Monday, July 16, 2012

That's All Folks

Though we only returned from China a few weeks ago, it already seems as though we were never there at all. We were showing Lina's family a few (well, a lot to be honest) photos of Yongchuan living and it was already hard to really put myself back into the life we lived for ten months. I took a lot away with me from our experiences in China and feel I gained a much greater understanding of the Chinese born or Chinese raised people I meet in my life in Canada. The way of life in Yongchuan revolved around work and family, with little or no time for the kind of recreation we recognise in the West. One thing I had never really understood was the proliferation of huge Chinese resteraunts in Vancouver. Now I know that eating is a huge part of socializing in China and most meals are eaten with a group. Whether you're eating on the street or in a restaraunt, it was always a group activity. 

Another difference I have found striking between bustling, noisy China and Canada which is essentially empty in comparison is the amount of space we take up in living. Practically all the accomodation we saw in Chinese cities was appartments. In the evening families come out to public squares and parks to relax, play, and meet. The idea of having your own private garden or enough indoor space that you just stay at home in the evening seems ver strange in comparison. Life is Canada is certainly much calmer, though part of me does miss being constantly surrounded by "life".

Our re-entry to Canadian life was to join a faithful gang of mountain biking friends for a long Canada Day weekend in Squamish and Whistler. The weather turned up a special BC treat of rain and chilly temperatures, though after the heat and humidity of China I really didn't mind. We rode some great trails, got covered in mud, and I particularly enjoyed the mountain-fresh water running all over the place.

Muddy ladies
With barely enough time to adjust, we headed off for Ontario and an Augaitis family visit. With more than usual time available, we planned an accessory to our trip in the form of a canoe and SUP camping circuit in Algonquin Park. It's been a long ambition of mine to see some of the outdoors in Ontario, despite the assertions from BC-fans that Ontario doesn't have anything worth doing outside. Unsurprisingly, this isn't true.

Derek, in the crow's nest
Lina, going the distance on Lake Ontario
Kiefer and Derek enjoying the post race facilities
A few days in Toronto, babysitting, going out on the town, a SUP race for Lina in Port Credit, paddling in Algonquin Park, and finally a few days at the Augaitis former-farmhouse on Crow Lake rounded out our trip. 

My next stop will be Vancouer where I have a pile of tasks to complete to hopefully allow us to leave for a few weeks travelling around the US of A with our mountain bikes. After a year struggling with the trials of teaching, I felt it was fair that I take a teacher-length summer holiday. Once we settle back into Vancouver life the realities of getting a new job, paying the mortgage, and other such mundane things will bite. I don't mind putting that off for a another month...