by Dale Burgos
Dale & Bella
Each month when preparing my Pilipino Express article, I look at what is happening around the world. The biggest news right now is the war in Ukraine. Homes and lives have been destroyed and millions of refugees have fled the country. The war is ravaging the country and it is so very difficult to watch.
This is probably why I struggled with a title for this month’s article, because March has not been a “sweet” month for so many people around the world. In addition to the war, COVID-19 continues to affect people around the world. Now there is word that a new Omicron variant is emerging, this while we are lifting restrictions across Canada. For now, all looks good, but it’s good to know we have gotten enough practice to implement mask and vaccine mandates at a moment’s notice.
The past two years have been difficult for so many, that is why I want to depart from what is in the headlines and focus on two celebrations for the Burgos Bunch.
First, the youngest of the brood continues to grow into an amazing young woman. Bella celebrated her 16th birthday last month and we needed to make it very special! Elizabeth and I felt obligated to give her a really good one, not only because it is her sweet 16, but because she was the first to celebrate a COVID birthday back in 2020. That year, there wasn’t much we could do. Restaurants were closed to in-person dining, and we weren’t able to buy her a proper present as the stores were only selling essential goods. That year we bought a few things from Amazon, that’s the best we could do. 2022 had to be better.
A week before her birthday, we took a short trip over to Vancouver. Hopped on the ferry (costs us around $150 one way) and stayed at a hotel near Robson Street where there is a lot of great shopping and sight-seeing nearby. We splurged and ate at our favourite restaurants the two nights we were there. Overall, a really good visit, but I always forget how much traffic there is compared to little Nanaimo. I have learned to appreciate the slower pace of Vancouver Island.
Fast forward to the anniversary of the day of her birth. She loves Montana’s Steakhouse, always has since she was little. Guess I wasn’t too surprised when she requested we eat there for dinner. They don’t make the birthday person wear the antler helmet anymore while they sing Happy Birthday. Probably stopped that during COVID. I was OK with that; those helmets were looking nasty in recent years, ha ha!
As for a present, what do you get a 16-year-old these days? We opted for something a bit different. My wife, Elizabeth, found a local entrepreneur who owns a limousine service. They offered to drive her and her friends around for a couple hours (to dinner and back) and decorate inside the vehicle. How cool is that? I think this birthday will make up for the past two COVID-themed celebrations.
Second reason to celebrate? One of the kids will be moving back to Nanaimo! William (our second oldest) decided to move back to Winnipeg in 2019. He was missing his friends and our oldest child (Johnny). There is much to love about Winnipeg, I don’t have to tell you, but it is nice that he decided to be close to us once again. In early March he flew out to visit and during his month-long stay, confirmed his desire to move to Vancouver Island. I don’t have to tell you how beautiful it is on the Island and am never surprised when someone says they want to move here. Moderate temperatures with barely any snow, and if you are an outdoors person, there are hiking trails everywhere! He will be making the trek west sometime this month. Who knows, as you read this, he may even be here already.
While there is much to celebrate in the Burgos household, I will be taking many moments of reflection as families around the world continue to struggle due to the global pandemic, war, famine…the list goes on.
Do take care everyone. Much love from the Burgos’.
Dale manages the communications department for a school district in B.C.