Joe and I have been together for almost four years, but because we met in South Korea, the first two years of our relationship took place in Asia. We refer to this time as ‘the Korea bubble’ because we felt like we were in our own world. The early months of a relationship typically include meeting each other’s friends and family, but aside from hanging out with my dad and sister, who happened to visit me in Korea while I was dating Joe, we didn’t have that opportunity. Our move to Portland and an immigration process that restricted how many times I could re-enter the US made it difficult for us to visit Canada, so until last May, Joe had only been to Victoria once, to meet my mom.
We’ve been lucky to have a number of people come and stay with us in Portland, so by last winter, Joe had spent time with several of my friends, but there were still some really important people in my life he needed to meet. On more than one occasion, friends have said to me, “Coco, I can’t believe you’re married and I haven’t met your husband yet!” (Although they also say they feel like they know him, because of my blog :))
The older I get, the more I realize how much of an anchor my friendships have been in my life. They gave me stability through what was a pretty chaotic childhood, and are the foundation of an immense sense of connection I feel no matter where I am in the world. I’ve always known that whoever I ended up spending my life with would have to be someone that could connect with my friends. To me, it’s as important as the bonds created with family.
Of course, your friends’ pets matter too.
(This is Tula, dog-child to Adam and Antonia.)
After whisking my mom off for her surprise weekend in Salt Spring, Joe and I made some serious rounds for the next six days, starting with visiting these guys and then spending an afternoon with Paula and her baby boy Saul…
at her new home.
(Not too shabby, Miss Paula!)
That evening, we drove out to Ryan and Tarryn’s home on their farm for a beautiful outdoor dinner…
and a goodnight tuck-in with their three little ones, Lusha, Griffin, and Cassius (left to right).
After dinner (which included Ryan’s specialty of bacon-wrapped venison), Tarryn and Ryan took us to the barn, showed us their goats, and explained their vision for an upcoming barn party they were throwing.
We couldn’t leave without a self-timer pic in front of the hay bales!
A couple nights later, we headed to Canoe Brewpub to meet up with this crew.
Gaeli, Stu, Leah, Taio…
(Photo credit to Miss Jasmin Jackson herself.)
The Broken Strings were playing…
and two things that go really well with the Broken Strings are cold pints of Pale Ale…
Prior to this trip, the last time I saw Gaeli was our 12-hour rendezvous in Seattle last November, after nearly four years apart. She just happened to be visiting Victoria while we were there in May (her job is travelling around the world working on yachts and doing things like kiteboarding and diving with sharks), so Joe and I got to spend a couple evenings hanging out with her on sunny patios and having a lot of laughs. This girl can either crack me up or bring me to tears in an instant, depending on the topic at hand, both of which happened more than once!
No trip to Victoria is complete without a walk to Dallas Road and some beach time. We met up with Danielle for a coffee the next afternoon and did exactly that. Joe originally met Danielle in Korea, via one of our skypes, while she was living in Berlin. It was so nice to connect in person, back home!
On the weekend we caught up for a BBQ with Jay, Danny and Pippa and their two little ones, and Danny’s parents.
When I was 19, these guys surprised me by showing up on my doorstep in Leeds, England. They stayed with me for a few days and tried to persuade me to fly to South Africa with them! I was tempted, but didn’t do it. (I was living with an English boyfriend at the time.) We all ended up back in Canada about six months later.
After the BBQ, everyone surprised Joe and I with champagne and cake to celebrate us getting married last fall. It was so sweet.
Danny and Pippa’s daughter Madison was all smiles around Joe.
We also spent some time playing with Leah and Jay’s little guy Neko.
I think he and Joe secretly planned their outfits ahead of time.
We stayed with Leah for the weekend, and spent our last morning having a little backyard hangout with her and Neko. Leah and I were roommates for a year and half around the time I was 23. This visit I crawled in with her for an early morning chat, just like the old days. (She still makes the best cups of tea.) Love these two!
you will always be home.