Friday, 29 April 2016

The Big Adventure Part 9 - Vancouver Island

my version of Emily Carr's painting "Odds and Ends"
Blog 18

I am writing this blog on the 21st anniversary of my arrival in Canada. While I love the Canadian nature, regained my love for painting and have been lucky enough to spend a lot of time creating or teaching art, I am still not sure that my move to Canada was the right thing for me. My ties to my family and friends in Germany are still very strong. I miss being more actively involved in their lives, whether it is in good times or in challenging moments. For my husband and children this longing is often hard to understand as the people who are important to me are mostly strangers to them.

I feel lucky that I have made some very good friends here in Canada - most of them through our shared love of art. However, the bonds are different compared to those of my friends in Germany. I guess it is because we never spent time together until I was a wife and mother. 

I am thankful for my husband's parents and siblings who treated me as an equal part of the family from the moment they met me. They supported us in our decision even though they thought that our plan to move together to Canada was very risky. Once I started getting serious about my art, they have continuously encouraged my artistic endeavors.

I certainly have adapted to the life in Canada and changed. While I keep in touch with my family and friends, I am certainly not up to date with the cultural and economic changes in Germany. As everyone who lives away from his mother country, I hold on to the memories and traditions to keep my culture alive and sometimes might see the grass as greener in Germany. I guess what it comes down to is that I will always be torn between Germany and Canada, feeling that I neither fully belong to one country nor the other. 

When I left off my memories of our trip to Vancouver at the beginning of April, my future husband and I had just embarked a ferry to Vancouver Island. On the two hour trip, we saw the water framed by the snow-peaked mountains and one lonely sailboat. We docked in Nanaimo. We had planned to drive to Kelsey Bay along the Johnstone Strait with a huge concentration of orca whales. However, we wanted to have enough time to visit Victoria and leave the island two days later again as the prices for the ferry were higher on the weekends.

We turned back to Qualicum Beach and continued in the direction of Port Alberni. We stopped at Cathedral Grove, a part of the MacMillan Provincial Park, with Douglas firs which are up to 800 years old. I have never seen such humongous trees. Ingo took some great pictures of us among those huge trees.

When we finally settled into our motel in Port Alberni it was almost 8 pm. The days just seemed to fly by. We had so much fun discovering the areas that we totally lost track of time. Usually, we were much too tired at night to go out but rested in our room.

The motor inn in Port Alberni offered not only a suite but also had its own pizzeria which delivered the pizza straight to our room. What could be more convenient? You just have to ignore how unhealthy the food itself was. The constant fatty and sweet foods created lots of problems for my stomach. I was definitely not used to so much fat and sugar in my diet.

The next morning we went to the harbour and took in the idyllic view. We felt like being in a nature documentary. We even saw a tugboat hauling lots of wood into the harbour. The forest industry is still one of the most important industries in this area.

I hope you liked my travelogue. Please feel free to share my blog with family and friends. To find out what we experienced the next day, please return to my blog next week.

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