Yesterday was the first day of the reunion - a chili supper.
First though, I had to get some chili cooking for my contribution. I thought a vegetarian one would be good as an option - I didn't have all my normal spices and used some pesto instead, but I think it turned out well.
After that Carm and I went to MedAlta, the pottery museum. We only looked at a few of the exhibits, and of course bought some samples of their work. At one time in the early 1900s it was the largest brick producer in Canada. Interesting. There used to be a glass factory as well (I remember visiting when I was a little girl), but it is long closed.
Finally we made it to the reunion site at Echo Dale, where Uncle Graham was doing some final setup. Carm pitched in while I played with my little 4 year old cousin to keep her from being underfoot. They were building more shelter space, as rain is in the forecast. We brought our small shade/rain tent as well and pitched it in line with the others. They managed to cover a fair bit of ground! Maybe that will keep the rain away...
While we were doing that some of our Norwegian cousins came by to help. It was so fun to meet Bjorn (who reads the blog), his wife Ingborg, Anna-Kari (daughter of Ragnhild who visited here in the early 70s), and her husband Ulf. (please forgive me if I've gotten anyone's name wrong). Their English is amazing so we had no trouble communicating. Hopefully I'll pick up a few words of Norwegian ;-)
Kirsten and her family came by, so she and I drove off to get some more supplies. As we drove out of the park we realized that neither of us really knew where we were going! We had a pretty good laugh about that, but never the less got to our destination with only one wrong turn. Once you have it figured out, Medicine Hat is pretty easy to find your way around in.
Back to Echo Dale and it was clear that people were starting to arrive. We helped with some of the setup - I have to mention that Uncle Grahams friends Steve & Audrey are helping out - they are great!
Then! I could see that a mini van pulled in and sure enough it was Olaf, Tammy & Freya from NZ. Graham, Erik and Juliette arrived with them. We had hugs all around. This is the first time that we've all been together for 6 1/2 years, so I'll have to make sure we get some photos!
There are some of the relatives that I remember from years ago, but honestly, not that many, or perhaps I just remember their faces. I didn't grow up with these cousins as we always lived so far away. It is so great making these family connections again. What is it that they say? "Blood is thicker than water". I think that this is true somehow as I've had no trouble making connections with them. Perhaps they are nice people too ;-)
I'm really looking forward to today - there will be a few more cousins there, and there will be more time to visit with the ones I've already met.
Through out the day, the dogs stayed in the truck (out of the spitting rain), but were able to come out occasionally to have a run around and stretch their legs. Spike even did some of his tricks. I can't leave them out loose though as there are deer around, and there has been a cougar sighting in the area. Kabira would stick around, but the two poodles are hunters and follow their noses - I already had to chase Spike down from a path into the hills!