This weekend I had some quality family time while up here in Washington state. My Aunt Julie (you may remember her from previous posts) has a particularly impressive tiki bar set up in her backyard. It’s not just some lights and a tiki sign, it’s a way of life and a state of mind. The decor is situated in an area off of the main garage that has a roof and a brick wall on one side. There is a fireplace and a cast iron stove built into the brick wall and rows if twinkling candles on top. Along the back wall is a refrigerator for all our drinks, an actual bar, and an eclectic collection of tiki masks, signs, and lights. There are also more candles. In the summer guests can enjoy a banana plant and a tiki fountain, but in the damp and chilly February air we huddle in chairs and blankets near the cast iron stove, listening to a tiki channel on Pandora, and sipping our coconut (or wine) drinks with our little tropical umbrellas. Tiki here is more than the sum of the decor and drinks though; it’s mainly about laughing with old friends and family, escaping from responsibilities for a bit, and enjoying a taste of the island life even though it may be bitter outside. Like I said, tiki is more of a state of mind.
On Sunday my aunt, uncle, cousin Jackson, and I all got into the card and drove about three hours north to visit my other aunt and cousins up near the Canadian border. I can’t really stress this enough: my aunt’s property line is also the line between the US and Canada. That means that her grassy yard is American soil, while the road next to it is Canada. I couldn’t help but think “Help! Justin Trudeau please come and save me from the greedy old men in DC!” Then I daydreamed about the Canadian PM for a while…I wonder if I can buy a poster of him and hang it above my bed?
On our way up north we stopped in a place called Birch Bay. It was stunningly beautiful and the skies were icy blue and crystal clear. I could see the Canadian Rockies in the distance, the northern cousins of my familiar Coloradan Rockies back home. The temperature was so much milder than what I thought it would be. I was pretty comfy in my REI fleece, jeans, and waterproof boots. Thank you Teva! I was able to help launch an old driftwood tree into the chilly water without fear of the dread wet boot and wet socks.
At my aunt’s house we gathered everyone- two aunties, seven cousins, and one uncle into a car and drove to Peace Arch Park where the border between British Columbia and Washington passes and goes out into the bay. It’s acceptable to wander around this tiny patch of Canada without passing through the Big Bad Border. I didn’t have my passport, or I would have been all over Canada. It was nice to meet some new cousins and spend time with other’s I haven’t seen in over a decade. We ended up going out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. The food was tasty, albeit odd to find in a Canadian border town.