Thursday, February 04, 2016

Jubilant January

No winter doldrums here.  In Alberta, I used to hibernate during January.  The days were short, I hated the cold and gave up trying to walk on slippery sidewalks for fear of falling.

"How do you handle the rain?" is the #1 question people ask.  Truth is, it does rain but typically only about 7 days a  month are really rotten and I've never been stressed driving on the highways.  And I love how everything is green and clean.

I started working at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo on a casual basis and it's been a great way for me to meet people, keep busy, and earn some money.  My first assignment was for several weeks in the MBA department and I really enjoyed meeting the internationally diverse students who have come from various countries to attend the school.  Many students who have come from Africa are surprised to learn that I've lived in so many African countries - and they all looked shocked when I told them I even lived in a tent in the Kalahari!  It seems like a lifetime ago that I was checking for cobras and Black Mumbas while making my way to an outdoor loo, and I sometimes look back on this blog to remind me of the incredible times we experienced.

The MBA students placed 4th out of 22 universities in the National MBA Games held in Toronto a few weeks ago and were awarded the 2017 games which will be exciting for the university as well as Nanaimo.  I was invited to a celebration held at the Nanaimo Museum, and was very touched when I was thanked for my help.
The exuberant students rapped and danced to showcase the Opening Ceremonies re-enactment
Dubbed "Girls Gone Wild in Parksville", a five day slumber party took place in the middle of January when my very dear friends, Shelagh Slater from Ma-Me-O Beach, Alberta, and Paddy Carlson from Spokane, came to spend a few days.  We had a ball -- laughed lots, ate well, drank....um...yes, quite well and explored the area.
Shelagh, me and Paddy
Beautiful Rathtrevor Beach at high tide - just a quick walk from our cottage
While walking on the beach, we collected a bunch of seashells and had a "craft night".  It was made all the more fun by being in our pyjamas and drinking gin and tonics.  Periodic screams were heard when Shelagh touched the hot glue gun but they were just followed by all of our screams of laughter.

Our crafts -- shell candle holders that turned out surprisingly well!
Shelagh brought me some fun coasters with my favorite one saying, "Wine and friends are the perfect blend."  Amen.  We laughed until our sides ached and vowed to make this an annual event.

More Calgarians came to visit: Heather and Don Moe came for dinner with their daughter Cara, and her family who live in Shawnigan Lake.  Then the next day, Annette and Dwayne Majcher and their daughter Nicole met me for brunch in Mill Bay.  Nicole is living in Victoria and her parents are looking at buying a revenue property near her.  Love how more and more friends are coming to the island!

With Roger still working in Calgary, we decided to meet in Seattle at the end of January to visit with Brad, Anette and Magnus, and to go to the Seattle Boat Show.  A couple of days before Roger left, he got word that a dear friend from school days, Robert Khalaf, passed away after a long illness, so he made the decision to stay behind so he could attend the memorial service in Edmonton.  Rob's family appreciated him being there, and it was good for several of the boys who all played football and rugby together to gather and say goodbye to their friend.

I spent five days with Brad, Anette and Magnus, and as always, had a ball.  I went with Magnus to his playschool, and enjoyed watching him interact with the other kids.  He adores his teacher, and follows directions really well.

Anette has a plot reserved in the community garden, so I bought Magnus gardening gloves,
a rake and carrot seeds so he can help her.
Magnus had a bad cold so was happy to cuddle up with me and watch one of his favorite TV shows on my iPad.
We bought these neat crayons in Australia last year for Magnus -- he thought they made fun covers for his toes. 
A final treat at a coffee shop before I left.  He borrowed Anette's sunglasses to shade him from the brilliant sunshine streaming through the cafe's window.
Many times over the visit, Magnus would stop what he was doing, come over to me and give me a hug saying, "I love my Nana".  Oh Magnus - I love you, too.

We have plans to return in March to attend a fundraising event for Magnus' school.  It's so easy to visit - a mere 250 kms and a beautiful ferry ride gets us door to door.

The captain alerted the passengers to a huge pod of dolphins feeding 
A calm evening on the Strait of Georgia
January has made way to February and the daffodils and crocuses are already up with cherry blossoms following later this month.

So let it rain.  The clouds make way for sun and the rainbows over the ocean are stunning.  No winter blues for me.

"Count your rainbows, not your thunderstorms."
                                                              Unknown

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