Home for the Holidays

Make yourself at home.  There’s no place like home.  Home is where the heart is.

As I approach the fourth anniversary of my return to Vancouver, I am comforted knowing that I have found a home here.  It wasn’t always clear to me where my home was, especially during my decade of moving up and down and back and forth across the western part of the continent (LA – Oakland – Vancouver – Sedona – Berkeley – LA – Vancouver). That question — where is my home? – weighed heavily on me at times.

Of course, old adages are usually right.  Wherever you go, there you are.  I’ve learned that “home” isn’t a physical place, as much as a feeling of being in the right place at the right time.  When my four bodies – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – are aligned, I am home. And so it is that I find myself very much at home this weekend in Oliver, British Columbia, in the warm and welcoming home of my adopted family in Canada.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve now made this trip… driving east out of the “big city” of Vancouver into the wide open Fraser Valley.

We always stop in Hope for a coffee and sour cream glazed at Tim Horton’s before heading up the winding mountain road towards Manning Park.  No matter what time of year, the trees are majestic, the waterbed running alongside the highway breathtaking.  During the warmer months, waterfalls are a cliff side attraction, while now, icicles add their magic to the spectacle.

A couple hours later, we’re through the hardest part of the drive, and stop to stretch and grab a bite in the mining town of Princeton.  Not much in terms of culinary delights there, but it always feels like it’s the right time to stop!  One of these days, I’m determined to get off the highway and explore the town, full of history from the days of the Gold Rush.

The scenery changes again as we descend into the beautiful Similkameen Valley. Blink and you’ll miss the West Hedley Mall, a little shack on the south side of the road selling trinkets, but look up the mountain across the way and you’ll see the old mining shafts high in the sky… so much history here!  Soon we’re in Keremeos, where the colorful fruit stand signs call out to drivers to stop, even when they’re closed for the season.  (Me: Ice cream! Ice cream!)  (AKB: No, no ice cream today.) (Me: Waah.)

And the drive continues…

Wide open fields, mountains, rivers, farms, beauty abound.  The spotted lake appears…… and suddenly we’re descending again, this time into the Okanagan Valley.  Osoyoos Lake below, orchards and vineyards as far as the eye can see.   My sweetheart’s face lights up – this is where she grew up, so for her it will always be home.

A few minutes later, we are pulling in to her parents’ home, a gorgeous Southwest adobe house they built themselves in 1998, out of which they now run a B&B.  We are greeted by their little dog, running circles around us in glee, and then big hugs, freshly baked butter tarts and tea around the kitchen table, long conversations and an open weekend ahead with nothing to do but enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

I will call my family back in the States and feel love generating all over the place.  The holidays are here, and no matter where I am, I am home.


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