Friday, January 18, 2008

I'm way too young to be this old

There are many joys in starting something new. Today I took a walk to Oak Bay while our building manager cleaned our carpets (again) in the attempt to rid our den of cat stink (cross your fingers!). This is why I love Victoria-today I went into a china store that only sold tea cups and tea accessory dishes-tea pots, china plates, platters, those cool three story platters. As I was walking, I heard old ladies speaking with English accents, and there are so many little stores with quaint things. I just love having to pass antique stores to get to my tea store. Sigh. Heaven, I'm in Heaven-old people heaven... oh crap.

Also, I like starting new friendships. I'm starting a "while you were studying" club-a social support group for widow(ers) of the Island Medical Program. I have to get a good picture for it for our Facebook group yet but there are a few people excited about having someone to do something with when our significant others are studying. There is a JET-ish feel to the Island Medical program- a lot of us are new to the area, we have something in common, and looking for something to do. However, we don't have the disposable income that made living in Japan so much fun. Oooh.. and we're on an island, the same size as Shikoku.

Also, Phone numbers. Ben has his new island number, so email him if you don't have it yet and want it, but my phone is MIA, so it'll be a bit till I get another one.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Years, Moving, Cat Stink and Bugs

my Christmas post ended up being longer, so I thought I'd break them up. New Years was a blast. We went to Mt. Washington with 5 of our friends and stayed in Ben's uncle's condo. We had 5 nights-long enough to go snow boarding twice and do nothing on the 1st. It was my second time ever snowboarding, and after shedding some tears going down my first run in frustration, Steve gave me some pointers, and I got better thereafter. I actually had fun and I'm looking forward to when we can go again. At best, I've tolerated going out for winter sports, I've just never been good enough to really enjoy it, nor had the right clothing. This year, thanks to the Helly Hansen Warehouse sale, I was ready!

Ben had a blast with the guys on the back of the mountain, where we beginner girls feared to tread.

After packing up from the mountian on the 2nd, we drove down to Victoria to meet Ben's dad, Chris (Ben's younger brother) and Ashely-who had given up a day of snowboarding to help us.. Thank You!!

Rebekah, Tony and their boys came half way and helped us finish unloading the truck. Rebekah was awesome in unpacking our kitchen stuff. We oreded pizza but it was super late as they had a hard time understanding that 778 can be a area code for a phone (we hadn't changed our numbers yet) So, after Ben "discussing" the issue with the manager, we eventually got our pizza and a credit for next time. Ben whisked Dad, Chris and Ashely to the ferry, where they only caught it because another woman had a car issue, and the ferry was delayed! Seeing as the Janzens were staying the night, it sure would have been a squish if Dad, Chris and Ashely also had to!!

Our place is great, except for a horrible cat pee stink that emanates from the den. We actually found kitty litter and a piece of cat food along the edge of the floor. For now we've shut the den up, and we're waiting for the manager to come and clean the carpets, as well as do some painting in the kitchen and bathroom, which should have been done before we moved in. So we haven't been able to fully unpack

It was great to have the Janzens here though and help us make our new place home. On Thursday we swam in the morning, then went to Bug Zoo in the afternoon. I was really impressed with the guide who had lots to tell us about the bugs, and we got to hold them. Little 4 year old Malachi wanted to hold everything, even the tarantula that you had to be 19 to hold.

Monday Ben started school, I drove him and another med-student who lives down the hall to school, then went to the Oak Bay Marina to watch the sun come up. I love that anywhere we turn, there is ocean. Last night after dinner with some friends they drove us around a bit, and we went to the beach-the wind was blowing so hard we could lean against it.

We feel comfortable here already. I feel like I've been able to let out a breath I've been holding for a long time. It's great to be somewhere where we can invest in-where it worth really unpacking.

Christmas fun

It's been a busy few weeks, but here's the recap:

Christmas started for us on the 22nd with my Dad's family. It was great to see all the usual family, plus some extras-engagements and a baby. We gather in same place we have for as long as I can remember, and the huge building is now this small room that I wonder how we all fit (there are about 50 of us when we're all together).

The day started and ended with Turkey as after the Unrau gathering we went to our friends house for another dinner.

Sunday was suppose to be a Martens gathering, but Ben's cousin had a near-fatal medical emergency, so most of the aunts were preoccupied with taking care of him, and a lot of cousins were away, so we visited Grandma Martens in Abbosford, then had dinner with Ben's parents. Don't you love a holiday that's counted by dinners?
Christmas eve was at the Martens house. We had turkey for lunch/dinner and went to the CLA service. After we opened presents. The Big Gift was our family portrait that Don MacGregor (my boss) did on Spanish Banks this fall. We gave Mom a 40 inch canvas that looks beautiful in their tv nook next to the kitchen. Presents this year were easy for us as everyone got pictures of themselves. Chris's girlfriend Ashely opened her presents from her parents (from Colorado) and she shared her tradition of reading "The Polar Express" with us. I had never read it before, or seen the movie. We spent the rest of the evening eating and playing games.

We spent the night at Mom and Dad's to save us driving back to Vancouver than to Abbotsford again, so Christmas Day we had hugs in Langley, then off to Abbotsford for my family Christmas. Brunch is the main meal that we all look forward to. Fluffy apple pancakes, bacon rolls with cheese sauce, fruit salad, ham-it's my favourite meal of the year. Rebekah's three boys are now old enough that we call all play games, so after presents we all found something to entertain us, from chess to PS3 karaoke. Grandma didn't quite know what to make of our singing, but she smiled and nodded along. We were blessed to have our Cousins Tiffany and Monsef from Amsterdam come for desert. It was great to catch up with them. I love hearing about their lives, although I'm sure it's tiring for them to repeat everything to everyone they see in their short two weeks here.

Although we were preparing to move, both Ben and I were able to get into the spirit of Christmas way more this year than ever before. Ben had exams up to the 20th, but then we were free to enjoy our time. It helped that we didn't host any parties, so there was less stress for us, but last year we were settling in after returning of a year and a half of changes. This year the changes were happening after Christmas so we could just enjoy.

ps. there are lots of pictures but for some reason, our camera doesn't want to give them up, so check back