Have you missed me? Did you notice I’d taken a little break? Between vacation, getting ready for back to school, and preparing for a birthday party life got a wee bit crazy. I decided to zone out on episodes of Lost for awhile instead of writing. I’ve had a few friends drop some hints about writing a blog about my vacation, so I’m going to do my best to help make what I saw and learned applicable to you, too. I don’t want to just bore you with pictures of a place that might not hold any meaning for you.
You may recall if you’ve been reading for awhile that my husband gave me one of my best Christmas presents ever this past year…the promise of a trip to Prince Edward Island, the home of the fictional character Anne of Green Gables. I have longed to visit the cliffs, dunes, and sparkling waters since I first read the book at the age of 14. Never before, and never since, have I read anything where the author’s descriptions made my soul long to see a place with my very own eyes.
The first question everyone asks is if it met my expectations. Absolutely! I want to share with you some “aha” moments I had during and after my trip.
1) Seizing the moment is the best move you can make. Time away with my husband, just the two of us, was a precious gift. I don’t think I would have been so willing to leave my children behind and take such a trip were it not for his health issues. We don’t know what the future holds, and hated the thought of not being able to make a dream come to fruition together. This was a decision I will likely not regret. This trip was not just a vacation for me, in many ways it was a kind of mecca. All any of us have is now. If there is something you have been putting off doing, ask yourself if you will regret not doing it later. If the answer is yes, then risk it.
2) Our pace in America is truly frantic. What a joy to go to a place where you don’t have to get buzzers when you wait at a restaurant. No one ever really seemed to know how long our wait might be, even. No one seemed to be in a hurry. With the exception of one person, everyone in Canada was pleasant and agreeable. Anything we asked for was met with a smile and a quick reply of, “Sure.” The meandering red dirt roads spoke of simpler times. I felt like I could breathe again. Maybe that’s just the effect of vacation, but something about the culture seemed very different. Where/how can we slow down?
3) Parenting is even harder than I thought. Seven days of not doing bedtime and eating meals without having to bribe, threaten, cajole, etc. was a welcome respite. Coming back to it immediately wore me out. No wonder I’m tired all of the time. Don’t get me wrong, though. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m simply saying the absence of the daily struggles was eye-opening. Carry on warrior parents, your job is difficult indeed.
4) Nothing compares to imagination. Although PEI got incredibly close to what L.M. Montgomery described in her books, I believe it is the romance of the imagination that makes Avonlea what it is in the book. There is no such place as Avonlea in PEI. She made the name of the town of Anne’s residence up, although the descriptions are based on real places. It was surreal walking into the house she based Green Gables on in the true life town of Cavendish. Her family members had lived in the home, but it is now decorated as if it belonged to Marilla, Matthew and Anne. My brain had much trouble distinguishing between fiction and reality as I viewed their bedrooms and walked in the Haunted Wood and along Lover’s Lane. There is little doubt why the author loved this place so much, and I’m surprised she ever left. Always treasure a good book and the images it can muster in your mind. Books truly can transport you to amazing places…even better than real life in some ways.
5) At the end of The Wizard of Oz Dorothy says, “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard, because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” I felt a little like Dorothy upon returning to Bloomington. The deep blues, rich greens, and vibrant reds and yellows were stunning on PEI. While there, it felt like nothing could compare to its beauty. However, when we came home my perspective on my surroundings here changed a bit. I began to look around at the beauty in my own hometown with fresh eyes. As we canoed one night on the lake last week and saw deer and an eagle fly overhead, I was reminded to appreciate what I have in my own backyard, just like Dorothy. All the beauty in the world cannot hold a candle to being with the ones you love, wherever that may be.
Thanks for indulging me as I talked about one of my favorite places. I wrote everything we did down, so let me know if you ever want to visit. My wish for you is that you will one day be able to visit a place dear to your heart. And don’t forget to look around at whatever beauty surrounds you!