Monday, August 3, 2009
"Oh, Canada . . ."
I've felt quite an affinity for Canada for years. It began while I was in college. While attending Ricks College, I became good friends with a young woman from Toronto. Sandy's apartment was in the same complex where I dwelled with my roomies. Our two apartments became fast friends and we did a lot of fun things together. Sandy did her best to educate us about all things Canadian. We quickly learned to use the term, serviettes, when talking about napkins. Words like "about," were pronounced "aboot." Sandy also enticed us to try interesting food snacks like salt and vinegar potato chips. It took some time, but we eventually grew to love that tangy flavor.
In an interesting coincidence, my brother served an LDS mission in Canada. He was called to serve in the French-speaking Montreal--Canada Mission and he spent a lot of time in Quebec. He fell in love with the Canadian culture and foods like poutine. We learned about important Canadian traditions from Tom's experiences in the Montreal area.
Then in February of 2007, my youngest son sent in his mission papers. He was called to serve in the Edmonton--Canada Mission. Once again we were given a chance to appreciate the Canadian culture, this time through Devin's eyes. Devin absolutely loved Canada. He still misses it greatly and he was thrilled to learn that a family he had worked with closely while serving in the Sherwood Park area, just outside of Edmonton, was coming to the States for a visit.
Katie and her two daughters, Elizabeth and Olivia, drove down from Canada on a quest to visit several LDS sites in Salt Lake City, and to see some of the missionaries (those who had returned home) who had had a hand in their conversion to the Church. We were excited to learn that these three were coming to Bear Lake to see Devin and to spend some time with our family while they were in the States. They arrived on Friday night, and stayed until Saturday afternoon.
It was so great to get acquainted and to swap stories about Devin\Elder Crane. ;) We also did some fun things like sing along with the karaoke machine they had brought along. We stayed up late visiting, then had a big breakfast the next morning, featuring homemade huckleberry pancakes with chokecherry syrup. This seemed to be a hit with everyone.
Devin then showed off his drumming skills and played an awesome drum solo that made our ears ring appropriately.
Later on Saturday morning, Devin taught Elizabeth and Olivia how to drive our 4-wheeler, which is known as a quad in the Edmonton area. The girls loved this experience and they even talked their mother into going for a ride up toward the hills behind our home. Then, after a quick bite of lunch, it was time to move on.
We were sad to see them leave, but they were expected in Montana that night to visit with yet another former missionary who had touched their lives. It was a great trip for them. They were able to see Temple Square, the Conference Center (which amazed them---they had no idea how big it really is.) and to attend the open house for the Oquirrh Temple. One of their favorite activities was to float Provo River. Another seemed to be buzzing around on our 4-wheeler. =D
As we visited, it hit home to me just how much we take for granted here inside the "Mormon Bubble," area. Katie mentioned how stunned she was by the number of church houses she saw in both Utah and Idaho. She also couldn't believe how many temples we have in our neck of the woods. We are truly blessed---something I suspect we forget as we strive to keep up with our crazy lives.
All in all, it was a wonderful couple of days. We will treasure the friendships formed and we look forward to future gatherings. Though our Canadian friends live quite a distance away, we'll be able to stay in touch compliments of things like cell phones, e-mail, Facebook, etc. It truly is a small world after all.