Friday, December 2, 2005

Northern Diaries

We left Toronto by 8:30 am on Monday morning. I was excited and a bit nervous to say the least. After all, I was meeting the in-laws and I had no idea what to expect. David tried to assuage my fears by telling me that his mother was easy going and that he thought I would be fine and to just be myself. I really wasn't expecting to be anything else. I never am. I figure if someone doesn't like me, screw them, but this was his mother and family we were speaking of, and I felt a need to be accepted.

We packed the car and headed North and made good time. We reached North Bay just after noon, so David decided he would take me to the Mall. We walked about and got some hiking shoes for him. The people were friendly and more approachable than us Torontonians. I looked around at the people and noticed how they seemed more casual and relaxed than us big city folk. It wasn't an observation that was meant to be condescending, but I was rather pleased that it wasn't a big bustling city. I thought about all this and how I was possibly stereotyping people living in the country as simpletons or backwards. I caught myself, and realised how backwards I was for thinking that.

We decided to make our way to his Mums place, located on the outskirts of North Bay in the Powassan Municipality, a small town bordered by lots of farming and country homes. The area was also heavily settled by Mennonites living in the traditional sense. Buggies and carriages would pass by frequently and I was amazed by the dichotomy and clash of societies living side by side.

We drove through the country, fields and farm homes dotting the hilly landscape and I soon realised David had no idea where he was going. When I asked him what street they lived on, he shrugged his shoulders and said it was a "bluish home with trees around it". My look of disdain made him laugh even harder, and I couldn't help laugh at the blog worthiness of the story. Shortly thereafter, David surprisingly found the bungalow and when we got out we were greeted by David's mum's boyfriend. To say he was a big man, was an understatement. When we shook hands I noticed my hands were almost completely engulfed in his. Over the week, as I got to know him, I found out that he was a jack of all trades, a Northern Canadian forester, lumberjack, steel miller, etc. In otherwords, he was a tough man, but with a big heart and a very friendly and sarcastic disposition. When David's mum arrived, the 2 hugged for a long time and I was introduced to her. I liked her immediately. She had this carefree, relaxed and very sarcastic humour, which I found comforting and I eased into it, like a pair of warm slippers.

Over the next 3 days, we went shopping, ate and chatted and spoke about family, friends, and life in North Bay, and life in Toronto. I got the feeling she liked me and I told her that we would make a concerted effort to see her more often, or have her come down to Toronto to stay with us.

Tuesday, was spent shopping with David's mum, as it was her birthday and David sweetly bought her several gifts. Their bond is quite noticeable and on the Tuesday night, it became blindingly obvious how much they both missed each other. It was late in the evening, and I was looking at one of his mum's cat paraphenalia - everything this woman owns has some cat theme to it - it boggles the mind, but is quite endearing. I turned to comment on the cat lamp, when I saw him beginning to sob. I went to him, and held him in my arms. We didn't say much, but I felt his pain at being separated by his loved ones, and lightly cooed to him that we would see her more often. He is such a quiet man, but he has such a deep emotional well, which makes me love him like nothing else. He made me realise at that very instant how much more I need to appreciate and love my family and friends who surround and support me. I love how he does that to me without even knowing it.

On Wednesday, we took a hike on the Candadore Trails situated on a large hilly and mountainous conservation park just behind David's old college. As we began to walk, snow began to fall and the trees and trails were quickly blanketed in fresh snow. It seemed in our minds as though the forest had never been walked and there was a certain satisfaction in leaving the first footprints. I can't tell you how romantic it was (see below and Flickr ). Our intention, was to find a water fall, but David got us lost deep in the brush, off trail, deep in snow and in streams. I was cold and wet, but despite it all, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The only drawback was that we were going to visit his Grandmum right after. When I greeted grandma, I was soaking wet, covered in dirt and pine needles. I was mortified, as I took off my socks and wandered about her home with dirty, wrinkly feet, but she shushed me and told me not to worry about it. I should have known she would be fine, since she was the one asking if we would get married the night before on a phone call.

Thursday, we were woken early to David's mum singing Happy Birthday to me. It was a sweet gesture as were the card and the Scratch tickets she gave me (all of which won by the way). We dropped his mum off to work, took a few pictures then returned to Toronto early to clean and pack up some of Davids apartment belongings. It was a good trip and I was happy to see this other side of David. He is such a complex man, and I love finding these tiny scattered pieces of him. Everytime I think I know him, I am gobsmacked at how much more I have to learn.


tornwordo said...

Sounds like a great trip. And the pictures are stunning.

Alan said...

Congrats for surviving the in-laws! :) (And the photos are indeed great...what camera do you use?)

EarthMother said...

What breathtakingly beautiful pics!
Your trip sounds like it was amazing, on so many different levels. What an awesome experience it is to fall in love with another facet of your partner.

The Catshark said...

Wow Epi you have such a way with words! The pictures are just beautiful. I am so glad you had such a good time! Davids mum sounds just like me! I have cat memoribilia all over the place in my apartment! I have two tiffany lamps that have cats on them as well!

CoffeeDog said...

Aw what a nice story - warms my heart. The pics are lovely!

Snooze said...

The type of love we all aspire to - not just with David, but his love for his mum, his grandmother's obvious love and acceptance. Mmmm... And of course he's from the North. It's the best part of Ontario.

Cincy Diva said...

I was welling up reading your story and missing my own Mom. It was quite a shock to see someone say that there were people more friendly and open than the people of Toronto! That was one of the reason I fell in love with the city. I can't imagine people being even more friendly. Glad your trip was a success.

EssentialStephen said...

Thanks for sharing - what a great story and so glad it went so well. Sounds like a great family. What a coincidence though as Andy's mom happened to be visiting this weekend herself.

mainja said...


Mr.Brian/Mr.Fletcher said...

I'm very happy you enjoyed the trip, and I'm also very happy for you that David's family has accepted you as one of their own. There is nothing so satisfying as knowing you have become a part of your partner's family, no questions asked.

mikevil said...

I love this post. It is so warm and encouraging. Written with a very peaceful, thankful tone it seems to me.

Wonderous that you had such a fantastic visit - these 'first contact' moments can be a bitch!

Bugg said...

Great pictures! Glad to hear that the trip was a success and happy bleated birthday too!

daelyn said...

Wonderful pictures Epi. Sounds like the trip was very cathartic for all of you and wonderful too. I am so looking forward to Christmas visits for that reason too.

daelyn said...

Some of those pictures brought back memories of my obsessive fandom of Twin Peaks.

Greg the Surly said...

Great Post Epi. I keep hoping to have moments like that. Glad to hear you had such a great time.

epicurist said...

tornwordo - It was a lovely trip and the scenery was quite breathtaking, so I couldn't mess up the pics.

Alan - Thanks! We were toggling between my old Canon Powershot A20 (2.1MP) and David's new A50 (4.0MP)

Earthmama - It was a cool experience, one I will cherish. :)

Catshark - The cat stuff was so crazy, we even bought her a poster and some charm bracelets with cats on it. LOL

coffeedog - It was kinda sappy wasn't it?

Snooze - I think it was that overall love he exhibits that made me gush so much more over him. And yes, the North is just awesome!

Cincy Diva - I think the whole experience made me treasure my family even more, and not to take them for granted.

Essential - They were a crazy fun family. Quite different from mine, but laughter was prominant.

mainja - YAY!

BriBri - It was very heartwarming to be accepted.

mikevil - I am glad the "first contact" was not a bitch! phewww....STNG fan are we?

Bugg - :) Thank you baby!

daelyn - good god, twin peaks...what a blast from the past, but now that you mention it, it was kinda like that.

greg - I am sure you will! ;-p

Dantallion said...

Aww, Epi, this is such an incredibly beautiful post. The way you write is such an amazing reflection of how a person might actually feel if they were experiencing what you describe first hand. In fact, the words you chose are very much like the beautiful pics. Peaceful, and uplifting. I even choked up a bit as you described your feelings for David.

I'm so very happy for you both, I'm glad the meeting with the in-folks went so well. Here's wishing you both many, many more years of the same.

Ms Bees Knees said...

I have to agree with mikevil [THAT's a first!]... your tone in this piece was just so calming and thankful. Just absolutely lovely. Happy holidays sweeheart!

epicurist said...

Dantallion - That is incredibly sweet of you, thanks. You made me giggle a bit there...tee hee

ms bees knees - Hope you're feeling better, and wishing you love and wellness!

No one asked us said...

I'm jealous.

epicurist said...

NOAU - And I am jealous of your gym boy who smiled at you...sigh, no one does that to me anymore.