Well. This hasn't been quite the vacation I envisioned all summer - one of the drawbacks of pooling your vacation into one lump sum. Last year's vacation was virtually rained out, and that was my main concern for this year's vacation. My sister Teri and I were checking out the long range weather forecast every day, and were so happy at the sunny weather that was predicted for our time on the Island.
Never in a million years did I think we would all get sick. Who gets sick on vacation?!!
We've had some good times - as hectic as it is when the whole family gets together, I love it. I love seeing my niece and nephews so I can hug and squeeze them enough to last me until the next summer. I love spending time near the lake and I dearly love going to Victoria - a town I once thought I would move back to when I had finished my stint in Japan. Silly me never saw myself getting married, much less to someone from the East Coast.
Whenever I come to the end of my vacation, I always think about what I want to do differently next time - don't get me wrong, it doesn't stem from a feeling of disatisfaction - but rather simply improvement.
1) Load up on freakin' Airborne before getting on the plane. Okay, maybe there is a bit of disatisfaction here. We flew from Philly through Houston into Vancouver, and there were H1N1 signs everywhere - very Big Brother-ish ("Is your neighbor coughing and sneezing? Please report them to the nearest airline counter." I kid you not.) I thought it was all very paranoid until I got sick three days after being here. Then I remembered the woman who sat behind me who sneezed 15 times in a row and twittered/giggled to herself each time. For the record, we do not have H1N1 - they tested us.
2) Tie-dye the t-shirts when everyone is still here so everyone gets to have Incredible Hulk green hands. Be more careful with the placement of the elastic bands so you don't end up with a starburst over one boob.
3) Do more local things - like pick blackberries (shh! Don't tell my Dad I said that!), cook with local foods, go to local events. It was great being here during blackberry season this year - you could just smell blackberries in the air everywhere. I just liked picking them and popping them into my mouth - do you know how much blackberries cost for a pint in Delaware?!?
4) Spend more time individually with Dharma, Hunter, and William. I did get plenty of time with Dharma this time around because Teri and I were here the longest, but I want to spend more time with Jaime's boys. I grew up with my aunts, uncles and cousins all within a very tight radius, and I feel bad that I only get to see these kids for a few short days every year, because they all change and grow up so fast.
5) Take Willow to the West Coast of the Island. A long time ago when we were still in university, Teri and I went camping on Long Beach on the West Coast of the Island and it was so wild and beautiful. It is a bit of a trek to get out there, but it is so worth it.
6) Go to Victoria not on a Monday so I can actually go to the Beehive Wool Shop when it is open! Why are yarn stores closed on Mondays??! I went to Loom (no website), a yarn store in Whippletree Junction and it just wasn't the same - I always seem to have an off experience when I go there (like when Willow was 4 and the owner demanded I leave Willow outside because she didn't want children in the store.) This time I bought some Fleece Artist merino sock yarn. It was slightly tangled, and I asked it I could have it wound. The clerk looked at me askance and said, "No!" Silly me - I thought she was joking. I teased back, "You do have a swift and winder in here, don't you?" She said, "Yes, but it you want to use it, you will have to buy it!" WTF? I've never been to a LYS where they haven't offered this service if they sell yarn in skeins.
I'm sure there are so many other things - going tubing on the Cowichan River, spend more time walking around Victoria, drive up to Qualicum/Parksville - I would need so much more time to do them all. And win a lottery or two. And encourage the development of Star Trek-style transporters so I don't have to be exposed to other people's germs while traveling. All good things.