The rain has stopped – hooray – although in Vancouver it’s never really far away. None the less, we can all breath a sigh of relief for today.
Laura, Matt and Harper picked me up this morning to join them on a family excursion to Maplewood Farm. While Harper played with the barnyard animals, Laura and Matt regaled me with stories of their travels throughout India and South East Asia – it was hard to tell who was more enthralled – Harper or I.
They then bought me home where Matt the magician put my kitchen to good use by whipping us up some delicious burritos in time to watch the Canucks game. For the uninitiated, the Canucks, aside from being a general colloquialism for Canadian people, are also Vancouver’s Hockey team. I tell you this to spare you asking the humiliating question “so that’s ice hockey, right?”. Apparently this question is a faux pas for two reasons – firstly, you should just know that and secondly, there is no need to specify ice hockey, it is the only true hockey. Field hockey is apparently only for Australian primary school students.
This game was important because they are now in the semi-finals against San Jose. The best of seven or first to four will go through to the finals against the best east coast team in the North American league. If the Canucks get through, it’ll be the first time in 17 years – am I getting this right? They won so the dream is one game closer to reality.
After they left, I decided to resume my plans from yesterday and go to the shops for supplies. My first priority was to get a local SIM card for my phone. Mission accomplished, I marched on. As I did, I passed an alleyway where a woman sat slumped sobbing desperately. My heart went out to her and I only got a few steps passed her before turning back. There have been a number of times on this journey where I’ve felt exactly as she looked and all I wanted was someone to ask if I was OK and tell me everything was going to be alright but there’s not always someone with a ‘free hugs’ poster around when you need them.
I went to her and asked if she was OK. Without looking up, she stretched out her hand to be held. It was covered in blood. I held her shoulders and asked what I could do to help and she asked me to call an ambulance. Luckily, I just got my new SIM so was able to oblige. In a conversation in which I was merely the go-between, I found out that she’d been beaten up, she didn’t say by who but by the quality of the sobbing, it was safe to assume she knew them, that and the fact she still had all her stuff with her. She was my age. The ambulance came within minutes, I asked if she wanted me to stay with her, she said that she didn’t so I left her in the hands of the professionals.
A little shaken by the encounter, I was grateful to acknowledge that there are far worse circumstances than my own. I stopped for a coffee and texted my new number to my Vancouver posse. Within minutes, I received my first call from my dear friend, Yael who invited me over for dinner at her place. She picked me up shortly after and again, it was as though no time had passed.
Yael is a truly creative, genuine and nurturing soul – something to do with being born on the 20th July no doubt (Janet, I’m sure you’ll agree). Being back in her company was so easy, like being home so when I stepped into her home to be greeted by her beautiful husband, Colin – it was pure delight. It was also my great pleasure to be reacquainted with their gorgeous daughters – Talya (9) and Mikhail (7) who have grown beyond recognition into such confident, conversational and engaging people. It was enchanting to see this family in action with such mutual affection and respect for each other.
No need for chit-chat, we jumped into the deep end of conversation while an impromptu gourmet meal was thrown together over a couple of beers. After dinner, I was given a tour of the girls rooms which were bursting with truly impressive art works of their own creation, clearly they have their mothers artistic streak, though each of them unmistakably individual.
Once they were settled in bed, Yael and I headed back downstairs to pick up the conversation over a bottle of wine. Though years have passed, the bond between us seems to have only strengthened and I’m truly grateful for the healing this reunion is already bringing me.