Posts in love
My Doctor, Counselor, Provider, Professor, My Everything

Five years ago I started school in Dublin. Down an inner-city hidden alley Andrew was standing next to a locked door, smiling, surrounded by friends with heavy backpacks. He said hi to me, invited me without words to join the circle of classmates. We had met once before, when he was sitting behind me in the class room on South Great George’s St. I don’t remember him, although he remembers me. He said he was amazed because he’d never seen someone look as uninviting as me before. He also said I had the best posture he’d ever seen. Sitting in the front of the class with a straight back in true Hermione manner. In the classroom down the hidden alley we sat next to each other for the first time, working on a group project together. He smiled the whole time, not just because I was there. He was just that kind of person. I could tell straight away that he was loved by everyone, that he couldn’t hurt a single fly. Ever since then I was, against my will, smitten I guess.

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I’m not gonna write down our whole history here. All I can say is that Andrew straight away felt like home to me. Despite meeting him in Ireland, a country I had no previous desire to visit. But the stars aligned and what not and here we are, celebrating our fifth year together.

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(Yes you’re allowed to take selfies even though it’s a celebration of us rather than me)

In the beginning of June, when A was back from Ireland we went to Cactus Club down by English Bay to celebrate a bit. We’re pretty bad at celebrating the big stuff, we’re amazing at the small stuff. So we try! Whenever there’s an opportunity.

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Cactus Club is a chain here in Canada, so it’s not some extravaganza place. However, the location is the best in town. Right down by the beach. And the food was surprisingly delicious. Best steak we’ve had in Canada so far!

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We stayed to watch the sunset and to look at the moon through someone’s huge telescope that they’ve placed right there for people to enjoy (well, it wasn’t really just “left there” but you know).

I love, love, love you so much. You’re my best friend, my home, my father, my soldier, you protect me, boy you saved me, you are my doctor, counselor, provider, professor, my everything (for people who live under a rock some of those are Beyoncé lyrics but that doesn’t make them any less true) (I might object to the father line but whatever!).

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Seona Flanagan: World Class Traitor
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I really should be cleaning right now. Or packing. Or getting myself ready to go out. It’s a Thursday that feels like a Saturday or a Sunday or a Monday. It feels like the start of something, but also the very end of something. It feels like I’m stuck in a bubble of time where time doesn’t even exist.

Let’s just go through some facts. It’s Thursday, I’m off work. Andrew’s away working. I work tomorrow, and on Saturday. So it’s not the end of the week for me. It’s somewhere in the middle. But yesterday was Seona’s last day at work, so in a way it felt like my last day at work. It felt like the end of things. Seona is probably the reason why I’m still working where I’m working, so to have her quit and not only quit work but go back to Europe is. Weird. Life as you know it, suddenly ending. I knew the day would come, but you can never prepare for endings.

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Yesterday was Seona’s last day. She left the building with her Middle Fingers Up towards the corporate office before we took the bus to the pub. Met our boyfriends, played music bingo. Later today we’ll have a goodbye party for her. Right this second, I’m worried I won’t enjoy work anymore. Right this second, I’m worried that I won’t enjoy Vancouver anymore. Right this second, I’m worried that it’s always going to be this way: meeting friends, loving them, leaving them due to me going to a different country or them leaving me for the same reason.

A huge sadness in my life is that I’m always moving around. I don’t have a secure spot, a “home”, where I have all my friends collected. I will never live in a place where all the people I love will my neighbors. In my early 20s I met some of my best friends in Santa Barbara. I met one of my best friends there too, Jennifer. She’s like a sister to me at this stage, and in a miraculous way we still keep in touch. Daily. I would love to live close to her, to go over for coffee in the morning, to just chill in front of the tv in the evenings. Or talk until late hours on her patio, walk our dogs together. But most likely that won’t happen. It’s a dream that seems so real to others, so basic in its form, but I just know that it will probably not come to that. Our friendship and love will always be from a distance. We will be depended on texts and calls.

After Santa Barbara, I went to Ireland. Met people there that I will probably consider friends my whole life. Friends you share every day with. I met Andrew, of course. A friend who will always be right next to me hopefully. At least I’ll always have him physically close by. But other people I had to leave behind, people that I met through work, who I spent perhaps more time with than I did with Andrew. Cause that’s what you do at work, or in college. You spend time with your friends. You do a bit of working as well, but most of the time you just hang out. It’s not an ideal situation, but sometimes the people you meet at work or college becomes your very best friends. Because they know everything about you, every mood swing. They can tell straight away as you enter the door how you’re feeling. I will forever miss some friends in Dublin. Paul and Abi for example. I will probably never live close to them again, I will never share the every-day stuff again. And it saddens me.

It’s been like this since I was 15 and I first moved away from home. I keep leaving places and people, or they leave me. Because the friends that I do find are usually people like me, people on the move. That’s what we have in common, how we connect. Like Seona, an Irish girl with her English boyfriend. Their home is Scotland, but now they live in Vancouver. Until Saturday that is, when they leave again. And life will never be the same, we will only ever have the past couple of months we spent together. We will have other times, too. When we meet in Europe. But life will be different. This life, this everyday relationship we have had for half a year, will have ended.

I know how to say goodbye to friends, to end chapters. I’m used to it. It doesn’t make it easier though, and this one is a particularly hard one. Seona going back to Europe is pulling some very strong strings in my, ropes even. I know I will make the same journey later. I hope I won’t spend the time between now and then just longing to be back, to Europe. Closer to “friends”, pointing out the lack of them here. Right now, it feels like my dreams and goals are just big old myths. Me saying to my brother and sister and cousin and best friends that one day we’ll live close to each other! And until then we will keep in touch, daily, often, about everything. It works for some people, it doesn’t work for others and there’s no way of knowing beforehand.

I know that it takes commitment. I know that some people are only meant to be in your life for a certain amount of time. Some people you get really close to, can’t imagine a life without, and then they disappear and you survive. Some people you never talk to again. Some people you stay in touch with, like Jennifer. You grow up together with them. If it’s meant to be it’s meant to be.

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I don’t know how I’ll feel working where I’m working without Seona there. I know that only time will tell. I know it’s not the end of the world. But I also know that I’m allowed to be sad and worried, those feelings are valid. I’ll be missing Seona so, so, so much. I’ll miss her intelligence and humour. I’ll miss getting to know everything about her day; how she’s feeling, what she’s eating, when she goes to the bathroom, what she discussed with her other friends or boyfriends or all the tv shows and films she watched. I’ll miss reacting to whatever’s going on in the world and knowing she’ll agree with me, I will miss exchanging looks when other people are doing/saying something stupid. I’ll miss her how her voice changes when she gets drunk, I’ll miss how absolutely unapologetic she is. She’s got no fear, no time for bullshit, but she’s still filled with more love and sympathy towards others than most people in this cruel world. She’s my favourite type of woman. We all need to be more like Seona Flanagan, despite being a world class traitor.

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DISCLAIMER: Seona Flanagan is actually not a traitor at all and is leaving Canada for personal family reasons because she’s a person of love who doesn’t have a single bad bone in her body. So I can’t really be mad. But I’m a little bit mad.

The Lunchbox Antidote

I don’t have a preference. I enjoy preparing dinner with you in our tiny kitchen with oil stains all over the stove and your massive air-fryer taking up all the available counter space. I enjoy picking a dinner-worthy show to watch on tv. I enjoy our thank yous, our let-me-grab-that-for-you and our (mostly yours) I’ll-take-care-of-the-washing-up-todays.

I also enjoy finding new spots to go to with you. I enjoy both researching ahead of time, and stumble across something when we’re out and about.

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We’ve always wanted to try Meet on Main; their plates always looks amazing and it’s always crowded, which must mean they’re good. So one day, when the sun was shining and people were happy, we decided to give it a go. We realized once inside that the menu is completely vegetarian. I mean, that’s on us. We should’ve known that. I tried their burger, but you were happy with fries.

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On a rainy weekend after visiting Centennial Beach we went to Tsawwassen Mills looking for something to eat. On Google Maps we saw the word Montanas BBQ, so we obviously had to go there. I got a sample platter that doesn’t actually look that big in the above picture, but was huge. You drew a car with crayons on the paper provided for both kids and adults. I guess we’re not technically 30 yet, so you’re allowed.

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After many attempts we finally filed our taxes. You met me on Main Street and we signed, sealed and asked someone else to deliver the envelope to the tax office. You asked what’s for dinner; did we decide on anything? I said we did, but we forgot to take it out of the freezer. Quick decision: lets go to Colony. Colony is one of our favorite food places. It’s casual without being too casual, and they make the best fried chicken. You had a lager, I had a cider. We talked about the environment and had that buzz when you think you’re smarter than anyone else in the entire world.

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Yesterday you picked me up from work. You had a day off, and we had planned to go to Pacific Spirit Park. I wanted to show you Emily Carr university and the surrounding areas. I wanted to show you Red Truck Beer Company, to suggest we could go there someday. We both figured, why not just go there now. So we did. It had rained all morning but now the sun was shining and you complimented the music. You took a picture of the sink in the bathroom; you had never seen a sink made out of a tire before. I mean, who has?! You sent it to at least two of your friends. After the burger we went to Spanish Banks instead of the forest. The sun definitely had a say in the matter.

I don’t have a preference since just being with you is enough. That’s all I wanted to say. And that this is some of the stuff we’ve been eating lately.

Light Ash Blonde

I coloured my hair. The box said Light Ash Blonde but it turned out a dusty, hay-blonde with hints of green and brown. Unsatisfied and sad, I told you lets go to the beach instead. We'll get burgers on the way and just eat on our blanket. So that's what we did. 

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I got mad at you for not taking any pictures. Why don't you wanna capture this moment with me? Then you started taking pictures, and I got mad again. No, not from that angle. No, not when I'm looking, please. I got mad at myself for being so mad at you, for ruining everything. I love you for always being there for me, mood swings and all. 

(But I swear to god if you don't come home soon and feed me I will kill you) 

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Happy Birthday Kiddo; An Ode To My Brother

Today's my little brother's birthday! When I told him I would write a post about him, he said: "Finally! You only ever write about your little sister, never about me". He's got a point! My brother's so close to me in age, whereas my sister is around 10 years younger than me. The relationship I have with him versus her is so different. What remains the same is the responsibility I feel for them both, being the oldest, and how their happiness means everything to me. Happy Birthday Eric! I love, respect and appreciate you and hope you had the most amazing day. One day I'll be there to celebrate it with you!

Here's some of the memories I have of growing up with you as my annoying lil' bro. 

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Memory I: We're playing outside our grey timber house, it's summer. Daisy, our golden retriever pup, is hanging around looking after us like a proper childminder. On the side of the path leading into our house there's an abandoned Jungle Book juice box with its content sipping out. There are ants everywhere. In that house we dress up Daisy like a doll whenever our parents are sleeping. In that house you spin around in my dresses; your eyes sparkling of joy at the beauty that is your sister's spinning dress that you, too, get to wear. 

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Memory II: Some of our friends are over; they're mostly your friends. Kids seem to like you more, you're funnier, tougher, more playful than me. We're in a different house, sharing a room with a giant image of a forest as our wallpaper. We're jumping on our beds, playing with Smurf-toys. You mention to the other kids that I wet my bed at night, and sometimes I even wet my pants during the day. I hate you for saying that, for sharing secrets. Other memories from that house: us bathing together. Us in mom's bed listening to her reading Barbie books. 

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Memory III: We're at our dad's house, dad's out doing something in the garden, helping grandma and grandpa most probably. He says before he goes, be nice to each other. I don't know why, but we start fighting. You get a scissor and throw it at me, I run out of the house, over to grandma's. At the edge of her house there's a rake, I take it and start swinging it around me creating a border that you can't get through. You cry and scream till dad comes back. Other memories from that house: us playing with Star Wars lego, us playing bats after our shower with our towels as wings, us laying in the dark in our bunk beds listening to scary stories on the cassette tape, us putting "spider webs" all over the house, us creating a trap for dad - so that when he opens the door to our room an object will come flying towards him.  

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Today's your 27th birthday! You're almost as old as I am, you always are. You're the person I share the most memories with. We share trauma, we share joy. There are emotions grown from moments only you and I can relate to.

Here are seven traits of yours I really treasure, admire and look up to: 

1. You're just as sensitive as me. You're connected to your emotions, allowing yourself to live life with both the ups and downs. You understand depth in film and music and literature, it comes easy to you. You understand depth, layers, in people, too. 

2. You're a hard worker, both when it comes to your personal life and your work life. Most importantly maybe, you work hard at fighting for others. There's nothing that engages you more than equality for all and every person's right to live a better life. 

3. You enjoy happiness. You take real pleasure in the small things in life. A cup of coffee, a song, the weather, a view, a good meal, travelling with friends, travelling alone, meeting new people, being by yourself, writing, reading, drawing, finding something nice for your apartment, cooking, etc. 

4. Your ability to be independent. I've always admired how well you take care of things. Where I would fall apart, you persevere. You always seem to have projects going, apartments to move into, jobs to work at, a steady budget: things that I've been struggling with haha. You manage to build stability, no matter how rough things get. 

5. Your social life. People love you, you've always had many friends. You treat your friends like family, you understand the importance of people coming together and collectively growing and not just doing this independently of others. You value "offline" gatherings more than "online" ones. 

6. You're extremely funny, and no one can make me laugh the way you do because of what we share together. I'm guessing I'm the only one who could really laugh at some of your jokes as well, and I love that we share that. 

7. You always seem to understand what people are going through, and even if you don't understand you respect the struggle. You listen without judgement, full of empathy and compassion. 

I'm so incredibly proud of who you are and what you do. I'll always be your number one fan and defender. Love you, mean it. 

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
The Matriarch

On January 5th my grandma, my mormor, turned 80 years old. She lives far away down south, and we all went down for her birthday; mom, me, my sister, brother (+ his girlfriend), my stepdad, and my uncle. We brought coffee, cake and flowers. She didn’t know what was happening, she probably didn’t recognise us when we arrived, only in moments. Dementia. My auntie and one of my cousins joined us as we celebrated this matriarch, who will never fully know the impact she’s had on all of us.  

Growing up, my family was very female centred. My brother is really the only boy in the family. Otherwise we’re all-female, looking very similar with our long blonde hair. Strong, opinionated women. Loud. Grandpa was there of course, and different boyfriends to mom and my auntie (including all our fathers haha) from time to time. Different males that helped with the house. But we all worshipped one person, and that was mormor. 

We are all mini versions of mormor. We all love big dinners with family above all, the more the merrier. We set an extra plate on the table in case someone swings by. Mismatched everything. Things we find in garage sales, second hand shops. We love things hand made, just like she did. She hung onto everything, every little craft we did at school. She couldn’t let go. Growing up with nothing, it was her goal to treasure it all. Screws, clothes, paper bags and bicycles. Her treasures, her kingdom. 

Mormor wasn’t into negativity. She never showed signs of being sad or angry. She celebrated every moment, she saw the good in it all. She believed the best in people. She took care of them, the vulnerable. She lived to please others, to spread joy. She gave up her own space so other people could fit it, could be seen. She found it hard to sit down, relax. There was always something you could do, for someone else, to be of service. 

She despised gossip. People connecting over hating others, looking down on others. That’s not connection, that’s evil spreading like a virus in our hearts. She loved peace and quiet, except when it came to her family. Again, the more the merrier. The messier, the better. 

I write this in past tense even though she’s still here, with us. I wish I could repay her in some way. I guess me living my best life, me helping others and living out her values is repaying her. Ever since grandpa, morfar, left us she’s been disappearing more and more. Into herself. I guess life caught up to her, all those years of focusing on others instead of herself. Now she’s left very much with only herself, not remembering us too well. Not knowing how much she shaped all of us, how we’re the image of her.  

It pains me that I don’t live closer to her, that I can’t regurlary visit her for coffee and chats.  My biggest fear is that she feels alone, after having such a rich life filled with a big family of mostly women just adoring her. For her to think that it’s all forgotten now, that it meant nothing cause she’s there alone. At the home. Far away from most of her family members.

Tell your elders you love them. Tell them everything they’ve done for you, how important they’ve been. Send pictures that they can hold, words they can read over and over again in case they forget. I’m writing this as a reminder to myself, to do more of just that. 

Mormor, you’re the most beautiful woman I know. Your beauty isn’t just in your glorious face, but in your soul. Thank you for teaching me to be kind, to pray; feel the blessings of life even though you’re not religious, to share with others, to walk around in old, beloved robes all day with bare legs and slippers. Thank you for showing me that with family and friends, you are personal and free. You pee with the door open, while conversating with your loved ones. You invite them in. Thank you for salty, yellow potatoes and the best sauces known to mankind. You matter. So much.  

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love, family, throwbackEmma Carlsson
Bless The Telephone
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I love arguing with you for the sake of arguing. When our conversations get heated, and you get annoyed cause I can't help but smile and laugh. Because I know it's not that serious, even though we get so riled up over politics and philosophy and how to fix the world. I love how you're like me, always want to give your two cents. I love how you never just agree with me even though it would make things a lot easier. I love how you challenge me. I need that. Being so close to someone, yet being able to grow from that person's unique perspective is so amazing. I wish everyone the same love that we have. Sorry for being a pain half of the time, but you know, that Marilyn Monroe quote and all. 

loveEmma Carlsson