Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Canada (01/29/09)
TITLE: A Sunny Day In Victoria
By Leah Nichols
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The sun always shines over Victoria.
I played my violin on the steps of the Empress Hotel one sunny morning as a sophomore in high school with my school orchestra. For many of us, that trip was our first time venturing out of our home country. Of course, little distance separates the state of Washington from the province of British Columbia, but the excitement of seeing <i>another country</i> thrilled our young hearts.
Several years later, my best friend and I aimed to relive our respective Canadian experiences when we left my car at the mainland terminal and spent a night and a day in Victoria as young independent adults. I found a youth hostel on the internet, and taking only the directions, a list of museums, and an openminded sense of adventure, we took the bus into town late that night. Miraculously the hostel had room for us, and after an almost sleepless night, we wandered the streets, enjoying our brief vacation. The skies above mirrored the clouds of our hometown Seattle, but a few ideal sunbreaks solidified my perspective that a visit to Victoria could brighten the darkest winter days.
In that spirit, we took two more friends along with us the next year before Christmas. A chance meeting with a native Canadian landed us in her parents' house on a lake outside of Victoria, among the mountains and trees. As the morning sun lit up the living room, traces of fog hanging over the water, I rested in the pure enjoyment of fellowship with my friends, both new and old.
That new Canadian friendship lead to me spending a week with the family again the next summer. My pale Seattle complexion gained a bit of color as I wandered the parks, canoed on the lake, and explored the streets of Chinatown and the shopping district. Picturesque views of the Olympic and Cascade mountains on perfectly clear days fill my memory from that trip.
Perhaps these memories drive me to once again take off for my favorite Canadian destination in the early spring, leaving behind the dreary skies of my home. I know that a few days of refreshment will restore my health and sanity.
I have no idea if the rain will fall while I am there. For now, though, I see the blue skies and sun reflecting off the buildings in the distance, and my heart yearns for a sunny day in Victoria.
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