Vacation? What’s a vacation? What I wouldn’t give to have a few days of freedom without having to worry about managing staff, a social life, and school. Oh well… One can dream.
The last vacation that my jam packed schedule allowed was back in April of this year. The time of year where here in Thunder Bay, the weather is usually melancholy with grey skies and mounds of slush up to your ankles. My boyfriend (Jeremy) and I had just recently moved in together and had been tirelessly working on making our house feel like a home; on top of both of us working full-time and myself going to school. One evening, he received a phone call from his dad saying that he was thinking of taking a road trip back to his home town sometime in the near future. After the phone call ended, Jeremy turned to me with the biggest smile on his face and said: “Do you want to meet my grandparents?” and I immediately blurted out the words: “Yes, of course I do!”
Flash forward to the night before we leave.
Jeremy and I are collecting items and checking things off of our packing list, when all of a sudden the largest wave of pure anxiety crashes over me. The look on my face must have given him every bit of information that I couldn’t with my own voice in that very moment, because his face fell expressionless and the only thing he said was: “You aren’t coming… Are you”. After a long sleepless night, our alarm went off and he left to meet his dad (Stephane). 45 minutes later they returned, with his younger brother Jayden and the three pleaded me to come along. I’m glad to say that I was able to defeat the constrictor that is anxiety and walk myself into the truck to start our adventure.
The car ride was a long eighteen hours. We skipped through heavy traffic by traveling the northern route from here, passing through small places like Geraldton, Hearst, Cochrane, and Kapuskasing. The scenery was absolutely breath-taking, and we were able to see many of the unique offerings of each place along the way.
Early the next morning, we finally arrived at our destination. An adorable little white farm-style house right off the highway near River-Rouge, QC. The couple standing at the front porch reminded me of Carl and Ellie from the 2009 movie UP. I was soon introduced to them, Mammi and Pappi.
The first few days had me in culture-shock overload. Every food item consisted of some form of maple syrup, the sugar and heavy cream in most making me unbelievably sick. The family, however, accepted me instantaneously. Asking many questions about my life, family, job, goals, and of course “Quand est le mariage et les bebe?”
Our little vacation turned into a humble routine for the next ten days. Wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, go out into the bush to get to the sugar shack. Collect the tree sap from the containers, and deliver it to whichever uncle was working to make syrup that day.
Overall, after a rough start, this will be a trip that I remember for a lifetime.
Picture Credit: Kihannah Perala
Church in Montreal