Summer in British Columbia is a wondrous time. “Let’s do a staycation and rediscover our favourite spots”, I said to my spouse, after reconsidering several overseas destinations. Unanimously, we settled on Tofino to kick off our summer of local travel.
The lure of Tofino is centered on the Pacific Rim National Park and its spectacularly long, untamed beaches with wild surf. But, we did not go there. Others are drawn to Clayoquot Sound and the Tofino Inlet for whale watching, canoeing and kayaking excursions. But, we did not do these. Nor did we hike in the rainforest, go bear viewing or take surf lessons. “What are you planning to do on your stay”, says a perky young girl at the reception desk when we checked in at our lodge. I tell her that we had no big check list but want to enjoy the slow pace, serene views and local food with a few beach strolls thrown in. She laughs, “That’s the secret to Tofino, I think.”
My teen idol wore shorts and a headband. No, it was not Richard Simmons but a blond Swedish god. A tennis god, Bjorn Borg. Everything about him appealed to my shy, self-conscious teenage self; his lean physique, his flowing blond locks, those piercing blue eyes, his deadly two-handed backhand and his graceful moves on the court. Because of him I took up tennis and found I was pretty good at it, not like soccer (I hate running, especially into people) or volleyball (not good for pianists as I once sprained a finger when the ball hit my hand at a bad angle and I couldn’t play piano for two weeks).
Living in a youth obsessed culture makes it difficult not to be influenced by all the subliminal and some not so subliminal messages that bombard our surroundings. I have been told many times that I don’t look my age and my ego always swells a little when I hear this. I think next time someone says I look younger I will say, “Oh, I wish I looked older.” Then there will be awkward silence………..yes just like this. On second thought, my strict proper Asian upbringing won’t permit me to be ungracious, so I will just have to say, “Good genes”.
I would like to change how I view people who may be considered old. Even just typing the word “old” is not comfortable for me right now. We have come up with ways to avoid using that word, “more experienced”, “golden years”,”senior years, “women of a certain age” (or does this mean women in their middle years). Working in a retail health food store gives me lots of opportunity to have fantastic conversations with all sorts of people and I especially delight in my exchanges with the older customers. Hearing about their life experiences, sharing their knowledge, is so very enriching to me. “Old people know stuff!”
I probably had my first taste of Mexican food when I was a child and our family took a road trip to Mexico. Although we were barely past the Mexican border on that visit, it was still exotic. It was like going back in time to a land out of the dark ages, or so it seemed to me as a 9 year old. Dirt roads were the norm, mangy dogs roaming around aimlessly rooting for food. Old, rusty cars were sprinkled about like confetti. My Dad revelled in it! He tends to gravitate towards places that are more gritty and edgy. We must have stopped for lunch, although I have no recollection of what we would have eaten but it was probably some sort of taco. Any memory of what we ate was overshadowed by the colourful landscape and locals that we saw.