Since the beginning of September we are the proud parents of our fourth boy and our children are the proud brothers to a brother from a different mother and father. I am talking about Joey, our Korean exchange student who will live with us for the next 10 months. If this wasn’t enough to adapt to, my parents from Germany arrived at roughly the same time for their first ever visit to Canada.
This is what you need to know about these two grey, but still highly active grandparents:
My father speaks basic English only, my mom speaks none. My husband speaks only English and with my parents limited English skills the three of them form a harmonious trio. I often wonder why my parents haven’t taken a language course at Community College! Let’s hear the logical reason from my mom:”Why doesn’t Dominic (aka husband) learn German instead?”
My Dad conveniently forgot his driving licence for this trip, my mom doesn’t drive at all. They brought a Vancouver travel guide, but so far forgot to open it.
Therefore, I am the chosen tour guide. For the last two weeks Mrs. Google and Mr. Tom-Tom have been my closest friends – together we navigate the big unknown!
My parents are still young enough, very active, healthy enough and like going places. My mom is right when she says: “We didn’t come all this way just to sit at home.”
Needless to say, life as I know it has come to a standstill. I don’t know about you, but with my parents to visit I am doing things I normally wouldn’t consider doing – like sitting in the BIG RED TOUR Bus, exploring the sights in Vancouver. But I must admit, sitting on top of the bus was an eye opener. Now I know that Vancouver is not big, not old, not historic, but its beauty comes from its location: The scenery is mind boggling wherever you look!
On Granville Island Dad was magically drawn to the Kaiserhaus Bratwurst und Sauerkraut. But surprisingly he opted for the sweet sour Chinese noodles instead. He recognized the dish from his Chinese restaurant back in Germany. My German Mom, the more adventurous part of the duo, opted for French Crepes (?) instead.
I also persuaded them to go on a beautiful bike ride along the river dykes in our neighbourhood. This round trip normally takes me three hours, but with my active 60 plus bikers in tow it took us nearly six hours! I must hand it to my mom: after cycling during the immense lunch time heat, after giving her German buns a grilling workout and her hard assed daughter only allowing one pit stop, I only heard her complain once! Aren’t they amazing? I am exhausted, I don’t get things done, and our children have to walk home from school alone because I am so preoccupied with their grandparents.
The only ongoing complaints about their trip are the ridiculously high prices for alcohol. This German couple can’t refuel on coffee and hot chocolate alone! And when they finally find a pub they get a near heart attack when they receive the bill for two pints of beer: $16.00! With this fatal beer experience they figured: “We could have gone to Scandinavia instead – drinks are as expensive there, but we are much closer to home!” Of course they are kidding, they won’t find their grandchildren there!
After two weeks of non-stop action I finally followed Dominic’s advice: I will put them on the train with the city map in my father’s hand. Mom remembers the one place closest to her heart: Robson Street! A happy place for strolling shopaholics!
On this note I will raise my glass to my very extra-ordinary parents who have their flaws, their die-hard habits and who can drive me crazy to say the least! But they are my parents, I feel very blessed to have them- and I love them for who they are.