Posts in winter
The Patriarchy Will Fall (And Other Good News)
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Welcome, welcome first Monday of March! With every passing day it's getting warmer and brighter, and I can't tell you how much we all need it? Collectively? If you survived February without a hint seasonal affective disorder I need to congratulate you and tell you that you were one of the few lucky ones. For most people I know, this winter has been tough. As the world is growing smaller, I have a feeling we're more inclined to be absorbed by each other's sense of desolation. With more accessible information, we also now know more about ourselves (and others) than ever before: we're learning that our behavior could be a sign of something else. The realization makes us sad, as we go deeper into our wounds. It's not all bad, since in order to heal you need to realize that healing is what you need. Rather than being an endpoint, it's a start. 

Anyway.

Last night Andrew and I were watching the Oscars in front of our fake fireplace. How gorgeous was the set-design? I was blown away. Shape of Water might have deserved Best Film but Timothee Chalamet should've won Best Actor. This weekend was a good one; we walked on the beach, I got a job offer and we went to our first apartment viewing. I developed a cough, but apart from that, I was as happy as can be.

Earlier that day, we went to Canada Place to visit the Outdoor and Adventure convention, mainly to attend one of the photography workshops. It's amazing how photography is still so dominated by older men. What amazes me more is their confidence in their own art. If only women could let themselves feel the same pride in their art? The same self-respect? Imagine a world in where women all over are taking up space and being celebrated for it, in where they celebrate themselves for their own achievements (small or large). There's a quote by Swedish singer Lisa Ekdahl, which once translated goes something like this: "The patriarchy will fall, within your lifetime". Repeat it over and over again till it becomes the truth. 

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Granville Island → Kitsilano Beach

After our trip to Granville Public Market a couple of weeks ago, we decided to walk along the shore to Kitsilano Beach. The views were spectacular, and we loved watching the landscape change in colour as the sun was setting. The clouds were hanging over the mountains, and you could see downtown Vancouver plus the ski-hills on top of the mountains lit up. The air was crisp and the temperature was perfect. I'm getting cheesy now, but it's these types of walks that makes me fall in love with this city. Keep them coming!

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(Reoccurring thought whenever I'm on a beach / in nature / out for a walk in general: why don't I have a dog yet? My quality of life would improve so dramatically there would be no point in comparing before and after.)

winter, vancouver, travelEmma Carlsson
North Vancouver Getaways

If you were to ask me what it looks like exactly from where I'm sitting right now, I'd show you this picture: 

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Announcement: we've fallen in love with North Vancouver. Why? Well for many reasons. The slower pace, the cleaner streets, the mountains, all the trees. The trails. The way you can see the snow from here, and you can easily go up and roll in it if you want to. Just take the bus! (We did, over the weekend. I'll show you later; it was pretty magical)

You get to North Vancouver on the Seabus (ferry). It's honestly so convenient. Many people complain, how there aren't enough bridges here, but we love it. Who doesn't love a ferry? 

(ps. these pictures of us going from Canada Place to the Seabus are from my instagram stories. follow me here.) 

Anyway. Today's monday; me and Andrew are both sick with a cold but loving the sunny weather so can't resist being outdoors. The forecast is looking pretty good this week, believe it or not (we can't). It's such a completely different experience being here when it's not constantly pouring rain and all you see are dark skies over wet, cold and tired people.

We're going to start looking for jobs + accommodation in North Vancouver. I don't know if there's enough jobs, but I'd love to find something here, close to the mountains with the skyline of downtown as my view instead of my playground. You can take the girl out from the forest but you can't take the forest out of the girl and all that jazz! 

daily, vancouver, winterEmma Carlsson
Granville Public Market

A perfect sunday activity in Vancouver is to venture to Granville Island to visit the Public Market. It's probably on every tourist's top 5 list of places to check out when here, even for a shorter visit. Me and Andrew went a couple of weeks ago now, and we loved it. It was one of the first days here in Vancouver when it wasn't raining, which made the whole day + place seem more magical. We were just smitten with the place. It was perhaps the first time during my stay here that I felt a spark between me and the city. 

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(I love this picture of Andrew taking the exact same photo as the other visitors. I love that about humans? How we stop at crowded places and want the exact same picture as thousands before us? It says so much about us. I don't know, I'm rambling maybe)

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We had read / heard about how you can purchase bird feed and try to get the island birds to fly up and eat it straight out of your palms ala Beauty and the Beast. We didn't try it, but had to stop and watch this old man trying his best to befriend the birds. 

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While the island is filled with restaurants and cafes, we decided to go into the market for food. It's the type of market you look for in every city, where they serve local dishes and specialities, the energy is buzzing and everyone is enjoying themselves. 

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What we ended up going for says so much about us as people and as a couple: I went for butter chicken at Curry2U which was delicious (although a bit too watery) with four different types of dishes in one basically. Andrew went for the most basic thing he could find: a margerita pizza slice. Both happy and content with the choices! 

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Have to give this guy cred for being so patience. He also did a great job at defending our table to any outsides that also wanted to try their chances! 

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View from our outside table: the Granville Street Bridge. Granville was the name of Vancouver city before it got renamed to Vancouver. 

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The produce in the public market was amazing and the different stalls really did an excellent job in making you want to buy all the veggies and fruit! I swear, more than half of the staff were only there to stack up and polish the different produce into desirable piles! 

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There were also regular stalls of local companies. We tried the famous Lee Donuts, both being donut lovers. However, we weren't too pleased with the two different kinds we got. Andrew had a regular sugar glazed one because they were out of the sugar ones. To be honest glazed donuts never taste as fresh as just regular sugared ones. I had an apple fritter one, which was all gooey inside due to the batter not being properly baked. It was like eating fresh batter when baking. Too bad! I'd still go again though, trusting everyone else's great reviews of the place. (Pss, best donut in town that we've had so far: Lucky's Donuts from Forty Ninth Parallel Coffee Roasters on Main Street!) 

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Outside of the market in the beautiful sunset!

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Loved the views of downtown Vancouver from here! Love all the views of downtown more than I love being in downtown haha. Tall, modern buildings are pretty from a distance, not when you're a little tiny human walking next to them. 

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There, there, all finished! Ten out of ten, would recommend. Granville Island is so much more than just the Public Market; we can't wait to go back and discover some of their restaurants and shops as well. Or who knows, perhaps visit the theatre? There's something for everyone on the island, so we agree with Tripadvisor / Yelp / TourismVancouver etc.; put it on your to do list when visiting!

Ps: Andrew made a video of our visit there, have a look! 

winter, vancouver, travelEmma Carlsson
Inner City Life: Inner City Pressure

Sorry for that Flight of the Conchords title. Fun fact: Andrew has never watched Flight of the Conchords but loves when I sing the songs to him and "can't wait" to watch it. 

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If you were to ask me how a normal day is, here, in Vancouver. While I'm unemployed and spending every minute with my best friend. Then I would say this is it. Us taking the bus and us waiting for more buses to come our way.  

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It's also this. Us finding cafes to have fika and/or lunch at. Do they have power outlets? Do they have WiFi? Then me ordering whatever that's on the menu, and you special ordering whatever you can eat. For example on this day, when we went to Prado on Fraser and you had two Belgian waffles with nutella and a side of bacon for lunch (I love you). 

Even though I hope we both get jobs (that we like) soon, I'm doing my very best to enjoy this. Just exploring with you, all the daily stuff. (I love you)

daily, vancouver, winterEmma Carlsson
Oh Canada! Settling In, Or The Lack Of It
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What I find difficult is this: 

- The weather. The constant grey clouds and wet air. The claustrophobic feeling of always being met by rain when outside. 
- The food. Nothing has wowed me yet; food taste weird. Like it's missing components, like it's trying to taste like food but it's not. It's also really expensive: the only thing that saves us at the moment is the conversion rate from Eur/Sek to Cad.
- Smells. On buses, on streets, in houses. Wet clothes, alcohol, drugs, human despair, mold, you name it - it's all there. 
- Being away from my family, of course. 
- The feeling of not fitting in, of not being where I'm meant to be. 
- Being unemployed / looking for jobs. Do I need to explain further? 
- Having no place of our own, and knowing that we need to look for places soon enough. 

What makes my heart sparkle a bit extra is this: 

- Whenever it's not raining, the whole city comes alive. There are beaches, mountains, and sunsets to explore. 
- Our AirBnB, what a gem to find. We're there till the end of March; it's nice to have something for a longer period than couch surfing from place to place. 
- Cute coffee shops and boutiques with local-everything. 
- The library. We just (finally) got our library cards and oh my, what a safe spot! A quiet place where it's warm, where everyone is quiet and give each other space? Bless libraries, may you live on forever. 

daily, vancouver, winterEmma Carlsson
Homesick: Corners Of The World We Long To Return To
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Weddings. Funerals. End of the school year celebrations. This church has played such a central part of my life.

When I was younger I swore to get away, to escape this hole of a town. When I was even younger than that, I thought that the whole world existed of only this; of the lake and the surrounding valleys. That if you climbed up over the hill, you'd fall over into the abyss of space. This was it; this was where life happened. Now I'm of a different opinion, again. I lived away for many years, and every time I return for a visit it's harder to leave. 

I swore to never marry or to celebrate anything in that church. Now the sight of the grand white building makes my heart sing of longing. Not for marriage, but for life here. It's so cliche; to leave a place despising it because you're young and you want more for life, only to later in life wanting to go back. To find beauty in the old, in the familiar. To realize that you've explored so many corners of the world, except your own. 

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I've seen many churches, but nothing compares to the lighthouse-like church in my hometown. Calling its men and women back from the waves and valleys. Someday I will return, most likely in the near future. Perhaps I won't settle down right here, perhaps I'll find my own little corner. But it will be in close proximity of life here, so that my future children can celebrate this place just as I did growing up. When life is hard living in other places in the world, I consider myself so lucky to have this place to always return to. 

Big Furry Dinosaurs: A -20°C Walk

Writing this at a Starbucks in Vancouver makes me miss home (+ my sister) so-o much. On this day, Ida had a couple of hours off school and we decided to go down to Mollie to give her a good ol' walk in the cold (-20) but sunny weather, seeing as if we would've waited till the dark, it would've been just to cold for the poor fur baby. 

Arriving at the horse yard before everyone else, I introduced myself to the "locals". Horses are just simply incredible creatures. What even are they? Big furry dinosaurs. There's nothing that can make me cry as much as a movie featuring a horse. I guess it's because it's harder to read a horse? You can easily tell if a dog is excited, anxious, and all the feelings in between. It's so easy to tell if a dog likes you or not. But a horse? How do you know? 

I was never a horse person myself. I tried to be, but failed. To be honest, I was 1) too sensitive and 2) I always thought I was too big? What nonsense. Thanks society for that one. Anyway. There's nothing that impress me as much as young girls with their horses. There's nothing they can't do? Having a sister who's broken every bone in her body (not true, but enough bones anyway!) from riding and jumping, I see how much it has affected her self image. She's bold, brave, caring and smart. Yard smart > street smart any day!  

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Poor Mollie; being imported from Ireland this is her first proper winter with snow. And now we're making her go over fields instead of on the roads? So she's knee-deep in this icy snow? On top of that, going up the hill over the fields an elk RAN out from the field onto the road we were on. Mollie probably thought it was the weirdest looking horse she'd ever seen. The rest of the walk she spent looking like this, trying to spot another one:

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Snacks, anyone? Ida has trained Mollie to "kiss" her now, which Mollie enthusiastically does only cause she knows there's a snack at the end of a trick. So again, does she actually like the kissing? Does she understand the sharing of affection? Who knows! It's cute either way. 

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Is there anything nicer than having your hair + eyelashes + (let's be real) nose hair frozen from walking outside? Probably! But it's definitely up there! Mollie was so happy to be back from her walk, she kept rolling around in her paddock and grinning to us. I say grin, but then again, who knows? Haha, I love horses. I just hope they genuinly love us back.  

daily, winter, swedenEmma Carlsson
For The Wi(n)dows In Paradise

Starting this post and going through these pictures, I had Sufjan Steven's song "For the Widows in Paradise" stuck on my mind. Not too proud to admit, I thought the title was For the Windows in Paradise and not Widows. Guess I have to go back to some old Spotify playlist and re-listen to the song / perhaps read the lyrics this time! 

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Anyway. The windows in paradise, aka where I grew up. Knowing I was about to leave Sweden (again), I documented some of my favorite views; the ones visible to me from my childhood homes. I say homes, plural, because as a kid to divorced parents you always end up having more than one home. Probably led to me now not knowing where home is, really - but more on that some other day. 

Dad lives where he works: in a house built by his grandfather who owned the land. The house stands on a hill overlooking his workplace; a field where he builds his timber houses. Around the area he has piles of saw dust, a tractor barn, some smaller houses with tools and equipment. You can also see my dad's uncle's house and land with more smaller work-huts. My dad's family is known for excelling in wood work, building traditional Swedish timber houses and old fashioned wood furniture.  

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One of my favorite things at dad's house is the amount of plants he lovingly care for. Grandma often comes in, unannounced, to care for the plants too. Needless to say they're in top-shape. My absolute favorite thing is his porch, built by dad himself a couple of summers ago. The porch overlooks the forest and his workplace. In the summer you can hear the big events from the tourist small town a couple of kilometers away (mostly from the horse events). 

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Being attached to the forest on one side, dad's garden is filled with wildlife. During winter you can spot loads of deer and elk tracks in the snow. From this view alone, I've spotted elks eating away on the salt stones we've put out for them. Our family also regurlarly feeds the deer as well. 

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The three last pictures from dad's house is the view from "my" window (guest room / me and my brother's room). Spotted are the kennels where dad keeps his Alaskan Malamute, a garage, and another workshop hall with bigger wood work machinery. I associate the workshop house so much with my great granddad who used to spend so much time in there, carving away wooden treasures. 

I know these pictures might not mean much to anyone else, but I love the idea of saving a moment in time that is so familiar to me at this stage in my life. Who knows what I'll remember in the future; I'll be glad of all the documentation of all the everyday stuff that makes my heart happy on a day-to-day basis. 

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Throwing in two pics from my mom's house! Of the most documented bay of them all (at least by my family): bride bay (Brudviken, in Swedish)! First picture is from one of our kitchen windows, second picture is of the panorama window in our living room. Imagine having a giant painting in your living room that changes with the seasons? Words cannot express how much I love this place. Therefore I'm gonna stop myself before I give it a shot! 

sweden, winterEmma Carlsson
Sunset In Bridebay

Driving slowly in no traffic is my favourite pastime. I have no need or desire to drive full speed, I'm not going anywhere in that kind of a rush. I like to take my time, to fully appreciate my surroundings. I also like to be able to stop when needed to devour Mother Nature™ when she offers a full plate of goodness. 

I can't tell you how many times I've stopped at the beginning of our bay, by the pier, to simply S O A K in the views. There are colours next to Siljan (Sweden) that you can only see here, uniquely attached to the landscape. Warm pinks and blues. On this day the fog had laid itself down over the tiny villages, the temperatures were creeping further and further down. We're talking -20 celcius. It's time for Siljan to go to bed, to finally put a heavy blanket over her and rest for a while. I managed to catch this changing moment as I stopped by the pier. 

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At first glance, the sun was not visible. The fog was running along the surface, coming in fast over the lake. All you could see was the dirty peach colour that suggested that the sun was setting on the other side. As I stood out on the pier, I could hear clearly how the cold fog created ice crystals, as to tuck in the water for its rest. It was magical? I don't know how to describe it. This is what it's like to be in the presence of The Creature whatever and/or whoever you believe that to be! 

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Soon afterwards, she appeared. The golden burning ball we live and die under. What a beaut, what an astonishing moment in time at a place that most people, if they had driven faster, would've simply passed. Makes you think how many moments you're missing by rushing with your mind clogged up with nonsense. Presence huh, what a thing. 

winter, sweden, natureEmma Carlsson
Roads At Home

What I love most about being home in Sweden is driving around in a huge, safe Volvo stopping everywhere to look at views. Driving really slow to avoid hurting any animal that might take a leap of faith at the exact same time. It's something I miss when I'm away, the freedom of driving and the beauty of the valleys, the red houses and how weather forms the mood. 

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These photos are all taken from my car window, on the same day, on the same trip from my dad's house to my mom's house. The most familiar of views to me. 

winter, dailyEmma Carlsson
An Ode To My Sister

Memories from weeks ago on one of our walks. Heavy snowfall. Quiet all around us. Chansa the dog barking because there wasn't any action going on. Or because of happiness, because of us four being together in such beautiful landscape. Who knows. What I do know is that my sister was surrounded by people and animals who love her. I was and am one of them. Who loves her, who adores her. 

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Yesterday, the 27th of January was her birthday. It was also mom's birthday, and I always have to apologise to her for focusing more on my sister's birthday. Sorry, mom! Happy birthday to you! And happy, happy birthday to my sister, my best friend. There's no one I so deeply care about as you. There's no one that can make me laugh like you. I want to spend every day hugging you, making you laugh, making you cry (why not), just hanging out. You're so incredibly smart, kind and brave. You inspire me to be stronger and more courageous. Look at how beautiful she is? How can one not love you? In the future I see us living together. With animals and nature and great food and laughs and hugs. I can't believe you're eighteen now, an adult. I'm sorry to say you'll always be my little baby. 

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winter, loveEmma Carlsson