Posts tagged with "vacation"

don’t add me to the weight you carry

For Christmas vacation, Heather and I decided to head to her hometown for a few days with her family. Every holiday is uniquely difficult in its own way; this year I could tell it was hitting her harder than usual. She’s been my foundation since I met her, but under the strain of travel and the pressures of the parents, she began to crumble. It didn’t help that her brother — who suffers from schizophrenia — went missing in November1.

cute girl

One of the highlights was seeing old family photos, especially Heather at various stages of her life.

To be helpless in the face of such hardship made me feel like a burden, perhaps cause I’ve been struggling to regain my sense of self-worth. The most I could do was be present and extra attentive to her needs as she sat in her chair each night and chewed the inside of her cheeks for comfort.

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  1. The fact that we now know he’s homeless and living on the streets of Toronto is cold comfort. []

Maui Wowie

When Dave and Jenny asked me to film their wedding in Maui, there was no way I could say refuse. Soon1 I found myself in the only place in the world where Koa grows, and every tree I passed made me wonder if it would eventually be made into a ukulele or guitar. I was only there for two days, but it was worth every moment in the delightful weather, spending time with some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

The entire wedding group gathered for dinner at Mala restaurant, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the islands of Lanai and Kaho`olawe. At this time of year, the Maui sunset passes in the blink of an eye.

I learned that there are only twelve letters in the Hawaiian alphabet (which is why so many of the words look the same to me), and the language uses Spanish vowels. Each vowel is usually pronounced by itself (Wailea is said “Why-lay-ah”). I was surprised to see most signs in both English and Japanese; it turns out there used to be a significant Japanese community in Hawaii, although most of the Japanese tourists go to see Pearl Harbor instead.

All the locals are super nice, perhaps due to the fact that tourism is one of the only industries left in Maui2; it seems like most people living there are in the service industry in some form or another3.

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  1. “Soon” being a relative term when compared to the limitless of time, as it took me roughly a full day and three planes to get there, from Ottawa to Chicago to Honolulu to Kahalui. []
  2. The other being agriculture that’s mostly been overshadowed by competition from Philippines. []
  3. As opposed to those from Honolulu, who have jobs related to the military in some way. []

UK Detour, Day 11: London

Mike was between jobs, so I got to shadow him without being too intrusive. That not only meant I got to check out his favourite haunts, but meet more important people in his life.

At one point, I had to withdraw some cash (since Mike had previously lied to me about my credit card not working), and it was strange to suddenly find three different kinds of currency in my wallet.

men on benches

So close yet so alone.

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UK Detour: Day 10, Chartres to London

On my last day in Rochefort-en-Terre, I receive an e-mail asking for support for my Wu Wei theme. This isn’t uncommon; earlier this year, Wu Wei was chosen to be part of the official repository, and I’ve been flooded with such e-mails since. What stood out about this one, from a Michael Harvey, was the fact that he was in London, read from my blog that I was in France, and offered to show me around if I happened to be stopping by.

I told him it’d be lovely if I could go, but I’ve no place to stay, as I’d only planned on going to France. On a whim of his own, he offers to let me stay with him, and tells me I’d feel at home as they have two cats.

For a while I turn this idea over in my head, as there’s most certainly a risk involved in living with someone you’ve never met, least of all whether or not you’d even get along. Eventually, I decide that I couldn’t give up on the chance to see more of Europe. Fate opened a door, and I only had to step through. I couldn’t say no.

And so, armed with a ticket for the EuroStar and a box of assorted macaroons (one of the specialties in Chartres) for my new host, I set off for London.

Chartres train station

In Chartres, waiting for the train to Paris — Gare Montparnasse.

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France: Day 9, Rochefort-en-Terre

It’s so nice to be accepted into another family, and to be able to live the way they do for a bit. You get a taste of someone else’s life and habits. That’s when a trip is more than just a visit to a different place, and becomes an experience.

And on our last day in Rochefort-en-Terre, there were still things to do and dishes to eat.

cleaning mussels

Cleaning the mussels for steaming in white wine and onions. This is how Frédéric won Misun’s heart.

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