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.