On the 23rd of December Mark and I made a convoluted and long trip to the airport to pick up my Mum and brother. As we waited at the gate, peeping over the heads of other excited people, my anticipation escalated. We bought some Tim Horton’s coffee to give them as a real Canadian welcome. The anticipation I felt at the gate kept growing as the minutes passed. Finally I saw Mum’s red jacket and a very tall David. Lots of hugs ensued. It was so great to be seen them without the pixellated Skype window. We were all on a high all night through the drive home (we finally have access to a car!) and I cooked my speciality of perogies. The next morning we headed north to Muskoka in search of some snow. As we reached Barrie, less than an hour north of Toronto there was already snow on the ground. When we got closer to Deerhurst resort in Huntsville the snow disappeared. Apparently Barrie is in the snow belt and Huntsville is above it, so my logic of the further north you go the more snow seemed to not apply. We arrived at the beautiful Deerhurst resort by a huge half-frozen lake, but there was no snow on the ground.
We got to our beautiful, clean, luxurious apartment/condo and unpacked. We have an open fireplace, down-stuffed king bed, balcony and… everything good! It’s quite a step up from where we have been living the last 5 months. I had brought some decorations and so we made our temporary home nice and Christmassy.
For dinner we went to a very expensive Christmas Eve brunch (thanks Mum). It was very spectacular and quite yum. They left milk, cookies and carrots out so guests could offer then to Santa and his reindeer. I thought that was pretty cool. As we left dinner, very full and happy, it started to snow. It felt like so many people (including myself) were wishing for a white Christmas that someone or something was listening. The snowflakes were so big and beautiful they covered the ground and rested on the trees. we just hoped it stayed until morning. Christmas morning came and the snow was still on the ground. It wasn’t much, but enough to cover the ground and be a White Christmas in every sense of the term.
We sat by the fire, listening to Michael Bublé and opened presents. Mum and David seemed very excited about the hockey tickets we got them – I’m very excited to go too. I also got a smartphone from Mum – it is so incredibly cool. I feel like I can access the world where-ever I go. It’s a strange kind of power.
Mark got a bow and arrow and David got a BB gun (we bought them in Wal-Mart the day before). They went outside to play in the snow with their new weapons. Unfortunately while they were out there, Mark slipped on some ice while collecting his arrows. Apparently the fall was quite comical – legs up in the air and all, but the not so funny part was that he dislocated his shoulder. We drove to the hospital and he was in a lot of pain. After a lot fo waiting Mark was finally seen by a doctor who said it didn’t look like a normal dislocation because he was holding it out to the side. He nearly started to faint from pain and they pumped him with oxygen, an IV and electrodes. He was done up like a Christmas tree. The doctor took X-rays and still couldn’t figure out why the shoulder looked funny. Mark was writhing in pain and I called over a nurse (we’d been in the hospital for about 3 hours at this point), she called the doctor and the tried to move him, rolling him over onto his stomach. The doctor pulled on his arm and it kind of popped back in. Mark’s colour almost instantly returned and his pain seemed to go. It was great. Then all we had to do was pay. Mark hadn’t brought any of his insurance and that was a little bit of a worry. It costs a ridiculous amount to just walk into a hospital! We’re talking $1025, and that’s before a doctor’s visit, X-rays, sling or anything. Luckily Mum was there to lend some money before we could get it back on insurance. Spending half of Christmas in hospital, while watching the snowflakes fall outside wasn’t exactly how I expected to send my first White Christmas, but you never really know what will happen. Thankfully, Mark was OK and so we got in the car and had a drive around the area. We found a little ski field with a few lifts and walked around. We made the most of our last few daylight hours of Christmas.
We slid down hills, walked on the frozen edge of a lake until it cracked and hiked up a frozen river. It was snowing almost all day, but not too cold. Perfect Christmas weather. Christmas night we went to a show at the resort that went through all different decades of music from the 50s until now. It was so much fun and just made me want to sing and dance. The costumes, singing, dancing and atmosphere were astounding.
All in all we had a very memorable Christmas. The next day we headed to Hidden Valley Ski Resort to have a little slide. The Ski Resort was one of the only activities available as the lack of snow made most winter sports and games inoperable. Because there were only 2 lifts and 2 runs active, we thought we would all give snowboarding a go. It is really hard! Especially to get up. Mark was a good instructor (yes, he snowboarded the day after dislocating his shoulder), and I learnt “Falling Leaf” pretty quickly. Mum, David and I all did pretty well for first-timers if I do say so myself. We even rode the chairlift!
Everyone fell a bit, but I had a pretty bad fall. I was going well, but got a bit over-confident and wet too fast, tried to stop, dug my edge and smashed my tail bone and hit my head. Hitting your head is never fun. If I ever go snowboarding again I will wear a helmet.
After snowboarding we went for a walk around the beautiful resort at sunset (I took some photos on my snazzy new phone so I will upload them later with my new WordPress App). Room service and a movie satisfied our tired and sore bodies after the long, fun day. The morning came too soon and we had to leave. Luckily the drive home was scenic. We stopped at Tim Hortons, which was delicious and surprisingly cheap.
On the way home we tried to go via Toronto to check out the sales at the Eaton Centre. It started to snow really heavily and Mum did a great job driving in the snow in the city. We finally made it to the Eaton Centre and Mum bought David and I some awesome shoes. When we left the snow got heavier, and when we finally got back to Hamilton, we rewarded ourselves with dinner at Chuck’s Burger Bar.