2016: an overview
by Dale Burgos
January 2017. 2016 is in the bag. I’ve wrapped it up with a nice little bow and put it away for safekeeping. Will I want to open it up again sometime soon? Maybe when I’m feeling nostalgic.
What were some of the highlights of 2016 for you? Did your anak graduate from high school or university? Did you take a memorable trip somewhere exotic? No, Fargo doesn’t count. Did you purchase your first new car? Have a baby? Our collective memories may differ, but in the end, it’s great to be able to look back and cherish those memories for years to come.
For the Burgos’ we had another busy year. By far, the biggest story was the conclusion of our Human Rights complaint this past spring. Elizabeth and I were very happy to have closed that chapter, which was the better part of two years. Our goals from the very beginning were to introduce Transgender guidelines and education in schools across Manitoba, to do so, it would need to come from the top – the Manitoba Human Rights Commission. We achieved our goal, albeit challenging at times since we now live a few provinces away. Hopefully, those changes will create ripples across the country. To this day, we still get calls from media asking about Bella’s case. We’re happy to share our story, with the hope that it helps others going through the same thing.
For me, I celebrated my 41st birthday. I could now officially be considered “over the hill.” When I was younger, I pictured myself in my 40’s with grey hair and a bad back. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Granted I didn’t get white hair, but I wouldn’t know because, well, I’m bald. The back is holding up just fine. It could be that I don’t have to shovel snow anymore – sorry had to say it (at the time of writing, a big blizzard hit Southern Manitoba).
Another milestone was something I’ve wanted to check off my bucket list for a long time. I was finally able to visit Seattle, Washington. We did so during the kids’ spring break. My goal was to order a cappuccino at the very first Starbucks, sit on the pier and watch the sunset. I got as far as getting to Seattle, taking a picture in front of the long line at the flagship Starbucks store – with no cappuccino in hand. It turns out I can’t drink coffee, as it makes me ill. I got close enough, and thankfully, that wasn’t at the top of my list. What was?, you ask?.
As you may have read, we took an impromptu summer road trip down the West Coast of the United States. That, my friends, was numero uno on my list. I’ll say it again, the Oregon Coast is one of the most beautiful places around. It made my drive with cranky kids that much easier. Little stops like camping at Beachside or little picturesque towns like Astoria or Seaside were absolute pleasures. We ventured south until we hit San Francisco. Tours of Fisherman’s Wharf, the Painted Ladies and the Golden Gate Bridge will serve up happy memories for years to come.
We made pit stops near Sacramento, Lake Tahoe and Reno. All the while, Americans were asking me how Canadians felt about the upcoming election. At the time, Clinton was in a comfortable lead and Trump was an entertaining sideshow. I didn’t offer my two cents as I’m not an eligible voter, but the consensus was that the election provided hours of laughter and at times, serious banter. I could tell many were afraid to see what would happen if Trump would win. They shuddered to think. Little did they know what would the results would be on November 8, 2016. I think a lot of people are still in shock.
In September, a quick visit back to Winnipeg, where we celebrated my little brother’s wedding. A small wedding in Kildonan Park was all that was needed. The intimate setting was enough for family and friends to celebrate the special day.
In all, it was a great year. The only difficult part for me…I deeply miss the family gatherings around the Christmas holidays.
I’ll keep 2016 packed up and store it at the back of my closet. One day, when I’m cleaning, I’ll find it and look through it with a big fat smile.
I’m looking forward to 2017. Let’s do something great.
Dale is the director of communications for a school district in British Columbia and continues to write from afar.