Happy New Year! It’s been over a week now since my return to Trier and already the day to day rhythm has taken hold.
Over the holidays I was lucky enough to fly back to Canada. The day after getting in my dad and went out into the bush to find a few fir, cedar, and pine boughs, because that’s what you do in Canada!
My mom and I also managed to get in some time together at a variety show put on in the historic old hall in the old part of town – it was quite entertaining!
Generally it was a quiet, relaxing trip. My jet leg resolved itself early enough on in an annoying way: I would pass out at 9pm, then wake up again 5am. Na ja, that’s great for when I’m in Germany and have to work at 7.50am, but not the best for a holiday!
I managed to get in some visiting while back on the coast. Family friends I saw at Christmas and the days either side, including a lovely chat with an old friend of my mom’s who was born in Berlin. Naturally, we chatted away in German about life in Canada and Germany. She approved of my German, high praise indeed.
On the 23rd I made a short day trip down to the Sunshine Coast to visit friend Patrick at his mom’s house, up from Victoria. It’s a bit of a process getting to Sechelt, the next settlement nearest to my hometown. You set off an un ungodly hour and take the ferry from Saltery Bay to Earl’s Cove on the Malaspina Peninsula. From there it’s a mad dash south along a winding coastal road, that would be lovely but for the way people drive on it – wanna-be race car drivers! Used to be that you’d race down to Langdale and the next ferry to Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver. That was, until BC Ferries decided that the two ferries didn’t need to connect to make one continuous passage, and that people coming down could wait 3 hours at the ferry in Langdale, thank you very much.
New Years itself found me down in Vancouver, where I stayed with my friend Racan and fought for living room space with the timid Toro and the fantastic diva of a cat Mucha.
On New Year’s day we met up with the Smiths‘ and Ashly for breakfast. We hit up the Tomahawk Barbecue in North Vancouver. Now, as much as I concern myself for issues relating First Nations in British Columbia, I know I should hate this place. But I just can’t bring myself to. It’s so bad, it’s not even good. But the food is, especially the 2500+ calorie behemoth heart-stopping Mixed Grill that Racan and I ate (each our own, of course) to usher in 2013 right. Would definitely recommend the place.
Unfortunately the Smiths didn’t quite feel up to the challenge. Maybe next year? (Yes, that is a challenge) You definitely don’t need dinner afterwards, even after a rousing round of frisbee golf with the Smiths. I don’t know what place I came in. It was my first time officially playing in years. But I beat Matt, and that’s the important part.
The next day I headed off on my own to YVR to begin the long journey home. On the flight I sat next to what was at first a pleasant enough young Swiss fellow, who didn’t seem to speak much English. When he sat down he said something to me in German, which I answered in turn. “Oh, you speak German!” he said, “Good, someone to talk to.” He seemed pretty happy about that. I mean, it’s great to have someone next to you who speaks a language you understand for such a long flight. A shame for me though that, while I could speak German, he couldn’t exactly! Well, at least he had a really thick Swiss accent, and if I’m not mistaken he was trying his best to speak Hochdeutsch at the least.
But then it’s not really like you need the same language to look at hundreds of photos of a hobby full-sized 18km-long railway in the Swiss Alps. He seemed to be part of a 900 person club with the time and money to throw at this undertaken every summer. Must be great to come from a country where foundations can devote their time and money to such pursuits!
Towards the end of the flight he stopped insulting Germany and Canada (he had been in Whistle for a ski trip – his first time overseas), and became engrossed in the dawn unfolding outside our window. We were sat on the port side of the aircraft, looking northwards. Remember that this Vancouver-Frankfurt haul flights over the North Pole, Greenland, and Iceland, skirting us for a long time along the breaking dawn. For some reason the lights dimmed, their brightness soon replaced however by the growing dawn’s light, a ruby red under the wing slowly creeping upwards, casting the sky in an orange glow.
“Guck mal,” I said to him. “Look.”
“Joa, hoab’ schon gesehen,” he replied.
We sat silently thereafter, watching the Dämmerung, dumb-founded by the beauty of it all.