Cape Breton and PEI – family fun time!

Would you believe me if I said that, two weeks ago, I had never seen a crab, didn’t know what sea glass was, and was ignorant to New Brunswick’s bilingualism? That last one, I’m learning, is common, but the others?! It was about time for me to learn a little about life on the coast.

My aunt, cousins, and I enjoyed some great music, conversation, and views as we drove and ferried to Cape Breton. We arrived early on a cloudy, rainy day.

Through what I’ll simply call “family connections”, we stayed for free in both Nova Scotia and PEI. This meant that we were staying in people’s homes, living where people normally live, as opposed to travelling where people normally travel. The girls made friends with the two daughters of Laurie (family friend #1), and the adults got to know/caught up with one another.

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When we arrived in Cape Breton, Laurie’s partner Daryl, a local Mi’kmaq man, brought the women eagle feathers to welcome us to the island. This is regarded as a great honor and I had every intention of keeping my feather…… I don’t, however, have any idea where it went. 😦

We ended up spending a night with Daryl and Laurie while “the girls” played in their rooms (I know I’m truly an adult now that I’m hanging out with the moms while the kids are playing). Daryl was a fascinating man and I learned so much about Mi’kmaq culture. I won’t get into all my new knowledge now, but I definitely have a lot of reading I want to do and am very happy to have naturally stumbled upon such a great experience.

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The man at a beautiful Cape Breton campground enthusiastically offered us “Cape Breton raincoats” (this day was quite rainy, as was every other day of our trip). We labeled them with a permanent marker and the girls brought them home as a souvenir for their dad. I’m sure he was very appreciative!

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My cousins and their Aunt Kim searching the ocean floor for something. We found hermit crabs, regular crabs, and dug for clams. We also searched for sea glass which, if you didn’t know, is glass whose edges have been polished by the sea. The girls took home a bag of the stuff – I expect to see some jewellery soon!

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This dog, raised on the ocean, was a pro at digging for clams. If you point to a spot and draw a little circle where you want him to dig, he just goes straight to it. It was pretty amazing to watch!

Before I write, I often make a brief list of things I want to write about. In this case, I’m having trouble turning “something mushy about getting to know my aunt and cousins better” into a blog-worthy paragraph. So I’ll just say a couple things. Bridget may look like my mom, but she and I are alike in our curious minds and our love of salt and vinegar chips – and that’s what really matters in life. My other cousin, Aiyana, is becoming such a beautiful, strong woman, both inside and out.  Both are so fun to be around, and they are respectful and thoughtful girls. My aunt is such a great role model of a woman. I am already traveling like her and hope to, when I’m a mother, be the perfect mix of her and my mom. Seeing family once a year and being so far apart, age-wise, from my cousins, I don’t actually know my family all that well. But I’m so glad to have had this opportunity to spend time with some truly amazing people, who I am so happy to call family. End mushiness.

And so ended a great week in Cape Breton and PEI. My adventure continued in New Brunswick, where I had a blast with a friend (from Kuwait), learning all about Acadian culture, Cards Against Humanity, and how my friend behaves around alcohol in a ‘wet’ country. Stay tuned.

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