Yes, I had been to Canada before. It was during a visit to my grandparent’s farmland in North Dakota. After a day of four-wheeling and picking ticks out of our toes, we wanted some good, greasy fast food. “Where is the nearest McDonalds?” someone asked, and we set out to find it. It just so happened that that was across the border, in Canada, before passports were required. We listened to Oh Canada by Five Iron Frenzy, and did our best to distinguish what was different about the landscape. Not much. The only thing that stuck out was all of the maple leaves printed on the McDonalds paraphernalia.
While that was a nice introduction to the second largest country in the world, I’m glad I was able to go back for another look.
I arrived in British Columbia on October 10th, as a final destination on my Amtrak tour. The man at the border crossing questioned me about my intent. Who was I visiting? How did I know them? What was my job? Why didn’t I have one? I felt a little trepidation at this stern string of questions, but was eventually let through.
The bus let me off at a Husky gas station. I was patiently reading my book when I was ambushed from behind by a friendly face with a cherry-tipped nose. We got in the car and drove to the sea. While gazing at the stars and twinkling lights of the pier, we caught up on life: Hopes and fears and the prospect of shoe shopping in the coming week.