for lunch. Hmm where to go eat? IHOP! Our fave!
Rachel stayed in the big city to go with Chelsea to a Canada Day concert at Rogers Stadium to see Britney Spears with opening act Nicki Manaj! Rachel was ecstatic! She had been begging me for months to take her to see Nicki Manaj in concert – there was NO way that was ever going to happen – for one, money, for two, location, three, not my priority! So to find out a week ago that she could go with her friend to see Ms. Britney was thrilling enough, BUT to find out today that the opening act was a singer that she had been pleading to see – simply put her over the top!
Anne gave up her job as tour guide and dropped us off at the Horseshoe Bay ferry for the next leg of our trip. We are now on the Coastal Renaissance, entering Departure Bay – the Nanaimo harbour and in only minutes we will be reunited with our beloved mom/grandma and soon carted off to my home town of Port Alberni….. until next time, Happy Canada Day!
Post Script: We are now in Port Alberni with my parents and spent the morning at the Canada Day Parade. The kids, Kayden, Paige and Jessica were dressed in their patriotic gear and rode their suitably decorated scooters through town in the parade. Dad and I found a spot to park where we were on a slight hill with a great view and sat in the relative comfort of the van, sipping my coffee and watching the event. It was WAY to cold for shorts, lawn chairs and FREEZING our ‘little’ butts off in the wind! Happy Canada, eh!