Erin is winding up her study of Canada as layed out by the excellent people at Catholic Heritage Curricula. She really enjoyed the theme of touring the country and since we briefly visited Canada this summer it was more interesting.
That is actually a funny story. We had no intention of visiting Canada. The town where we vacation in Maine is in the north west part of the state sixteen miles from the canadian border. It is a teeny tiny town with the population hovering in the 500 range. There is a frigid lake, a mountain, two diners and a lot of wildlife. What it does not have is night life. So every evening at dusk people (tourists, not locals) get in their respective vehicles and cruise the roads looking for moose. You don’t have to go off road or anything, they are all over even walking around on the highway. So one evening we are heading north looking for moose and we see a sign "Canadian Border". Suddenly we are on a one-way road driving up to the border patrol booth. You would think you’d have a little more warning such as a sign that said "Candanian Border 1 mile". Then you cuold turn around.
Feeling foolish Dave pulls up to the window where an unamused French Canadian border patrol guard demands the purpose of our visit. When Dave explains how we got there she is confused and asks how long we plan to stay. "As long as it takes to turn around and leave" – that was me. Then she asked how many were in the van. "Uh 11". My parents had joined us. "11! Why?" "Because," says Dave patiently, "that’s how many people are in our family". She was finally convinced that we were not a threat to the security of Canada and let us go. So we drive through about 50 feet and turn around and now we are on the American side trying to enter our homeland.
The whole thing begins again, "how long were you in Canada?"
"40 seconds" – all the snarky answers were mine. In an effort to lighten the situation not give anyone a hard time. Border patrol is a tough and necessary job, God bless them.
Then there was a search of the van (all he found was apple juice, stale french fries and children) a perusal of the drivers licenses of all the adults and a details of our vacation. He then proceeded to share with us the information that his wife was expecting their fourth baby any minute and her parents were staying in the camp next to ours. Small world. Can we go now? We did, with the warning to take seriously border signs. We felt more than a little foolish.
We did see moose though, so it was worth it. And the children thought this was a great adventure.
So Erin had an interest in Canada being the world traveler that she is, having spent forty whole seconds in the country. The fact that all she saw was a sign for duty free liquor did not dampen her enthusiam.
Today, to wind up her study we made an igloo out of sugar cubes. This was one of the suggested activities by CHC and I have to tell you as much as I love CHC I do think that it was mean of them to include this. It’s one of those things that sounds easy but really, really wasn’t. At least for a dope like me. It took us a long time to build up the walls but I was totally flummoxed as to how to build the roof. Then I had the idea to wad up some newspaper to act as a form to glue the sugar cubes too. This worked ok but if there were any Inuits who had to live in an igloo I designed, they’d be in serious trouble. On the upside I did discover a new good use for the New York Times. Puppy training, bird cage liner and igloo proper-upper. What you should not use it for is any news or editorial opinions.
Erin had a good time though. She learned a lot and is looking forward to Canadian pancakes for breakfast on Sunday. Then on to India.