Looking for answers to life's questions

I’m a foreigner. That holds true in every country I go. Even the one I was born in. What is it about borders that make us want to cross them and explore? I’ve been doing just that my whole life.

Crossing large bodies of waters was a normal part of my life.

Crossing large bodies of waters was a normal part of my life.

My children, adults that they are, have not used their passports. My son was very young when we went to Taiwan via the military and I don’t think we needed them at that time. He didn’t remember crossing any borders. My poor daughter has been landlocked her whole life. Until now.

Life on the water. Wouldn't it be lovely?

Life on the water. Wouldn’t it be lovely?

Ferry captains were impressive in their skill.

Ferry captains were impressive in their skill.

We were brave and reckless. Driving the five hours to Port Angeles, Washington. After a wonderful brunch and a trip through their quilt store (yes, I had to look) and their wonderful bookstore (one or maybe two came home with us), my son drove the car onto the ferry and we rode the 90 minutes to another country. This dizzy lady did just fine. It took my daughter a bit to get her sea legs. A lot of distraction and good humor kept her even keeled and we made it safe and sound to Victoria, BC Canada. Now to be truthful, I’ve been there before without a car. We used public transport and that worked quite well. It was a LONG time ago.

They had beautiful stuff but I was very strong. Love this store

They had beautiful stuff but I was very strong. Love this store

So what do you do when you cross the border? You go see pretty flowers and look around the town. Just to warn you, I will have to break this very short visit into two posts. I took over 360 photos. This is a lady who rarely ever took photos. Since I don’t see well, I point, shoot and pray that they can be fixed. My kids took even more.

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First thing on our list was a real food breakfast. We found a lovely place across from our motel. They were so polite and kind that it made our first taste of Canada even better. Then we were off to find a post office. I decided to see if I could mail a package to a Canadian friend from Canada for a bit less than mailing it from the U.S. Cost cut, one third! Do you know they have post offices open Saturday’s and Sunday’s? I was delighted and surprised.

The ABC restaurant was a nice start of our day. I wanted to take this stove home.

The ABC restaurant was a nice start of our day. I wanted to take this stove home.

So is Butchart Gardens worth a second trip? I could use a third and fourth. My feet were protesting but my camera had its buzz on. I just couldn’t stop, until lunch that is. We (my daughter and I) had high tea in the conservatory. My son had a very nice looking hamburger. He’s a guy. The food tasted so beautiful in that room and the tea was something new for them. Lemon grass and ginger. Yum. I didn’t get a photo of the food. I was lost is a sea of bliss by then. The butterflies had nothing on me that day.

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After lunch we waddled over toward the Japanese gardens passing something so fragrant it took my breath away. I felt light headed and overcome with emotion. The tears started to flow and I just couldn’t contain them. I stood there a moment trying to get a grip when the dragonflies did a dance for me and landed softly right where I could get a clear shot. I have never really seen one before. They were always so far away I could not tell what they were. As we came back out of the Japanese Garden, the same thing happened again. The smell was like lilacs but they were not. The feeling, one of unmistakeable happiness.

Who knew they were so beautiful. I was enthralled.

Who knew they were so beautiful. I was enthralled.

I don't know yet what these are but the scent was wonderful.

I don’t know yet what these are but the scent was wonderful.

We finally had to sit a few moments before shopping the gift stores and caving in to happiness and beauty overload. And our day was not done yet. That was one border I would gladly cross again and again.

A great spot to sit a spell and reflect on the wonders of the morning.

A great spot to sit a spell and reflect on the wonders of the morning.

How about you? Do you cross borders?

Stay tuned for part two.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Comments on: "In Search of New Borders" (50)

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit to wonderful BC. I do love Canada. You were one province over from me! You could have come for a visit! Well, not really, as it’s still quite a ways from me. You took some beautiful pictures Marlene! I love dragonflies. I should have them in my backyard soon. I love to watch them and there are so many wonderful colors to them!

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    • Thanks Jackie. If I’d had more time, I would have liked to come see you. I had no idea as I have never really seen a real dragonfly before. It was almost a mystical experience. Like someone telling me everything will be ok. I have been back almost 2 weeks and haven’t had time to write that till now. 😦 I’ll try and get the second part done this week. And the list goes on.

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      • I always thought dragonflies were mystical myself. I’ve been seeing them since I was a kid, but they still fascinate me. I love it when they land on me. 🙂 I’m glad you had such a wonderful time and a bit of a mystic magical time too.

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  2. Marlene those flowers look like they may be ‘stocks’. An old fashioned English Cottage Garden flower, very fragrant. I have crossed many borders in my time, nowadays not so many any more. I taught at a school in the UK sited on a biodynamic [organic] farm. I was so often mesmerised there by the sight of a million cyan blue transparent wings floating over the tops of the crops. I would walk into them and watch them part in front and close again behind me, the air would be blue and the sound of their wings was like music…….. It’s such a magical memory. Thank you for reviving it!

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    • Thank you so much Pauline for the name of those fragrant flowers. Every time I walked by the scent filled the air. What a wonderful job that must have been to work on at teaching on an organic farm. That was the first ever dragonfly for me. Now I saw one in my own garden this week!! They are quite magical. I have been so busy I don’t even have time to write my posts. The second half coming as soon as possible. Hope you are doing well. Hugs

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  3. For a point-and-click photographer you surely produced some marvellous shots. Dragonflies and damselflies are fairly common here, but your closeup picture is spectacular. I think that yellow flower is a hypericum, which will later have some lovely berries, and the purple and pink ones like soldiers are probably stocks, which are very easy to grow from seed.

    I’m so glad you had such a delightful trip and shared it with us.

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    • I hope you don’t mind, but I borrowed your photograph to put with my dragonfly poem (duly credited)

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    • Thank you so much Viv. I think they may be common everywhere but they have eluded my field of vision all these years. I became oddly overwhelmingly emotional in that spot. Twice. Who knows what that was about. Thank you for the name of the flower. I’ll have to see if they grow here as they were my daughter’s favorite. So very unusual.

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      • I’ve had that kind of experience myself. Butchart Gardens is a feast for the senses, and each garden, unique and wonderful. It’s wonderful to be swept up like that, don’t you think?

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      • I thought I would enjoy it less since I’d been there before and the memory still so vivid but I saw everything fresh and new this time. Through my children’s eyes. It was magical. I gather you’ve been there. You probably saw differently but it’s a sight to behold.

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  4. What absolutely beautiful pictures! Sounds like a marvelous trip. How special to spend it with your children. I have a passport that will expire in November of this year it. It has no stamps in it whatsoever. Other than a trip or two to Tijuana (which hardly counts) many moons ago I have never left the country. It makes me kind of sad. My husband spent many years in the military growing up and later himself. He has been many places and absolutely refuses to leave the country at this point in his life. I will have to go without him. While there is so much to see here, I yearn to have at least one stamp in my passport before the year is over. I can’t help but wonder what would be the point of having it renewed. I think I will because I am hopeful (ha ha). Thank you for sharing such great pictures -they were so peaceful and beautiful. The gardens are marvelous and you somehow managed to really capture their essence.

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    • They didn’t stamp the passports anymore. I think the only place that actually bothered to stamp them was Lichtenstein as a tourist draw. That was back in 1995 or so and we went to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I went back to Germany in 2006 and they didn’t stamp them there either. They scan them now so the world has a record of where you’ve been. I always traveled on my own. My husbands didn’t want to go anywhere either. I took my mother, then sister. Now my kids but since I can’t drive anymore, my son and daughter did. Keep the passport renewed. You never know and it’s getting harder to get them. Mine was a nightmare because I have no birth certificate. I’m a naturalized citizen. I’m glad you liked the photos. They have wonderful public transport in Victoria. You can drive to Port Angeles and take the ferry leaving your car. We did that the first time. Just takes some planning.

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  5. If you took 360 photos, I’m quite sure I would have done the same! I’ve heard so much about this lovely place … it’s definitely on my wish list!
    So glad you had fun!

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    • Mrs. Butchart turned that stripped out quarry her husband made a fortune out of into the most beautiful gardens I’ve ever seen. My first trip garnered lots of photos but I saw things differently this time. I’d do it again and again. I would have liked more time, and less of me to drag around.

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  6. Your descriptions of the joy and colours and scents nearly brought tears to MY eyes. I am so glad you went. I hope your daughter was glad for taking the leap into another country, and across Puget Sound as well. I am going to send this link to my friend M who made the trip with me in March.

    It sounds like you had a splendid time at the gardens and your photographs are just splendid. The quarry is remarkable, isn’t it? It’s exciting to me to see the different things blooming for you, because of the different seasons. I also looked in admiration at the houseboats and thought about living on the water.

    I have a hundred comments and shared delights! It will be a good topic for the next time we meet, which I hope will be at the new house!

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  7. Very nice photos and very nice descriptions of your trip. This is a place I hope to visit sometime. Seems like you went at the perfect time to enjoy all the beautiful flowers.
    I too am a foreigner everywhere, and felt like a stranger on my recent visit to Germany. But crossing borders is important because I find it helps expand one’s horizon as well as create (hopefully) better understanding between people and cultures.
    I am ready to visit anytime when you have some fragrant stock growing in your garden!

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  8. Looks like an amazing trip! I can’t wait to see the rest of the photos.

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  9. It’s been years since I’ve crossed the border, Marlene. Your beautiful photos are giving me the urge to cross before my passport expires. I love this!

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    • Thank you Jill. It had been years for me too. It was fun to finally get the chance to go again. Don’t let your passport expire. They are so hard to get once you do. I’m ready to go again now. 🙂

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  10. just beautiful! For someone that can’t see well, you did an amazing job taking pictures to share with us on your tour:-)

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    • Thank you so much. I have a very good point and shoot Casio camera my son gave me for my birthday. I take photos one handed as well as the other is holding a cane to keep me upright. I have to trust my camera to see what I only glimpse. So far it’s done a great job.

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  11. Anne Marie Whalley said:

    Yes, we crossed some borders last year. We went to France, and Spain. There is a lot of flowers there. We enjoyed a Medieval city, and old churches as well as new ones. I am so happy you were able to travel. Your pictures are beautiful. I have not yet been to Canada. Thank you for sharing with us.

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    • Hello, sweet lady. Wonderful to hear from you. It’s been one hectic year. Yes, I’m so envious of your trips to France and Spain. I doubt that I’ll get that far since I now require a driver for distance. My kids filled that role to Canada. I wish we’d had more than a weekend. Sorry to hear about how hot it is there. We have record setting heat as well. Hugs.

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  12. What a totally lovely trip for you to take with your kids! We took our kiddos to Buchart Gardens years ago. I remember it being so beautiful; things blooming all around you. I love crossing borders, be it countries or states. One thing that Lonny and I do is try to see how many “you are now entering” photos we can take.
    PS I adore dragonflies…great photo!

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    • Thanks Missy. The dragonfly posed for me. I’ve been to Butchart before and wanted my kids to see it. Traveling isn’t as easy as it was a few years ago but still fun to explore. It was a totally different experience this time. Different company. 🙂

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  13. Wow, look what I’ve been missing! I’m delighted to live this trip through your eyes, and thank you for returning so many of my own memories from my visit there last summer with “Boomdee” and her cousin, Sherri. We got around on foot, water taxi and the bus, and in fact took the bus that day to the Gardens. That place is magical. I left wishing I could spend another day. Like you, we enjoyed the high tea and even stayed for the fireworks.

    It’s a wonderful story, that quarry. It’s extraordinary what she created in its place. And yes, the gift shop, too.

    I’m delighted your daughter ventured across a border. I hope she enjoyed every moment of it and will do more in the future. Like you, I’m a foreigner, immigrating to the US from Ontario Canada in 1966. My mother haled from Nova Scotia and my father from England. I have the wanderlust. I traveled alone to Europe for two months when I was 29. I quit my job, found a friend to stay in my apartment to mind my two cats, and took an economy flight to England. I stayed in youth hostels, traveled with a Euroail Pass, and covered 11 countries before coming back home for a friend’s wedding. I’ve been back to Canada, twice, and once to Argentina (to meet my husband’s relatives) and again alone to Cancun, Mexico. There is so much of the world to see and explore.

    I’ve never seen a dragonfly up close like that. I think they’re magical. Congratulations on that wonderful shot.

    It’s so nice to read about your trip, Marlene. It’s clear you had a wonderful time.

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    • We foreigners must stick together. I’ve always had a wanderlust as well but never a home. This is my first where I feel somewhat at home. Some days I think I should sell off everything and get a duffel and travel the world while I can still see it. I kept thinking that if the damage from the Bells healed so I could drive, I’d get in my car and go as far as it would take me. There is so much I still want to experience and learn. But the need for a home is stronger. I so envy your singular trek out there in the world. Do you think your boys will want to do something similar? Thanks for stopping by Alys. I know how busy you are in the summer months. I’m ready for the quite laziness of winter. 🙂 When winter comes, I’ll be looking forward to summer, just not this intense heat. It’s been relentless, as you well know.

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      • You know, this is the first time I’ve felt real roots. We’ve lived in this house for 19 years now. Prior to this I never lived anywhere for longer than five years, and it was always a rental.

        I always saved money to travel, and was happy to forgo things in exchange for experiences. When younger, it was also easy to travel on the cheap, as you could stay in hostels, use public transportation and hoof it. I’m sure I would find that challenging now with all my aches and pains. In 1989 I stayed in a French hotel referenced in Let’s Go Europe for $20 a night. On that same trip, youth hostels in England were $10 a night, and you could get breakfast for $2 and dinner for $3. You brought your own sleeping sheet and did a light chore like sweeping the floor. Simply amazing.

        I think my younger son will follow suit. He likes new experiences and he enjoys travel. My older son is a homebody and more comfortable with minimal interruption to his comfortable routine. It’s made traveling as a family a challenge, but now that they’re older, each can experience life to there liking. There is some relief in that.

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  14. Oh Marlene, how beautiful! I see you have been busy, out and about enjoying life in all its glory while I’ve been away from blogging, and I’m so glad to know this! And to see such a beautiful dragon fly like that…I am shedding a tear in happiness with you. A gift for you my friend ❤ I visited Vancouver with my children some years ago to visit a dear friend and her family and fell in love with the area. Would love to visit again one of these days…even more so after reading this. And now onto your next…

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    • I have been out and about a great deal and now must pay the piper.:) That was the most beautiful dragonfly. Now I know why everyone makes such a fuss over them. I looked up Vancouver. Have not been there yet but maybe one day. Victoria is another ferry ride closer. I so wish I could drive again. I’d be everywhere like before. If Vancouver is anything like Victoria, I’ll have a hard time going home again. Thank you for stopping by with your busy schedule. I have your post open since yesterday morning and still not complete read through. Too many interruptions in the summer months. Wishing you joy.

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      • We need to do a swap! I would love to go to Victoria 🙂 Enjoy your summer Marlene, and no rush for anything. And thank you for your joyful wishes…I wish for you the very same 🙂

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  15. Great photos ~ great trip! Thanks for sharing! I especially loved the dragonfly photo!

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  16. Looks like such a wonderful trip Marlene! Thank you for sharing you beautiful photos with us 🙂 I really enjoyed seeing this place through your eyes.

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    • Thank you so much. Taking photos helps me to see these places with new eyes. I’ve started looking at places with the intention to share them with those that can’t see for themselves or would like to go see these places. It’s made such a difference. I never took many photos before I started blogging

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  17. Good gosh, you’ve made it all look and sound gorgeous Marlene. I don’t know how this post slipped by me but I’m finally going thru email (which is my backup to the reader).

    I also found everyone in Victoria to be very friendly. A pleasant surprise given they constantly deal with tourists. I would love to call the Island home someday. Or, that’s our plan, (Alys and I) Mr B and Mr Nirvana can come too, LOL.

    Such nice memories at Butchart with Alys and my little cous. Oh man we laughed. My cousin Sherri, is a few years younger than me and continually cracks me up. It’s a spectacular place that’s for sure. You hardly can decide where to look. We got a ride with friends there but took a bus back to Victoria. Our bus driver was quite the pill. LOL, people had to stand and so held on to whatever they could reach. I guess the bell got pulled a few too many times (accidentally) and he blew a fuse. He threatened to stop the bus and chuck us all out on the highway if it didn’t stop. Horrified at his behaviour, I assured Alys that wasn’t very Canadian. Do you know what they say about Cornflakes when someone’s in a rotten mood? Yep! Him, that morning, in his cornflakes 😉

    As you know, I’m always crossing borders. Honestly, I tend to be a real homebody but I want to see places and visit with people I love, so twice a year, I take an adventure. I really want to go to Austrailia and New Zealand. Mr B wants to wait until he retires. I said, “we should do these things while we’re healthy and able bodied since there’s no guarantees”. I need to work on him still 😀

    How nice to travel with your grown children and that you enjoy each others company. That’s really wonderful Marlenie-bean. I’m actually surprised the post office is open on the weekend there. It isn’t here. Lucky me! I was at a quilt store today and bought bobbins for my new machine, some fat quarters, a couple of yards of jolly neat fabric and a sewing book. I wanted to buy the whole shop, but managed to minimize the damage. I’m so excited to make something from this book. Hopefully, before too long, I’ll get it done and post. So, now that I’ve spammed your Blog with one heck of a wordy message, I shall bid you adeui, Nighty night Wonderfrau xo

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  18. Thank you, Marlene! I lived in and around the Victoria area for most of thirty years. My children were born there. One summer I drove a one-horse carriage from beside the Legislature Buildings around the James Bay area behind it. I met so many wonderful people and I had an absoute blast (and two runaways! Fuel for a future post, I guess, now that I think of it . . .) I have walked and sat on that lawn outside the Legislature Buildings more times than you can imagine . . . I’ve only been to Butchart Gardens twice, but it is truly magical. I think my favourite spot there was the rose garden surrounded by a wall of incredibly blue delphinia. I shall never, never forget that!

    If you do get to go again, I can recommend a few places to visit, if you like.

    You have made my day with these posts; the sounds, scents, tastes and more came flooding back to me as I read and gazed at your gorgeous photos. Oh, my . . .

    As they say in the Norway of my Mum’s parents, “Tusen Takk!” (a thousand thanks!) In Canadian, it would be “Thanks a Million!) 🙂 ❤

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    • Thanks so much Linne. I’m glad this gave you pleasant memories. I would have liked to spend more time but my daughter could only take 1 days off plus the weekend and we lost a day and a half to travel time. But each city has it’s own energy and that one had such welcoming energy that I could have spent weeks there exploring. Have you moved so far away that you cannot visit? I know we are a great distance from where my children were born and even farther from where I was born. We are a band of gypsies. 🙂

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  19. Thank you for bringing back such wonderful memories for me with this post. 🙂 ❤

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  20. Glad you enjoyed your dragonfly. I adore dragonflies. They are so friendly most of the time. I’ve had one land on me while I was working on a piece of furniture and just watched me work for the longest time.

    After all the hard work you’ve been doing around the house this must have been a welcome break and a lovely one at that.

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