Can’t believe that it’s the end of December already. We’ve been traveling in SEA and surrounds for over 11 months now but from the planning stages of this trip, it had been our wish to spend Christmas with our Canadian family in Vancouver. While we were looking forward to seeing Aunts, Uncles and cousins again, some of whom we had not seen for over 2.5yrs, and to experience a ‘Canadian Christmas’ we were a bit wary about this leg of our trip too.
After all, Jim and I are not fans of cold, wet weather, or of winter for that matter. And for most of our trip, we’ve needed to wear little more than t-shirts, shorts and sandals. We don’t have anything more than a light jacket, 1 pair of long pants and some socks each in our backpacks. Aside from Yasmine, none of us had any ‘closed’ shoes either! Luckily our stops before here were Bangkok and Hong Kong, so purchasing a few essential pieces each without breaking the bank was easily done, although by doing so we also had to buy another piece of carry-on luggage to carry our new ‘stuff’. Once we arrived we were able to borrow the rest from similarily sized relatives.
We’ve been really lucky with the weather too in the two weeks since we’ve been here. We’ve had mostly crisp, sunny and dry days, which have been perfect for enjoying the abundant outdoor Christmas events on offer and for social outings with friends and family.
|Riding the Bear Creek Park Christmas train.|
|On the Stanley Park 'Bright Nights' Christmas train|
|Nature walk with cousins|
The kids have been especially having a good time here. We’re staying with one of their cousins, with another visiting cousin also staying at the same place too—4 kids aged between 6yrs and 2.5yrs makes for a very fun (and loud) household! But having a 'normal' homebase, our kids have been able to do regular stuff like play on scooters outside and do arts and crafts indoors. We also had a terrific group effort decorating a ginger bread house!
|Painting Christmas ornaments with cousin Nora|
We’ve had lots of unique experiences here too—unique to us as a family anyway. The kids have enjoyed eating out in restaurants that offer them crayons and colouring sheets while they waited for their meals. They’ve especially enjoyed special ‘kid’s meals’ that get served in a paper pirate ship! They’re impressed by the numerous kid-friendly washrooms that have kid-sized toilets and kid-sized hand basins. They loved trying their hand at ice-skating (and were surprisingly good at it too!). And when they saw snow for the first time (in their memory), Yasmine declared that she was ‘very happy now’.
On Christmas Day the kids excitedly reported that Santa had been very generous to them, giving them lots of candy, chocolate as well as a new outfit for their teddies. Their aunties, uncles and cousins also spoilt them with nice, well-thought out gifts, which in most cases were also very small in size! In the evening, more of our extended family joined us for Christmas dinner.
So far our time here in Vancouver has been everything we had hoped for: lots of time spent with family and partaking in magical Christmas events together. We have been spoilt by the abundance in North American society, which in itself was an initial cause for concern, but we have been able to indulge within reason (we think!). And more so than on previous visits, we have been able to resist the temptations of consumerism, spending our money on experiences instead. We have another week left, and a lot more that we want to soak up.