Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Friendly Manitoba Vacation

For as long as I've known Andrew, he's always told me of his dream to move to Canada.  "Canada?!" I would say... "It's cold...  It's far away... Our family is here... Why would we do that?!"  But thanks to our vacation up North this week, I will never ask that question again.  Andrew has always argued for the health care benefits, the way they govern, and how we would get paid monthly stipends for our kids.  He never mentioned that I would fall in love with the people, the customs and the way of life.  He didn't tell me that I would find family there. And now I understand. Steinbach, Manitoba truly is a new home away from home for us, and I already miss it a little.

Granted, road tripping to a destination over a thousand miles away with a preschooler, toddler, and infant in tow is not all roses.  And Andrew-sweet hubby that he is-has this weird thing for taking "the road less traveled", so it's not like we were cruising on interstate the whole trip.  I think these two videos will help explain a bit...

1)  On our way through South Dakota, we encountered a little bit of flooded land... okay 2 and a half miles of flooded land.  I prayed most of the way through this scary encounter, but toward the end, I figured we had to get some video or no one would believe me just how bad it was...

video 

2)  The thirteenth hour on the road... Watch, and you'll understand.

  video



But upon arriving, and we did make it in a mostly-sane state, we began an AMAZING vacation.  The first two days were spent staying with our Holdeman Mennonite family.  No radio, no tv, no computers.  Just some delicious made-from-scratch food and a whole lot of great and Godly conversations.  We spent one evening cracking pecans around the dinner table and discussing politics while the kiddos (and a few adults) made Lego creations in the living room.  Another day I asked lots of questions and learned all about Holdeman Mennonite weddings.  Their culture and faith is SO interesting.  And despite the disparities in our lifestyles, we were made to feel so at home with them.  The peace that pervaded their household was evident in how easily Mia and Vince went to sleep our first night there and how many awesome naps we all took. I slept for 3 hours one day!

On Saturday evening we packed up our stuff and headed 4 miles down the road to begin the second part of our Canadian vacation.  At Uncle Orlan's house we encountered yet some more amazing food, but also a house filled to the brim with love and joy.  It began with an "Andrew is back in town... Let's celebrate!" BBQ.  Besides meeting some incredible new people, one of the highlights of the evening for me was watching the two cultures... those of  Holdeman and non Holdeman Mennonites... mix together.  Again, there were great differences in mannerisms and practices, and yet they were all family and so the love shown through.  Andrew and I became fast friends with a couple about our age, Andrew and Mindy.  And Mia and Vince found best buddies in their kiddos - Aidan and Dakota.  On Sunday the weather was beautiful enough to truck them all to the park for some play time.  Our Canadian family teased us for never having heard of ketchup chips or smarties,  (And their smarties are NOT the same as our smarties), so they made sure we were well stocked for our trip home.  My impression of Ketchup Chips was YUMYUM!  But Smarties were just weird M&M's (Sorry, Mindy... they were kinda odd).

The final evening in Canada was capped off with our very first Faspa.  Apparently Faspa is a low German word referring the the 5 o'clock meal on Sundays.  It was yet another stellar meal filled with homemade buns, fruit preserves, honey butter, ham and more!  And whomever from the neighborhood, family, friend, or both that wanted to come, just came on in and pulled up a seat.  After Faspa, we all sat on the back patio around a fire watching the kids play in the backyard and talking.  Orlan mentioned to us that he sees his home as a lighthouse.  It is for anyone who needs it whenever they need it.  Andrew and I have decided that our home must become a lighthouse as well and we'll be kicking off our first Faspa in a few weeks.

Bright and early Monday morning, we enjoyed one last quick breakfast with Orlan and Sharon, and then we had to say our goodbyes.  I never imagined how difficult that was going to be.  With tears in our eyes and love in our hearts, we settled in for the long drive home.  Oh Canada... you're not my home and native land, but I think I wouldn't mind too much if you were.