Saturday, 31 December 2016

The Road Trip North - Day 22 to Day 31. Christmas in West Kelowna and back to Abbotsford and Vancouver.

Day 22 starts shockingly early, out of the AirBnB and into the icy air and over to the dark and depressing Greyhound bus station via Michael’s Mom’s place. There is a scrum of anxious travellers waiting to get home for Christmas, but no busses in sight. Eventually one arrives and lucky for us it is ours and we are the first on at this stop, but it is already half full so we all end up with aisle seats for the four hour journey. It is another half hour before we go, and then after only a few dozen miles of travelling we are stopped again in Chilliwack to pick up more passengers. Only a connecting bus hasn’t arrived yet, so we are stuck stationery for the best part of another hour. We would have preferred to drive ourselves to Michael’s brother’s house, but had numerous warnings from various people about trying to cross the snowy Coquihalla Pass in our little bumper car.

Relieved to be off the bus in West Kelowna, the air no less icy here, but we were greeted by our Christmas companions and whisked off for a Nepalese lunch. This is the first time I had met Michael’s sister-in-law, Sarie, and his cute little nephew, Tanner, and I was very pleased to be introduced to Tanner as Aunty Jo. Making up our festive party was Sarie’s aunt Laura.

Then it was back to Steve, Sarie and Tanner’s house, where we were made to feel very at home and the huge and festive tree helped us get into the Christmassy spirit. We became acquainted with the cats and Tanner introduced us to Magformers, a favourite toy. Shattered from our busy day — and our busy month — we were ready to sleep before the 5 year old.

The next few days were mainly spent relaxing, eating and being entertained by Tanner, who is incredibly sweet and thoughtful. We also had a trip in to West Kelowna and across the bridge to Kelowna itself to do a little bit of Christmas shopping. There was a generous dumping of snow overnight to add to the already blanketed ground. Michael braved the chilly weather in his thin sweater to play with Tanner in the snow, disappointed that it was not snowman-making snow, and that any attempt to roll a snowball would just result in a crumbling heap of snow.

A Christmas Eve tradition in the Morehouse/Harper/Beresh household is decorating Christmas cookies. We all gathered round the table and were allocated a sugar cookie made my Michael’s mum earlier in the day. The was a huge array of coloured icing and candy to decorate with and most of us took to the task very seriously. We were interrupted by a knock on the door and Santa had come to pay Tanner an early visit and bring him a Christmas Eve present, confirming he was on the ‘good’ list. Michael and I continued decorating the rest of the cookies long after everyone else had got bored and Tanner had been dispatched to bed to await the expected delivery.

A surprisingly late start on Christmas Day, and after all the excitement of the previous night Tanner slept till after 8, and we all waited till after breakfast to see what was in our stockings. Far to many gifts received, and some hints via the ones from Steve that our plans for a life on the water were not expected to stay afloat.

So many new toys for Tanner to add to his collection; he wouldn’t get round to playing with them all for days, but there were a lot of willing playmates in the house for now. And then our five lovely family days were over and we were packing up and contemplating the snowy evening Greyhound back west.

Just three nights left before we fly to England and it was time to lose our faithful bumper car. Michael drove it back across the border to donate it to be auctioned for charity; there was some confusion with the communication to the person collecting the car, so Michael had a long, boring wait in the very north of Washington. Then some to-ing and fro-ing in a now rainy British Columbia to get us back to Vancouver, starting with Michael accidentally leaving some light or switch on in the his grandmother’s car. That required a $20 lesson in removing the plastic cap on the jumper terminal before attaching the lead. Sad goodbyes and one last busy day of sightseeing and visiting with friends before getting on our flight to England via Calgary.