Getting to 30

In a few weeks I’ll be 70 years old.

My last post was called, “Being 20”.  It was 1965. I became a teacher that year, went to Alberta for my first teaching assignment, met my future husband, and became engaged before the end of the year.

  • 1966 – I got married, joined CUSO (a volunteer organization), and went to Zambia. I taught Math to High School students.
  • 1967 – I gave birth to my first daughter, Michelle. I wrote a Math text-book for adult literacy during my pregnancy.
  • 1968 – We returned to Canada and lived in Montreal where my husband was working. It was a case of reverse culture shock to be in Canada again.
  • 1969 – I gave birth to my second daughter, Lindiwe.
  • 1970 – I gave birth to my third daughter, Carla.
  • 1971 – We moved to Ottawa. I took my first art class, working on oils.
  • 1972 – Looked after babies. Cooked, cleaned, sewed, knitted, cooked, cleaned.
  • 1973 – More of the same.
  • 1974 – We moved back to Montreal. Two weeks later I gave birth to my fourth daughter, Monica.
  • 1975 – I turned 30.

This was, perhaps, my busiest decade. Five of those years were spent with another human being attached to my body in one way or another. Pregnant or breastfeeding. I loved (and still love) being a mother but that was difficult. However, it had always been my plan to have my children in my twenties and “bring them up” in my thirties and forties. And that’s what I did. Successfully.

Getting to 30 was not always an easy road. We had challenges along the way, but we persevered and with the help of God, we entered our thirties stronger and more committed to each other and our family than ever.

So, good times. Good times!

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day. – Maureen

 

 

Being 20

In early February, 2015, I will be turning 70.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about this milestone. I’m pretty sure 70 is not considered young or even middle-aged by anyone under, well, 70!

I’ve been living the senior, retired life for a few years now and it’s been pretty good. Free bus Wednesdays, discounts once a month at local drugstores (and you’ve got to believe we frequent pharmacies a lot these days), special status on VIA rail, and senior coffees at various cafes and bistros.

But my mind has been turning back to my childhood, my youth, and my middle years.

1965

I turned 20. I was finally out of my teen-aged years but not quite, according to the law of the land in those days, an adult.

  • I was in my fourth year at university, studying arts and education.
  • I still lived at home with most of my brothers and sisters, and I used to run up the hill every day in my effort to get to class on time. Successful most of the time.
  • On weekends and in the summer, I had to be home by 10:30, and I was!
  • In May, I graduated with an education degree.
  • I was hired, by letter, to teach elementary school in Edmonton, Alberta, about 3,000 km (2,000 m) from my home in Nova Scotia.
  • I travelled by plane for the first time. Halifax – Edmonton.
  • I started teaching Grade 1.
  • I met my husband-to-be on September 19.
  • At Christmas time we drove from Edmonton to Fort Smith, NWT, to spend Christmas with John’s family.
  • On Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) John and I decided to get married and go to Zambia, in Africa, to work as volunteers. (Our next anniversary will be our 49th.)

There were many changes in my life the year I was 20. I left home, travelled, and fell in love.

What could be more exciting than that?

Thanks for reading. Enjoy your day.

– Maureen

Ten Things I Love About Vancouver

What a difference a day makes!

 

Left: Vancouver, Mar 22 Right: Ottawa, Mar 23

Left: Vancouver, Mar 22
Right: Ottawa, Mar 23

 

We have just returned from a delightful trip to Vancouver. We were there for a week and apart from the weather, there are a host of things I love about that city.

The evening we arrived, it was foggy and raining, but we went for a walk anyway. It was rain. Not snow!

  1. Queen Elizabeth Park. Our eldest daughter told us that we had to visit this park and I’m so glad she did. It is spectacularly beautiful. There were amazing views of the snow-capped mountains with the city laid out below.  The Spring flowers were blooming, ducks were swimming on the pond, and everywhere were paths and trails through the wooded areas.
    The view from one of the lookouts in Queen Elizabeth Park.

    The view from one of the lookouts in Queen Elizabeth Park.

    Rhododendrons in Queen Elizabeth Park.

    Rhododendrons in Queen Elizabeth Park.

  2. Simon Fraser University Campus. The university is set on top of Burnaby Mountain, and is designed with walking/cycling trails throughout. Paths flow into buildings which have large covered open areas. Our grandson, who is 9, knows the campus well, since he lives there, and was our guide for the week. When it isn’t foggy, the view from the mountain is stunning, and there are large windows everywhere to allow one to enjoy it.

    In front of Emil's school.

    In front of Emil’s school.

  3. Vancouver Public Library Downtown Branch. The building is difficult to explain. It is rectangular but surrounded by a free-standing round wall. There are glass sky-lights and it has a roof-top garden. It looks like the Colosseum in Rome.

    Near the library. A tree full of red umbrellas.

    Near the library. A tree full of red umbrellas.

  4. The Science Centre. This centre was made for kids and the day we went there I would say half the kids in Vancouver were enjoying all the interactive displays. We liked the geology section and the section on trees and plants.

    One of the Lego displays from the Science Centre.

    One of the Lego displays from the Science Centre.

  5. Metroland Centre. This is a very large shopping mall, which is apparently the second largest in Canada. It had every store you could imagine and we enjoyed a couple of hours going from store to store with Emil, our grandson, who bought himself a book on projects using the Rainbow Loom. It seems that craze is as popular in Vancouver as it is in Ottawa.
  6. The Sky Train/Buses. Every one of the bus drivers we had were friendly, welcoming, and smiling! No wonder. They live in Vancouver! They helped us find our way around and made suggestions about our route. The Sky Train is a raised rail system and apart from almost squishing me in its doors, was a great way to get around quickly and enjoy the mountain views.
  7. La Casa Gelato. This ice cream store has 218 flavours. 218! The wildest I saw was chili and bacon. I stuck to double chocolate but Emil had a combination of bubble gum and something pink! Shudder! We took our cones out to the adjacent patio and sat in the sun soaking up the feeling of spring.
  8. Hastings Skateboarding Park. This park is really an all-purpose park, located next to a public library and senior centre. The skateboarding facility is located at the other end of a large outdoor sports facility. There is a baseball field, tennis courts, soccer field, bocce ball area, children’s play area, a splash pool, and a walking/running track. We watched Emil perform on the skateboard and I am happy to say it wasn’t too scary.
  9.  The Mountains/Ocean Views. From the top of Burnaby Mountain, where we were staying, there was a view of the Fraser River Valley and on clear days we could see Mt. Baker in Washington State. I just couldn’t stop staring at the mountains. Beautiful. Magnificent. Stunning.

    Mountain view from our condo.

    Mountain view from our condo.

  10. Family. While in Vancouver I was able to see three of my brothers, one of whom I hadn’t seen for many years. We crossed the Fraser River on the new bridge which is very impressive. Emil was able to play with many cousins he didn’t know he had. Our daughter, Lindi, our son-in-law, Jim, and Emil, our precious grandson were very hospitable and fed us very well indeed. The condo where we stayed was immaculate and had everything we needed to make our stay enjoyable. Thanks Leena and Elyot.

    This is me with our Vancouver family.

    This is me with our Vancouver family.

Now we are back in Ottawa, a city I also love. But there are no flowers. No green grass. No robins. No mountains. No Emil. Just snow!

 

 

Need I say more?

Need I say more?

I hope you get a chance to visit Vancouver sometime. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day. – Maureen

 

 

VIA Train Trip

Yesterday morning I took an unexpected trip to Montreal on the VIA train.  My daughter Monica had to go to visit a  friend and wanted me to drive with her from Ottawa to Montreal.

In Canada we have a very good passenger train system called VIA Rail and I am certainly a frequent traveller.  I have met many interesting people on the train and yesterday was no exception. I was alone in my seat on the Kingston to Ottawa part of the journey and Anne was sitting across the aisle from me.  By the time I got to Ottawa Anne and I were sitting side by side and I can honestly say the journey flew by.  We had so much in common, both native Nova Scotians, both married for more than 45 years to the same man, both very fond and doting grandmothers, both travelling to visit children and grandchildren all over the country, and both pretty good talkers.  :  )

I belong to a points program called VIA Preference, which allows free train travel when a certain number of points are accumulated.  I now have enough points for at least two or three free trips along the Windsdor/Quebec City corridor. 

Occasionally I have treated myself to travel on VIA One, a business class trip.  Meals are included in the price and are served on china plates with real silverware.  You are given a menu when you first get on the train, are offered a glass of red or white wine, and are given a choice of two dinner times.  The meals consist of three courses and are beautifully cooked and  served piping hot.  I’ve enjoyed salmon, roast beef, and chicken.  Mmmmmm!

Once in a while there is a little glitch in a trip.  One time in the winter while travelling from Montreal to Toronto, the train whistle got stuck ON, and I can tell you when we got home we were glad to get back to a very quiet house!  This past March on a trip from Toronto to Ottawa, the freight train in front of us lost a wheel!!!  What do they do in a situation like that?  Get a spare wheel out of the caboose, jack the train up, change it, and get on their way???  Well, it took two hours to clear the tracks and we got a discount off our next trip.

One time they ran out of TEA!!!!!   How did Maureen make it to Montreal without a cup of tea to sustain her?  Well, in this case, tragedy was averted when a fellow-passenger shared his thermos of tea with me!  God bless him!

There have been drunk passengers, crying babies,  loud teenagers, and even a very loud-snoring young man.  But at the same time, I have seen passengers helping an old woman get access to her bags, even carrying them for her.  There have been cases of offering to lend a passenger the use of a cell phone, friendly chatter, laughing, and once I even got help with accessing the internet on VIA’s free wifi service, from a nice young man.

I love travelling by train in Canada.  I wonder if it is as good in other countries.  Anyone know???