Thanksgiving is the day when Canadians (and Americans in fact, although on a different day) are celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Well, at our first Thanksgiving in Canada, we did the same: We were thankful, we were grateful. How lucky we have been these past twelve months. What a ride it has been.
Twelve months in motion
Within just one year we got married, went on an amazing trip to New Zealand and Southeast Asia, we bid farewell to the country in which we both grew up in, we immigrated to Canada, landed on Vancouver Island, were lured by Sooke to come live in it and managed to buy a house there.
During these months we lived to see so much. We experienced the kindness of strangers, we learned how to meditate and practice Buddhism from monks in Thailand, we saw Orangutans in the jungle and so on. Certainly we know how fortunate and privileged we are to be able to do that. All this changed us. To give you some examples: We saw the consequences of palm oil production to the animals, the forest and the people and try to avoid palm oil by any means now. We try to live more in the here and now. And for sure we won’t have a trip like that again any time soon – until eco-friendly flights are available.
So Thanksgiving reminded us of all of that again. And as the holiday weekend took its course, we had even more reasons to be thankful:
Spontaneous date in the forest
We encountered our first wild black bears. And not only that: We saw a mother and her two cubs. And that’s still not all: We observed them while they caught salmon in Sooke river. Even in this bear country area apparently this is a rare experience.
How beautiful and impressive these strong animals are – and also unpredictable. You always have to watch them closely and be prepared. Mama bear one time made a huge leap towards the small group of people which was watching her and her cubs from the opposite shore (including us). All of us were jumping a few steps back – all but C1, who wasn’t afraid at all. But thankfully it wasn’t us the bear aimed for, but a huge salmon. C1 said she already knew that.
By the way: The Sooke Potholes Regional Park, where we met the bears, offers a breathtaking scenery with lots of trees, trails and wildlife.
Very private house concert
We had the chance to listen to a wonderful private concert in the living room of a Sooke family one day before Thanksgiving. Their son, Adam Dobre, is an outstanding guitar player. He returns to his parents house several times a year and often brings along other musicians. This time he invited Emily Braden, a Canadian Jazz- and Blues-singer who currently lives in New York.
40 seats were available at the Dobres house – and on two of them we sat and listened. Adam and Emily played for two hours, and it was a fantastic way to spend the afternoon (even for C2, who isn’t really into Jazz/Blues). They harmonized so well and by that spread so much joy and positive vibes that it wasn’t surprising that everyone stood up and gave them standing ovations at the end.
Another pleasant surprise: for the intermission Adams parents had prepared a buffet for everybody. And hear hear! It was all vegan except for one vegetarian dish. Adam’s mom even sent us the recipe for her delicious energy balls.
A feast with eight dishes
How to celebrate the first Thanksgiving in Canada? C2 decided to do it the Canadian way – except for she exchanged the Turkey and other animal parts with a vegan version. When she was done the feast contained eight homemade dishes that easily could have fed some neighbours (they indeed benefited the next day). C1 wasn’t allowed to help – but to eat the following:
- Creamy Carrot Ginger Sweet Potato Soup
- Mushroom Wellington with Spinach and Portobello Mushrooms
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Mushroom Gravy
- Spicy Rosemary Butternut Squash
- Cumin Spiced Carrots
- Cranberry Sauce
- Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
Even if it’s almost a week now, it’s never too late for good wishes: Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!