Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Music, Mountains and Much Much More

A couple days before we left Calgary I was talking to the kids about leaving soon. Danielle said, “I wish our trip was two years then we could stay here for a year.” Simon quickly agreed. By “here” they weren’t just talking about the city of Calgary, they were hoping they could stay with their cousins at their house! It’s been a treat for all of us to play and swim, dance and read books, and pass the time together.

One of the primary goals of our journey is to experience other cultures. We have done that in our 12 day stay in Calgary.

We began our stay with our friends the Reinders (friends we met in Vancouver) and attending the Calgary Music Folk Festival. Phil and Betty are “professional” folk festival folks. They’ve been telling us for 10 years what an awesome experience it is. For Christmas last year they promised us a personalized orientation. We quickly learned it’s all about the tarps. John stood in line twice (once at 6:00am) to do the `running of the tarps``. Hmmm, I wonder if that is why they invited us?! No, no … everyone was able to apply their gifts to the process: preparing snacks, taking care of kids, carrying festival chairs, standing in line for coffee. The Festival was a wonderful time – friendly people those Calgary festival folk. The rain drove us out a few times but the kids enjoyed hiding under the tarp, dancing under the stars, listening to fabulous musicians, playing in the kids’ zone, and eating a rich diversity of food.

It's important to get a tarp with a view!

Rocking out to Bedouin Soundclash.

I’d never been to a music festival before. Going to the festival gave me a new appreciation of music and musicians. Music is one of those things we can so easily take for granted. It’s always with us – especially if you are traveling with John, who is often humming or whistling a simple melody over and over and over again. To sit and listen for hours to different voices and combinations of instruments is truly a gift. You forget about all the hours of traveling, practicing, and maybe even anxieties about getting up in front of thousands of people. And they make it all seem so effortless. Thank you to all the musicians I heard and those who continue to fill my world with music!

When the festival was over, we moved to the Goosens (Pam`s sister, Martha, her husband, Harvey, and their two daughters, Janelle and Marika). Harvey’s cousin, AnneMarie, was also visiting from Holland. They were gracious hosts as we have experienced many, many times. This was the first time that all four of us were in Calgary together. I have flown out many times on my own, or John has passed through on his way to/from Vancouver, or I’ve been out with the kids on my own. So it was very special for our families to spend so much time altogether.

We had a beautiful day hiking in the mountains around Canmore and Banff. When we were driving through Canmore to the Grassi Lakes, Simon said, “I’d like to live in Canmore. Do you think they have a school here?” I, too, would love to wake up surrounded by mountains everyday.

We visited the Banff Springs Hotel where the views are free.

The Strathmore Rodeo and a Calgary Stampeders game could be considered significant Alberta cultural events! The rodeo was a small-town rodeo but action-packed. We all enjoyed the bull riding and the chuck wagons but were amazed at the dangers of the sport. One fellow was thrown from a bull into a fence like a ragdoll. There was a chuckwagon accident but fortunately no one was hurt. We’re not sure about the horse though.

Look at these beautiful cowgirl cousins!

A Stampeders football game was also a raucous event. They were playing Saskatchewan and probably half the crowd was Rough Riders fans – and many of them were wearing hollowed out watermelons on their heads (hence the name ``melon heads``). It was a great game, but unfortunately Saskatchewan holds onto the winning record. The Stamps lost by only 1 point.

We were able to immerse ourselves in great vistas all day yesterday as we drove through Banff and Jasper National Parks. Today our compass is set on Bowron Lake Provincial Park in B.C. A week of canoe-camping. Are we ready? John has been making lists, checking them twice, packing and repacking food and gear. We have to stop asking ourselves that question because it can sometimes make you drag your feet and never get out the door. Yup, we’re ready to give it our best shot!

In Shifting Gears recently we read, “Trust that the same providential God who has blessed you with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will also provide … Set aside any false guilt that will only diminish the joy of unwrapping this daily adventure.” (p83)

Blessings to you on your adventure wherever it takes you this week!


  1. great stories and awesome pics...thanks...

  2. and hey hey hey, hey hey hey hey!
    Bedouin Soundclash, Very Cool!!

    Enjoying the updates guys.

    Have fun


  3. Beautiful pictures. Can't wait for the next update. Glad the sock is progressing - good luck w/ turning the heel.
    Camping? Spent 5 days w/ the Gergolas's and knit with Connie and her mom. Socks there too.
    School is coming up fast and a new job for me starting late-September - a blessing.
    Keep well : )

  4. I'm enjoying living vicariously through your blog. It looks like your travels may bring you through Atlanta. If so, we'd love to have you stay with our family for a while. Just reply to this comment if you'd like to talk more!

    Happy Travels!


  5. These are really good updates! I'm a little jealous of all the things you're experiencing.

    Even a little audio (John's yell) - well done.