9 Days in the Land of Wild Roses, Rockies, and Blackberries: a picture post

Few things are better than time with family. The fun thing about growing older with siblings is that the type and grandeur of things done together changes.

Hence, this trip. It is the first time in my life that I booked flight tickets for the express purpose of seeing someone…actually somepeople. My three older brothers are my heroes: all and each are adventuresome, hardworking, excited by new places and cultures, and all have the travel-itch. As each left the family, they searched their fortunes and educations in many places. At this point, one is in Alaska, one is in British Columbia, and one is in Alberta. Take a look at the map: none of those places are near Chicago.

So what’s a sister to do? Get on a plane, obviously. (Sadly, I didn’t make it to Alaska…but someday!)

I spent nine packed days with my two brothers, their respective girlfriends, one brother’s friends and community, and two families of Aunts/Uncles/cousins.

I learned to appreciate again the size of Canada: we drove several late nights, keeping ourselves awake with hilarious silliness. Leaving Alberta to drive to BC was an all-nighter through the Rocky Mountains, under crackles of blinding lightning, through unpredictable summer storms, under the watchful eye of a full moon, and to the tune of Josh Garrels. I travelled by car, ferry, train and plane…and folks, it feels good to be on the road.

I appreciated anew the beauty of Canada too: first the flat prairies and wide skies of Alberta; then the mysterious, old layers of the coolies; the fire show in the mountains mentioned above; the blue silhouettes of those mountains on one side and the Pacific defining the other side of beautiful British Columbia; the sound of seagulls and the white turning of water behind the ferry; the still river-waters where one might see a beaver. My city-sore eyes soaked it in and my ears delighted in the sound of birds and water (and nary a siren!).

I appreciated, too, the blessed feeling of returning to family and kin. Staying for a year among strangers, almost-friends, and friends-in-the-budding has been good, but being with people you feel absolutely safe and at home with is nothing short of a gift of grace.

Alberta, June '15 (34)
Riding in Alberta’s coolies. A dear family friend, and mentor to my brother, let us ride his horses. It was lovely!
Alberta, June '15 (57)
Aw…I love them. 🙂
Alberta, June '15 (78)
Self-explanatory: the sky, people, the sky!!
Alberta, June '15 (85)
Late night drive, approaching the Rockies.
Alberta, June '15 (65)
It got a little cold 🙂
Alberta, June '15 (86)
Full moon…which prompted me to tell MacDonald’s fairytale, “Little Daylight”. That sweet tale is near and dear to my heart – I recommend that you waste no time finding it and reading it!!
Alberta, June '15 (142)
Wake of the ferry. (Why is it called a ‘wake’? That is what happens before a funeral.)
Alberta, June '15 (147)
Perhaps my upbringing installed this weird love in me: but I feel at home in airports, and love to ‘visit’ new ones. Here is Colorado airport.
Alberta, June '15 (155)
Ah, Canada, je t’aime!
Alberta, June '15 (167)
The prairies…
Alberta, June '15 (170)
An idyllic afternoon of fishing. (my brother’s Thai friend caught three but returned them all) (but then he and his wife cooked fish from their freezer. I’ve never tasted such GOOD fish!) (I ate one of the eyeballs, Leanne (my brother’s girlfriend) ate the other) (it was my first time eating a fish eyeball 🙂 I liked it, it was crunchy) (almost anything is good when it’s crunchy!)
Alberta, June '15 (175)
It is crazy to me, but all Alberta small towns seem to have their rodeo set-ups. This is the seating for one, near the fishing lake.
Alberta, June '15 (183)
Three abandoned chairs. Delightfully arranged.
Alberta, June '15 (193)
Newborn calf at the ranch my brother worked at.
Alberta, June '15 (205)
Dear Drumheller… there are dead dinosaurs in Canada; live ones in Congo. (And people wonder where I’d rather live!)
BC, July '15 (4)
Bright British Columbia houses! The yellow one on the far left is like the house my sister Joanna will have someday…
BC, July '15 (10)
Canada Day, ice cream, and a quirky brother!
BC, July '15 (16)
I haven’t seen these cousins for three years…and this little guy is cuter than ever! (Oh, and notice the puppy: a new arrival to the family! I had the privilege of helping give her her first bath)
BC, July '15 (48)
Loved my time with this wonderful family of relatives, plus a visiting Aunt and Uncle from Ontario. Their love for God and care for each other is truly remarkable!!
BC, July '15 (139)
The Visiting Uncle and Aunt spent literally hours of their vacation driving me to and from the ferry twice! And then, they fed me… at this burger place, where the burgers were big beyond belief!

Now, I am back in Chicago. Mixed feelings about that. 🙂 But, as a dear lady said to me once, “Jesus makes us happy where He puts us.” He does indeed. But hopefully someday in the not too distant future, He will put me in the same vicinity as my siblings again…

DSCN9189

Safe travels, friends.

And remember, there is always beauty, if your eyes are open.

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2 thoughts on “9 Days in the Land of Wild Roses, Rockies, and Blackberries: a picture post

  1. Great story telling Maaike! It was great heaving you over to visit. Wish we would have had more time. God Bless you and know that “no good thing does He withold from those whose walk is blameless” (somewhere in the bible). -Uncle Rich

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