Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Will's Post

Here's a post from Will. He's the writer and artist of the family. He has had lots of mixed feelings about this trip but he'll probably tell you all about it...

Hi my name is William but you can call me Will. My age is seven but I'll be eight in August (26th). I'm going into grade three. My forte is climbing, building, sketching and writing.

When I was in grade one me and my good pals Jacob and Justin had a student teacher named Miss Marquinson who named us three the GEORGES. The next year our friend Harrison came into our class and he became a GEORGE too. Miss Marquinson went out of the class and became a teacher. Our enemies are the GEORGIAS. They are girls (boys vs. girls)! However Jacob became King of the GEORGES. Now grief spreads through the GEORGES since I'm going to Haines Junction for a year. Email, skype, phone calls - they will help. Since I'm the only kid in our family who disagrees with this appointment in the Yukon every night I have gotten sadder. I've agreed with myself that I will shed my tears at night. I will try to go - but I've said this one time and I am willing to say it again - I will go to the Yukon but NOT for a year. I just don't feel right about going.

We have gone to Calgary. We have gone to Banff. We have gone to Lake Louise. We have gone to Salmon Arm and Kamloops. We have gone to Tsawwassen. We have gone to British Columbia. And I still don't feel right. We have stayed in millions of motels, hotels and houses.

In Banff I got my very own pocket knife with my name on it "William". I liked travelling and watching movies in the car and playing Sega. It's a really big trip. I think going from Winnipeg to Whitehorse is a very big trip and we'll spend lots of money on gas. My mom and dad say it's supposed to be a big adventure, I think it's too big. One of the cool and good things about our car is the seats fold back into a big huge bed. There are two seats in the front (Mom and Dad) and the rest is a big bunk where we slept one night. We have a bike rack, a trailer and a roof top carrier. It's looks like we're ready for an adventure!

In B.C. is a big ocean. Every living thing in the ocean scares me out of my wits. We caught a little squishy, ishy sea eel in the eel grass. "BOY THAT FREAKED ME OUT!" (That's when we went beach combing).

Our Magic Grandpa and Grandma who we're staying with in B.C. have a neighbour who has huge bike jumps. They made us one and we went off of it. I wiped out. The first time I fell off my bike my leg got torn up, my shoulder and my elbow got cut. The second time I went too fast and my bike spun ahead of me into a curb and it fell on its side. I landed with the handle stabbed into my stomach. The third time I fell, my feet went too fast on the pedal, they slipped off and the pedal went fast and kicked my leg and I lost control and fell.

Today I phoned my friend JACOB! (The King). We had a nice long talk an ended with goodbye.

P.S. Brenna got a new diary with a secret code. We'll never get past that! Maybe my nerf guns will come in handy.

Talk to you - no wait! - write to you later!

- Will

Monday, July 20, 2009

And so it begins for me... thanks to Ken we have a place to jot down the often questionable antics of the Symanski family this next year. I'm looking forward to trying my hand at blogging - hopefully giving you something of an update of how we are doing as well as giving myself a way to process all that God has in his heart for me and my family this next year.

So here I am in Kamloops, B.C. and after I don't know how many days I have a few minutes to myself to get down a few of my thoughts. Here goes...

Observations so far...

1. Mothers always win. At least my mom does. There is just no arguing with her when you've decided to drive through the night to get to Calgary after packing all day. Ultimately it comes down to, "You are NOT driving through the night with my grandchildren!" They say never get in the way of a mother bear, well don't get in the way of a grandma bear. So laugh all you want when you read that we spent the first night in Portage la Prairie. It was a matter of life and death!

2. I think the people that God grafts into your life are simply astounding. While on our journey we were warmly received in Airdrie, AB by dear friends who recently relocated from Winnipeg. What a soft place to land after all the frenzy of packing for the year and finally getting on the road. Kate is the warmest woman with a gift for making people feel valued and loved and... well fed! Her spicy chicken pizza and her Thai wraps are to drive for! And Big Jay was amazing with our kids, teaching them to fish, and helping Will and Jay reel in their first catch! What a thrill! Brenna took to their little guy, Jude (almost 1 year old), like a real pro - they fell in love with each other. Brenna will be a wonderful babysitter someday. And their son Brodie was the best bud to our boys - introducing them to his excavation site (who needs a sandbox!) - a fun time was had by all. They will be missed...

3. Zoos are to be conquered not to be wandered through. I go through a zoo like the animals are chasing me while my dear husband is making himself one with the animal kingdom. Needless to say the Calgary Zoo, although very good, was a bit of a trial of my chronically limited patience and is a good example of one of the things you do "for the kids".

4. The mountains always amaze me. Always.

5. Children crave family. Today they saw their cousins Brock and Megan in Salmon Arm, B.C. and right away you could see they were enthralled with them. They are amazing people and I'm glad my kids get to look up to them. I'm excited that my kids will be getting know some of their family this next year.

Tomorrow will be the end of our first week on our journey. I expect some of my posts will be newsy ones like this, and some will be telling stories of what is rumbling around in my soul. And some will be my prayers... and that's how I'll close for today.

I love you. I'm so thankful for all you've done in my life. I feel overwhelmed by your goodness and not just because things are going well, but because I feel like you really are involved in all this. This isn't just a lark birthed in a premature mid life crisis, it's something you seem to have in your heart for us. Thank you for your closeness. Thank you for what a BIG God you are. I love you.

'til next time...


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day One: You are here...

...but you should be here:

So...the plan was originally to leave early on the 15th and make it to Calgary, or possibly to drive through the night and let the kidlets sleep through the boring (sorry Saskatchewan) part of the trip. Neither happened.

Final packing - despite the amazing PACKING SKILLZ of Dianna, took longer, the house needed to be put in order for the new renters, last minute errands like police checks for Ken's new job, blah, blah, blah. Bottom line, after buying some portable DVD players, a bike rack and picking up the kids' bikes we set out for Calgary....at midnight.

About one half hour outside of Winnipeg, Di's mom tracked us down on our cell. (By the way, we're keeping our cell account, so you can reach us at (204) 981-7211. We're on a decent plan, so don't be afraid to call). Once dear mom found out that we were planning to drive through the night while the kids slept, she put an end to that nonsense and had a motel already booked for us when we reached Portage la Prairie. Oh well. I think Brenna put it most succinctly as we pulled up to the motel when she said, "Are we at least out of Winnipeg?".

The weather in Portage was balmy and pleasant, not like the weather we left so far behind us...

Fast forward, and the pictures will help tell the story, we arrived in Airdrie, AB and stayed with our dear friends Jay and Katherine Brandt who just moved there from Winnipeg. The kids all got their own fishing rods at the coolest sporting goods store in the world (Bass Pro Shop/Outdoor World. Matt Klassen, if you're reading this, you would have sold your house and moved into this store).

The kids got to go fishing at a little stocked pond in Airdrie and Will got a nice sized rainbow trout on his first time fishing, on his first cast. He's ruined for life. Jay, not to be outdone, caught his own, slightly smaller, rainbow trout. Brenna added her two cents by naming the fish Fred and Ted. Fred and Ted were to be barbecued the next day, but we never quite got around to it. They now lanquish in the deep dark recesses of a freezer in Alberta. Oh, the humanity.

We had a day at the Calgary Zoo (outstanding) and drove through and toured Banff and Lake Louise. Will, when asked what he thought about the view at Lake Louise, said he couldn't tell me because there weren't any words for it. I think he gets it. Jay has by far been most taken with the mountain panoramas as we snaked through the Rockies. Every few minutes you heard "HOLY!!! Look out starboard!" (We got tired of left and right). We overnighted in Golden, B.C., then in Kamloops and yesterday we arrived at Magic Grandpa and Grandma's in Tsawwassen outside of Vancouver. "Magic" because Di's dad is a professional magician. He's tried to turn me into someone more suitable for his daughter a number of times, but he hasn't managed it yet - I've read too many Harry Potter books.

Today we went to the ocean and beachcombed for seashells and sand dollars. Jay of course, came back with a sea snake and a jellyfish. He simply has to outdo everyone. We just set up Jay's tent (a birthday present from Magic Grandpa and Grandma) in the backyard. Poor kid had his birthday on July 2, and got presents that we immediately packed up and mailed before he could even use them. He'll have the last laugh when we get to the Yukon though - Dianna and I bought him a drum kit. Yikes.

So, that pretty much brings everyone up to date, should you choose to follow this ongoing saga of our (mis)adventures. Feel free to add comments if you'd like - it'd be nice to open up some two way communication with friends and family.

Here's some pics of the journey so far. Check out Ken's oh-so-sexy new hat in the Lake Louise pictures. I'm reinventing myself. The old me was so....Manitoban.

Cheers for now.

Ken (on behalf of the Syms.)

First fish

Hooked on fishing

One with nature

"Been fishin' long?"

The family caravan


The last spike

Really....this is our country!

Beachcombers at the ocean:

"Magic" Grandpa and Grandma: