The Perfect Family!

Today is Easter and as it does on rare occasions, the Russian Orthodox Easter corresponds with ours.  Most of the Canadians have taken the day to spend with their host families.  I have had a wonderful day, first I slept in until almost 9 AM!  What a treat not having to drag myself out of bed.  Truth be told I also had a nap today but don’t spread it around.  We had a big Easter feast at 10 AM and I expect more food tonight when my host-Mom gets home from work at 9:00 tonight.

This afternoon a group of us went to my favourite family in the Guardian Angel Program.  This family is sponsored by a small group of people connected through my previous job at Shorewood Packaging.  I have never met such an amazing family, they are real proof that the Beatles were correct … “all you need is love”!

Neil, Lisa, Pat, Tracy and I all stopped in to see them.  Pat and Tracy had purchased a hot water heater for their host family but they were unable to use it due to electrical restrictions in the building they live in, so they decided that this was the perfect family to give it to.  They live in a house but will be connected to the municipal water supply this summer and were absolutely thrilled to receive this gift!  Once we arrived we opened the boxes that had been dropped off earlier and went through everything with them.  Here Valentina holds a sweater up in front of Yeleana.


Yeleana was damaged at birth during a forced birth and is severely mentally challenged.  She is however fortunate to have an extremely loving family that puts her needs ahead of everything else.  Last year when visiting, Pat mentioned that he had horses and Leonid could not understand why he would need a horse if he owned a tractor … much less three horses.  Of course he started asking more questions about Pat’s horses and his farm.  It is very hard for him to understand the concept of caring for three horses just to ride or as pets.  Here Natasha our interpreter tries to help Pat explain.


Of course we were invited for something to eat and some tea, normally we have to apologize and move on to the next visit, but we purposely planned this visit today so we would have some time.  Once we had agreed to stay, the table came out and food was set.  Here is a traditional Easter Bread (Paschalne Hleb).  The eggs around it are died by boiling them with red onions.  We were each given an egg as well.


A game is played with the eggs, turns are taken holding an egg and then another person taps your egg with theirs.  If your egg cracks then you lose and the winner gets your egg.  It is played until someone has all of the eggs.  I lost early on and Pat ended up with all of the eggs!  Here is the table.


Here is this amazing family.  Valentina (Mom), Yeleana, Leonid (Dad), Yeleana’s sister-in-law, niece and brother.  All are wonderful people and I watched everyone of them helping to take care of Yeleana at some point during our visit.  One of the biggest surprises was how much Yeleana’s niece Dasha had grown … she is only 12 years old!


Although I would love to be at home having Easter with my family, hunting for chocolate eggs and eating ham and scalloped potatoes, this was a pretty good second place.  With this much love in one room it is pretty hard leaving without a smile on your face!

Eric McKenzie

4 thoughts on “The Perfect Family!

  1. Tara

    Hi Pat,
    You have waited so long to do this! I’m sure you family understands. Happy Easter!

  2. vika

    🙂 I celebrated Easter like this too with Stewart and few russian friends. and we played a game with eggs, only who ever lost had to eat the egg. im glad you, eric, enjoyed it. 🙂 happy easter

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