Monday, August 16, 2010

Ramblings about Summer, Vacation, and Contentment

The summer has flown by!  The last time I posted I was on my way to Family Camp and it was the middle of June.  Here it is, middle of August and my friends in the United States are already sending their kids back to school!

I do have a semi-legitimate excuse.  We've been busy.  I know, it's not really a very good excuse.  Everyone's busy.  I guess we're just enjoying having fun and being lazy this summer.  The highlight of our laziness was going out east and seeing Atlantic Canada and the north eastern USA.  We travelled through Quebec and New Brunswick before staying on Prince Edward Island for five days.  Then we went over to Nova Scotia, took a ride around the Cabot Trail, and booted it home through New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York.

The kids loved the trip.  While we were travelling around, they loved the hotels, especially the ones with the pools!  That was their favourite things about the whole vacation.  While on the Island, the kids had a blast playing with their new friends, the seven and nine year old children of our Italy-trip companions.  You see, we stayed with a couple that we met when Aaron and I went to Italy.  They were in our tour group and we ended up hanging out with them.  We each invited the other couple to come for a visit if a tour of our respective areas was ever in order and we both took the other up on the offer this summer.

As we drove through the Maritimes, I couldn't help but say, over and over, that I would love to live "here" (wherever "here" was at the time.)  New Brunswick had lovely rolling hills, and such scenic drives.  The Bay of Fundy and the Flower Pots Rocks were magnificent.  But the thing I noticed most there was that it was so not crowded.  I felt a little bad for the province that there weren't too many people that took the opportunity to drive through New Brunswick.  And we didn't even see the northern half of it!

We spent five days on Prince Edward Island.  Life there is so different!  Traffic was about as light as our city gets on a Sunday afternoon and our hosts kept saying how bad the traffic was!  They just have a slower pace there and they really know how to enjoy people and life in general.  We had no internet access and two TV channels while at their house.  It was refreshing, to be able to reconnect, face to face, with people.  We spent days driving around and seeing the beauty of God's creation, we explored beaches and marvelled at the wonder of the tide, coming and going every six hours.  We ate shrimp, mussels, lobster, fresh PEI potatoes, and lots of ice cream (the origin of which was our friend's dad's dairy farm.)  We sang hymns in a country church just down the road from our hosts and smiled to ourselves as the country organist ignored inconvenient things like half notes, opting instead to plow through "It Is Well With My Soul" one rapid quarter note at a time.  We were A/C free, enjoying God's natural A/C instead.  (The wind off the ocean was so refreshing!)

And then, sadly, we left Prince Edward Island and our newfound friends-for-life, and headed to Cape Breton Island, part of Nova Scotia.  We drove the Cabot Trail, stopping here and there to take pictures and enjoy the view.  We climbed mountains in our good, old Montana, 30 minutes to get up 455 metres, 10 minutes down.  We chewed gum to get the pressure in our ears back to normal.  We drove by cliffs, looked down into treed valleys.  And we loved it!

It wasn't just the five of us though.  We had companions with us in the van to make the journey a little more compfortable, of course.  Rosie (our GPS, named by the youngest after a Thomas the Tank Engine character) was our boss, telling us how to get where we wanted to go.  Sometimes she took us the wrong way, going down a road that was closed or a path that really wasn't necessary.  Sometimes we ignored her.  Sometimes we manipulated her to get us somewhere the way wanted to go.  But we all got along.  Our other favourite van companion was a set of DVDs from our good friends, the 4M family.  It was a six disc set called "The Wonders of God's Creation" and it was similar to the Planet Earth videos that show how the world works.  But these discs do all that while showing that God had a great plan and design in mind when He created us and our world.  This world and these bodies are so complicatedly interwoven and interdependent, that there is just no way this all could have come about by chance.  I think us two older travellers may have enjoyed the videos more than the younger travellers.  But, it kept our minds entertained on the longer stretches of road.

There were some long stretches of road in Maine, Massachusetts and New York.  Loooong stretches of road.  You know how when you spend a lot of time doing something and then you're done doing that thing, you just want to be Done-done?  That's how we felt about getting home.  We drove two 12 hour days to get home from Sydney, Nova Scotia.  I made a mental note to appreciate being in a new State each time we crossed the State line, and then my mind would numb again to the constancy of the road in front of us.  Don't get me wrong, I loved Maine.  It was so...  hilly/empty/forested/remote.  (And it gave us a chance to sine Rhett and Link's "Maine Man" song a few times.  New Hampshire was quick.  Massachusetts was fun while we were still heading south, then it took a turn for the boring when our van pointed west for good.  New York was expensive to drive through and not new to us.  And then we were home.

The kids counted 87 cranes on our ten day vacation.  Don't ask me why.  Their father is a mechanical engineer.  Ask him.  Over half of those cranes were counted within an hour of our house.  I think that tells me something about the pace of our life compared with the lives we sampled on our vacation.  I'm not going to spend time wondering which I would rather have or what the consequences of it would be if we suddenly found ourselves a thousand kilometres away from virtually all of our friends and family.  This is the life we have and this is the life we love.  We are so much more content if we can love what we have, be thankful for our own blessings, be thankful that the people around us are blessed, and leave it at that.  So I am thankful that I had a chance to see a little more of God's earth, I am thankful that I have friends all over this continent that I can visit, and I will continue to give thanks for the wonderful life I've been given.  What more do I need?