July 19th, on the eve of leaving Victoria.
I don’t think I have the constitution for visiting. My stomach is in knots and the copious amounts of alcohol imbibed in these social calls is beginning to pickle my insides. I am sure I am turning a distinct shade of green.
And that would be my excuse for not having posted in several weeks: a gruelling schedule of barbecues, social calls, family obligations, old friends. We leave in a couple of hours for Seattle (in fact I should be packing, but everyone is asleep and it is finally quiet and I don’t want to wake them) where tomorrow we will take the train to Chicago and how do I feel this time about leaving home?
Pretty okay, actually.
No. That’s not what I want to say. I mean, yes, it’s true, but I am trying to pinpoint this feeling I am having. Wistful?
No. I am not made of wistful stuff.
Nostalgic? Umm, no.
Exhausted? Well, yes, but that’s nothing new.
Aaaah. I feel complicated about Victoria. But I will have to continue this later as I really do need to break the silence, get people up and pack our bags.
July 27th- back in Montreal.
To continue the train of thought I began over a week ago, Victoria is a hard city for me. On the one hand, I have a small army of loved ones who have permanently set up camp in the garden city and who show no inclination of leaving. Family members, yes, but also friends. Friends. Good friends. Friends whose kids I have known since the day they were born and who are now friending me on facebook and when I see them hover over me like overgrown bean stalks. And family. My sister and my mother as well as J’s family are all there. And I have to say, I miss my sister something terrible most days.
But. but. The city. The city drives me nuts. And yes, I have already written about this a few years ago, but it bears repeating.
First of all, we had a few good days where it was sunny and warm, then back to cold and rainy. Let us just say, that leaving Montreal in 30 degree weather, I had not thought to bring along a pair of socks and shoes, only sandals. I painted my toe nails blue to match the colour of my feet.
(Okay, that’s not exactly true, bt it sounds good.)
Second of all, for a city that touts itself as being green and environmentally friendly, they sure do drive everywhere. Now, this might be a phenomenon caused by the fact that it is actually easy to drive in Victoria, but still. In a city where it is easy to bike everywhere and where walking doesn’t even take that long, people still choose their cars. I am still a little perplexed.
Third of all (can you say third of all? or is it thirdly? Both sound wrong. Number 3.) I present these newspaper articles as evidence of the self-righteous, idiotic and ultimately scary attitude of many of Victoria’s citizens:
Oh and also the neighbour who complained of our laughing on the front porch (we were talking of J’s new found love of theme socks) at 10:00 at night. Honestly? But this is because front porches are never used the way they should be used- places to gather and watch the people go by, say hi to your neighbours and basically living in your community. If I had any advice for Victorians, it would be to try and use their front porches more often. Have a seat with a cold one, say hi to your neighbours. Strike up a conversation. And this is coming from me, anti-social queen of the world. (Of course, I don’t do that. But J does and everybody in the neighborhood loves him. Which means we have someone to move our car when we are on vacation and somebody to feed our aquatic mini zoo as well).
However. I know I incline toward the negative, and of course our trip was more than that.
Some highlights of Victoria
1. Going for a run and seeing deer walk toward you on the sidewalk. Seriously. They were just strolling around eating stuff out of people’s gardens. And this happened several times.
2. Going for a run by the ocean. The ocean. The smell. The air.
3. Thetis Island. Okay this is not , exactly in Victoria, but it was a definite highlight. We went camping on this idyllic island for three days, three glorious days where I didn’t have to change out of my clothes except to go running and showering meant a jump in the ocean. Of course, C managed to cut her face while trying to cut rope to mae a raft, but thankfully it did not reach her eye and it wasn’t that deep. No helicopter needed. Still, she’ll have a nice little scar for always right beside her nose.
4. Last but not least, and although I grumble about our packed schedule, it was great seeing everyone. To J’s dad who despite some health issues still manages to paint everyday, to my friend Honor who has overcome some major health issues and who is making some lovely jewelry, to my sister who has her own naturopathic clinic and her partner who owns an awesome restaurant in the heart of downtown Victoria, to everybody who came out to see us. It was wonderful. Thank you.
Stay tuned for next post: Seattle to Chicago to Albany to Montreal…