I'm a little sad today; yesterday was the last time I will see my sister and her family for some time. On Friday evening they will be getting on a plane and heading east -- waaay east -- to their new home in England.
We aren't a joined-at-the-hip kind of family by any means, and often go a few weeks without seeing each other, despite being pretty close by (my mother lives on the Sunshine Coast, a 40-minute ferry away, and my sister, her husband and their two girls outside Squamish, about 40 minutes by car -- so not all that far), but it was hard saying goodbye knowing it would be months rather than weeks until the next time.
But first there was fun: a celebratory lunch in honour of my niece Sarah's second birthday. Plenty of food, and plenty of attention. And Sarah ate it all up.
It was a bit of a paparazzi storm in the restaurant, as my mother, my cousin, my sister's father-in-law and I were all snapping pictures throughout the meal. Sarah really enjoyed the media exposure, happily belting out "cheeeeeeese" everytime she saw us looking her way.
She also found the time to eat all of her grilled cheese (well, except for the crusts), and fries, as well as a big piece of the communal deep-fried spicy squid (blech!). She's a piglet after my own heart.
Her big sister Elizabeth is a tad more finicky, preferring to dip her fries into ketchup several times, and licking them repeatedly, before being reminded that the fries are actually there to be chewed and swallowed. She spent a lot of time mugging for the cameras as well.
She also played with the salt and pepper, as well as the "bendy things" (no idea what they were actually called) provided by the restaurant in their kid's kits. (Very smart idea.)
I'm going to miss my nieces (oh yeah, and my sister and brother-in-law, too, of course!) a lot. But the upside of the move: I have somewhere to stay when I escape the Olympics in 2010.
And hopefully long before then, too.