I greatly value my friendships. Any time you move to a new city or become immersed in a new hobby you're bound to make new friends. The trouble is balancing these when separated by proximity. As soon as I found out about my westward trip, I made it top priority to to reconnect with friends in the Vancouver region.
Last year, Marcus and I spent a few nights with Jim and Wendy McConaquie's residence in Abbotsford. They had attended the same church that I grew up at; Wendy and I even completed a short-term mission trip to Bolivia together. Saturday morning we briefly visited with Wendy as Brad unloaded his trailer to store in her backyard for the time being. Wendy's warm hugs, and familiarly enthusiastic and candid personality made Brad and I both feel a little closer to home.
Since coming back from our Bolivia trip in 2013, Wendy has returned once to volunteer at an orphanage by herself. She was deeply impacted by the country and the people we served. In visiting her for only a brief 40 minutes I was re-inspired for the purpose of mission behind church and what that looks like in my own life.
Brad and 'Turtle' dropped me off in Maple Ridge later in the morning. There I met Dusting and Sonia Jones at Big Feast Bistro for brunch. Marcus and I ran into this couple last April at the campsite adjacent to ours in Tofino, BC. We instantly connected with them and our other neighbours, Rachael and Susie Lajoe.
Our friendship with Dustin and Sonia came at the beginning of their cross-Canada trip on the Pacific coast. The couple completed this elaborate trip over two-and-a-half months with their three beautiful husky dogs. After Tofino, Marcus
and I connected with them on two other occasions, but it had been over a year since I last saw them.
We spent most of brunch sharing travel stories. Afterwards. they toured me around Maple Ridge all the way to this beautiful walking trail along a river with the mountains right behind it. Dustin and Sonia are two of the most adventurous, supportive, and entertaining people I know. The entire time I was with them I kept wishing it could have been longer, but it was still a great visit.
My next stop was Vancouver, the Jones' dropped me off at the Port Coquitlam sky train station. I then got well acquainted with Vancouver's public transit, as I traveled all the way to UBC (located in the north-west edge of the city). I experienced Vancouver last year, Marcus and I walked around Stanley Park, Granville Island, and Gastown, but we didn't make it to UBC.
My friend and fellow Western and Fanshawe graduate Sarah Reid is completing a Masters in Journalism, so she toured me around her campus. I've been to most of the prettiest universities in Ontario, and even to the picturesque McGill campus in Montreal, but UBC is in a league of its own when it comes to beauty. The mountainous and and oceanic views are further brought to life with the well-kept grounds and groomed botanic gardens on campus.
Sarah shared some surprises to her program and I updated her on my job at LIFE. Eventually our conversation accelerated naturally as if we were back at Western. Sarah is blunt, sarcastic, and considerate. Our mutual passion for sports and fitness challenges the other person. I look forward to seeing her when she returns to Ontario.