My Favourite Places
I can say that I had a wonderful childhood. I grew up in a small city among many cousins who were the same age as me. My mother is from a small town near my hometown, where we have a lot of relatives. We visited it every 6 months. The city is called Palermo, and it has several rivers, fields, trees, and good places to share time with your friends and family. Its environment is perfect for raising children. My cousins and I used to go to the river every weekend for swimming and making up new adventures and stories. We ran around the town playing different games such as soccer, hide and seek (it was the most common and exciting game for us), and parades. Moreover, we visited an uncle who lived on a farm, where all the family sat around a fireplace to listen to his old stories about ghosts. It was a great family moment, but at the same time, scary.
My other favourite place was my paternal grandmother’s home. She lived on a small farm, surrounded by nature. It did not have rivers, but instead, it had a lot of trees. I had good adventures with my 3 brothers in that place. We climbed trees to reach fruit, for instance, guayabas, mangos, avocados, mangas (it is a big mango), and guanabanas. Sometimes, my brothers made mischief and my grandmother always got mad. However, she calmed down quickly and we continued playing. She told us stories about when she was younger. We really enjoyed the time we shared with her.
Although I loved and enjoyed every moment with my brothers and cousins in those wonderful places, I hated the mosquitos. I had to wear repellent and long-sleeved T-shirts every single day. Otherwise, I could get painful and itchy hives. In spite of my precautions, I always got hives. Other bad memories about my adventures with my cousins are when my twin cousins pushed me into the river in deep areas with a strong stream. Luckily, their father, ‘’other uncle’’ always rescued me or I did it for myself, but finally I learned to swim and my cousins grew up. Therefore, this event only happened a couple of times.
To sum up, I enjoyed my childhood, sharing time with my cousins and brothers. So, if somebody asks me about how many friends I had as a child, I would say that I had few friends because most of my time was spent with my family.
A “Near-Death” Experience
I grew up in a small city close to Avignon, south of France. My city is surrounded by nature. As a child, I loved biking around with my friends, building tree houses or dams on the river. I have this nostalgic memory about this dam we built with my friend Remy. We were 12 and it was the summer season. Because school was done, we spent our whole time playing outside. Unfortunately and unusually, it can be rainy some days during the summer. When that was happening, we were pretty bored with Remy. However, during this boring rainy afternoon, we decided to plan what to do the next day. We thought it could be a great idea to build a dam, so we figured out where to do that, and what we would need. We decided a location not too far away, because we would have to bring stuff. Then we prepared all the equipment we needed in the garage at my house, such as ropes, wood planks, and nails. Also, because it was a big project, we prepared snacks and beverages for the big day and we also thought that taking our swimsuits could be a good idea. We were really excited about our project. After completing the preparations, we agreed to meet the next day at 10 am at my home.
Then the day came. Remy arrived at 10 and we loaded our bikes with our materials. The adventure could start! After biking for twenty minutes, we arrived at our chosen location. It was a small river, stuck between two vineyards. After the rainy day, that day was a shiny day and it was already really hot even though it was only 11. Taking our swimsuits was definitely a good idea! We also had chosen this location because lots of bamboo was growing there. In addition to our wood planks, it would be the perfect material to build our dam. We started working by cutting bamboo and gathering rocks. However, we had an incident. Remy got a splinter in his hand. It was really often that we got those when we were building something with wood and it could ruin our plans, because that was painful. Anyways, we couldn’t give up our project so we had to operate. I was the doctor and I had to take the splinter out. Without the necessary material I was thinking that I couldn’t succeed and our day would be ruined. By chance, I managed to take the splinter out. Even now, I realize it was not an exploit for this particular day. It was vital, and succeeding made me really proud. After several hours of work, the dam was almost done when suddenly we heard someone yelling at us. It was a furious farmer with a rifle (gun) who was running towards us. In the beginning, we didn’t understand why he was so mad but because of our fear, we just grabbed all the stuff we could and we biked away as fast as we could. Unfortunately, we left behind a hammer, our snacks, and one towel. My parents weren’t happy about that. We understood later why the farmer was mad. Even though it was just a game for us, our dam blocked and slowed down the river and the farmer needed the water for his crops. Now I laugh about this story but when it happened I was scared to death and because of this story, it took Remy and me several years before going back there.
One summer vacation that changed my husband’s opinion
Most average people spend all their lives running somewhere or for something. Someone is running to work because he or she is late, parents are running to school to pick up their children, another is running to buy a meal at a store, or I am running to a gym and running here and there all my life. But the most important thing is to enjoy every moment of our lives, because you can’t buy happiness with money.
One day, I stopped running and we decided that every year, our small family would travel to a new place. Two years ago, my husband and I went for summer vacation to Christina Lake in British Columbia. Our route to Christina Lake took almost 12 hours to drive and 971 kilometers on highways number 2, then number 22, and finally we drove on #3. Because my husband is the only one who drives, we stayed at Fernie for one night. Fernie is a small mountain town that has saved the Wild West style in their downtown. There, we had the most delicious ice cream from a local store, “Happy Cow”. During our trip, we saw a few old ghost towns and a very old mini-museum.
When we got to Christina Lake, we were surprised, because we saw that it was a very small town with a big and beautiful lake. Canadians say, “Christina Lake is one of the best-kept secrets in British Columbia”. For the whole week, our busy lives changed to lazy and relaxed lives. Every day, we had a regular cup of coffee with our neighbours. There was a very friendly squirrel, which visited us every morning. During the day, we went swimming and had our lunch on the beach or in a local café. One day it was cloudy and we went hiking on Cascade Gorge Trail and by the Christina River. In the evening, we usually stayed in the campground and cooked our supper on the barbecue. I almost forgot, one evening we had a country music concert at the campground. It was the most romantic night under a starry sky. And finally, when we came back to Edmonton, my husband said, “I learned how to enjoy life”. I just smiled because it had taken me a few years to convince him that we should stop running and have a vacation every summer. At this moment, I knew it was a new beginning for our family. It was the most fabulous time for our family, and we still discuss every pleasant moment of our trip to Christina Lake.