Location: Kelowna, Canada
Our final farewell,
It's tough to think our time here has come to a close. We will be home in less then 24 hours resting for the very first time in almost 3 months in our own home.
It is funny how when we came out here we almost were strangers to one another and now we feel as though we have lived here for years. We have had such a wonderful time here living with our family. It is amazing how each experience gives us a new appreciation to what we have. I can't wait to come back to West Bank and see them already. One day I hope to be able to repay them for their extreme generosity. Aunty Rose retires next year so then she assures me that she will have lots of time to play. I continue bugging her to come on a trip to South Africa with me. Maybe by then I will have enough money to pay for her flight and mine.
Also on this trip Mike and I have definitely strengthened our brother bond and will have these memories to share for the rest of our lives. I hope this has opened his eyes to the beautiful world we live in and how we only see such a small part of it. Traveling I believe helps a person become flexible to accept change around them and allows them to think more outside of the bubble world we live in most of the time. I think it has, he is already talking about going to Spain to work for a summer (apparently there is even more work there then in Kelowna). Mom, this isn't my fault. I am so glad Mike and I did this trip together. It was always talked about and if you put things off like this it just never happens. So I guess if you want something bad enough to happen you just have to go for it. It has been great seeing the growth of my brother over the summer. Just to list a few .... Mikes caring behavior towards Stewart (the family dog) and animals in general, cooking (survival) skills (thanks to the great chef Aunty Rose - it apparently runs in the Krohe family), Mike also learned how to drive standard fluently this summer, and just to see the other gentle changes. I think Mike is coming back a better person for going on this trip.
As for our fishing days of believing we would catch the 'big one' are over. And it is hard to believe we will have to watch Crappy Idol without Uncle Clark and not have Aunty Rose to remind us that Cornation Street is on when 7pm strikes (the world stops to watch this show in this house). I will miss this place. But as they say all good things must come to an end. We will always remember these days as some of the best of our lives.
Thank you Gunoff family. We are going to miss you guys and the great laughs we shared together.
Till next time, love jon
Location: Westbank, Canada
Mike So we decided against going to the OMAK Stampede after all. The only event worth making the trip for was the Suicide Races where the natives race the horses down the side of the mountain, and I guess its pretty brutal. Many horses get put down afterwards and we just didnt want to see it happen.
On Wednesday we were able to go out on the boat with a guy I work with named Tony. We rented a wakeboard, and by the time we had everything set and gassed up the boat, the wind had picked up and ruined the wakeboarding conditions. It was too choppy and tough to control the wakeboard. We did a few runs and had to quit. Jon and I managed to get up every time without falling, which was pretty impressive for 2 guys who have only done it a couple times. This week has mainly been designated to lazing around the house and enjoying the short time we have left here. Everyone has been gone this week, so it just been the two of us here with Stewart. This afternoon we are going on a hike with Jons boss son. Apparently he knows some great trails, which should be fun.
-Counting down the days till we are at home with family and friends. 5 days of work, 11 days total. Homesickness is really starting to kick in on this last stretch. I know Jon feels it as well. Really pumped to be at home and see everyone!
--miss you all, Mike
Location: Spenses Bridge, Canada
Jon - This weekend we went camping with our family to Spenses Bridge. It was a small little town beside the famous Thompson River where the salmon fishing is lush and the rapids are unforgiving. Unfortunately this was not the case this year. The fish just weren't there and the rapids were at around a level 3 (out of 5). We hit the white water rafting on the Thompson River on Saturday. Our Aunty, Uncle and friend Joanne joined us for the excursion. The river was outlined on both sides by the gigantic canyon walls. It was just an incredible day as we saw dozens of bald eagles, mountain goats and wet rafters. The trip started at 11am and we went to 4:30pm stopping a few times along the way to check out the sites and grab a nice lunch. Ironically we sat at lunch with these two girls and as we started to have a chat it ended up that they were from Niagara Falls and one of them had just graduated from Brock. The world doesn't seem so big from time to time .... Also had the chance to jump out of the boat while running some big rapids and jumped across the raft and threw Mike out of the boat once. I think later in the day he returned the gesture. Aunty Rose being terrified of the water, did very well as she took part jumping out of the boat riding the rapids. Uncle Clark took a few really good swallows of water as every big rapid we went through seem to trigger his mouth to prop open and give words of challenge to the river. He learned quickly when we were in amongst the big white water to close his mouth. What a great day!
Mike and also learned how horseshoes works and the scoring to it. We learned that horseshoes is a game that you need to have at least 5 beers in you to play. I don't know if that is because then you can trick yourself into thinking your not doing that bad when you completely miss the pit? Who knows? It was a great way to kick back and relax in the mountains for a long weekend.
The countdown has started and we have only 11 more days of work and then we are finished!!! It's a melancholy feeling really, but excited to get back and see everyone. This week we have been invited out by a guy that mike works with (Tony) to go out on the lake and wake board, we also want to hit silver star where there are great mountain bike trails. This weekend we hope to cross the boarder and do a road trip to the OMAK stampede.
I value home and how special it is the more and more I travel. Sometimes you don't know where your from until you leave. Love to all
Location: Penticton, Canada
Mike -- This weekend Jonno and I competed in Penticton's first annual Beachfest volleyball tournament at Skaha beach. After two weeks of off time due to poison ivy, we were ready to play on Saturday. (But were we ever rusty!) The competition was young but very competitive. Game 1 we came up against the Team BC under 18 pair. After a close back and forth game, we came out with an L. Next game was much the same, this time against last years under 21 Canadian games champs. Luckily everyone made the playoffs on Sunday.
In the mean time, we decided to go visit the Canal which is famous for their lazy river. On this canal is a native reserve where you can rent tubes and they bus you for free up and down the canal. So we bought a six-pack, attached it to our tubes and floated down the river twice. The river takes about an hour and a half to float down and millions of people take part every year. We met this couple from Vancouver who got some pics that they should be sending, so we'll post those when we get them. This river was so relaxing and Jonno and I both agreed that we are definitely going back.
We started day two against a pair of international competitors supporting the Team Canada jersey, who just got back from Poland. These guys could play (who later ended up winning the tournament). We were winning both games against this pair up until the end of the matches where we could not close the deal. We played fantastically. But, three loses and no wins so far. Our next game was more successful however. We played a couple of young guys from Vancouver who were recreational players like us. We won both games quite easily, which was a huge confidence booster. We made it to the consolation finals where we met up against this pair of 15 year old kids, who played for the team BC under 16 squad. At this point Jonno and I were dead tired and had a real tough time with the little monsters. After an embarasing loss, we left for the lazy river again with our cousin Lisa. Lisa got some awesome shots during the tourny, which we will hopefully post very soon. But until then, that's all for now. Miss you all very much and can't wait to see everyone again very soon. 3 weeks and counting!
Location: Westbank, Canada
Mike -- WHOOO Weekend!!!! So, we returned home this week and boy is it ever hot here! I think the average temp was about 35 degrees. Yesterday it rose to 38 for most of the afternoon. Jon and I have made a ritual of going to the beach everyday after work (seeing as we drive right by it). Yesterday we got a chance to hit the lake on Jon's bosses 27 foot yauht for some beer, pizza, swimming, and a tour. It was great! The houses along the Okanagan Lakeshore are absolutely insane. An empty property is said to value around 3 million dollars. (That's without a house). Must be nice to have that kind of money.
But things are still going great. I have the weekend off to go fishing, sleeping and doing whatever I want on my leisure. I think tonight Erin might take us out on the town. We'll see how that goes.
Location: Calgary, Canada
Jon -- We have warped into a new province, the beautiful province of Alberta. It has taken us 8 hours to arrive here in Calgary but has been worth every hour. We are about to take part in "The best outdoor show in the WORLD" - The Calgary Stampede. We will be staying downtown with our cousin Lisa in her one bedroom apartment which has ampel floor space for two lanky krohe boys.
Day one we (Uncle Clark, Aunty Rose, Lisa, Mike and I) set out first thing in the morning to attend the Calgary Stampede parade. Anyone working in the downtown has been given the morning off to attend the parade. The streets are lined with cowboys and cowgirls. Smiling faces anticipate the 2.5 hour parade that will showcase the riders, marching bands, beautiful horse chariots, the 'Calgary Princesses' (we have yet to get a picture with!) and other creative floats. The street cleaners follow in the line of the parade and you see them about every half an hour coming by to clean up all the horse dung. Even the street cleaners are dressed in custume (we will post pictures!)
After the parade we walked the streets and checked out all the little shops. Uncle Clark tried on at least 50 different hats all to come to one conclusion that it wasn't 'The One'. We loose Uncle Clark once and awhile walking through the crowd to find him off looking at hats. At this point we still are ticketless and do not know if we will get into any of the rodeo events.
We had lunch at this great pub with a live country band called Dakota's with Clarks brother Brent and his daughter Courtney. After lunch we were off to the fairgrounds of the Stampede and to try on cowboy hats with uncle clark along the way!
We come across a guy about our age 200 meters from the gate selling tickets for the chuckwagon races (which Mike will explain later) and after a most detailed grilling from aunty rose to see if he was legit we bought tickets from him for the chuckwagon races. The tickets seemed expensive at the time but were worth every dollar.
Mike -- So when we got in the fairgrounds we were flooded with entertainment. We watched the BMX rodeo, little horse demos, break dancing, visited tons of exhibits, and Uncle Clark and I even roped us some steers. We continually visited the Westjet tent because they have been giving away dicounted flights. So far we have only received $20 off, but apparently they have given away 4 flights already. We will continue to check it out tonight. Who knows, anything is possible. We ran into the Passmore's today. I knew they were going to be around, but with the hundreds of thousands of people there, we thought we would never run into them. Small world.
Last nights festivities were absolutely incredible though. The chuck wagon races were extreme. These 4 horses attached to an old chuck wagon had to manuver the barrels and then race around the track. I strongly urge all to watch them on television. They are fantastic! After the races, "the greatest outdoor show on earth" happened. They were from a group called the Young Canadians, and sung, danced, did some Cirque de Soleil style things. They had the best fireworks show I have ever seen, just during the show. Our jaws were open the whole time in amazement. It was the greatest show any of us had ever seen. The stage was so enormous, apparently the largest in the world of its kind, worth $6 million. This show alone made tickets worth the money. We didn't even know it was on last night when we bought them.
After the show, we went to the stampede bar named Nashville North. Lisa met up with one of her close friends, and the 6 of us hit the dance floor. It was a great time. All day and night there are performers playing. Yesterday was Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Shania, Dixie Chicks, and this other great house band playing thoughout the day. It is such a great atmosphere!
Jon and I are both in agreement in saying that yesterday was one of the most exciting days of our lives. So all is well, miss you all. We are booking our flights home tonight. August 24th, we better see you all before we head off to school!
Location: Kelowna, Canada
Mike -- Yesterday Jonno and I went to the beach to play some volleyball. We had a couple decent matches, but no one was really all THAT good. Then this tall, long-haired guy shows up. Jon and I thought he looked familiar and the guy we were with asked us if we knew who that was? His name was Conrad Leinmen (Bronze medalist beach volleyball player at last summers Olympics). He came over to the court and asked if he could have winners. We were all shocked and said in a probably little kid way
uuhhhh definitely! For us it was like playing hockey against Wayne Gretzky. The best part was that Jon and I didnt do all that bad. We had one real close game losing only 15-13. He asked us if we could play tomorrow but unfortunately we had to work. He even played us 3 on 1, were we just squeaked a win. He is incredibly fast, strong, and huge. Sadly, we had to leave early to make it to Wal-mart to buy work boots.
Jon It was a Once in a Lifetime opportunity Mike and I had Monday on the beach. Conrad gave us some helpful hints on our game, and it was really cool to get to play against one of the worlds finest beach players. When Conrad served it, and he could serve it like a bullet, he said that the ball could get up to 100km per hour. Almost as fast as I can run! After playing all day on the beach we had to pedal our sorry called bodies to meet up with Uncle Clark in Westbank to get a ride home. I think Mike and I will enter into a few beach tournaments while out west.
Today was our first day on the new job. I am a landscaper aka shovel err now but the pay is good and the job comes with a truck. Biking to work took me over an hour today so I am glad there will be no mountain biking to work. Three days and we will be in Calgary for the Stampede! Love to all
Location: Westbank, Canada
Jon - Well somehow we have done it again. Gone out fishing with our Uncle Clark and haven't caught a single thing. Good thing we are not relying on the fish to feed the family as I think we have to resort to a vegetarian diet. Maybe we just need to drink more beer on the boat, that may be the secret to success. Fishing is great though. Uncle Clark tells good stories and keeps everyone on the boat entertained. We have been learning how to fly fish which seems to be the popular thing down here. One day will catch the BIG one!
After Mike and I being hired on at Mission Hill Estates winery, a man that we had visited his construction site a few days ago gave us a call back. He told me that he had an offer that he thought I might want to consider. Anyway he is willing to pay double of what I would have made at the winery so I took his offer and will be working landscape/construction. I start Tuesday. Mike wanted to stay on at Mission Hill because there will be more students his age working and will be a fun atmosphere. The advantage of this job is that Mike and I will have the same hours. Tons and tons of jobs out here though...... obviously if we can find work this easily.
Missing home though. It is strange not having met anyone our age yet. Really there has been no opportunity to. I'm sure once we start work we will meet more students. It has been a great experience thus far. Next week we go to the Stampede. Yeehhaaa, love to all