Planned and unplanned surprises

After a week in Calgary the time had come to head east, further into the prairies. I boarded another bus and got off in Lloydminster. Here, my host sister Melissa was waiting for me. She had known for the last two months, that I would start my trip through Canada out here. As we were waiting for her husband, Roland, and their kids, Faith and Torrie, we drove through town and went for a walk in the “Bud Miller Park”. I was hoping that we wouldn’t bump into Vic and Bev, as that would spoil my birthday surprise.

Melissa helped in hiding me for a few days (Photo by Melissa)

I spent the next few days with Roland, Faith and Torrie on their farm, hiding out and waiting for Bev’s birthday. We chased some chickens, watched Faith’s rugby practice and played some cards. It was a nice, but quiet time. However, by the end of my stay there, all my host brothers and sisters knew that I was there, but luckily everyone played along and nobody said anything.

Chasing chickens with Torrie
Watching Faith at rugby practice

Finally the big day arrived and Melissa managed to set up a lunch date with Vic and Bev. They met at the “Lashburn Golf Club” and somehow I happened to be there, too. It was indeed a big surprise and neither of them had suspected anything. And another surprise was waiting for all of us, as a middle-aged woman suddenly declared that she buy lunch for all twelve customers present at that moment. We thanked her and shared the cream pie, that Melissa had made, with everyone, without getting to know the reason behind this generous gesture.

Vic and Bev didn’t see this one coming – a successful surprise! (Photo by Melissa) 

Afterwards I changed cars and accompanied Vic and Bev to Maidstone, where I had previously gone to high school. This time we went for an award ceremony in the elementary school, where Ryker, my host brother Michael’s youngest son, and Steele, my host brother Ronald’s youngest son got awards for their hard work and their good behavior and sportsmanship in class, while the whole school was watching them.

Ryker is waiting impatiently for his award
Steele was the only one from his grade to receive an award

Over Easter, the weather forecast had predicted a drop in temperature. This proved to be true and with it came another big surprise in form of 20 cm of snow, covering everything with a thick, white blanket, dampening my hopes for spring to come. And instead of mowing a green lawn, I was shoveling mounds of snow, while behind me the ground got covered up again. I was glad that I still had gloves, scarf and hat from Patagonia with me.

Spring in Canada is incomplete without shoveling mounts of snow
The snow appeared over night and almost out of nowhere

After a few days the sun came out again and we tried making the best out of this late-winter weather by going for a walk in the snow. And of course there were all the indoor activities that we could still do, like the farmers market in the “Servus Sports Centre”, which is lacking fresh produce at the moment, but still sells fresh bread, chocolates and other handicraft. It’s very popular with the locals and everyone goes there to discuss the latest news over coffee and cake.

Going for a walk in the warming sunshine with Bev
Locals meet at the weekly farmers market

Another part on the agenda was visiting with my other host brothers and sisters, who came over with their families. Almost everyone had been sick before Easter, but they recovered and were fit as ever, especially Zayne and Ryker, who were chasing each other all over the living room. It was really great to see everyone again!

Todd has the shortest drive, as he lives right next door
Zayne and Brenda are having fun

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