You probably haven’t heard of Kelowna if you aren’t from British Columbia. But what do I know, maybe you have. It’s a very popular tourist location, and if I were someone visiting Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley I would love it. Lake, ski mountains, wineries, it is a tourist hotspot! We even have our very own lake monster, Ogopopo (cousin to the Loch Ness monster). But when I lived there it was boring. There was almost nothing to do and I was bored of all the tourist stuff years ago. Now I come back and suddenly it’s cool?
Yeah, visiting Kelowna was a weird experience. I’ve been back one other time since moving abroad, but the changes were like when I would visit from Vancouver, really annoying if I was driving a once familiar road but otherwise inconsequential. But now they have archery, axe throwing, breweries (with growlers? What the hell is a growler?!), an Old Navy… okay, so it’s not exactly big city cool, but for something that developed around the trucker highway it was vastly different and way more impressive than the city I’d grown up in. And we barely saw any of that as a trip to Kelowna for Christmas meant family time. A little friend time, but mostly family, and a lot of family spreading out one holiday over a week.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family (and I include Boyface’s family in that statement), but going home is rarely a vacation and often a lot of work. There isn’t much downtime to spare as you try to fit every last minute in with someone while you can. You meet a friend who is also back for the holidays for midnight coffee because that’s literally the only time you can do it (This statement alone is why I firmly believe that if people want to do something badly enough, they will make the time regardless of how busy they are, but that’s another blog post for another time). You get to take in some of the changes your old city home has undergone while participating in family activities, perhaps taking in some of the things that never seem to change, but the people are the focus of the trip. So you do a lot of things in order to be with them.
What all did we do? Here is the list:
- Christmas shopping at Orchard Park Shopping Centre
- Castle escape room at EExit Kelowna (a new thing)
- Minigolf at Scandia Golf and Games (a very old thing)
- Collateral Beauty at Grand 10 Cinemas
- Rogue One at Orchard Plaza
- Kelowna Rockets vs Kamloops Blazers (that’s hockey folks)
- Beer tasting at BNA Brewery*
- Midnight Tim Horton’s Run
- Family dinner
- Family dinner (yes two)
- Family dinner (okay, three)
- Family lunch (we have lots of family)
*this was just the two of us
It’s a lot of things, and spread out with a lot of different people. Most of both families were in town (or near enough to come by) so it was a lot of visiting and hanging out. And I have no doubt I am forgetting things. There were definitely days where we separated for some things. So we definitely got in our time’s worth of activity and seeing people. And it wasn’t enough. It never is. A week seems like it will be too much time, but when it’s all broken down and then you toss in holiday things, it’s impossible to get it all done. But we definitely tried.