Monday, July 30, 2012

My so-called vacation

As usual, a vacation to Vancouver is only partly a vacation. This time, it was marred by sadness. My uncle (my mother's sister's husband) died while we were there visiting my father and sister. My uncle had been in declining health anyway, but he was diagnosed with pneumonia and pulmonary fibrosis, and likely died from complications of those two things.

We were able to visit him the evening we arrived, so we got to say good-bye to him one last time. The funeral service/burial was a lovely service: a family-only affair where we sat with our own thoughts and offered comfort to my aunt, my cousins, and my cousin J's in-laws. It was the complete opposite of the stressful and crazy circus that was my mother's funeral. We didn't have beer and barbecue like my cousin S promised, but we had a nice dim sum afterward - still just family - and it was, all in all, the best funeral I've attended.
The weather cooperated, as you can see from the photo of the burial. Apparently, they had a wet and cold spring in that region of the world, but 2 days after we arrived, the weather turned, becoming sunny and warm. Nice warm, about mid 70s F, instead of horrid warm, about 100+ F like it was back home. We did do some hikes and took a few pictures of butterflies (Lorquin's Admiral)
birds (a nice profile shot of one Cedar Waxwing and a nice butt shot of the other)
four-legged mammals (mule deer)
and two-legged mammals (wow, there was still snow on Mount Seymour).
Then, of course, there's the food. I tell people we visit Vancouver because of my family, but, truthfully, we go there for the food. Yes, that would include durian (entirely hubby's fault this time)
 and chicken feet, which I can't get enough of and order every single time we go to dim sum.
As usual, we went to Steveston for the guys to rent bikes and ride along the water. Steveston is the cutest town that's pretty much an extension of Richmond, but has a much slower pace. The guys found the recreated village of the fishing community that used to thrive there, complete with a chicken house that still has two hens and one rooster, as an example of how the villagers used to live. What was most interesting to me was the bunkhouse that was temporary home to the Chinese labor that they used to bus in from the neighboring areas such as Vancouver:
But most importantly, we spent a lot of time with my dad. When mom was still alive, we didn't spend half as much time with him. He is really a dear man, but boy does he drive us nuts. Mom was sharp as a professional chef's knife, but dad...well, he's smart at certain things, but he doesn't have that all-round intelligence that mom had. We used to rely on mom's help to talk to him (she translated things we didn't know how to say and got him to tell a story straight), but now we have to talk directly with him. Somehow, we're still smiling...hah! Here we are, not throttling dad. ;) My sister, Monica, proprietress of the cool soap shop, Soap Sudsations, is on the left in the photo.
Guess I've bored you enough with tales of my vacation. Have you taken vacation (or "holiday" if you're part of the Commonwealth) this summer yet? Where did you go and did you have fun or need a vacation after your vacation just to recuperate?

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams