Part 6: Home for the After Holidays*
*This will be a bit shorter post this week (audible sighs of relief can be heard, lol) as I spent time with family & friends for Thanksgiving. It was a great week and beautiful weather here as well.
As great a trip it was through Philadelphia, New York, and San Francisco, I was more excited to head back to Canada to visit family & friends and show my friend Alex around the prairies and mountains of Alberta.
Ten days went way too fast! We drove all over Alberta, making our way to Waterton, Enchant, Taber, Vauxhall, and Edmonton, and spending most of the remaining time in Lethbridge.
Here are a few from Waterton with my brother and his son, Aiden.
Of course, a trip back home wouldn't be complete without aligning with my family's 4-year reunion, which this time was held at the Enchant Municipal Park, with special musical guest Elvis Prestley (or one of them) as our evening entertainment. It was great to see everyone, but we didn't take a full family photo with those people in attendance this time. It was great to reconnect with everyone there.
As I mentioned in my first blog post, my family is very much into keeping track of our family history. Unfortunately, fewer people with each reunion know the stories of the past so vividly. Sharing stories is what keeps those family members who we have lost with us still. Here is a short video of my great uncle Chester talking about his parents, Minnie & Claus Oseen. (I posted a short audio clip of Chester interviewing my great-grandfather in 1967 about his long life).
Then it was time to golf in Vauxhall, surrounded by farmers' fields. Now, I'm not a golfer, and these will likely be the only photos available anywhere to prove that I have golfed (I am a mini-golfer at heart). I was busier, swatting at flies than making it to the green in less than ten shots. I lost quite a few balls in the nearby farmer's field, and I think my stepdad, Eric, was worrying about his supply of golf balls halfway through playing the course (only nine holes). It was a beautiful day, though, and everyone else enjoyed themselves.
A few days later, Alex and I drove to Edmonton to visit my friend Kathy and her then-boyfriend (now husband) Andrew. We first hit the Olive Garden for their unlimited salad and breadsticks and then the West Edmonton Mall, wandering the massive shopping center with "800 stores and services including twelve world-class attractions, two hotels, over 100 dining venues" we then bowled a few frames. In black light. Heading back to Kathy and Andrew's house, we met with a few friends to play cards and catch up. We had a great time, and it was about time for our trip to end.
Heading back to Taber, we stopped by the cemetery so I could say hi to all those family members buried there; a typical stop while in town. Some feel that cemeteries are creepy or scary, but I've spent so much time in them visiting family members that it feels comforting. I always say hi to my brother, Clint, and get a photo at his gravestone. Morbid or not, this is the time I now have with my departed brother, and I appreciate every moment.
It was time to say goodbye to my family and return to Madrid. It's always sad to leave, but I know I will return to visit with more stories and adventures to share.
I hope you have all enjoyed this post and the photos and videos. I have wanted to share my life and have enjoyed pulling out those moments that I have cherished. There are more adventures to share leading up to my most incredible experience of starting my business.
Next week, check out my final post from Spain and my last trips around Europe (for now): Part 7: Lost in Spain.