Fare Thee Well, Canada!

Thursday was really special for us. We drove down to the Cardston temple early in the morning with Grandpa. Cardston is about 2 hours south of Calgary and their temple was built in the 20s. You can tell. It has an art deco kind of feel to it. Cardston is a really tiny village – I know even know if you can call it a town haha. We asked Grandpa why the first temple in Alberta was built in Cardston and not in Calgary – a major city – and he said it was because it was where a lot of the Mormon pioneers settled so it made sense to build it there. When you walk into the entrance of the temple they have a fountain/pool thing inside. It was so cool!!! The fountain was originally outside the temple but they built the entrance around it so now it’s part of the indoors area and I love it! Bryton’s parents were married in this temple forever ago – hahaha just kidding!! I’m just teasing because I know my mum-in-law will be reading this. Anyway, Bryton stuck with Grandpa before and during the session but I had to kinda figure out where to go and it wasn’t easy. This was when I really started to wish that Grandma was there. But Grandpa’s cousin, Maxine, (I think that was her name) saw me walk in with Grandpa and decided to wait for me so she could help me out. I was so grateful because I had no idea where to go! The session was packed with old people. Like, I felt like I was in a rest home. I don’t think I’ve actually seen so many old people in one area in my entire life! I felt like I was in the spirit world. Hahaha ok I’m kidding – that was mean.

After the session we went down to the cafeteria and had lunch. The 3 of us sat at a 4 seated table. I looked to my left and the empty seat made me sad! Grandma should be here! That’s all I thought about. And even as I think about it now, I wish she had been there. I’m not sure if she would have even been well enough to make the trip to Cardston, but still. The empty 4th seat was heartbreaking simply because it should have been filled by this woman we all miss and love. It was not the first nor the last experience I’d had where I missed Grandma. Our first Sunday in Calgary Bryton and I sat with Grandpa and during the opening hymn we were both balling because we missed her. And that was just the beginning.

Old Chief Mountain

Β On our way back to Calgary we made a number of stops to visit with family. We first stopped at the Davidsen’s right around the corner from the temple. We visited with them for a short time and when we left Urzula handed us a Mars Bar each (which was perfect because I was dying for chocolate) but then she kept giving us more bars so by the end she had actually given us the rest of the box. We then headed out to Magrath to visit with Grandpa’s sister Garda and her husband Don and their son Ken. I’m so so glad we got to visit with them. I met them at Grandma Pilling’s funeral and I wasn’t sure if I would ever see them again. They live out literally in the middle of no where. When Grandpa was driving us out there I thought maybe he was getting lost because he kept taking these random streets on the farm that looked like they didn’t lead anywhere. But eventually we got to their house and spent some time with them. They fed us Root Beer Floats and because of that they have a special place in my heart haha.

We then stopped in to Uncle Moyle (Grandpa’s brother) and Aunty Ann. I’d also met them at the funeral and I told them we would visit them this trip. But our time was getting short and we had a lot to do so I didn’t know if we would actually make the trip out to them. Uncle Moyle’s birthday is 2 days before mine and I didn’t forget! But I also didn’t get him a gift so I don’t even know if that counts haha. We had such a good visit with them. Greg – they told me to tell you that I’m the favourite hahaha. Uncle Moyle has a ton of stories to share. He is always talking! Haha. Aunty Ann is from Melbourne, Australia. She is an amazing cook and made the most delicious beef stew! It was so good to have some good southern hemisphere made food haha. I loved it.

By the time we left their house it was looking like we wouldn’t get home until around 9pm. We stopped in Lethbridge on the way and visited with Bryton’s cousin Anna, her husband Anthony, and their cute baby girl Hailey. Gosh she is adorable!!!! So glad we got to see them once more before our flight home.

We didn’t end up getting home until after 11pm and I was exhausted, but we sat with Grandpa in the living room until after midnight, just talking. I really cherished those times. Who knows when will get that opportunity again. Sitting with Grandpa and getting to know him more was definitely one of my favourite parts of this trip. Something about him reminds me of my Papa who died when I was 5. I don’t think it’s that he’s like my Papa, but that he treats me like his own granddaughter and loves me the same. He is an extremely hard worker. He is 86 years old and still works a labour job. I mean, I really worried that he was perhaps working way too hard, but then I realised that it was good for him to keep busy.Β 

On Friday we took another sneaky lunch trip to Pang Pang with Aunt Dwan. Their won ton soup is the best I’ve ever tried. It’s delicious. We did some last minute Canada shopping (and spent way more than we intended to). We also had a very special evening that night haha. So Danielle told me that Kyle was a die hard Phantom fan and that he and Brooklyn used to do Phantom songs together. I had to get in on that, so on our last night in Calgary we went to Melisse and Brooklyn’s house for a dessert night. Oh man. We had Angel Food Cake (oh my gosh to die for), Nanaimo Bars (flippen delicious), Banana Splits, and a ton of junk food. It was a pregnant woman’s dream! Brooklyn started playing some awesome musical soundtracks on the piano and then finally Kyle got up and started singing. It was hilarious!! I had so much fun. Even if he butchered my fave Phantom songs (hehe). It was the perfect final night with the family.

The next day we spent almost the entire day packing. It was an absolute nightmare. But Aunt Pattie and Uncle Rick and their family turned up to save the day and brought an early dinner. Aunt Dwan and Uncle Brett also stopped in to say bye as well as Melisse, and then Kyle and Danielle’s family came in their best dressed haha.

It was so sad saying goodbye to Grandpa. On the way to the airport I was balling my eyes out. I didn’t want to leave but I also really wanted to be home. I hope we get to take our baby girl over soon to meet her Great-Grandpa.

We flew to Vancouver and had a long layover there. I’d packed my clothes for the Sunday in one of my checked in suitcases so they would be easy to get out when we got to Vancouver. But then it turned out that our suitcases were going straight to New Zealand and all I had in my carry on was a hoodie – not helpful. Fortunately Bryton had an extra t-shirt I could borrow. We got a hotel that night and slept very comfortably. The next day we went to church. It was actually the Chinese ward and we only stayed for sacrament meeting. Uncle Brett’s sister, Terri, picked us up from the chapel and took us to downtown Vancouver. She showed us around for a little bit and it was awesome. I think Vancouver was more like home than any other place we had been in. The first thing we did was go down to the bay and it felt so good to be by the beach again. I enjoyed it. Terri also took us through Stanley Park and that was pretty cool. It was quite big and they have a ton of native art and statues around. They also have statues close to the bay called the Laughing Men. They were my favourite thing. And along the shoreline of the bay they’ve put out logs for people to sit on. I love that idea!

Lions Gate Bridge

Well we made it on the plane and back home safely and I cannot tell you how much I love being home. I enjoyed our trip and had a lot of fun. It went for a good amount of time so by the end of it I was really looking forward to getting home. I love Canada and the people in it, but I can’t leave New Zealand. I love it too much. Haha sorry Melisse. But don’t worry, your efforts to convince us to move were not wasted. We certainly have a special place in our hearts for Canada and we can’t wait to visit again soon!

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