"Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then, it will be a really good day." Louie Schwartzberg
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We Hit the Ground Running

posted by Susan Dominikovich on , , , , , ,

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On Friday December 13 we said good-bye to our friends and our dog, my flower pots and the tui and travelled thousands of kilometres across land and ocean.  When I booked the flights for this date we had a good laugh about it...we should have had a discounted price...the plane would be empty...ha ha ha.  But no...the general population is not deterred by superstition when it comes to travel plans and neither were we.  Even when it meant we had two Friday the 13ths to contend with, crossing over the International Date Line.

Our drive from Inglewood to New Plymouth went well and we arrived at our parking destination seamlessly, which allowed for plenty of time for the attendant there to shuttle us to the international terminal.  The kiddios were so excited.  I mean, capital E excited.  They didn't even want fast food at the airport, knowing they were going to get a meal on the plane.  Dinner at 10:00 in the evening. We did, however, find a sunny spot in the terminal and Paul and I shared a glass of wine as we waited.  I was not anxious or nervous or stressed at all about the trip.  And I was heading home.  I felt that deserved a wee celebratory toast.

Funny Girls waiting at the airport

Relaxed and enjoying the last of the southern hemisphere sun

Our Plane

Good travellers
Finally called to board, we realised that the girls were sitting together in three seats next to the window and Sam and Paul and I were in three seats across the aisle from them.  Having watched a few (too many) airplane disaster movies, we decided to sit in our designated seats for take-off and landing, always intending to swap around once we had reached altitude.  But to look at those girls, independently talking to the attendants, working their tv screens, getting themselves comfortable, they were clearly having the time of their life.  Why spoil it?  So Paul and I settled into our own relaxed night of dining, watching movies, and trying to sleep.  Sam watched more movies than the rest of us combined.  Not much sleep there, but he wasn't complaining.

Independence is a very good thing

We landed in Vancouver (O Canada!) half an hour ahead of schedule, which just meant that we caught up to five other international flights going through the queue at immigration.  We snaked our way through that process and were grateful that our kiddios were still high on the excitement of this adventure.  You couldn't wipe the smiles and grins off any of our faces. Again, immigration and finding our bags went without a hitch and after briefly freshening up in the toilets (sorry, in the washrooms), we soon found ourselves in our rented Chrysler Town and Country and were driving, on the right side of the road to Surrey to see friends.

Friday afternoon all over again and we found our way to our friends' house in Surrey. Being with them is like putting on my favourite jeans.  Comfortable, worn, and always fit perfectly even if I haven't put them on in awhile.  We connect on so many levels but the tie that binds is our shared faith and knowledge of the outworkings of that faith in our lives. Kelley and I met at Capernwray Bible School 20 years ago and travelled in Israel together. When we both married our closeness multiplied and we have beautiful memories that include all for of us.  And now our children too.  As we walked past a house that was for sale near theirs, I heard Andraya say to her mum, "these guys should buy that house." Tempting!  We love them and are hugely loved by them.  

Their children (10, 7 and 20 months) connected instantly with ours.  Mind you, it probably has something to do with their dress up box.

The dress up box.

An assortment of costumes including some from Star Wars.

We did not see our kiddios again that weekend.

We did however share a meal with Darth Vader and Padme.

I think you get the picture.


Lots of sharing and caring between us all, but also a walk on maple syrup scented streets to see Christmas lights on houses, a visit to the pools and an adventure at the Burnaby Pioneer Village to see more lights and beautiful decorations and where we also discovered a carousel.

Darth Vader and a Jedi night...I think...

Typical house decorated for Christmas in Surrey BC

No idea how I actually got this one to twinkle...weird...but effective

Doug serving all the children hot dogs for lunch

Our girls on the carousel

Our girls with Andraya (left).  Spot the foreigners (it was a mild evening to the locals)

Paul and Doug on a tram

Carolers at Burnaby Village Museum

The kidlets with Father Christmas

All the kidlets with Frosty and Doug

There is magic in a carousel.  Pure joy and simple pleasure.  I stood and watched for quite some time and what I noticed besides the bright lights, colourful and intricately decorated horses, as well as merry music, were the smiles.  Every single face, lit up in a smile.  My heart was smiling too.

Home that night via Guildford mall for dinner and a visit to the Lego Store and Disney Store.  We were kicked out at closing time.

Sunday the 15th of December, 2013 will go down as one of those days in my history.  An utterly amazing day.  A God-appointed day.  A day full of joy to treasure.

We took the kiddios to our friend's church to enjoy their family Christmas service.  It's a large church in an auditorium setting, but beautifully decorated for Christmas.  My gaze was instantly drawn to the display of dressed trees and the placard printed with the word Joy in large letters at the front.  I didn't have my camera but inscribed the simple beauty of the scene in my heart.  The joy nearly bubbled out of me. 

I settled into my seat and closed my eyes while worshipping with a body of strangers that was community together.  It was a slick service with a full band, instrumentals, drama and children's participation but it was also humbly focused and centred on Jesus Christ.  I listened intently to a very good but all too short sermon based on Luke 4 and clapped louder than anyone after the children's performance.  On this day I realised I had hope as well as joy and my heart swelled.  

After church we had a quick lunch and got our bags re-packed and jammed into our mini-van so we could go on to see my cousin in Mission.  Before that, we had a couple of God-moments which I will write about in a separate post. For now, know that I was blessed to meet with two beautiful women who have been instrumental in my growth and faith this year. I met Idelette McVicker, editor and founder of my favourite online magazine called SheLoves, and also Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist.  I was glowing for at least two days afterwards.  In fact, as I recall this day, I realise I am still glowing. 

Me and Paul with Doug and Kelley

 In Mission we had a lovely time with my cousin Donna, her husband Scott, two children Serenity and Cormack, as well as my Aunt Marilyn.  More great conversations, good food, bonding and yes, more dress ups.  The children had a fantastic time together and we were sad to leave the next morning.  My cousin and I are 6 months apart (I am the baby) and have always been very close, so we had a photo taken with our mini-mes, but unfortunately it's on Paul's camera so I will have to get it off there and add it to this post at another date.  But funnily enough, our two mini-mes share a middle name as well as the features of their mother.  

Serenity with Abby, Violet and Madeline

Serenity and Cormack with Madeline

 Thus began our final journey, the drive and ferry trip to Vancouver Island where we would finally see my family again.  It was a great day for travelling and we all enjoyed White Spot lunch on the ferry to celebrate Paul's 43rd birthday.  At 3:00 on Monday December 16, we turned up Cooperidge Drive for the first time in three years, to the house where I spent my teenage and university years.  That doesn't seem like very much time, now that I've been living in Inglewood for 16 years.  But it feels like home and certainly is home to a part of me--the part of me that is more west-coaster than it is prairie girl and not quite a kiwi either.  My mum and dad were awaiting our arrival, along with a lasagna feast and a birthday cake for Paul.  

Abby on the ferry

The kids watching for the San Juan islands

Me with my mum who was able to come home from the hospital for our arrival

Me with my dad

Happy birthday to our favourite man

More, much much more for another time.  Just think of us all as well settled and hugely blessed over here in Canadaland.  And yes, this morning I awoke to the sound of Canada geese in the distance.  I do miss my morepork and tui, but something new yet familiar is good too.

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