This week we’ve had friends from Canana visiting Norfolk. It’s been a lovely few days.
I last saw Kim and Mike over four years ago when my husband (then boyfriend) and I traveled there for a holiday. Vancouver is a special place to me – I spent my second year of university studying at UBC. I had a fantastic time, made some great friends, saw a beautiful part of the world and learnt a lot about myself whilst living far away from home. Kim’s room was next to mine in our halls. Her first memory of me is me stood there crying in my dressing gown, asking her mum if I could borrow a quarter to use the pay phone. Kim probably thought I was crackers! But we became good friends; struggling through our economics classes, playing drinking games and me letting her borrow my ID. She was also there with me when I took a call from my mum telling me my grandma had died in a car accident. It was a truly traumatic time, and Kim, our other friend Nicole, and her family, really looked after me that weekend.
When we went back to Vancouver in 2012 it was part of a longer holiday, one where Matt finally proposed, right by Lake Louise in the Rocky Mountains – it was less romantic, more comical, trust me! – but it was amazing, and Canada is a place close to our hearts. We only managed to meet up with Kim and Mike (who had started dating since uni) for a dinner and visit of UBC then, so I was so excited when Kim told me they were coming over to the UK for a wedding and would have a few days to hang out with us.
As Kim and Mike were only here for a few days I decided to give them a tour of our favourite places in Norfolk. Unfortunately Matt couldn’t take the days off, but, Lonely Planet in hand, he came up with a rough tour I could take them on of Norwich city centre. Despite living in Norfolk for seven years, my sense of direction is terrible and I still get lost. In fact, I had to use Google maps a couple of times on the tour!
We had lunch at the Adam and Eve pub which is ‘probably Norfolk’s oldest pub’ according to the sign (and the Lonely Planet, of course). Kim and Mike were both an instant hit with Miss Belle, who in three days probably sat on Mike’s knee more than she has my Dad’s in 18 months! (She’s scared of him, much to my frustration – but more on that another time…)
We then walked around Norwich taking in views of the Cathedral, Tombland, the Castle, Royal Arcade and market. I think they liked the city and old buildings. We chatted about our lives now, our jobs (or lack of, in my case), our houses/condos, our family and friends. We also spoke of our travels – Kim and Mike lived in Australia for a year and have travelled loads since we saw them last. As I listened I got those pangs of ‘I can’t do that anymore…we should have gone travelling more… we should have lived in New Zealand for a year… my life is dull now’ jealousy. But they seemed to love Miss Belle and they could see the joy she brings to us.
On Wednesday we went to Wells, via Holt and our favourite spot for a bite to eat, Byfords. Sadly the good old British weather didn’t quite hold up and it started to rain as soon as we stepped onto the beach, but we stopped for the obligatory selfie and photos of beach huts. On Thursday we made the most of the sunshine and hired a boat on the Norfolk boards and took a picnic. I don’t know about them, but Miss Belle loved it! Some stress/hilarity in mooring the boat for a pub stop included, it was a brilliant day. But then time was up and I had to drop them back at the station.
Although it was only a few days, and we’ve all changed, got married, and I suppose ‘grown up’ (sort of), hanging out was just like yesterday. And that’s the thing about far away friends. If they’re good friends it’s like nothing’s changed. It’s made me miss some of my other good friends who are far away (hi Ali, hi Nicole, hi Eryn!) and it makes me feel depressed at the thought of how long it will be until I can see them again.
I really hope we will be able to go back to Vancouver one day soon. But, I know now we’ve got a baby it probably won’t be for some years. But, whether it’s in two years, five years, or ten years from now, I know that we will see our far away friends again one day. And when we do, we will laugh, reminisce and enjoy ourselves just like we have this week.
Safe travels home guys and thanks for visiting Norfolk xx