So I gotta say...a day full of Canadian history at Fort Beausejour, a romp through the sugar woods and a night doing homework (sort of) while listening to Acadian and Quebecois music? Excepting the fact that I have more than I care to discuss to write over the next few weeks, I'm so genuinely happy.
It's gotten to the point where I feel like I'm swimming between two very powerful currents--one that wants to stay, and one that can't wait to go back to DC. It's tough finding a middle ground, because there are aspects and people in both that/whom I love equally.
I could go on about that, but I generally try to avoid the overly personal here--I prefer not boring people to tears. The above photo is maple taffy, and quite possibly the most heavenly thing I've ever eaten. I'm new to this, but allow me to try and explain: The smell of freshly cooking maple (at least to me) is somewhere between and beyond buttery popcorn, burning wood and apple pie, though not at all overpowering. While it's sugary and clear, the taste has undertones and an afterteaste of creaminess and each texture (syrup, taffy, poured on snow, maple cream, maple butter, maple sugar) provides something different.
The process they go through to get this stuff is...amazing. The technology ranges from the primitive (scales made from milk jugs and excess steel parts) to the high-tech (thermometers, the solar batteries and hydroelectric pumps wired up to provide power for the entire camp)--it's a very intricate process. You have to make a lot to make any money off of it (a lot of sap makes very little sugar in any form), so most of the workers work for next to nothing or just volunteer. And, at least here, they were happy to show visitors around, give out free samples and let us take billions of photos.
Given a choice between which was more satisfying and heart-warming--the actual candy or the people who were working there--I'd go with the latter. They love what they do, frustrating as I can imagine it is at times, and they come back year after year. The owner of the second place we went to had a constant smile on his face--and fashioned their own particular pumping system himself. They even took us in to show us their house.
Not really sure where or how to wrap this up, I suppose...but it was a Canadian experience for the books, certainly.