Saturday, April 12, 2008

Tourists in our own city - the grand tour

In an effort to make our newly emigrated friends David and Laura feel more welcome in their new home, we took them on a grand tour of Metro Vancouver. David and Laura are from Delaware.

We started early with Karen's famous french toast for breakfast. After packing in the hearty breakfast, we headed out. We visited many places starting in Queen Elizabeth park. Oddly enough, our friends found the Nat Bailey Stadium (adjacent to the park) to be quite the thrill. They vowed they would revisit it to see an actual baseball game. We then drove through Cambie line RAV construction to make it to Richmond via the Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Once in Richmond, I brought them to the little community of Steveston where some of the first Japanese and marine settlers came. I recounted to them how my family had started our B.C. life in Steveston, and how we used to buy fish every Saturday morning by the docks. We had a tour of those docks, and topped off our experience there with a visit to the famous Dave's fish and chips restaurant.

From historic Steveston, we took them back through the city of Vancouver to a relatively modern import - a bubble tea cafe (Dragon Ball) where they enjoyed some of the latest taiwanese/HK imported mixed fruit drinks.

After we got our drinks, we zipped across town to "Little Italy" near Commercial and Broadway. One cannot truly appreciate the diversity of Vancouver until one has visited Commercial Drive and it's various shops including the famous Santa Barbara market.

We proceeded along Hastings Street through to Simon Fraser University where David was finally able to see his current employer's rival school. (David is currently a post-doctorate fellow and lecturer at UBC.) Much to the bemusement of us SFU alumnus, they actually enjoyed the Arthur Erickson architecture of SFU.

Next up was a breathtaking view of the city atop Burnaby Mountain (where I had proposed to Karen). We stopped here briefly before heading on a longer drive straight across the North Shore to Horseshoe Bay where we explored one of my favourite parks - Whytecliff Park.

It was here that I learned something new about Laura and her incredible climbing abilities even whilst wearing a pair of (stylish) sandals! (see David's commentary on his blog...)

We ended our day with a quick tour of the downtown eastside (hey, we got to show the good, bad and the ugly right?) and finally dinner at a Vancouver classic - the old Spaghetti Factory.

As evidenced in the picture above, Erich had loads of fun too. It was great getting to know our friends more, all the while showing off this great city to them.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Home Depot! (and Erich)

One of the things that continues to amaze me about being a new parent is the degree to which seemingly small and trivial events have great impact on your children. I had no idea, for instance, that my bringing Erich to Home Depot last month to surprise his mommy would stick with him for so long.

Ever since that day, "Home Depot" has been his favourite real and imaginary place to go. There was one time when we were at a playground. He sat me down in a chu-chu train and proceeded to "drive" the train. When I asked where we were going, he proclaimed proudly in a loud voice, "Home Depot!". Just then, a passing couple with their two-year old came strolling by. When the husband heard where Erich was planning to drive me, he gave me the strangest look!

Perhaps it doesn't help that I am in the middle of another home renovation project. (More on that in some future post...) Erich has been dutifully helping me measure walls with his very own measuring tape - and he's exact too! When asked how long the wall was, he replied as he stretched out his tape measure, "Ninety-four and an eighth!". That's just too funny.

He's been taking his newfound contractor skills to daycare too. He recently "discovered" a crack in one of the wooden support beams at daycare. He promptly asked one of the daycare workers whether he could "fix" it.

I know I've been praying that Erich would be a man after Jesus' heart... Well, I just didn't know he might take on his trade too! :-)