shipwrecks and bus stops

shipwreck

The first time we went sea kayaking in Cape Broyle, our guide told a story about a shipwreck that happened in the Cape Broyle harbour years ago.  Apparently the ship was not from Newfoundland, and it hit a rock and ran aground.  This rock was not on the navigational charts and the captain asked a local man why the rock wasn’t indicated on the charts. The story goes that the local man replied, “Everyone already knows it is there”.

I’m not sure why I remember this story since there are days I seem to have trouble remembering my children’s names. Yet this story has stuck with me.  And since I have been back to St. John’s, I have been reminded of it again.

It came back to mind this past week when I was looking into my son’s school bus stop.  We haven’t moved into our new place yet, so I have been driving the kids to school. However, I thought if I could figure out the bus stop, he could be getting used to the bus routine and maybe meeting some new kids. I first checked the school’s website to see what I could find out.   The site listed the different routes indicating the streets the bus takes on each route.  Excellent.  We found the route for my son but we weren’t sure where the bus stops were located or what time to be there.  So I called the school and the very pleasant lady answering the phone told me she would print off the bus info and send it home.  Perfect.  Problem solved.  Except, when my son arrived home, I was confused to see the very same info I found on the website – just the streets with no stop details.

The next morning, I went into the school and the principal was out front, efficiently fielding many inquiries from students and parents. When it was my turn at the front of the line, I asked my question; “Where and when do we meet the bus?”.  He asked me had I seen the kids on my street waiting for the bus? I told him no, we haven’t moved in yet, I just wanted to know the bus stop location so we could get our son there at the designated time.

The principal wanted to help me, but it turns out he didn’t know either.  He told me he would have to find some kids in the neighbourhood to ask where the bus stop was.  I wondered was there somewhere to call to find a list of stops and times?  “No,” he told me – “The kids just know where the stops are.”  I couldn’t help but inquire further, “Well, how do the those kids know where to go?”  He replied that they know because they have had older brothers and sisters that had gone to the school for years.

Really?????

Well – you can understand my reflection on the Cape Broyle shipwreck story.

I was initially confused and a bit surprised that no more details were available.  Obviously this system has been working here, so maybe I am overthinking things? Is this just me and my need to know details???  How does this seeming lack of organization & communication work?  Surely, they have new students transferring in. How do they figure out where to go?

I guess everyone already knows where the bus stops are.

Either way, we drove to the new house this morning before school to see what we could find out on our own (feeling a little indignant to have to figure this out in such a haphazard way).  As we drove up our street we started to laugh.  There were several kids lined up on the curb in front of our house.   The bus stop is RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR HOUSE.  I mean, the kids were waiting in our driveway.

Maybe a lower key approach works after all.

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one month

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We have officially been in St. John’s for one month. We’ve done a lot in that month.

– DD has found her dance studio and made some friends.

– Both kids have done a musical theatre camp and DS was asked to join in the Wizard of Oz musical cast for performances in October.  He has started rehearsals, is loving it and making friends.

– Went hiking, hiking again, sea kayaking, to Hant’s Harbour, Daniel’s Cove, Spreadeagle, the Regatta, Signal Hill and more!  Whew! We’ve packed a lot into one month!

– We bought a house! We are in the process of arranging renovations, but at least we know where we are going to live.  And the best part is that it is exactly in between sister #2 and sister #3. Yeah!

– We have seen lots of family and feel so lucky to be so close to everyone!

– DH is settling into working at home.  It will be better once we have our house. The sun room will be his office and is bright and happy.  Since he will be working out of the house, having a positive place to work each day is key!

– I have lots of house and life details still to arrange, but I will need to start job hunting soon.  Wish me luck with that!

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So all in all, a productive month. Every now and again someone will comment to me that this was “quite a big move for us all“, or that it is “a big deal to move your entire family at this point in our lives (especially the kids)“. Sometimes I get that look of “Are you crazy?“.  Well, I guess it is a big deal. And maybe we are a bit crazy. It doesn’t feel crazy. I still have this gut feeling that everything is right in my world, even when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. And honestly I do have those moments. But we are where we need to be.  That much is still crystal clear.

Can’t wait for month two.

little adjustments

We have been gone a long time.  And although we are both from St John’s, we have long adjusted to the Ottawa ways of doing things.  Here are a few funny details that have struck me over the last couple of weeks.

1. It doesn’t take very long to get anywhere.  I am so used to leaving my house at least 20 minutes before I have to be somewhere, I am having trouble adjusting to how close everything is here.  Growing up, it seemed that the East end, was JUST SO FAR from the West end, but in reality, it only takes 10 minutes to drive across town.  Driving between my sisters’ and parent’s houses, is less than a 5 minute jaunt.  So my 20 minute lead time is overkill almost all the time. I’m guessing I will eventually adjust.

2. You hear terms of endearment from complete strangers.  I booked a home inspection over the phone and the lady called me “Honey” at least 12 times.  She even called me “My Love” as we were ending the call.  She also fit me in on the day I needed, even though it didn’t totally work for her. God Love Her. (you also hear that a lot).

3. People talk a lot.  Unless I am hanging out with friends, I am a Get-to-the-Point kind of gal. People here like to talk.  And embellish. And talk.  This is a good reminder for me to sit back and take a load off every now and again and stop rushing. (I will find this challenging though).

4. I can’t remember how to get anywhere.  Initially, I *think* I know where I’m going and hop in the car to head out, but as I’m driving I realize I don’t really know how to get there.  I mean, given enough time, I would find it eventually, but I don’t have my routes down yet.  And I need a map to see how the Outer Ring Road works.  It’s not complicated, but my head is not around it yet. (pun intended).

5. “Dinner time” is noon. Okay I have known this for years, but I still always need clarification when someone tells me to meet them at dinner time.  “So you mean, noon right?”  “Of course noon – what else would dinner time mean???”  I feel like a mainlander.

6. Everyone knows everything and everyone. Pretty much every time I mentioned the location of our (potential) new house, the person already knows the house. Often this is how it goes:  “Oh yes, I know the house. I drove by last week. So and so lives on that street.” Too funny.

7. Beauty is everywhere.  From the bright colours of the houses to the deep blues of the ocean, this is a stunning place to be. Just awe-some.

By next year this time I’m sure I won’t even notice these things and will be totally re-assimilated. Thanks for reading my love! And by the way – who is your mother?  And what’s her maiden name?  Is she a Smith from Trinity Bay or Conception Bay?

Love it.

to clear your head

Walking the Signal Hill Trail is one of the highlights of St. John’s. I found myself with some extra time last weekend and realized I needed to take advantage of this beautiful city I now live in.  The Signal Hill Trail is a must see, as far as I’m concerned. This photo below is the view facing East. Just looking at the ocean calms my soul.20130721-045414.jpg

This is the beginning of the trail.  Lots of stairs.

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See the lighthouse in this picture?  This is Fort Amherst and it is the same lighthouse that is in my Blog Header.  It is also the same place that DH and I got engaged.  Good Memories.

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Along the trial there were some wild roses growing stubbornly through and around the rocks.  You could smell them as you walked!

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The walk took me about an hour, but I did keep stopping to take photos.  How can you not with a view like this?

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This photo below is the only really dodgy part of the trail.  And it looks worse in the photo, I think.

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I stopped in front of this hole in the rock and it was so interesting!  It must go through to the other side of the cliff toward the open ocean, because as I stood in front of it, I could hear the roar of the sea and there was a cooler breeze coming through the rocks.

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Signal Hill also overlooks the city and St John’s Harbour. The sun was just starting to set so it wasn’t a great time to get a photo of the city – I’ll have to get up early one morning and get some sunrise photos.

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These last few flights of stairs on the way back up are fun haha.  There were two nine year old (I’m guessing) boys that flew by me on the stairs as if I was standing still.  I really wanted to bottle their energy!

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As I was finishing up, the wind was whipping my hair all around and my heart was pumping. A great feeling and an even better reminder why I love St. John’s.

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my cup runneth over

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There was no cell coverage on the road from the ferry, until we reached the main highway. I knew as soon as the service came back because my phone started beeping with text messages, voicemail and phone calls from my sisters, Mom and Dad welcoming us HOME! Our first stop was to drop our camper at my parent’s cabin in Spreadeagle.  It is one of my favourite places in the world – the sun was shining and the ocean was sparkling.

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A quick photo op before we had lunch – my Dad had burgers ready for us! Thanks Dad!

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Once we arrived in town, we swung by to pick up keys and say a quick hello to our nephews.  My kids are so happy to have cousins close by.

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Then it was off to Sister#2’s house where we all met for supper.  All the little kids did not make it into the photo (can you imagine trying to get all 7 kids in one place at one time looking at the camera?). How cute are they!!!

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We had some bubbly to celebrate. HAPPY!

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The highlight of my evening was getting cuddles from my almost 3 year old niece who snaked her hand up my sleeve, snuggled close and sucked her thumb in my lap.  Is there anything better than the feeling of a relaxed child in your lap? Nope.  I can’t think of anything else right now.

My cup runneth over.

atlantic vision

I had some requests to show pictures from the Ferry Ride from North Sydney to Argentia.  I thought I had taken lots of photos, but looking at them now, I’m not sure they are the best photos to describe the trip.  I think when we were finally on the ferry, we are all too excited to focus!  As soon as we boarded I could see that both kids were getting pumped and feeling like NFLD was SO CLOSE!

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When we boarded the Ferry we checked out our cabin right away.  It was a tight squeeze when all four of us where moving around, but perfect for a one night stay.  Plus there was a bathroom with a shower, so we were happy campers.

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You’ll notice that the photos in this post are different sizes. It’s because I am using photos from the Canon, and two different iphones.  I’m sure there is an easy way to resize them all, but I am running out of time for that today and wanted to post my update (that’s my excuse anyway).  The photo below is of me doing my quick blog post in the lounge before the ferry left the port and I lost my cell service.  It turns out there was WiFi on the boat, but I didn’t figure that out until the next day.  Probably okay I didn’t know sooner.

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Do you know that Royal Caribbean commercial that talks about seeing the elusive smile from the family teenager?  Although Marine Atlantic is definitely not Royal Caribbean, it was exciting enough that I was able to capture this one in the photo below. One of the highlights of the ferry ride was getting to see DS play guitar in the lounge.  The guy that was playing was taking a break and let him sing and play two songs.  And me (who ALWAYS has my phone) didn’t have it with me this time to capture the photo, but you’ll have to take my word for it that it happened. BTW: Doesn’t my honey look handsome!

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The crossing couldn’t have been calmer – you’d hardly know you were on a boat. I love that we took the ferry to Argentia instead of Port Aux Basques to avoid that 12 hour drive across the island.  Thanks to Marine Atlantic and The Atlantic Vision for a safe and uneventful ferry ride.

MarKat

welcome to cape breton

We spent last night in Truro at another Holiday Inn where the highlight was supper on the outdoor patio.  The food was good, but it was just a great supper.  The weather was so lovely,  they were playing nice music in the background and there were patio lights that came on as dusk arrived.  Conversation was fun and the vibe was awesome.20130714-213147.jpg

We left the hotel around 9:00 this morning in search of coffee and from there started the drive to Baddeck on Cape Breton Island.  We crossed the Canso Causeway which links Cape Breton Island by road to the Nova Scotia peninsula.   We were happily surprised to see there were a LOT of whales playing in the Strait and showing their tails!  It was absolutely incredible.  There had to be at least 20 of them! I checked it out later and apparently they were pilot whales and there have been a lot of them this year.  I didn’t get a good photo, but what a way to be welcomed to Cape Breton! Whales and the smell of salt in the air!

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We checked into our hotel here in Beddeck and enjoyed the afternoon and evening at the pool and managed to relax in the sun a little bit.  We had supper at the Bell Buoy Restaurant and after we were done, we walked around back to the water and spent some time just looking at the water off the wharf.

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You could see jelly fish, starfish, crabs and fish, right off the wharf.  Very cool.  (Crabs can really move fast!)

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We are all back at the Argyle Lodge, at the Inverary Resort, and thinking about the ferry tomorrow. I’m so excited about the Ferry. It means we are really going home. Home.

Woohoo!!!

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