Friday, July 18, 2008

Arrival in Victoria!

We've actually been in the Greater Victoria area for a few days, enjoying our temporary rental suite and exploring the city. On Wednesday Mark started his new job as Director of Forest Worker Safety, while the kids and I have been researching available houses on the internet and driving around Saanich to get a feel for the neighbourhoods. Perhaps it was the European experience, but the kids have turned out to be excellent navigators!

Our trip from Strasbourg to Victoria was circuitous but relatively trouble-free, except for the six lost pieces of luggage! (which caused us to almost miss our plane in Toronto and delayed our departure to Manitoba for a day). We stayed in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, with my mom for a few days on each end of our trip and took two days each way to drive to Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, to visit with Mark's parents. On the way to Victoria we stopped in Vernon, BC, to visit with our friends Wendy and Ray, whose kids are attending Family French Camp.

I've always enjoyed the scenery while driving through the Rocky Mountains -- a favourite family winter weekend outing when I was very young was to drive five hours to sit in the hot pool at Radium Hot Springs, so I know the road fairly well.

However, for the last 17 years we have driven north on Highway 93 towards Jasper to go home to Burns Lake. This time, we chose a more southern route, heading west toward Field and Golden.

Although it felt somewhat like the old trip with my mom and dad, this time it had a special significance -- I'm now the mom, and we were heading with our kids toward Victoria and our new life in Canada.

It's amazing how fast one acclimates back to one's home country. I think it had something to do with the fact that we were so busy traveling and visiting when we first got back to Canada -- our usual summer holiday activities. It was almost as if the whole past year had never happened! The change from the cobblestones, French, and Euros to asphalt, English, and Canadian dollars took only a matter of hours. Although I am nostalgic for France and Europe, I can't say that we stayed there long enough for it to permeate into my being. I was getting quite a bit easier with the French language by the time we left, but it was still a relief to come back to an English-speaking world.

Yesterday as the kids and I were getting our new library cards, I reflected back to the same experience in Strasbourg at the beginning of our stay: we all went as a family, and Mark did all the talking because his French is much better than mine (and those of you who know me will understand how difficult it is for me to let Mark do all the talking!) In contrast, yesterday was a breeze. But what a joy it is to have our French experience and be able to share it with other people! Our new librarian was very interested to hear how the library system worked at the Bibliotheque Municipale de Strasbourg, like the fact that we were charged different rates for a library card depending on how many and what type of items we wanted to borrow.

From library cards to looking at schools and going to (and looking for) work, we are now settling down to real life in Victoria. It's a small but beautiful city, and there will be many opportunities for us and the kids to pursue over the next few years. We're looking forward to it!

How's your summer going? Email us: christinateskey @ or mvieweg @

Check out our photos on flickr