When I was a kid, one of my dream holidays was a trip to Disneyland, specifically to ride the Matterhorn, buy an oversized lollipop and get some pictures snapped with Goofy, Mickey Mouse and Snow White.
And sure enough, at the age of 12, my dream came true.
That dream did not include being crammed in a van with the rest of my family and driving to California, but still the vacation of all vacations for any kid my age was achieved.
Over the years, my outlook on what makes for an ultimate vacation has changed drastically.
Take my upcoming trip home for Christmas, for example.
While I naturally am excited about family bonding, mass eggnog consumption and socks – far too many socks – I’m also fantasizing about produce.
Let me clarify.
Before moving to the Yukon, I took many things for granted while growing up in the lush, balmy confines of Victoria, B.C.
For one, as a child I actually hoped for a white Christmas.
Now, living in the Yukon, I get that, plus the odd white Halloween and Remembrance Day, to boot.
I also wore a toque because it was fashionable and I didn’t dare think of wearing long johns, unless I was snowboarding.
In addition, I hadn’t heard of Sorels, never had felt my nose hairs freeze and thought frostbite was a thing of urban legend.
More importantly, I took produce for granted.
Yellow bananas, red tomatoes, ready-to-eat avocados …
This was not a luxury for a B.C.-born-and-raised baby.
I knew nothing at the time of the veggie and fruit turmoil hundreds of Yukoners were enduring.
Yes, buying produce in the Yukon is really a roll of the dice.
Some nights you get lucky and the tomato truck has just arrived.
Good news, yes, but the tomatoes are not yet ripe.
The case is the same with bananas.
I never knew the three shades of the potassium powerhouse: green, yellow and black.
Do you go hard-peel or soft-chew?
Another produce practice I have taken up is washing before consuming.
I was always taught to do that but didn’t know of its importance until moving North.
Some use the squeeze method; others, the hold close to the eyes and nose technique.
To each their own.
The point is, few just grab and go.
Thus, in these days of “Swine Flu pandemonium”, everyone must wash.
Don’t get me wrong.
I know the grocery stores do their best, but with the benefits of living in a remote part of Northern Canada come challenges such as fresh-food transportation limitations.
And that gets me back to my upcoming holiday “must-do’s”.
Hit up the produce section.
I might not even buy anything … just gaze in wonderment.
If you’re in Victoria this Christmas, keep an eye out.
I’ll be the weirdo with the perma-grin marvelling at the avocados.