Get ready, this is a long one! It’s been quite the week.
Beginning at the beginning, can we talk about the heat? Oh man, it’s been hot. BC broke records across Canada this week with highs into the 40s (that’s Celsius). For context, our typical June average is around 21 degrees. 28 would be considered a very hot day. West Coasters are not well-equipped for heat like this; it’s rare that homes have air conditioning where I live. We’re fortunate that our house happens to stay quite cool so we’ve made it through okay with our one fan going in the girls’ room at night. It remains to be seen how well my garden comes through this! Honestly, it’s a bit scary and really drives home the fact that we are in a climate crisis.
Last weekend though we were actually in Vancouver at the beginning of the heat wave, trying to stay cool at my brother’s place. This was our first visit to Vancouver since early 2020. It felt both surreal and perfectly normal to be there. Going into stores definitely felt overwhelming after a year and a half of pandemic restrictions in a small town but it was so lovely to see my brother, my sister-in-law, and their three kids again. Pearl and Rose were over the moon to play with their “big cousins” again for the first time in eight months.
On Saturday we stayed cool with a visit to Spanish Banks beach and enjoyed the super low tide. Lots of sand and cool, shallow water to play in. We made a picnic of take-out Banh Mi sandwiches at a shady park with a playground. Sunday morning, the kids were running through the sprinkler before 9am.
Speaking of heat, this week we learned how crows cool off. We spotted 2 crows hunkered down at a park, wings spread, mouths open and thus we learned that crows pant to cool down.
We made it back to the Coast Sunday evening and combatted the heat by early morning beach trips and mid-afternoon movies inside. Pearl and Rose may have realized just how lucky they are to live where they do after a drive across Vancouver to get to the beach compared to a quick 10 minutes from home.
The heat broke in time for Canada Day on the 1st. This was a very different Canada Day for us. As more and more bodies are being found on the grounds of residential schools across the country, calls grew for Canada Day to be cancelled this year. Our town followed suit, announcing that the COVID-friendly plans would not occur. Canada Day is THE big celebration in our town. It draws tons of people in a good year and even last year, the neighbourhood parade was a big deal. I am proud though that our community opted to listen and act and to agree that this was not the year for celebration.
Instead, the Shishalh Nation, the Indigenous band living here, invited the wider community to join them in a walk on Canada Day. Our family joined in and I’m so grateful that the invitation was extended. Over 1,000 people showed up, a wave of orange shirts, listening to the songs and stories at the beginning and then walking together. It was beautiful to hear of similar events all across the country on Canada Day.
July 1st also marked the end of the state of emergency that BC has been in since March 2020. We’ve entered into the next phase of re-opening, one where masks are optional and there are no restrictions on personal gatherings. It’s exciting but also a bit overwhelming. On the 1st we gathered with the same group of friends that we’ve been meeting with for church recently. We’ve always kept our gatherings outdoors so it was nice to be able to go inside as we pleased. So far, it seems that most people are still choosing to wear their masks in stores, as is still recommended for those of us without our second doses.
Phew, so here we are. Dealing with extreme heat, the intergenerational trauma of genocide, and the potential end of a pandemic. Just life in 2021, I guess. If you live somewhere where you celebrate Canada Day, what did it look like for you? Anybody else surviving the heat wave this week?
This week also marked the last few days of my June Dress Challenge. I never did clean my mirror. The challenge did not end with a bang – I wore a repeat dress on Saturday going into the city but never took a picture. Sunday I wore a skirt with a top, Wednesday was shorts and shirt, and Thursday I scrambled to find the closest things I owned to orange. Friday was technically July but I really wanted to wear this dress. In the end, there was only one dress I didn’t wear but I think I will wear it the next chance I get at work. There are 2 dresses I feel ready to send to the thrift store and my girls were thrilled that I was “so fancy” so often, so in the end I’ll call this month of dresses a success!