April 12, 2011 | 11:30 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I went to Vancouver, Canada for the weekend and had a fun, interesting, inspiring, moving, entertaining, fabulous, educational, and revitalizing time. I love Canada. It is a special place and I have been blessed to live in enough Canadian cities to be able to say that Canada, all of Canada, is wonderful.
This weekend however felt different. I was not going for long, or to see my mom and siblings, was not travelling with my son, and had nothing to do there except have a good time. It was truly a holiday that was all about me, and that has not happened for as far back as I can remember.
I lived in Langley, British Columbia as a kid and over the past year have become reacquainted with my girlfriends from middle school through Facebook. Love it or hate it, Facebook is a remarkable thing and after 28 years of no contact, we decided to meet for dinner in Vancouver.
The girls are scattered all over British Columbia, and I am in LA, so we picked a date, I booked a ticket, and the ball was set in motion. I was nervous because while my yearbooks are full of unending love and promises of friendship forever, it had been almost 3 decades since we spoke.
From the moment I got off the plane I felt at home. My friend Danielle, who I have not seen or had any contact with in almost 30 years, invited me to stay with her which was lovely and brave. Apart from Facebook, she knew nothing about me and I could have been a freak.
She opened her home to me and it was wonderful. It was as if we had seen each other the week before. She is a lovely girl and the only other single one from our group. It was interesting to talk to her about dating and relationships. No matter where you live the issues are the same.
Our paths have been different in that I am divorced and have a child while she has never married, but the challenges are the same. It was rather enlightening. I thought my dating experiences were harder because I was a divorced mom but it turns out it really does not matter that much.
Men are men, and dating is brutal. Danielle is dating, doing the online thing occasionally, meeting people at work, the same as all of us, and it’s not easier for her. We all have baggage and it turns out a divorce and child are not baggage when dating, just part of your history.
The girls and I walked, talked, ate, and had a blast. My friend Liz was there and she was my best friend. I loved her so much and can remember thinking I would die when we moved from Vancouver to Toronto and I had to leave her. She looks the same, is delicious, and I love her.
My friend Lee-Ann is inspiring. She is mother to 5 children, her two youngest are miracle babies, and she is amazing. She is dedicated to her children and while her life is exhausting, she never complains and counts her blessings. I love her and think she is amazing.
Jennifer was interesting because I had no recollection of her from school, but she is in my yearbook, writing about how much she would miss me. When I saw her it came back and I remembered exactly who she was. She is a pistol and I dig her. Funny as hell and fabulous.
Laurie could not make it to dinner but came for breakfast and seeing her was both good and bad. Good because she is lovely and we were good friends, but bad because she does not look one day older than she did 28 years ago, and it was a little offensive. She did not age which is not fair.
The weekend was great but I wish I could go back and direct our conversations more. We talked about our lives now, but did not get a chance to talk about how we all got here, and what our lives have been like since we were in middle school together. It was a remarkable thing.
I am the only Jew in the group and it’s interesting that I don’t remember religion ever being something we talked about, or something that marked us as different. We were kids who loved each other and our beliefs were based on faith and did not label us. It was a great thing.
We fell right into our friendships and it was fun, but after 28 years there was no history lesson and I wish we would have talked about that more. Our personalities are all pretty much the same, and we are now as we were then. Life happened but we skipped over it in our excitement.
A few girls had to cancel and it was a shame. I did have a chance to see my Auntie Maureen, cousin Roni and her daughter Ashley. I had not seen Roni is almost 20 years, had never met her daughter Ashley who is 18, and had not seen my aunt since my father passed away.
Ashley is beautiful and Roni is amazing. She is a remarkable woman who is raising a special needs child and I am awe of her. She is kind and patient. She looks great it was nice to be with her. We have a long history together and it’s a shame we are not closer.
We were close as kids and things fell apart when we got older, and it was my fault. I made a bad decision and it caused our friendship to unravel and I have nobody to blame but myself. I can say I was young and didn’t know better, but in the end I should have handled it better.
I love her and being with her was special. Her daughter is very sweet and I look forward to their coming to LA for a visit to Disneyland. My Auntie Maureen is my father’s only sibling. She is beautiful and seeing her, and hearing her voice, was the next best thing to being with my dad.
When I hugged her I did not want to let go. She is super cute. We were talking about the family, catching up in general, when we somehow got on the subject of American Idol. Weird. In the middle of our long list of things to catch up on, we started talking about American Idol.
My 71-year-old aunt told me if she could spend the night with anyone, it would be Adam Lambert. Of all the men on the planet, she would pick Adam. It was hilarious and she was like a teenage fan in love. Hey Adam, if you are reading, I’ve got a date for you in Vancouver.
It was a really great weekend. A fun moment was when a homeless man, who let me just say was very attractive, asked me if I could spare $1000.00. It was the funniest thing I have ever heard. We walked past and he politely asked if I could spare a thousand bucks. It was awesome.
I gave him a few dollars and told him he was fabulous. Seriously give him a shower, shave, haircut and suit, and this guy is handsome. I loved his request. Canadians are funny people. Not funny odd, but funny entertaining. Even when down on their luck, they are decent people.
You can’t talk about Vancouver and not mention Japa Dog. It is a hotdog shop that serves hot dogs with Japanese toppings. They serve a few different hot dogs, along with a veggie dog, that are topped with very interesting items. I want to open one in Los Angeles.
I had a really wonderful time and look forward to going back. It was great to reconnect with my friends and family and I have a list of 20 things I want to do there with my son. I may live in Los Angeles, but Canada is home and going home is a blessing and I am grateful for the trip.
In seeing the lives of my friends, I see how lucky we all are. We have remained the same decent and kind people that we were as kids. We were lucky to grow up where we did and I am thankful for my parents and the life I was given. I am happy, grateful, and keeping the faith.
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