I’m writing this newsletter on a plane, heading ‘home’ to Nova Scotia. Yep – home is sometimes where we were born. Even though I left as a child, I still crave the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. I need this break so much! It’s been great to anticipate the trip and plan what I would do and who I would see. I loved calling around to find out who would be available to meet me. It was lovely to hear their voices again! We picked up right where we left off.

My cousins are welcoming me into their homes and hearts. A few are sick and it breaks their hearts that they can’t feed me or host me. I’ll visit them and we’ll reminisce about the fun times we’ve had. A few cousins have remarried and I’m eager to meet their new partners. I’ll visit a few in graveyards and cemeteries. A cousin taught me that a graveyard is beside a church and a cemetery is separate from a church.

I couldn’t believe that one cousin is going out of his way to pick me up at the airport. I’ll visit him in Halifax for a few days. Another cousin will pick me up from there and take me to his spare home by the ocean. I can hardly wait to explore the tide pools and beaches of my childhood. If I get my nerve up, I may even jump off a railway trestle at high tide. The wild roses are still in bloom and they smell like my grandmother’s perfume.

All the ancestors are on my mind. Each of my grandmothers come alive as I recall the things we used to do. My dad’s mom used to post an announcement in the local gossip column when I was about to visit. When people saw us in town, they greeted me by name. I felt like a celebrity!

This is the trip when I’ll introduce my boyfriend to my extended family. He’ll join me for a week, and I’ll show him where each of my grandmothers lived and where I played as a child. I’ll knock on the door, and they will probably invite us in for tea. I’d love to show him the place my mother scratched her name in a kitchen window with a diamond ring when she was young. When I last visited, that window was still there! My father helped to build the other house and told me great details about building the large fireplace.

I’ll share with him the mischief that my cousins and I got up to as children and the magic we experienced. We stayed up too late and saw a pod of dolphins playing under the light of the moon and we took long walks on the highway to get ice cream. One woman who served my cone to me said “My word, you are Mary Inness’ daughter! I don’t know who your father is, but you are the spitting image of her!” For this big city girl, these were all memorable moments.

I am thinking about how the planning of this trip brought up lovely memories that I’ve been enjoying for weeks. Now, I’ll get to experience the vacation and when I get back, I’ll share my photos and new stories with friends. I get three levels of vacation. The preparations, the events and then reliving the experience through sharing them with others. I’ve not thought of vacations like this before.

It may have something to do with the cousins who are ill. I try not to take things for granted at this stage of life, but when you’re pretty sure that it’s going to be your last visit…well, you savor the anticipation, the experiences, and the memory. I can hardly wait for this vacation to begin!

How do you recharge? Where do you go to refresh? I am so pleased to get back to travelling and seeing family. Thrilled to visit the important places in my world. What are you anticipating?

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