Saturday, June 28, 2008

Time to Go

We slept in our sleeping bags last night because all the linens were washed and packed up. The floor in the living room is still covered in items that need to end up in packs and containers. It looks like a bit of a disaster at the moment. We've read in numerous travel books that you should pack over a period of several weeks. The idea is that there is time to weed out the things you originally thought you would need but are later willing to do without. Well, we have the summer traveling across Canada for that process. Right now we have lots of room in our van for our gear. By the time we leave Vancouver in late August everything has to fit into our packs.
The house is cleaner than it has ever been in the past eight years. It feels good knowing we're leaving a clean house for the people who will be living here while we are gone.
Simon says, "I'm glad we get to go on our trip for a year; I'm sad I won't see my friends for a year; and, I'm itchy." The recent heat has been hard for Simon.

Danielle says, "I'm excited! I'm excited to see my friend Arianne at Geneva Park." The first stop on our round the world journey is one of our family's favourite summer places. It will be a great place to relax and not think about lists and cleaning and packing ....
John is speechless - I think he's just overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that somehow has to be packed up. His back hurts and he's too busy stuffing things into packs to give me a quote right now.
Pam says, "We made it. We made it through the packing up stage. Thank you to everyone, especially our parents, who have been so supportive and helpful. And thank you to all those who are praying for us. God has definitely answered lots of prayers this week!"
We all want to say, "Have a great summer everyone!"

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Last Day of School - The Day Before the First Day of Summer

Last week, on one of the last days of school, Danielle and her classmates had to write a story entitled, "It's Going to Be a Long Summer." This is what Danielle wrote:

In the summer I am going to Geneva Park. Then I am going to drive across Canada to Calgary, and then I am going to Vancouver. After that we are off and away. I am happy and sad. I am sad because I am going to miss all my friends. I am happy because I get to see lots of new stuff. I like school so I don't want to go out of school. I wish I could take the school with me.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Will we ever really be ready?

Thursday night was the first evening last week that John was home. He's been working on a big project at work that has meant several late nights at the office. It was about 11pm and we were just sort of catching up on where we are at with getting ready to leave. Even though we've been working through lists of details for what seems like months and months, we both expressed how it doesn't really feel like we're ready for anything! Of course that's not entirely true (and we did eventually get to that point in the conversation) but it does still feel like there are so many strands dangling out there. And I think many will remain that way for a long time. That's why this year off is more about a journey than just a trip. We've been on a journey already since deciding in 2005 that this is what we want to do. We were in Penetenguishine this afternoon for a theatre production. It was fabulous. John's parents were with us, and they had made plans for us to spend this day together way back in December, I think. We all had so much fun. And as I sat there enjoying the show and seeing how much fun we were all having together I thought "this is the journey." This is what is such a blessing in our lives. To be together, exploring, eager to try something new, appreciating others' gifts and talents, sharing and contributing our own gifts. Now we're going to take that experience on the road for awhile and see what it is like as we drive across Canada for the summer; spend time in Florida with friends; in Nicaragua going to language school and volunteering for two months; spend time in Australia with friends for a few weeks; volunteer in the Philippines for a couple months; visit Thailand; volunteer in Bangladesh for a couple months; visit family in England and Holland; check out Egypt and Spain; and, more language school and volunteering in West Africa. And I'm certain that experience will continue after we return in about a year from now.

John keep assuring me that we won't get everything done that needs to be done before we leave home in three weeks. I know he's right, but I'm trying to get as many things on my list done. We'll see what things are left on his list. Actually, there's nothing competive about this list stuff. We have always worked well as a team, and I know that together we'll deal with the undone and unexpected things that will surely come up in the coming year. And that together has to also include our parents. Wow, they have been so supportive and encouraging. They deserve Parents of the Year awards 100x over! As I wrote in a recent email to them, "It means THE WORLD to us."

I do want to post a few more pictures. Danielle finished Sunbeams 3 at the end of May. John was her "music partner" for the year-end recital. I didn't see her performance but I heard lots of practicing and I think she is a wonderful piano player. Thank you for always persevering Danielle. And congratulations on finishing another year of piano!

I had to miss the recital because I was away for work. After the recital John's parents took John and the kids out for lunch to celebrate John's birthday. I think he had about a week's worth of celebrations this year. His barber is right next to the restaurant that they went to, so he decided he'd pop in for a quick haircut. Now Simon has been growing his hair for about three years. He had decided that he would get it cut before we left on our trip because in many of the countries we're visiting you get treated very differently if people think you are a girl - so if you are a boy you might want to have short hair and not be mistaken for a girl. So out of the blue, Simon decided he would get his hair shaved off! So when I came home from work that Saturday evening I was greeted by this handsome young man with very very short hair. Way to go Simon! That was a big sacrifice and you handled it with courage and a very positive attitude.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Winter - no May - Wonderland in Wasaga Beach

I'm sure I saw snowflakes drift past the window at the cottage. Well, it probably was some petals from a nearby fruit tree - but it was so cold it COULD have been snow. Everyone will be remembering May long weekend 2008 as the chilly, rainy one. Simon made an insightful observation. He said, "if it had been hot and sunny then everyone would have been doing different things outside. But the rain and the cold meant we were often all inside together playing games and doing stuff together."
It was a fabulous weekend of "being together." And when the sun peaked out for a few minutes we'd rush out to do some of our favourite Wasaga Beach things. We celebrated John's birthday a few days early, and thanks to Grandma we had a yummy chocolate cake. After dinner we went to the go-carts. It was Marika's first time, and she loved it! She co-piloted with her dad a few times, and then she was my (Pam's) co-pilot for the final lap. Simon is now old enough and tall enough to go on his own. He had a huge grin on his face lap after lap after lap. The next night after dinner Marika asked if it was still Uncle John's birthday, and if he'd like to go to the go-carts again.
Janelle loved the fact that we brought Donut along for the weekend. She checked on him many times, and was eager to touch him. I think it took Donut a week to recover from the weekend. He hadn't been held so many times, rocked around in his cage during the trip there and back, and endured so much fun laughter and yelling in all his time with us!
It wasn't as hard to say good-bye as it usually is because we knew we'd be together a couple more times in the coming week.