I met my husband shortly after Canada Day, catching some rays on White Rock beach. To give a sense of how long ago this was, my girlfriend and I had just finished taking a summer school morning class. (It appeared that our previous instruction in pattern making was not up the exacting standards of the German trained teaching staff of Kwantlen College.) These morning classes left us plenty of time to do other fun stuff, exploring our new surroundings, as we had recently arrived from Calgary and didn’t know the lay of the land yet.
The weather was not particularly warm that day, but if you tuck into a wind break on the beach, it can seem less like a nordic country and more like a tropical one. My girlfriend and I had done just that, and so had my future husband. Thinking about it now, I can’t remember if he was already there when we sat down or not. In any case, he was on my left side, all of us peering out towards the beach and casually watching the people come and go.
The first thing that was said between us, had something to do with noticing how the RCMP officer riding by, dressed in his full red serge uniform, must feel very ‘hot’. It was a provocative comment and served nicely to break the ice and get us talking. There was no phone to be staring at, all we had was at hand, all around us and in our heads. We had to live in the moment, there was no other way to be. Noticing the peculiar, unique or interesting circumstances and appreciating these things enough to say something about it, makes for an excellent conversation. I know it sounds old-fashioned, but at the time, we seemed right on trend.
I was later to find out that his birthday was on July 1st, which was curious to me. I had never met anyone who shared a birthday with a national holiday. I had many questions about the experience of sharing your birthday with…a country? I shared mine with my father, which was tricky enough for him and I to coordinate a joint celebration. (I fear we have not managed it many times since I became an adult).
All these years later, as we have celebrated many Canada Day and birthdays together, I am still a little curious about what the experience really feels like. My husband maintains that it is always a special day for him. The weather is warm, there are fireworks and he never has to work. When we celebrate in Canada, everyone around us makes a big deal of this special day.
Although, yesterday was a little bittersweet, I think. As we prepare for our upcoming year away, the decision was made to sell our boat. For the last 2 years, we enjoyed the firework finale of Canada day from the water off White Rock beach. Last night, we walked down and paused to watch, right at our old meeting spot, by coincidence. When the show was over and crowd thinned a bit, we sat on a bench and watched the stream of people leaving the pier. Then we made the 300′ climb, winding through the streets, back up to our house.
Join us. As a family, we are taking a year to experience life from different perspectives. We will dive into communities and live like locals. In ancient sites, we will imagine where people once stood, as we follow in their footsteps.
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