Birds, Bugs, and Boats

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Alas, I have returned.  I guess it has been about seven months since I’ve posted anything really but it wasn’t just a break from my blog… I ended up taking a whole break from my entire life as some would say. However, I would say that I finally started living.

There were some personal struggles going on in my life shortly after my move last winter and by the spring, I was packing my bags once again.  I must say that I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  I am so happy that I put my “life” on hold for long enough to realize that it wasn’t all there was or could be.  There is so much more out there in the world and it’s not just “lucky” people who have the privilege to experience it.  I have learned that if you want something, go out there and get it.  I have learned that nothing is permanent and that if you don’t like something, then you should probably change it.  Everyone has the power to change their  situation or at least their perspective.  No one else but you can drive the wild bus of your lifetime.

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Since I have been away so long I am going to split my journey into three parts. Three parts mainly because three is a great number and it never hurts to have a beginning, middle, and end.  I am also going to share some of my experiences through pictures.  Anyways, here we go.

Part I

The Unavoidable

Things have quite a funny way of happening usually.  My five months in the Kootenay paradise was definitely not what I had expected.  Hell, I didn’t even know it was coming.

Sickness is a catalyst for many things.  It is also something that will affect more than just one person and in many different ways.  I never thought that I would have to face it this soon but I guess maybe it’s generally the same for most people.  It wasn’t me that was sick but instead, my father.  I had only been living in the city for about three weeks when I got the phone call.  After two months, we knew that my dad was going to be okay.  The infection could have been fatal but luckily that was not the case.  However, four months after the initial call, my fiancé and I (freshly engaged at the time) found ourselves getting on the bus with our suitcases; saying goodbye to the city that had quickly been becoming our home.

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Knowing that my dad was recovering didn’t change what had already happened inside of me.  The stress and restless nights made me realize a lot of things.  A lot of things about what really matters.  I used to put a lot of stress on being at work on time, saving money, doing my makeup… that stuff is all good and well but at the end of the day, it’s what and who you love that matter.  I love my dad.  He is one of my best friends.  I have had a lot of pain in my life when it comes to him since I have never lived with him and there is a lot of time that we didn’t spend together.  I do know that we don’t have all the time in the world but I have a really hard time accepting that.  This scare really brought this reality to my door and things really began to change.  I quit my job, packed my things, and (with lots of help and support from my fiancé) did one of the best things I could have ever done.

My father was no longer up North by this point, so we got to go somewhere that is exceptionally beautiful.  Since the place I went to has always been a sanctuary and hideaway for me, I won’t be listing its name.   Despite that, I will say that it is located in South East British Columbia, one of the most alluring, magical places in Canada.

You see, my father has had a dream for quite some time. A dream of fixing up this old boat that he has, building a cabin onto it, and living on the lake. The sad part was that not very much progress had been made on this dream… nearly two decades of no progress.  This was the thought that plagued me and kept me up at night over the winter.  I couldn’t imagine him ceasing to exist while his dream continued to sit there, waiting.  I think this is what a big part of life is all about.  It’s about not leaving your dreams unfulfilled or at least trying to reach those goals to the best of your ability.  This was why I had to go.  It wasn’t just about getting the boat done, it was about getting it started.  I had to make sure that by the time it’s time to say goodbye (which should be a long long ways off), my dad will have done the things he really wanted to in life.

An oldie but a goody from '95-'96

An oldie but a goody of Dad and I (and Whalen)                                  ~1995-1996

I can still remember how it felt at that moment when I woke up on the Greyhound.  I rubbed my eyes and took a curious look out the window.  There was a surge of emotion that hit me in the chest like a ton of bricks and I couldn’t help the tears that silently slid down my cheeks.   The sun was just coming up and a low fog hung in the valley, promising a beautiful day.  I looked around me at all of the sleeping people, ignorant to my raw happiness.  Though I hadn’t reached my destination yet, I was finally home.

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Out there, is much different than being in the city.  There’s a freedom that exists because it is much harder to chain yourself up in the technological world.  I turned on my computer maybe once or twice during the whole time I was there, to clear some pictures off of my camera (which didn’t get used as much as normal either, though I did get a few good shots). I didn’t have any internet, excluding the 1GB on my cellphone that I barely used and watching movies became almost obsolete.  I finally got to enjoy moments without worrying about documenting them all of the time and I got to see the world without a screen in my face.  It was amazing.

I did more than just work on building though.  Most of that came later. There is just so much to experience where I was.

I swam in clear, quiet, crystalline waters for hours; the most I have ever swam in my life. It was amazing to swim in water that doesn’t make you numb after 60 seconds, and knowing that you can swim out far without the worry of being too congealed to swim back. I would close my eyes while the tide moved me, and wonder how life could need anything more than that simple, beautiful moment. I felt the same walking through the forest and even down the fairly quiet highway. Everything was so green and alive. Even the breeze held some magic in the smell it carried and it all made me so inspired with optimism.

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The best part about waking up each day, was not knowing what to expect.  There was always a cool new bug I had never seen before or some animal or bird yet to be discovered by my eye. It’s amazing how those simple, new things have the potential to bring so much excitement into your life. I felt so blessed… which isn’t a term I often use but the only one that seems to fit here.

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The hummingbirds were amazing!

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A newly hatched dragonfly smiled at me

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There were so many cute tree frogs that I could fill a whole post with pictures of them

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I have to say that this was the most beautiful moth I have ever seen (and the biggest!)

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And if you love turtles like I love turtles then here is a baby painted turtle

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My mum also happened to be living in the area which resulted in us staying at her place (very close to dad’s) for a while.  Over there I got to help her plant her vegetables which was really exciting for me.  I also got back into reading a bit which was really nice.  I used to read a couple books a week but that had changed drastically once I graduated (a couple of years ago) and began making time for different things when I wasn’t at work.

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Some cherries that were growing in the back yard earlier this summer

Where we were staying didn’t have the regular potential for jobs and money. To get to the only store, you had to drive… unless you felt like walking a few hours there and a few hours back. There was also a post office that I’ve never been in and the tiniest bank that you’d never notice. I had been visiting this place for years but I still only knew my family and maybe one local at this point. I liked that though. This was my hiding place. I would usually come here to escape the world of people and spend time with my eyes closed, eating apples I picked off of my uncle’s tree or jumping from mossy cliffs into bottomless waters.

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It had been over four years since I had visited the land I came from and it was the first time I had ever brought someone into it.  Showing my fiancé around was so much fun.  I had never been able to show anyone my favourite places like that before.  Not many people have seen this big part of who I am and in some ways I like that but it was really nice to share it. My fiancé stayed most of the time I was there but after three months, money was starting to get tight so he left a couple months before me to go back to work.

Before he left, we had been staying in a home with running water, heat, a kitchen, and all of that good stuff that most people (in Western and European Countries I guess)would consider to be the norm. However, once he left, I moved over to my dad’s plot and into a little tow-along trailer. I lived in it for a month. There was electricity but it was minimal and none of it was in there.  I grew to love this little camper and it’s leaky roof.  This lifestyle involved packing water jugs like the good ol’ days, washing in the lake and crapping in an outhouse. I honestly couldn’t have been happier…

How stylish am I? haha

(… to be cont. in Pt.II)

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