Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Weekend Visit to Calgary

It has been a few years since we've visited the city of Calgary. It is located south of Edmonton and takes almost 3 hours to get there by car. My brother, Peter, and sister-in-law, Teresa live there, but they usually come up to Edmonton when we're here so we haven't visited Calgary in a while. Last Saturday, we made the drive down. In addition to visiting with friends, I wanted to take the kids to the Calgary Zoo. It is well-known and definitely a memorable zoo to visit. If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend it. Grace's favorite part of the zoo was the Dinosaurs Alive Park. The dinosaur park has always been a part of the zoo, but its new exhibit showcases 20 animatronic dinosaurs- think huge, loud, and scary! Some of the gigantic dinosaurs have motion detectors that will activate the dinosaur, causing it to roar and move. Every few seconds, you can hear screams from little kids. Our kids didn't scream but they held onto our hands very tightly as we walked by. This exhibit was very, very cool! Part of the reason why I love this zoo is because of how everything is organized. There are different sections/pavilions representing the continents of the world. For example, in the African Savannah, some of the animals we got to see were the hippos (my favorite), giraffes, lions, ostriches, and zebras. I also love this zoo because the habitats are incredible- they're roomy and look "authentic."
We were all tired after walking around for 3.5 hours. There were some exhibits that we didn't even get to- maybe next time!

We got in the car and drove another 30 minutes to get to a town called Okotoks to see my dear friends, Jenny and Huy. I haven't seen them for 14 years! They used to live in Vancouver and we lost touch over the years. Thank goodness for Facebook! Jenny and Huy moved to Calgary last year, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to reconnect with them. My brother and sister-in-law were also able to come and join us for dinner. Jenny made a delicious authentic Vietnamese hot pot for us. While the guys watched UFC, Jenny did my sister-in-law's and Grace's nails! Boy, did Grace get spoiled! We stayed up late sharing and reminiscing... Next morning, we shared breakfast before heading on.

It was July 4, and who better to spend Independence Day in Canada with than dear friends who we originally met in Fresno!? We still consider Don and Lavonne to be close friends, despite the fact that it has been four years since we've seen them. They are from Winnipeg and we became close friends when they lived in Fresno for several years when Don was going to seminary there. Their trip to Calgary coincided with our trip to Edmonton, and so we made it a priority to make sure to connect with them. We had planned to spend the day at a nearby park, but the weather did not cooperate, so we ended up spending it at their friends' house. Their friends were so gracious, and gave us the place and time to be together. We got to meet their son and they got to meet ours. We have missed them so much over the years, and are so grateful we got to spend time with them!

For dinner, we got the chance to meet up with my friend, Brian, and his girlfriend, Aja. Brian was my best friend during my university years.He was an important part of my life-a great listener, supportive, and incredibly fun to be with. Our life journeys took us on different paths over the years, but I still value him and our friendship. It has also been about four years since I saw Brian last, so it was good to see him and get a chance to catch up. After dinner, we headed back to Edmonton.

It feels like we jammed a lot into one weekend, but I am so incredibly grateful to have had the chance to see these wonderful friends. What a blessing!

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