On this trip, we only got to spend five days with our family on the island but it was both restful and memorable. We got to explore local coffee shops (photo above at Regard Coffee Roasters in Nanaimo), visit an Indian spice store (we bought rose water, but it was later confiscated when we accidentally left in a carryon), window shop at the thrift store (and wish we weren’t tight on luggage space!), and spend good time with family. Again I tried to keep mindful of the colours around me (spelt with a “u” because this is Canada, after all) and found that by doing so, I felt even more grateful for the beauty we saw!
Red: My in-laws live within walking distance of a quiet lake. There’s a path around the lake and an area to swim. When we go, we see people walking dogs, people on paddle boards, people jogging, talking, children playing, it’s a lovely place to be and breathe. A few weeks ago, after much research, Dad bought a red tandem kayak. He rigged up his truck to carry it and even bought some equipment to bring it on the ocean (which also isn’t too far from their house). We got to take it out on its maiden voyage at the lake during our visit – taking it to the middle of the lake, surrounded by pine trees and quiet. A perfect place to breathe.
Orange: When we visit, we get to stay in the bed and breakfast. It’s a large room with two big beds, an elegant chandelier, and an electric fireplace. The rug, bedding, and and two large housecoats in the closet are fluffy and white and the accent colour found in the throw pillows are a lovely shade of orange (you can see photos of the room, and book your next trip, at their page on bookings.com!). With cozy colours, textures, and lighting, it’s the most comfortable room in the world. (Shout out to my mother-in-law who has an incredible eye for decorating and hospitality, both of which she passed along to her son!)
Yellow: Off of the room where we stay (where you, too, can stay if you wish!*) is a small patio area with adirondack chairs and a small table with a potted plant. There’s a tall fence around the yard so you can’t see or be seen by the neighbors, and the grass is a lovely shade of green that’s sprinkled with dozens of yellow dandelions. Each morning, I made a cup of tea and took my journal to sit outside, reflecting on our trip and meditating on God’s word. It was just the perfect place to rest and slow down before the day.
*While I wasn’t paid or even encouraged to give an advertisement, I will also add that the breakfasts provided here are delicious and nutritious.
Green: Something I love about the West Coast becomes more noticeable in the winter, but is also a delight all year round: evergreen trees. The lake is surrounded by green year round. This trip, we also drove up to a look out point, looking out onto acres and acres of evergreen trees in the middle of the island. First of all, I didn’t realize Vancouver Island was so big. And also, we found it fun that both Trent’s dad and I went out close to the cliff while both Trent and his mom stood back, eagerly beckoning us to not stand so close.
Blue: We rode the ferry to and from Vancouver Island from Vancouver. Going there we traveled at night and missed out on the view, but we left the island on our last day on a sunny, clear afternoon. The sky was a radiant blue and the water was a deep indigo making for a stunning two hour boat ride onto the mainland. (Note: While BC Ferries is definitely the way to travel, two years ago we took float planes from the island to the mainland and that was an incredible experience! Plus, it gets you there in just 20 minutes.)
Indigo: There’s a new coffee shop in town! Well, new to us as it opened just as we left for the Philippines two years ago. Regard Coffee Roasters is where we went once a day, with Trent’s sister, Shae, and got to try their delicious coffee and tea. Inside their shop (which has just two benches and a long table) in their roaster, an old Probat they bought from Drum Roasters in Duncan, BC (another awesome shop we visited last time). It’s indigo and metal and from what we tasted gives the roasters a tasty cup.
Violet: One of our adventures was to the mall with Trent’s other sister, Kay. She came to hang out with me for a bit while I was writing this list and she wanted to make sure I mentioned how lovely she is. Kay is a teenager and wonderful. She’s hilarious, creative, and deeply cares for people. I love watching her serve her family around the house and see what she’s drawing and writing. My sisters-in-law are all so cool. When we were with Kay at the mall, we ate lunch at the food court and then did some browsing. But after our meal, we took our trays to throw away our trash and we met with six bins. One of them was violet (making me think it was a good story for this rainbow). I stopped before them with my tray in hand and stared for a good, long, while. Kay stood next to me and laughed. “Compost, trash, recyclable, paper, plastic…” In Manila, you leave your trash on your table and someone cleans it up. In most places in Connecticut, you throw it all away into one bin. I really like it when recycling options are available (I’ve carried around plastic bottles before until I could find a recycling bin), but in that moment – I felt overwhelmed. Kaylee helped me figure it out and we may have thrown stuff away we shouldn’t have, but we laughed about it as we walked away.
We’re so grateful for such a good time with family. In the midst of these five days, we also got to host a coffee cupping of Philippine-roasted coffee, meet a couple in town who are setting up their own coffee shop (with a focus on cinnamon buns!), visit a new tea shop along the harbour front, and have many conversations and meals with family.