When we sent in our visitors visa application this summer for our visit to Canada, my Mom provided me with very clear instructions. I was to NOT refrain from telling her if Ricardo was approved or not, and IF he was approved I had better tell her the date and time of our arrival. (I have been known to keep things to myself so that I can surprise people…)
My family had been anticipating the day Ricardo would step foot on Canadian soil just as much as we were so it was no surprise that Mom wanted to be there to see his face as he got off the plane.
Closer to the date we were to arrive, my sister Jennifer and her family ended up surprising my mom by driving over from Alberta early before my brother’s wedding. With Jennifer now in town, the dogs with no dog sitter, and with our flight not getting in until 11pm at night I reassured her that she would not be missing much if she just waited until the following day to come visit. We would be tired from our long day of travel, and it was too late for her to be driving 45 minutes in the dark. She agreed but made Ricardo promise he would call as soon as he got to my sister’s house to tell her all about the flight.
Meanwhile, I had made plans months prior for my nephew to pick us up at the airport. My nephew just got his drivers license and I was really looking forward to seeing him all grown up in the drivers seat. I messaged my family before leaving Calgary to let them know we were a bit delayed. We boarded the plane to Comox without a worry knowing we would have a ride from the airport to my sister’s house. (Thanks Tyson).
The whole day was emotional for me, but when I stepped off the plane in Comox that night and took a long, deep breath in to smell the incredible BC air, my eyes welled up with tears. This is something that happens each and every time I step off that plane. Something so simple, but something that lets me know that I’ve made it… I’m home.
When we walked into the airport waiting room doors though, what I didn’t expect to see was this:
Standing there waiting, waiving their arms in the air with white and red “canadian” leis and a welcome sign for Ricardo were my 2 sisters Jennifer and Kelly, Tyson, and my mom. It was overwhelming, exciting, and probably not something you see everyday at that airport. I loved every minute of it! We exchanged hugs picked up our luggage and were on our way to Kelly’s house.
After stopping off at 7/11 to grab some cat food for the rescue cat we brought back to Canada we headed straight to my sisters.
I have a confession. I will admit that the thought of my mom possibly coming to the airport at the last minute did cross my mind. However, I did not entertain the thought for very long and most certainly did not think there was going to be leis, my sister, or welcome signs accompanying her. What I was genuinely, 110% surprised to see though when we walked up the stairs of my sister’s home was this:
We walked in to find a huge “Welcome To Canada” banner that my Mom and sister spent 45 minutes making.
Moving out onto the deck we saw this set up, complete with balloons and Canadian flags.
We were thinking we were going home to talk about Ricardo’s first flight and head to bed. We were not expecting a Welcome to Canada Party, but before we knew it the party began with Lemonade and chips.
It wouldn’t have been a party without some sparklers. My family really did go all out. Ricardo was loving it!
My Mom at this point handed Ricardo a card. In this picture he threw up his hands and exclaimed “I feel so important, I feel like the president!!” It was beyond cute to see.
My sister then handed him a gift bag full of Canadian souvenirs. (Thanks to my sister, we didn’t have to buy anything Canadian our whole trip, we were stocked up on night one. LoL)
Ricardo couldn’t have had a bigger smile.
That was the end of night one. It was seriously the BEST “Welcome to Canada” celebration. I went to bed that night feeling so happy and so proud to be a part of a family that is so kind-hearted and welcoming. I had dreamed of the day Ricardo would be able to see my home for so long but I never dreamed it was going to be like that. I couldn’t have given him a better Welcome than my family gave him. Thank You Mom, Jenn, Kelly, Clayton, and Tyson for being a part of a memory Ricardo will never forget.
I am forever grateful his first impression of Canada was seeing your smiling faces and waving arms with your welcome sign in the waiting room window. It couldn’t have been more perfect.