unnamedBy Taiha Salvador

Recently I went to visit my family and it reminded me how much it means to have a family that loves me.

Despite my occasional meltdowns, they still want to talk to me and be with me.

Last week I went to visit my family in Castlegar BC. For those who don’t know, Castlegar is located in the BC Interior.

I have been counting the days on my free Event Countdown app! My dad and I flew out of Victoria to Vancouver and then to Castlegar and my aunt and uncle picked us up and then we went to my cousin’s house.

It was lots of fun. I got a Canuck blanket for an early birthday present. Then later in the evening I scared my cousin and I have never seen someone jump so high!

It was cold in Castlegar, so we spent some time in the hot tub. My Castlegar family are good bakers.

We made apple crisp to have for dessert. At their cabin in New Denver we made cinnamon buns.

These were delicious! On the way back to Castlegar we lost a wheel – the wheel came off the boat trailer. Luckily we were able to pull over on the side of the road and everyone was safe.

The reason I love going to Castlegar is because I get to hang out with my favorite aunt and my favorite cousin.

When I am not in Castlegar, we talk on the phone. It keeps us close and connected. (Having free calling in Canada does help with that!) As you all might know, flying can be challenging for those of us with sensory issues.

Travelling and sleeping in a different bed create anxiety for me and as anticipated, I did get overstimulated. However, despite all these challenges, it was a wonderful time.

My Castlegar family treat me like a human being. They don’t look at me and see someone with autism, they see Taiha their cousin.

We have regular conversations about regular life. Even though we live far apart, my family gets me. I really love my family and I can’t imagine my life without them.