Being Thankful in Canada

I´m thankful for Icelandair flying direct from Iceland to Vancouver all year round, especially since they cancelled direct flights to Kansas and I got to trade my one way ticket there for Vancouver. So, instead of a mid-west roadtrip, I got to go to British Columbia during one of the most beautiful times of year.

Vancouver

Instead of cherry blossoms and warm nights, there´s fiery red maples and crisp, cool evenings. The other trees are shades of yellow and orange, to match the pumpkins and Halloween season, while pine trees remain forest green, creating an orchestra of colours. The trees are everywhere, covering mountains, whose peaks were beginning to get dusted with early snow fall.

Beautiful British Columbia

I didn´t lose the itch for a roadtrip, so I rented a car from YVR and drove straight through all of BC. I started in Langley, where I met my 4 month old nephew for the first time, and carried on to Dawson Creek, where my older sister just nested in her new house. After breaking off highway 1 in Cache Creek, I drove the 97 past 70 Mile House, 100 Mile House, 150 Mile House and Prince George. From Dawson Creek, my sister joined and we carried on all the way to the Northwest Territories, driving nearly 500km of the spectacular Alaskan Highway.

stopping to snuggle domestic animals, since the wild game were so far away

I was thankful to visit the Northwest Territories for the first time, and we we´re so overjoyed by the first wild Bison we saw, only to realize there´s be herds of them roaming around Fort Liard, our base for the night. We hiked along Liard River and around Hay Lake, in hopes of a moose sighting, but dreading any bear encounters, since us rookies didn´t have any bear spray with us.

at Pink Mountain

We saw a bear grazing near the highway and a few more bison, along with some elk and even one coyote, but I´ll return to the Alaskan highway in hopes of a moose, or even a bigfoot or sasquatch, sighting. Pink Mountain town has a whole shrine to the sasquatch, and apparently he´s been sighted, and even caught before, in and around that area of the highway.

my sisters and my new nephew

On my way south, I stopped in Ashcroft, couchsurfed the back of a bakery, and made it back to Langley to snuggle my nephew, younger sister, and her mini doodle. Thanksgiving was coming up, and we hadn´t celebrated as a family for over 10 years, so it was time. There were pumpkins to gut and cook, pies to buy and a turkey to stuff and roast, and a dozen of my sisters friends came with other scrumptious sides. We had pumpkin ales, pumpkin spiced Bailey´s and an assortment of local Langley wines after some selective wine tasting in the area.

liquor tasting in Abbotsford

I enjoyed my days training for the 10km Turkey Trot run, held at Granville Island on Thanksgiving day. I finished my second motorcycle exam and rode a Honda 250 around Richmond and Burnaby when the weather was good, and hung out with my oldest friend.

Tandem in Stanley

I´ve known Lisa since we were only 9 or 10 years old, and she was getting married, so we cought up over lunch, went to her wedding dress fitting and then distracted her a bit from the upcoming big day by tandem cycling around Stanely Park.

Stanley Park lunch

Leaving Vancouver left me full of gratitude, for the season, the weather, the coast, the forest, and more importantly, friends and family. My grandma will be 90 next month, and she is the only grandparent I have left and the oldest person I know. She´s still got her wits about her and shares stories of growing up in Guyana that make me thankful for the places and people I grew up surrounded by.

Ending the Turkey Trot in Granville Island under the bridges on Thanksgiving day

The sunshine, the autumn leaves, the warmth of a sun in a sometimes wet and rainy place… the list goest on. I loved roadtripping to new places, and riding a motorcycle to places I had been a hundred times before, but never seen from the back of a bike. Running the 10km loop from Granville Island, over Burrard Bridge, past Science World and thru False Creek made me grateful for my health. And a bit of turkey and pumpkin pie never goes by unappreciated.

American Thanksgiving and Black Friday

Maya's mom Kathy and the delicious outcome of our 2 day cooking spree

Maya’s mom Kathy and the delicious outcome of our 2 day cooking spree

Having spent alot of time in Canada growing up, I know all about the Thanksgiving holiday and traditions, and really the only difference between Canada and the USA is that they happen a month apart, and the Americans get alot more holiday days than Canada’s measly 1 day off.

This year, I spent it with my roommate Maya and her extended family in Oakland. We started cooking Wednesday, the day before thanksgiving, at around 4 pm, for five hours, prepping all the meats, veggies, potatoes and toppings, and cooking four (different) pies. The day of thanksgiving, we arrived at Maya’s mom’s house at 1 pm to peel more potatoes, brine the turkey, reheat everything, and cool down all the bottles of wine and appertif. The entire meal was home cooked, and totaled a feast large enough to feed about 4 families even though there were only 8 of us. It was absolutely amazingly delicious, and I was uncomfortably full for the entire experience, from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday night when I fell asleep, paralyzed from the goodness in my tummy.

The day after Thanksgiving, affectionately called Black Friday, is really the first official day of the Christmas season, and while everyone takes the day off to pick up their christmas tree and enjoy time with the family, this day is famous for being the biggest shopping day of the year. And not only is it big, its dangerous, and chaotic. One Wal-Mart security guard was trampled to death after the opening of the store’s door, probably because of the 50 inch TV that had been reduced by $600 or $700 to only $300. I braved the masses with my friend Mike, and he walked away with a 40-inch flat screen tv for a few hundred dollars, and I finally got myself a mini netbook that is much more travel friendly than my 10 lb, 1 hr of battery life, 5 year old, outdated, 15-inch laptop for only $180. Cheap products and consumerism really take on a whole new meaning in the American christmas shopping season, and I’m just glad I didn’t get injured benefiting from the sales.