It is still very strange to be here in Canada, all rather disorienting and it hasn’t gotten any better in the ten days since I have been back. The enormity of shopping centers, grocery stores, cars, and parking lots are so different from London (the parts of London that I was familiar with.) It will be interesting next week when I go back to Marin County. Will that feel familiar? It should, I lived there for almost fifty years. But, there are enormous shopping centers there and parking lots and total reliance on cars and SUVs and no public transportation to speak of. I guess I will see. I plan to rent a car, which will be strange, as I have not driven a car in over two years. I laughed with friend Grace about this state of affairs. She suggested that I practice driving on my cousin’s car while here in Vancouver. I said: “Grace, why should I subject my cousin’s car to this folly, I will do it on the rental car.” Gail, Grace and I laughed, the conversation took place in Gail’s car and she could overhear what was going on.
Yesterday it was not raining, so I decided to get some exercise and go on a walk. I took off down Schoolhouse Street in Coquitlam. It was actually rather amazing. There is a bowling alley, a huge cinema complex, and scores of interesting ethnic restaurants all within about six blocks. I could have dim sum, which I love. I could eat at an Italian deli. I could have Korean food, Vietnamese noodles, Greek food and ordinary food. I did have to watch out for traffic but the drivers were most courteous. An enormous change and welcome relief to the rudeness encountered in London, In a prior post I was almost run down by a London driver who screamed at me to watch where I was going. There are no bicycle lanes here in Coquitlam and one shares the sidewalk with bicyclists but they are endlessly polite.
Yesterday was Saturday, and there was a road crew filling in potholes. I said: “Isn’t this Saturday?” “Yes.” “Phew, I thought I was really disorientated. What are you doing working on a Saturday, do you get paid over time for this?” “No, we work Thursday through Sunday.” “Oh, I just came from living in London for two and a half years and believe me no one is filling in any pot holes there, at all.” We all laughed and down the road I walked.
There was a sign that said that the creek was a salmon habitat. How cute is that. In case you do not believe me I have attached a photo I took with my iPhone.
I stopped in at the various restaurants but it was not lunchtime yet. I stopped at a Japanese restaurant. I just love sushi and I just love sake and they had both. I walked back to cousin Gail’s condo and collected my emails and got word from Regan that she was about to post. She had a hard day – she lives in a different time zone, three hours away. She ended her email with: “ I need some Sake.” Regan and I met over sake in London on March 1, 2017 and she has gone on to do my posting and my editing from where she lives in Ontario. I emailed back: “Regan you have no idea how hard I am laughing. And wait until you hear this. I went for a walk around Gail’s neighbourhood and I found a Japanese restaurant and guess what they serve and I am going there for lunch. They serve Sake, I checked it out but it wasn’t lunchtime YET but soon it will be. So for me SAKE is on the way…maybe not for you though. And I can walk to the Japanese restaurant so I do not have to even count on or rely upon my cousin. Life is at this point wonderful. With heaps of affection, Alexis” She emails back: “You can’t be serious!!!! You must tell Nick about this coincidence. I am SO jealous.” Nick is her boyfriend. He lives in London and it was through him I met her. So I forwarded the email thread to him.
I walked to the Japanese restaurant, ordered the Sake and took a picture of it and sent it to Regan and Nick. Holy cow, the restaurant Norita Sushi was the best I have ever eaten and I am into sushi (and sake). All of the patrons were blown away by the place as well and one couple told me that it was the best sushi in Vancouver and it was the cleanest of all Japanese restaurants. They do something called Aburi Osi Sushi. I usually do not order rolls but I did order the Energy Roll, unbelievable. It was very interesting that parents were bringing their children, not that common an occurrence in sushi restaurants. I talked to Colby who was there with his mother. He said that he had been eating sushi since he was four and he loved it. So I walked back to Gail’s. She decided to stay and have a nap. If you were around me you would be napping too.
She then helped me with my book. She printed out the Passenger Declarations of George, Janet, Dave, John, William and little George Dryburgh. They were coming” back home” to Saskatchewan in 1920. George in his declaration said that he had left Canada to join the army. After the conclusion of WWI he was bringing his family back to Canada. Janet Dryburgh was pregnant with Alexander Dryburgh, my father. I wrote a story about what the passenger declarations contained.
Then, the wonder of Skype struck and Pat called from Australia. She is my favourite cousin that I never have met and plays large in the book for many reasons. She is so funny and wise. She asked: “Does this call constitute a meeting? “ I said: “Yes”. So now I have met all of the nieces of Uncle Dave. What a motley crew we are, I say laughingly.
So, I had a great day. I think the enormous feeling of sorrow that I experienced that last day before I came back to Canada was the sense that it was London that was responsible for my joy. But it was not London I guess, it was and is me.