South and then East (we’re heading home!)

Day 7!

Although we won’t arrive until Friday evening (and most of us won’t be coherent until late Sunday afternoon), we’re kind of “heading home” as of today. After driving Canada’s MOST BEAUTIFUL highway, we turned East to head back to Ontario (no small amount of sadness (on the kids’ part) and happiness (on the adults’ part)).  
A very early morning began with me waking with a start (my alarm didn’t go off and I slept in until 5:15!) and the kids waking up soon after. After showering and getting ready, I felt that I should pull ALL the items out of my suitcase to rearrange everything (Aubrey also did this, but she accomplished this task while all the kids were already ready and waiting at the bus doors….(sigh!)).  
Mrs. Blais made breakfast (she’s a volunteering machine if you hadn’t already noticed that!) and kids cleaned the dorm rooms (no small task!). At 7:58, the bus was loaded and ready to go (they’re still awesome and we can barely believe it!). Kids on first were happy to find spots to settle in to for the day.

 Everyone’s got more candy than you can imagine (they’re literally like bears preparing to hibernate!). Yesterday, they found a candy store in Jasper and they spent your money like nobody’s business. Kayli and Jamie bought giant jawbreakers (the size of a baseball (softball) – I’m. Not. Kidding!). Sidney and Jamie bought tubes of bubblegum (which held !30! bubblegum – the two boys were SO POPULAR for however long there was bubblegum in that tube!). Emma bought 125g of gum-chews and another one of those massive jawbreakers! Emily bought a gum machine that you can type on (ok. what?). And Shayne got salt water taffy (that I can agree with!).
A LOT of candy was purchased. And they were happy.

Speaking of happy, I’m getting to know this Emily-kid from Ms. From’s class. She’s super annoying with all her smiling and happiness. Can. We. Talk. About. That? She wakes up with a smile, spends her day smiling and EVEN SMILES in her sleep. Honest. It’s completely annoying when you’re as tired and grouchy as I am. 
At Athabasca Falls, they took a group photo to the annoyance of several tourists who waited for us to assemble into our formation. To these tourists, I say, “Want to trade places? Yeah, I didn’t think so.” Speaking of trading places, Ms. From, Mrs. Blais and I accidentally boarded a bus of retirees after walking away from Athabasca Falls. It took us minutes to realize that it wasn’t our bus (cuz, your kids have aged significantly over the last 6 days!). The retirees didn’t want us (we begged considerably) and so three slumped-shoulders-feet-dragging-women carried on until we boarded our own bus.

At the glacier, they killed me with their acute observations (“Mrs. Parrish, it’s really cold out here.” – we told them like 900 times it would be!). Actually, they really loved the glacier and did PRETTY GOOD (especially compared to that group a couple trips ago!) staying on the glacier. Matthew stood in the stream of water to fill his water bottle and then said to me, “guess what? My shoes are soaked!”. They took loads of photos (more selfies of course) and even photobombed a bit too!  
There’s been some braiding going on (although nothing near the braiders of 2012). Emma has braided Taylor’s hair every morning (thank goodness, cuz T’s got crazy flyaways), Trisha has braided Aubrey’s hair, Aubrey’s braided Trisha and Kristy’s hair, Allyssa has braided Emily’s hair and Will’s braided Shayne’s hair (I didn’t see that one coming…)

In Lake Louise they woke up. Which would be good, EXCEPT FOR THAT ZAC KID! Has anyone ever seen him HYPER? He’s legitimately ANNOYING – all that energy and happiness and smiling and bubbly personality…. (ok. what?). Yes, I said “bubbly personality!” I can’t even describe it, here’s some pics to illustrate the absurdity of it all.  

We’ve been really diligent about not letting them sleep because it’s VERY IMPORTANT TO US that they sleep at night (because we REALLY. REALLY. REALLY need our own sleep….). As you can see, they’re totally on board. (sigh)

In Banff, we really wanted them to have a good meal and experience this Canadian gem. We gave them strict instructions “eat somewhere where you have to sit down” (one of them yelled, “do you mean McDonald’s and Subway?” – ummm, ok. No!). Off they went with their money and small groups to find a place (some of them are checking menus on the doors to clarify price range!). Kudos to the ENTIRE group for being at the bus on time! They were ALL on the bus for 7:01 (I sauntered in around 7:10 with my shopping bag under my arm!). We asked them where they had went for supper and I couldn’t help but smile as they relayed their choices…
“We went to Tony Roma’s, did you know it’s expensive there?”

“We went to Coyote’s and the iced tea was so disgusting.”

“Our place was a dive but it was owned by some locals and the food was good.” 

“We had Greek food, and went over our limit by $5.00 cuz I didn’t like the drink I ordered!”
All in all another great day with these great kids. As I type this blog, they are HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY. One group at the front is online looking up jokes (and then reciting them one after another to their nearby friends), a few students are reading, some are playing iPad games, a few are listening to music (apparently you can’t let the whole song play through though….) and there are a few writing in their journals.  

They’re all so lovely. I bet you’re missing them. We’re bringing them home to you – heading East now! They’re very homesick for you (lots of tears!) and they’re very very tired (so are we, so are we!). They’re going to be genuinely happy to hang out with you on Friday night (don’t worry, it won’t last!).
One last addition before I post, Kristy and Taylor just showed up and were STARVING! After a quick chaperone meeting on how to solve that (we have NO WAYS to SOLVE that….), I walked away to deal with another problem. Minutes later, I returned to the room to find Ms. From feeling PRETTY DARN IMPRESSED with herself. Upon asking her what was up, she gleefully explained that both Kristy and Taylor had agreed to eat one of her LARA bars.




Honestly, we’re TOTALLY taking care of these kids!  


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