We’re on vacation! By the time this post is up, I’ll be in Washington D.C. with my husband, my kids and my parents who’ll fly in from Japan and meet us there. We also have close friends who have two kids that live in D.C., and we will be up and about, exploring the city and swimming in a pool. On this occasion, I wanted to write about a trip I took with my parents and brother – it was our first family vacation abroad. We flew into Vancouver, and then visited Canadian Rockies, specifically Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper.
The destination of our first trip abroad was actually my choice; when I was in middle school and really struggling with my math class, my parents said that they will take me to wherever I want to if I make it to be in the top class in both math and English classes (This school structured math and English classes based on the students’ achievement level). I guess my parents said that, thinking there was no way it would happen. When my parents proposed this “deal”, I picked Canada – more specially, I chose Lake Louise. At this point I don’t remember how I came to that, I must have seen a beautiful picture of Lake Louise in a travel brochure or something. I actually cut out some pictures of Lake Louise and had it in my notebook where I could always look at. I don’t know how likely I was thinking I’d make it happen, but I must have thought that it would be a good idea to have those pictures to motivate myself – looking back, that was my first vision board, even though I didn’t even know the concept of the vision board at that time.
Well, as luck would have it, the school had restructured how the students were organized into different courses, which resulted in less competition for math class. So I made it to be on the top class for both subjects when I became a 10th grader (For those who are versed in RCB language, having a trip as a praise for getting good grades is not recommended as it’s still an external motivation. But I have to say, it worked in my case!). I went to Germany as an AFS exchange student in 11th grade, and I sort of forgot about this “deal” – or maybe I was thinking that I was rewarded enough by them for allowing me to go to Germany. My parents started going on trips abroad once my brother and I entered college, and one spring they asked if I still wanted to go to Canada. I said yes, and we started planning our trip, looking at different brochures and comparing the package tours. In the middle of the planning, my brother expressed that he wanted to join us, so it became our first family trip abroad.
I had a wonderful time in Canada. Some of the most memorable moments were; my first (and last) game of golf on an actual golf course with my brother and a young couple we met on the tour. I remember thinking, “I don’t get the fascination for golf, but it sure feels nice walking around with this beautiful scenery”. Another memory was about a stuffed polar bear. While touring the Canadian Rockies on a tour bus, we stopped at a souvenir shop in a rest area. I saw a really cute stuffed polar bear there. Polar bears have been my favorite animal since childhood, and I had to have that cute stuffed animal. I asked my father to buy it for me. As I was happily putting it in my bag, my brother was saying with a mixed tone of endearment and disapproval, “how old do you think you are, begging your father to buy you a stuffed animal?” I believe I still have it somewhere in my room back in Japan. But the highlight was of course staying at Chateaux Lake Louise. When we arrived there, it was overcast and the water was dark. Nevertheless we took a hike around the lake. During the hike we were able to see the hotel. It was gorgeous. Back at our room in the hotel we could see the lake through our room window. Even though the weather was a bit gloomy, I was still ecstatic about finally being there. The next day I woke up early in the morning around 5:00, and looked at the lake through the window. The moon was still out and its reflection was on the water. It was so beautiful. The clouds cleared up later that morning, and I was able to see the lake just like I had imagined when I first cut out that picture of Lake Louise long time ago. So many years have passed since that trip, and my parents and I have taken many trips together since then. They have visited me in the USA many times as well, and hopefully we will have more family vacation together. But the trip to Canada was really special, and it is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life. What about you? What’s one of your most memorable trips?