Today I received and email from someone in Canada who tells me that she and her husband are going to visit Newfoundland soon. Newfoundland is a place that I have always wanted to visit, and when I lived in Canada, it was my hope and dream that I would get a chance to go there. For some reason, the email brought back memories of visiting Prince Edward Island, perhaps because of the connection with both islands being in the ocean.
It was 1981 and I had been invited by a church friend to visit her family in PEI. I was rather excited about it as I had never been before and PEI is the home of Anne of Green Gables, a storybook I had read and loved as a child. We were going to travel by bus from Guelph to PEI and one of the towns we were passing through was Federicton, New Brunswick.
My friend and I had travelled from a university town boasting numerous international students, changed buses in Toronto, which is a bustling cosmopolitan city, then gradually travelled through unfamiliar terrain into smaller and smaller places, many of which names were unfamiliar to me. As we entered the Maritime provinces and came off the buses to stretch our cramped limbs and perhaps pick up a snack, I began to notice that people were looking at me.
I was the tourist attraction coming to a town near you! My cousin, who at that time had been living in Nova Scotia with her Canadian husband, never mentioned this phenomenon to me. Eventually, I began to feel rather uncomfortable about men, women, and children staring at me or turning around to give me a second glance.
By this time, we were in New Brunswick. A young man had turned around to look at me as I was leaving a little place selling coffee. Turning to my friend to ask her whether I looked odd because my hair was awry after travelling overnight, I noticed a frown on her face. She admitted that she had noticed the phenomenon I was concerned about. In fact, as people began to join us on the bus, it was quite obvious that I was receiving more than a cursory glance.
My friend told me that a foreign face was not a common sight in New Brunswick. In fact, she herself had never seen any Oriental faces in New Brunswick or PEI – and she had grown up in PEI. The glances I was receiving verged on the inquisitive rather than the menacing. People were simply curious because they had never seen someone like me before. What a relief!
I stayed some while in PEI with my friend and her family and enjoyed a lovely time there, eating freshly shelled peas picked off their stalks from their garden, and taking strolls along country footpaths. We visited Green Gables House, which was one of the highlights of my visit. When it came time to leave PEI, no one that I came across in the small community where my friend and her family lived was staring at me anymore. I had become just like any other ordinary person passing through their lives, and I was a tourist attraction no longer.
At Blenheim Lodge, we have many international guests to visit with us from a vast number of countries. Bowness-on-Windermere is cosmopolitan by the very nature of much of its stock in trade, which is mostly tourist based. Thus, for guests who come to visit us, even from far away climes, you need not worry about being stared at. In fact, you will be welcomed with a friendly greeting and wishes for a lovely stay.
‘Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’