Visiting Joan in Vancouver
Fumie, Joan, and Me photo by Anthony -- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada -- Copyright 2008 Anthony, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 38 mm — 1/125 sec, f/10, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Fumie, Joan, and Me
photo by Anthony

The main reason for our summer trip to Vancouver was to meet Joan, Fumie's host mother on Fumie's first trip outside Japan, about 12 years ago. Fumie spent a month in Vancouver, studying English, in 1996, and hadn't seen her since just before we were married, in 1998. Anthony and I had never met her.

Joan has lived in Vancouver for 91 years, so knows her way around. She picked us up at our downtown hotel, and amid an occasional light rain, drove us up to Queen Elizabeth Park and treated us to a wonderful meal at its restaurant, Seasons in the Park.

Anthony liked the fountains...

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm — 1/250 sec, f/10, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos

He was less interested in the wonderful flowers everywhere...

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 55 mm — 1/250 sec, f/4.5, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos

... or in the view...

Downtown Vancouver from Queen Elizabeth Park -- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 55 mm — 1/320 sec, f/6.3, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Downtown Vancouver
from Queen Elizabeth Park

The restaurant shared the nice view, but at least for Anthony, it also had food...

(our table is in the curl of the long banister, at right) -- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm — 1/80 sec, f/6.3, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
(our table is in the curl of the long banister, at right)
In the Seasons in the Park Restaurant Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver BC, Canada photo by some waiter guy -- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 55 mm — 1/60 sec, f/6.3, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
In the Seasons in the Park Restaurant
Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver BC, Canada
photo by some waiter guy

If Joan had been like most host mothers, in her 30s or 40s or 50s, there would be no need to mention that she was a completely lucid, strong, independent, self-thinking, self-doing, fully-functional member of society, but since she's 91 years old, I will go out of my way to mention that the word “frail” has no place in any conversation about her. Not about her physical stamina, her coordination, her hearing, her intellect, her speech, nor her wit.

She's like 40 years old, except with the wit and wisdom of someone who has been around 51 extra years.

I'm 42, and I aspire to be like her when I'm 43. We had a wonderful time chatting with her for hours. She's got kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. She's got the years under her belt for an endless repertoire of stories, but the lucidity and wisdom to pick only the best or most pertinent. One of her kids was running a computer-related business in the mid 1960s (when I was born), and it was fascinating to hear about (at least for me; perhaps less so for Fumie and Anthony :-)).

After the meal, we headed back to her place. Trying to be a gentleman, I asked whether she'd like me to drive, to which she replied “Well, I'm fine, but if my driving scares you, go ahead and be my guest.”   She drove.

To the chagrin of five-year-old Anthony, we chatted endlessly at her place. Fumie had a few little gifts from Japan for her, and it was time to go....

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17 -55mm f/2.8 @ 18 mm — 1 / 40 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1250 — full exif -- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 18 mm — 1/40 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1250 — full exif
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 55 mm — 1/160 sec, f/5, ISO 500 — full exif

We walked to a nearby bus stop, retracing the steps Fumie took every weekday 12 years ago, and took a bus back to downtown, just as Fumie took a bus on her way to her English school.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm — 1/80 sec, f/2.8, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos

It was a highly nostalgic day for Fumie, and a truly wonderful day for me.

We'll definitely be back to visit her again... perhaps in a few years when she turns 100. (If I'm not fully senile yet.)


All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

First when I read, “drove us up to …”, I thought perhaps it was typo …
It is always nice to meet such “really smart” people.

— comment by britto on September 19th, 2008 at 9:56am JST (9 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Very shocking indeed. I looked at Joan in the first photo, and then when I read “Joan has lived in Vancouver for 91 years”… 91 years!! I thought “hmmm… this can’t be. Must be a typo mistake” I read further, and it finally dawned on me “91 years” wasn’t a typo mistake… that made me sweat! Judging from the first photo, I thought she is like in her late 60s ~ early 70s maybe. And living in Vancouver for 91 years, that didn’t make sense to me because then she’ll be like 150 ~ 160 years of age! That part about her driving, that made me smile. She really is witty. I’d love to meet her and listen to her stories too.

— comment by Sylvie on September 19th, 2008 at 8:11pm JST (9 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Driving around at 91, amazing! So she was already 79, when Fumie spent a month at her’s.
Your family pic together with her in the restaurant (where Anthony has his hand on mommy’s shoulder) is so nice!

— comment by Anne on September 11th, 2012 at 1:35am JST (5 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink
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