As we travelled across the wide open prairies from Alberta to Manitoba, we couldn’t help but comment on how large the space is compared to the countries in which we had just travelled. We are so spoiled here in North America with the amount of space that we have that we have become lazy with our resources and our stewardship of the environment. In all the countries that we visited, laundry is hung, not thrown into a dryer, public transport is used rather than individual vehicles, and recycling is a big part of the garbage program in Europe of which we have only just begun to establish. We have made ourselves a vow to live simpler and more conscientiously. That should be pretty easy when you are living out of a 400 square foot motorhome!!

We decided to drive straight through and arrived at the Russell Peace Park at 1:30 AM so thought that it might be a little late to call in on my Mom. After a few hours sleep, we walked over to my mom’s and as she wasn’t expecting us until later in the day, she was almost speechless. It was a wonderful reunion and we spent a couple of hours hugging and talking before it was time for her to head to church.

We spent the next couple of days with my family but got some tragic news on Tuesday evening. Richard’s Dad passed away at 5:30 PM after spending a satisfying day planting his garden. It was quick and sudden and though a blessing for him, it left the rest of us reeling in shock. We said hurried goodbyes to my family and early Wednesday morning headed down to Pine Falls to be with Richard’s Mom and siblings. We grieve that we were unable to see him before his passing and share some of our stories with him. He loved life and whenever Richard spoke to him during our journey, he was interested in the history of the area and the things that we were doing. His sense of humor was always present and we are quite sure that he and St. Peter are sharing a chuckle as Bertie says “Have you heard the one about….?” We will miss him immensely!!

We have parked our camper at Robin and Garrett’s and though we’ve been here less than 24 hours, we have already fallen head over heels in love with Scottie, born last September. It has only been a year since we left but it is unbelievable how much the other two girls have grown. Allison is a young lady now at the age of five, graduating from Pre-K at the local French school and Landyn is talking non-stop with questions about absolutely everything. So much fun!!  Though I was lucky enough to see Luke for a few minutes yesterday as well, we will hopefully be able to see more of Logan and Luke today or tomorrow, the last of our grandchildren to see.  Looking forward to it.

The next few days will be busy with funeral arrangements, family visits and catching up with everyone. Though the circumstances are not how we had planned or hoped, we are glad to be home with our family.




Coming Home

Our journey from Dublin to Edmonton was uneventful but very long. By the time our head hit the pillow in our motorhome in Hinton, we had been going for about 27 hours. I had about an hour sleep on the plane but other than that, not much else. Unfortunately, our bodies were still on Ireland time so we only managed a couple of hours sleep before they felt we should be up and going again. After three days we are now getting our internal clock back into a proper sleeping routine and managed about 6 hours last night.

Blair met us at the airport in Edmonton and we drove straight back to Hinton – at least a six hour round trip for him. He dropped us off at Hilary and Dane’s and we spent an hour or so visiting before the two hour sleep fiasco. Norah had waited up for us and the hug she gave me was what I had been missing all these many months. It was exquisite – so full of love and innocent abandon. To be hugged by a child is divine. We met our new granddaughter Indiana, now seven weeks. She is, of course, perfect. She is sleeping, eating and pooping like most that age but she is also cooing, smiling, and laughing at her own little personal jokes. I am sure she wonders who these two grey haired folks are that keep zooming into her focus!!

The boys went golfing on Saturday and the girls spent the day talking, catching up and watching the baby sleep. I borrowed Hilary’s jeep and Norah and I went grocery shopping and got a treat at Dairy Queen – just normal stuff. However, it is still part of the adventure for me – driving a car on the right hand side of the road, not having to convert currency at the grocery store, holding hands with my grandaughter as she chatters us around the store with all the wisdom of the world from a 7 year old’s perspective. The best line of course being, “Wait, how are you going to pay for all these groceries? You don’t have a job!” Ahhh, from the mouths of babes.  

The Hinton family all got together at Blair’s for a barbq that night. The grandboys were not quite as enthusiastic to see us but nevertheless, we got our hugs and squirmy kisses before they all rushed to play on the trampoline. As we sat in Blair’s back yard, enjoying the evening sunshine and the fantastic food and company, I couldn’t help but think that this is really the destination. Family is the ultimate goal. What do we spend our life striving for if it is not to be with the ones you love at the end of the day? No matter where we travelled this theme resonated everywhere – parents with their children, couples holding hands, grandparents and grandchildren. Love is all around us.

Though we are happy to be home and are enjoying spending this time with family, we are missing our free and easy travel lifestyle. As we sadly unpacked our backpacks, we reflected on how we managed to live in four shirts and two pairs of pants for 10 months. Our camper is full of clothes and yet we still only want to wear these clothes that were a part of our great adventure. Will this feeling pass? Will we ever feel comfortable living a routine? Are we square pegs trying to fit in round holes? Where will we live? What will we do? Can we leave the family again? So many questions and so many possibilities.