Thursday, May 22, 2014

Day 13 Oh Canada

It took us twelve days to get here but yesterday we conquered our goal of RVing our way to Canada. My posts from here on out won't be titled by which day we are on anymore and will probably become more random. This journey to Canada was important to us just to prove to ourselves that we can and will survive this RVing lifestyle. We've learned that not only can we survive it but we LOVE it. We love the randomness of it and not being on anyone's schedule but our own. We love getting to choose where to go next or what route we should travel. There are stressful moments and we do miss our loved ones but overall we are still excited about this adventure and so thankful for this opportunity at this point in our lives.

We are in Saint John, New Brunswick and it is a beautiful place to visit. Getting in here proved to be interesting for us.  Apparently no weapons can cross the Canadian boarder.  I had researched the topic before traveling here (just not thoroughly enough) and thought that only firearms could not cross.  I learned the hard way that tasers can not cross either. I was at a dilemma is the customs office, to turn over my taser or go back across the boarder.  I chose to go back across the boarder.  I found the nearest post office in a place call Calais, Maine and mailed my taser back to my friend in Massachusetts.  After that it was easy peasy crossing over into Saint Stephens.  Once we crossed we still had about 100 miles to drive. The highway was empty and this gave me plenty of time and space to get used to the signs and mentally converting miles into kilometers.

Canadian customs... yay we made it!
View from the bridge we sat on while waiting to cross
View from the car as we passed into Saint Stephen Canada

The city of Saint John is gorgeous.  It is the oldest incorporated city in New Brunswick and sits right on the harbor.  The pollution is not very appealing... white clouds or who knows what fills the sky from the oil refinery near the harbor. However, from our view high on the hill the refinery, the city and the harbor are a spectacular sight.

View from our spot on the hill... picture doesn't do it justice
The kids and I conquered the city today.  We rented a car this morning and headed straight downtown. We found the market square which is a small version of a mall except it had a huge pubic library and a museum in it. We explored the museum (the kids really impressed the tour guide with their knowledge during the whale demonstration... I was proud that they were able to regurgitate all they know about mammals and aquatic life *proud homeschooling mama moment*), visited the library and enjoyed a cup of coffee at the famous Tom Hortons Coffee Shop. After Market Square we found the City Market (an indoor market where farmers and artists sale their goods) where I was able to get my fresh fruits and veggies (For lunch I made some sautéed kale and garlic over linguine with sliced tomatoes on top YUM!). On our way back to the rental car we found a couple of interesting places. One of them was the Freak Lunchbox which turned out to be a very unique candy shop.



After leaving downtown we headed to the zoo. It was a small zoo but it was very awesome. It is privately owned and receives no money from the government but has managed to stay open and in operation for the last forty years.

View from the zoo

The zoo wore us out and we headed back to camp after that. We had lunch and the kids played around the camp for a while before we jumped back in the rental car and headed to the stables. The kids were so excited to feed our bag of carrots to the horses (I was just excited that the carrots didn't go to waste since no one was eating them).

After the stables we walked next door to the playground where the kids had a blast. It was interesting to watch them automatically fall into these small little social circles. I had to drag them away from the playground but by this point I was really tired and we still wanted to go explore downtown again. We decided to go for a ride (making the most out of the rentals unlimited miles) and explored the downtown area in the evening. The area was like most places we have visited, a nice downtown and then the average person living on the outskirts just living life and trying to make it. We found a corner store to stop at where the kids got an ice cream and I was able to chat with the lady behind the counter. So far we have had nothing but pleasant experiences with each and every person we have encountered here (even the random little old lady who approached us in the store and tried to convince us that there is no racism here... completely out of the blue :-/ ).

As I type this I'm watching the kids out of the window. They are "next door" enjoying a campfire with the Brazilian family who pulled in earlier today. The dad is really excited about this fire and I am amused watching the kids (and the dad) overcome the language barrier.  That's the thing about RVing, you never know who your neighbors will be and what wonderful experiences and stories they will have to share. While we are ready to move on (it was a tough decision, we almost signed a week long lease) we are definitely not ready for this adventure to be over. I'm not sure where we're heading tomorrow but I'm excited to get there.

Edited to add: Our neighbors invited us over to enjoy the fish he had caught. It was a lovely jester and we could not refuse.  It was an amazing experience. The family was wonderful. They are on vacation from Brazil and decided to travel across Canada before heading to Orlando for her job (she's a journalist). He cooked an amazing meal consisting of the salmon he had caught cooked with some tomatoes, peppers and onions that we brought (we scrambled to find something to bring once we received the invitation) over rice. He then drizzled olive oil over all the food and it was absolutely amazing. We talked about our lives and why we were traveling as we consumed a bottle of cabernet sauvignon. He is a psychologist and (again) she is a journalist and they are traveling with their 2 year old son. They are finishing their Canadian journey tomorrow after they drive about 400 miles to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where they will fly out to Orlando. The time we spent with this family is exactly what RVing is all about.  A culture experience that enriched the lives of both families. The kids agreed that it was an awesome experience and it was one that I surely could not recreate from a book or field trip.  It's ironic that we came expecting to be immersed in french and ended up being immersed in the portuguese language and Brazilian culture. This is what RVing is all about.

No comments:

Post a Comment