Posted by: pointsevensnowball | December 2, 2008

Finishing the prairies on a sugar high

After several months of travelling (albeit with my beloved cousin) I was happy to see some more familiar faces as we drove into Lethbridge. Staying with my boyfriend’s cousins Susan and Scott was fantastic. They are avid gamers and I expected our week would be filled with strategic board games and, as Brielle said in her last blog, we were not let down. But what I didn’t expect, and had forgotten about Scott, was the pantry chock-a-block full of delicious candy! Scott, you see is a chocoholic. He claims to have a separate stomach just for chocolate. I can relate. So, when the cousins – which I also claim as my own cousins – said we could help ourselves to said pantry, we did. Did we ever!

So we were hopped up on a sugar high pretty much all week as we headed out to our Christmassy volunteer gigs and our one school presentation in the city. The presentation was at another Winston Churchill (I swear there is at least one in every city and we have managed to hit them all). The class was a world issues class and the kids were really energetic — I don’t know if it was our energy rubbing off on them or vice versa but

Me and Bri with our gift-wrapping guru!

Me and Bri with our gift-wrapping guru!

it made for a really fun presentation. The kids weren’t afraid to ask questions, participate in the discussions and share a lot of laughs with us. We even showed them pictures of the mysterious insect-thing we had found, and photographed, at the Jingle Bell Run a few days earlier. The teens told us our creature discovery was actually a crustacean, a crab. One kid said he even ate one once. Even though I like Ocean crab, the thought of eating that thing was gross. Crab aside, the kids seemed really engaged in our presentation and asked some good questions. We also got a really nice email from the teacher Kevin McBeath the next day saying he really liked the concept.

Bowing down to Christmas

Bowing down to Christmas

The following day we headed to the mall – it wasn’t for a shopping trip, although we couldn’t help but do a little browsing on our lunch breaks. Rather it was to wrap presents for the YWCA. The annual booth was set up right next to Santa’s workshop (which was still sans Santa). At the gift wrapping booth we helped set things up for the next few weeks, which would likely be insanely busy, and even managed to wrap a few presents before the day was up. The gig also brought us two media interviews. One with the Lethbridge Herald, the daily paper in which we made Page 3 (Ahem!). We were also interviewed by Mark Campbell, a fellow who does community pieces for Global News. Here is a link to the seven-minute spot we garnered: http://www.globaltv.com/globaltv/lethbridge/video/index.html (go to the Scene and Heard and click on Nov. 24 if you want to watch it).

We spent our last night in Lethbridge (you probably guessed it) playing games and eating treats. The following morning we would be starting the first leg of our journey home. But not until we spent some time painting tiny little faces at the Chinook Hospital.

Brielle and I were told we would be in charge of the face-painting and colouring stations for the annual

Painting an aforementioned puffy cheek

Painting an aforementioned puffy cheek

Breakfast with Santa. I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant until we arrived to find out it actually meant painting faces. Now, I should tell you the last time I took art was in Grade 8 and it was the only time in my life that I almost failed a class. If that can’t pretty much sum up my artistic skill I don’t know what can. Anyways, Brielle and I, armed with colourful painting crayons sat down hoping kids would ask for things like circles or triangles to be painted on their face. No such luck. But I do have to say we did a pretty good job. We even got some ooohs and aaaahs from kids who liked our artwork (well, mostly Bri’s). One of the things that made the job the most challenging was the puffy little cheeks of the youngest patrons. It is not easy to draw a Christmas tree, present or any gingerbread man on a puffy cheek with a crayon. The crayon just sort of sinks into the cheek and smears around a bit. But what we found is that most kids just want something on their face, some sort of colour. They don’t really care that much how it looks. My two most challenging patrons were a little girl who asked for a princess to be painted on her face (try drawing an intricate face on a puffy-cheeked four-year-old, no easy task). Another little four year old also wanted me to make her into Rudolf’s girlfriend. I started with the red nose, a little deer mouth and then some big black eyelashes. Then I went to far. Rather than stopping there, for some reason I decided making her whole face brown like a reindeer was a good idea. Not so much. Her face ended up all streaky and brown and when I showed it to her, she asked me to wipe it off and start again. I felt bad and so I did it, even though there were about 30 other little tykes waiting patiently behind her. With Brielle and I working as fast as we could, we still weren’t able to make it through the whole line of anxious tots before we had to leave to pack for our drive to Trail.

The last vestiges of the praires as we head into the Rockies

The last vestiges of the praires as we head into the Rockies

And it was a good thing we left when we did. We returned to Scott and Susan’s house, shared some big hugs and then hit the road. Brielle snapped so many photos as we headed toward the Rockies (and into our home province! YIPEEEEEEEEEEEEE!) that my camera battery died. As we ascended into the Rockies, night fell and the snow started. But we were careful , driving slowly and eventually making our way over the slightly scary Salmo-Creston pass and into Trail. We were starving when we arrived and decided to immediately go for food. We located a new little Mexican restaurant called Mazatlan, where Brielle ate what she said was the best Mexican food of her life (and she has been to Mexico). Then we drove to my boyfriend Gabe’s aunt and uncle’s (and Susan’s wonderful parents), where we snuggled into our own beds. I was exhausted and totally crashed, but grew restless as I knew the next morning we would be heading to my house, where I would see my boyfriend for the first time in three months! I could hardly wait!

The long road home....

The long road home....

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