Today we took a jaunt to Vancouver, BC. For us– born southerners– Canada still seems like such a foreign, faraway land. And for most Americans it is. For Bellingham-ers, though, it is a mere 20 minutes to the north.
I have had three previous Canadian experiences :
1) A family trip when I was in high school. It is a mixed bag of memories. There were the happy parts I recall like my brother dancing and singing to tourists at the swanky restaurant in Chateau Lake Louise. But also the painfully clear memory of my father being paged at the airport, to be told that his brother, our uncle, had just passed away. Needless to say, my family often talks about this trip when we all get together.
2) A spontaneous two-day Greyhound excursion to Vancouver when I was living in Seattle in 2002.
3) An infamous trip to the Canadian border on December 4, 2008. Oh yes, just the border. We had been visiting Chris’s grandfather, Sam, for his 100th (yes, he will be 1004 this year, good genes) birthday, and Chris was attempting a surprise trip to Niagara Falls for my own birthday. It was an incredibly sweet gesture, as he had created a Niagara Falls collage for me a few months after we started dating. It was a pretend Niagara honeymoon future-memory picture, and one of the first of many “this is the one” moments I had/have with him.
(and speaking of collages, he just made this incredible one for Holden last night:)
The Niagara Falls surprise of 2008 will go down in infamy as the most amusing and frustrating failed surprises of our history. We had taken the word of others that Canada would allow us entrance with our licenses, much to our eventual dismay. Needless to say, Canada wanted passports, and instead of just letting us turn around at the gate they made us enter into Canada, and then sign forms stating that me and my pregnant a$$ would exit Canada without haste.
Today being our first attempt to enter Canada after being a-booted from it, we were understandably nervous.
Apparently for good reason too: again we were told to park and go inside the Canada Building of Shame. WTF? So all four of us cruised inside a shockingly familiar scene of any American bureaucratic gathering: a long line, 1 person working the counter, and 6 people either milling around aimlessly in back offices or staring very seriously into a computer screen…all united in the doing of nothingness.
Needless to say, we let the toddlers be toddlers, AKA loud and potentially destructive (though I did draw the line at trying to climb the Canadian flag, because I am a sensitive American like that) and all the sudden there were 5 people manning the computers. Yay!
When it came our turn we were told that we have an “immigration record.” I said we had never attempted immigration to Canada before? However, four years ago there was this funny little thing in Niagara Falls… Apparently that was the holdup, and after he promised to mark that we were hunky dory people in our file, we continued on our way to our destination:
Nerd central; we were home. The boys went absolutely cray cray. Exhibit after exhibit of cool stuff.
Needless to say, my little scientists passed out fast tonight. With visions of dinosaurs dancing in their heads.
Hopefully Canada will continue allowing us in, so we can make regular daytrips to cool museums, and I can perfect my metric system conversions.