Death by Lumberjack: A Summer of Visits to Vancouver
This week, the final of September, is an important one. It’s officially the start of fall, and it’s the season premier of Gossip Girl. But even more importantly, it marks the end of 8 weeks of visitors to Vancouver. 41 of the previous 54 days have been spent hosting guests from across the pond, and all of a sudden I’m finding myself without friends or family, and experiencing quite the range of emotions.
First out of the gate were my boyfriend’s family – Mum, Dad and 10 year old Nephew from a little village by the Brecon Beacons in mid-Wales. This was their first trip to a large, North American city (Orlando doesn’t count) and we weren’t 100% sure how it would go, but they loved all of their 14 days (despite the obvious culture shock) and can’t wait to return! Next in line were my brother and his girlfriend, and their 6 day visit was part of a larger post-graduation, North American trip. They also loved the city, particularly Grouse Mountain and Stanley Park. We then enjoyed a 10 day break, before two of our friends arrived from Southampton. They also had a fantastic week (there’s a running theme here), loved the shopping and the scenery, and spent their final night in Vancouver googling jobs in the city. Last but definitely not least were my parents. They were here for 11 days and squeezed in trips to Seattle and Whistler as well as Vancouver before they headed home a week ago today.
Aside from loving Vancouver, all our visitors had one thing in common: they experienced amazing weather. Summer sure was late coming this year, but was well worth the wait when it finally rolled in at the end of July. Vancouver really is an outdoor city and is truly at its best in the sunshine, so I was delighted that even my parents in September had lovely, hot weather. We spent the vast majority of our six weeks outside which was fantastic, and had great fun showing everyone the sights. And sights we saw. I visited Grouse Mountain 4 times, Cloud 9 revolving restaurant 3 times, Stanley Park twice, Capilano Suspension Bridge once, and Granville Island more times than I can even begin to count. And herein lies the mix of emotions.
Although I love love loved showing our guests Vancouver’s best tourist spots, a (very tired) part of me is touristed out for the season. Let’s put it this way: I loved the Lumberjack Show at Grouse Mountain as much as the next person, but if I have to watch two men in plaid shirts dance on logs one more time I’ll be seriously tempted to run neck first into their double edged saw instead. The same goes for my diet. At the time, eating out every night seemed like a fantastic idea, until my alarm went off at 6am for my pre-work gym sessions and I remembered that I wasn’t the one on holiday. My stomach and my wallet definitely appreciate the return to normality, and a stable routine. I never thought I’d miss sitting on the floor eating home cooked food from a coffee table, but a night in has a new and much more satisfying meaning.
One of the things I was most worried about before our visitor’s arrived was getting homesick. I knew they would all love Vancouver, it’s impossible not to, but I was worried that seeing my family and friends and then having them taken away from me again would be hard to deal with. In reality, I loved having a piece of the UK with me for a while, but I needn’t have worried about them making me want to jump on the first plane home. Any such thoughts I might have had were instantly abolished after seeing the front cover of the Heat magazine that my incredibly generous friend brought over with him. I could never live in a country where Cheryl Cole can take back Ashley. And that’s that.
I won’t lie, I did shed some (read: a lot) of tears the night my parents left, and I did spend my night thinking about the bigger picture and worrying about the fact that my move abroad has affected my entire family. I don’t mean to sound self-centred, I’m sure my beloved parents and brother could have done with a break from me, but if I do decide to stay here long-term I’ll have to learn to deal with the fact that my decision means that I’ll only get to see them once a year max. And that’s tough. In an ideal world they’d all be here with me. But then I wouldn’t be doing something brave and leaving home, which would defeat the point. I’m not sure where the middle ground is, but I do know for sure that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I wouldn’t say I’m homesick as such, but I am getting excited about my three week trip back home over Christmas when I can spend time with people I didn’t see this year, and catch up with everyone I did. 10 weeks , 6 days and counting. See you soon LGW!