Canada, Part Two
Everywhere, the snow glowed an icey blue while the trees appeared mere shadows along the roadside. (Clever way to start, eh? But that’s exactly how it was.) The sun was rising slowly and the snow plows were making their way onto the highway. I drove and worked at avoiding massive clumps of snow and keeping the Chariot on the darker, blacker bits of pavement.
We’d made our way around the water and were bending south, into New Brunswick. I spent the next three hours staring at the road and imagining what the reaction would be to Luke’s and my arrival. Many knew we were coming, but they didn’t know when. By the time my shift was over, I knew students were attending church, singing hymns and praises to God, and ignorant to our ever growing presence.
I crawled into the back seat. With stinging eyes, I pushed myself into the crevasse and made myself “comfortable”. The sun was bright and shining, so I covered my face with John’s abandoned fleece. It wasn’t long before I was sleeping soundly, even with a safety buckle pushing into the sensitive part of my back.
The only time I woke up was when Luke insisted I stay awake while we drove through the Longest Covered Bridge in the World, which is located in the town of Hartland. Feel free to google it up, it’s quite an impressive structure. Unfortunately, I was too tired to beg Luke to stop while I took pictures of the bridge. After driving across, I collapsed again, like a heap.
I’m not sure how long it was afterwards that we arrived in Sussex–I was sleeping that whole time, afterall–but our first stop was made at Luke’s aunt and uncle’s house for a quick nap and cup of tea. Luke introduced me to his relatives and we made small talk about the traffic, the newsworthy snow fall in Nova Scotia, and how we temporarily got lost in Montreal.
By the time we got to Bethany Bible College, it was late afternoon. I followed Luke around the campus while he said things like, “It’s all flooding back. You have no idea how familiar this place is to me…” We stepped into the Student Center and Luke chatted with some kids working on an assignment. There was a pool table not being used and worship music playing over the speakers. I was lost in a sea of familiarity to everyone but me… So I smiled stupidly and waited for instruction from Luke.
“We should find Wiedmaier.”
“Yes, let’s,” I replied. When we were driving, getting closer and closer to our destination, I found myself missing Ryan more and more and anticipating his expression when he saw me there.
“I’ll check the guys’ dorms.” Luke dashed to places that were forbidden to me, so I waited by the Student Center doors. People walked in and out and I said “Hi” to everyone, amused by the fact that I stood among a total 250 students and I was the only one there they couldn’t have recognized.
Luke came back accompanied by Ben Spear, John Jetchick’s former roommate. Ben and I had communicated via Messenger for over a year, but this was the first time we’d seen each other.
“Hey, Ben,” I said, opening my arms. We hugged.
“We want to find Wiedmaier,” Luke said.
“Absolutely,” Ben nodded. “He and Sarah are probably at the Forbes’ place. I can drive you there.”
“Could you?” I asked.
“Definitely. They’ll be so glad to see you both.”
There was a rumble under my feet as we stepped onto the porch leading to the Forbes’ door. Ryan burst outside and wrapped Luke and me into his arms. A clammer of voices came from within the house and we were rushed quickly inside.
We took off our coats and started telling everyone about when and how we got there. I told Ryan I was hungry and he made me a delicious taco dish. And when Alma Forbes heard I was hungry, she had to feed me too. Meeting Sarah (Wied’s fiance) was a lot of fun because she got to tell me the “proposal story” while I munched away, chewing out words like “Cute!” and “Aww!”
Sarah’s a doll. She’s adorable and sweet and Ryan found the right girl. Not to mention that within five minutes of meeting, she paid me the nicest compliment of my life. If you want to know what it was, feel free to email me.
The time I spent at Bethany was time well spent. There were several people I had wanted to meet, including one of the administrators, Lynn Erskine, who has been a strong encouragement to me through email, even after I decided not to enroll. However, what I did not anticipate were the friends I would make while I was there. A girl named Trish who is hilarious and understands her calling. Jason (“Mustgrave”), a proud cynic and intelligent person with a passion for truth. And Damian, a west coast American native who follows his heart, even into the depths of Canada. These are amazing people, I would have the world know.
I stayed with Kate, who I’d met a year prior in Seattle. She flew in last minute because her stepfather is a pilot and she’d never been to the States. So Ryan, our friend Kyle, and I met her at her hotel and gave her a night tour of the city. Never neglecting the “gum wall” or taking the time to waltz on street corners.
We saw each other for the first time after evening Chapel, where students gather to worship and hear a message. Ryan pointed her out to me, so I walked over. I tapped her on the shoulder, she turned around, looked at me a good three seconds and finally realized, “Carly?!”
“Oh my gosh!” she squealed. “I didn’t even recognize you!”
We stayed up until 3:00 that morning, catching up.
Like I said, my time at Bethany was time well spent. Hanging out with Ryan and getting to know the girl he intends to marry. Playing pool with Ryan and taking tons and tons of pictures. Eating way too much cafeteria food and touring the campus through bitter cold. Late night talks at Tim Horton’s. Getting inspired. Being moved.
John flew into Halifax on Tuesday afternoon. Luke took the Chariot and met him at the airport. Halifax, Nova Scotia is Luke’s home and he used that chance to show John, his best friend, around town. That night, they parted ways. John took the car and Luke stayed in Halifax, where he would fly out the next day. Luke currently resides in Bannf, Alberta, pursuing the life of a starving artist and loving every minute of it.
John showed up around 1:00 PM on Wednesday. Kate and I were in her room when she saw him from her window.
“Jetchick is here! It’s Jetchick! I know that walk anywhere!” And she bolted out the door.
I reached for my scarf and followed her out. By this time, my desire to understand the reason for John’s sudden departure was eating away at me and I wanted to know if everything was alright. But I never had a chance to ask.
John spent the rest of the day running into friends and acquaintances and reminiscing over fond moments shared. The plan was to stay the night and Thursday, John would have a better chance to thoroughly “see” everyone. However, our plan was shattered when John’s mobile rang once again, asking him to attend a wake on Thursday afternoon and a funeral on Friday. We had to leave immediately.
We had a 12 hour trip ahead of us and didn’t have enough time to say “goodbye” to anyone. Ryan and Sarah were seeing The Passion and were oblivious to my sudden departure. I packed my things and stuffed them into the trunk of John’s car. Ben was there to see us off and pray with us, asking for safety and protection on our long trip back. John gave his former roommate a hardy hug and I said, “It was nice to finally hang out, Ben. Tell Ryan and Sarah that I’ll call them.”
John and I sank into the Chariot and we both heaved heavy sighs. John stared at the ignition, holding his hand over the key, and finally turned it. I turned my head, looking at him.
“Hi,” I said, a bit exasperated.
John smiled, “Hi…”
“I feel like that’s the first time I’ve ever said ‘hi’ to you.”
“I know… Well. There isn’t anyone I’d rather spend the next 12 hours with.”
“Yeah, me neither.”
And we drove west…
Photo Album One.