To top it all off the winter just seemed to be dragging on entirely too long - the snow that in November had seemed crisp and clean and lovely was now brown and dirty and depressing. I needed to get away, to forget it all for a bit - so how fortuitous it was that on Thursday I hopped on a plane and flew to Canada's loveliest city, Vancouver.
Vancouver in March is just beginning to see spring, but the signs are everywhere and cannot be missed, especially by someone desperate to find them. The flowers are just beginning to bloom, and the grass beginning to turn green. People are dispensing with heavy jackets and instead wearing trench coats and carrying umbrellas. In the people you meet you feel a sort of joy and hope for the season to come.
I went to Vancouver to attend a reunion of my sisters and aunt (more of that in a later blog) and it was a fabulous time. It would have been wonderful anywhere, but in Vancouver it wasn't just seeing them that lifted my spirits but rather being in the city itself.
I shopped like mad, buying things like the brand new Macbook Air from which this is being posted, and some utterly fabulous shoes. I dined in wonderful restaurants, and had late night drinks in several different bars. I enjoyed a lovely gentle flirtation with the barista at the Starbucks across from my hotel, which began when he remembered my coffee order from the day before (if you ever want to bring me a coffee it's a grande skinny cinnamon dolce latte - with whip as a girl's gotta live a little, right?) and used it as a device to start a conversation to find out more about me (including trying to find out when he might see me again). I spent time with a dear friend who also acted as tour guide for my family, an act of kindness and generousity for which I am profoundly grateful. I adored my hotel in downtown Vancouver, steps from shopping and the harbour and the restaurants. I wore some of my finest attire every day and found it ego boosting to discover that I dressed just as well, if not better, than most of the locals. I savoured every moment and found by the end of those few days that I had not forgotten the smashed up car and still-wonky iPad but that these things no longer bothered me.
When I got home the car was still smashed and the iPad was still not acting right. My attitude had changed, though. What last week seemed major problems were now minor annoyances and simply issues to deal with as opposed to things to fret over. It's funny how quickly your perspective can change, and how something so simple as a few days in a wonderful place can do it. Some day I need to find a way to get to that place in my head instead of having to get on a plane to do it. For now, though, I know that it's just a short plane ride away to a new perspective, and frankly, it's worth the cost of the ticket.
Vancouver, March 24th, 2011