O Canada!

Vancouver, British Columbia

I’M IN CANADA!!!!! eh?

I haven’t really been able to blog over the past few days.. driving and deadlines and d’like. I’ve been praying, every time something interesting or amazing happens, that I won’t forget it until I can write it down SOMEwhere. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to journal either. Kind of shtinks. But whatevs. I’m here now.

So where were we? Goodness gracious, I can’t remember. Well, let me just go from getting into Canadian company (not territory, mind you). On the 16th, Jillian Marie and Chealsey Rae pulled into Seattle and we all spent a lovely night at the Lowerys.

[Shout out] Thank you, Josh and Vanny so much for your unbelievable hospitality. The old children’s church song comes to mind, “He sees all I do, He hears all I say, my God is watching all the time-time-time!” If my gratitude isn’t enough, He’s sure going to pour out other blessings in your lives for the graciousness you’ve shown me. :) [End shout out]

We pulled out the next morning armed with granola bars and a GPS named Claudia (we love you, Claudia, but try and keep the volume down), headed for a little town in southern Oregon called Ashland. On the way, we stopped into Eugene, because I’d heard it was an inCREDible place. We were sorely disappointed though. Apparently, Eugene is one of those towns that’s only awesome if you live in it. It was also raining, and all of the townspeople seemed pretty bummed about that.

We stopped in Medford for a minute to eat some greasy cheap hamburgers, then continued on our way to Ashland, where we stayed at Joel (Timen – groom’s) church for two nights, along with the other impoverished wedding-goers. We went to a British pub that night and hung out with YWAMers Lori, Sharayah, and Stefani. It was a hoot-and-holler. The town of Ashland was GORgeous and aDORable and sweet. I loved it. It was hilly and green and wet and alive. Buzzing with smiles and umbrellas. The people there were great. Just great. Beyond great. They were fantastic. I loved them.

The wedding was in Applegate Valley, at a vineyard. It was raining pretty hard and steady throughout the whole thing. My boots got soaked. So I took them off. The ceremony was lovely. Joel’s dad did it, and he looks so much like Ben Kingsley, it made me want to cry and laugh and hug him! Linsey was a beaming bride if I’ve ever seen one. I could tell she was a little miffed for her audience getting all wet, but just as soon as Joel caught her eye, she would just light up like Christmas. It was really adorable.. my cheeks hurt later from smiling so much. The reception was so much fun. Lots of talking and meeting and drinking and eating and mingling and dancing and wandering and laughing. What a wedding reception should be. Especially the setting. Holy Moses, the vineyard was incredible. In…. credible.

So then Jillian, Chealsey and I packed everything up and hit the road to the Redwood Forest. Now THAT is one place…… I just don’t even know what to say…. what is there to say? They’re so huge, they’re so wonderful, they’re so awe-inspiring.. there’s just nothing to say but “wow.” Everyone should go there. Oh, I will say that it felt entirely too much like there ought to be vampires coming out of the woodworks (ha! no pun intended) there. And scooping me up and sweeping me into the heights. Oh my gosh….. they’re so tall. You could barely see the tops of them. They just vanished into the sky……. oh my gosh….. it was amazing…… it was so amazing, I am completely okay having no vocabulary skills anymore.

Right, and THEn, we drove up to Portland. Portland, Oregon. Which is….. the love of my life. I didn’t know until we met, but we were meant to be together. I have never felt so completely “right” in a city. It was heaven to me. I had a beer at Pizza Shmizza Pub & Grub while we tried to figure out where we were going to stay, and already knew. This is it. We stayed at Ramada Inn, in comfortable beds (sleeping on pews, no matter how spiritual the atmosphere may be, just sucks), and watched most of “Drillbit Taylor” (good movie!!!) before drifting off to sleep in Portland’s loving arms.

In Portland, we went first to a farmer’s market. Apparently, they happen every day there. We got muffins and strawberries and free samples of lots of things. The people were so friendly, I wanted to snatch them up for a dollar a pound too. Especially one. Whose name I shall never know. Then we went to Powell’s Books and went nuts. What a freakin’ place. McKay’s is to Powell’s like Vizzini is to Fessik. There’s my Princess Bride reference for this post. I bought two books, and maybe shouldn’t have, but I’m glad I did. One is called “The Three Marriages,” and it’s about the inseparableness of one’s work, ego, and relationships. It looks very good, and well-written. The other is called “Parables of Keirkegaard.” I always loved his stories, just thrown randomly into his writings, and this is just a book chock-full of them. I’m so excited to start it.

Then we drove up through the border. I almost had a panic attack, because of my last Customs experience, but the gentleman at the gate was.. well, he wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination “friendly,” but he at least didn’t get in my face and tell me I was a liar over and over and over and not let me say anything… ::shudder::

And here I am! We’ve trekked all over Vancouver.. Chinatown, Gastown, a native American reservation called “Cove” something, the “east side,” which is really scary, the university district, the waterfront….. Vancouver is really big. Chealsey Rae and I are staying with Jillian Marie at her house (one of a four-plex) in the “Commercial” district, which is a sprawling hubbub of coffee shops and delis and grocers. It’s absolutely adorable. Skateboarding isn’t illegal here, and there are swarms of the cutest little punks you’d ever want to squeeze, just zoomin’ along on the sidewalks all the time. PINCH PINCH!!

One thing I will say about Vancouver…. it isn’t very friendly. Jillian and Chealsey were both flabbergasted at the customer service and overall civility shown them in the States.. apparently it’s just customary to be a complete prude to everybody up here. It’s kind of sad…. but it also makes me really want to develop my friendships, for some reason. And speaking of that, Jillian has a roomie named Celeste, and Celeste has a boyfriend named Simeon, and Simeon has a friend named Adam, and we all hung out and ate perogies and drank wine a couple of nights ago. It was so incredibly wonderful. Then we argued politics (after the wine had settled in), and eventually disclosed our political leanings (haha!). It was so great… sooo great…. sigh. :)  ANYway..

Today, Jillian is at school, so Cheals and I are going down to the beach. Hopefully, it won’t rain, but probably, it will. More latah..

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