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Oh Canada

Since I am "catching up" on "long lost" events that took place in the spring, I thought I should blog about my trip to Canada in May.

I was invited to a bridal shower for a friend who's (now) wife is from Canada. I was responsible for all of the paper products for her wedding so I thought it would be fun to visit and make the trip to Canada for her open house shower. I got in touch with a friend from Sault College who now lives in Hamilton, Ontario and asked her to meet me about halfway and hang out with our kids before I went to the shower. I realized after me met we haven't seen each other in 8 years! Thankfully Facebook and email has kept us in touch!

Rachel and I left early for the 3.5 hour trip to Canada. We planned to meet my friend Gabe and her son Jonah at a park in Chatham which was the halfway point for both of us. As with any border crossing, I'm always a tad nervous. I had our passports and Rachel was peacefully sleeping in the car when I drove through customs to begin our journey to Ontario. She missed out on the bridge and most of the excitement of Canada. We began our trip across 401 East toward London. I believe the "locals" call this "The 401." The road itself reminded me of the turnpike and toll road across Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania - barren, hardly any traffic, no bill boards - which make for a very boring trip! The signs that I did encounter made me laugh:
Fatigue Kills
Tailgating Kills - Leave Some Space
Drinking & Driving Kills - Don't Drink and Drive!
Not only could I read these signs in English, but shortly after, I was able to view the French translation of them as well.

At one point I passed the Windsor Hotel where the sign said "Electrically Heated." I was relieved, because I was worried if I ever stayed there, I'd have to bring my own wood to keep the wood stove in my room lit and the room warm. Thankfully Canada now has electricity!

We arrived at the park and during our trip it kept looking like it was going to rain. A few sprinkles hit the car on the 401 but didn't amount to anything, and so we remained dry while hanging out. It was GREAT to see my friend from years ago and I LOVE her son Jonah. He is 4 and just full of surprises. We had lunch at Harvey's (new to me) and my friend was excited because they had poutine. For any of you who do not know the Canadian delicacy, poutine is french fries and cheese covered in gravy. I'm always mortified by this dish. I tried a bite once while in college and I cannot eat it. I especially do not like how the gravy makes the fries soggy!

Anyhow, our lunch was great, Jonah called me out for saying a bad word (shut up) and after lunch we took a walk around the cute little town of Chatham and found another park for the kids to play at and us to catch up on the past eight years. It's so great to know you have a wonderful friend when after such a long time you can just pick up and keep talking like you've been hanging out all this time. I love that about my friend Gabe. 

After our fun (and short) time with Gabe, we headed to Kristen's shower. I must admit I felt terribly under-dressed, in jeans and a shirt, but we were at the park all day and I knew we'd be "getting dirty" so I didn't wear a cute skirt or sundress like everyone else! My attire just helped me appear more American to the all-Canadian-except-for-family guests. 

The shower was very cute and laid back. Just an open house to visit and hang out. Enjoy some food and wine and visit with the bride. I was introduced to everyone and immediately forgot their names - I need to work on that. One friend called me out as the Facebook friend with the caricature as my profile photo. And she was correct. Rachel was a big hit (naturally) and I am in love with the Blueberry Hand Soap from Bath and Body Works that was given to me as a favor!

A week or so after Rachel's first trip to Canada, Kristen, the bride, sent me a package with two ADORABLE tee shirts inside. They were both for Rachel as souvenir of her first trip Across the Border.