Posts in summer
Vancouver → Victoria: Celebrating Andrew’s 30th!

On the last day of June, Andrew’s 30th birthday, I took the ferry over from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay in Victoria, BC. I’ve been to the island before, last year with dad. I took a different ferry then, but the route this time was actually way more convenient. After a bus ride, a train ride, and an additional bus ride I arrived at the ferry, bought my ticket at the self service machine and boarded the ferry.

Before starting my journey I dressed up in my best Agneta Fältskog outfit (a blouse I found in a 2nd hand shop for $3 the day before (and yes, I washed it) and flowy 70s pants for ultimate comfort). On the way the bus, a young woman with her dog stopped me to say I had gorgeous hair, and it made my morning. The week had been spent bleaching my hair and having mad in-between colors so to finally get compliments on the end result felt so, so great. Bless strangers giving strangers compliments for no reason at all!


On the ferry I chose to sit in the back where the restaurant’s located. I had a coffee while watching the water twirl outside. The weather was gorgeous, I was sitting next to an outlet so I could plug in my phone (always makes a difference!) and the universe just provided. The ferry from Tswwassen takes you through some amazing islands off Vancouver Island with some incredible houses. Definitely worth the $17 I spent on travel just for the views alone.


Andrew picked me up in Swartz Bay, I wished him happy happy birthday and we drove straight to Victoria to visit Beacon Drive In, a 50s inspired diner next to Beacon Hill park. I bought him a burger, fries, strawberry milkshake and a large coke as a birth day treat. It wasn’t Eddie Rockets, but still!


After lunch we went to the beach by Clover Point Park. It’s not a sand beach, but we still put our picnic blanket down on the stony surface and made the most of it. We watched people playing with dogs, dogs playing with dogs and looked out for killer whales down the Salish Sea towards the coast of United States.

I decided this would be a good time to give Andrew his birthday gift; a bowl of Swedish chocolate balls (his favorite, no birthday cake for him) and a very flat package containing a aerodynamic frisbee and a ticket for a seaplane tour around Vancouver!


Had to take a couple of more selfies because 1) the weather 2) my hair 3) why not? Also took some pictures of Andrew and my incredible wrapping skills. As you can see he was delighted to finally be turning 30.


As we walked back to the car, we hear a man telling his elderly parents who were sitting on a bench: “Look, look, can you see? The family of ocras there?” We turned our heads and could see the family swimming along far out from the shore. It was amazing; we actually couldn’t believe our luck. We had booked a whale tour later that night, but were happy to see them all for free with this gorgeous view. I decided there and then that I love Victoria as a city.

(you can’t see the killer whales on these photos, you just have to believe me)


We had time to kill after lunch and picnic. We decided to go downtown Victoria and find a parking spot for our car so we didn’t have to stress later on. I took a picture of the floor number of the parkade we finally found. The first parking spot we found wanted to charge us SIXTY- FIVE DOLLARS for overnight parking. Which was ridiculous. I looked up other parking spots around town and found View Street Parkade. This is only relevant because I want to mention the power of online reviews. The online reviews for this place was crazy, and I laughed at people who actually took the time to review a PARKADE. Yes it’s local, yes there were loads of spaces, but what else could they possible do that will spark such joy in people? Anyway, the day we left we realized why. The whole visit had been for free due to parking there on a Sunday and leaving on a Bank Holiday (aka another Sunday!). We were thrilled, and obviously left a Google review as well. This is in contrast to the $65 we were quoted for another place close by!


We went and checked in to our AirBnB. It was a loft apartment in downtown Victoria on Yates street; so, so cute. Unfortunately we had no meals at this table, but I took a picture and that’s good enough I guess! I wished we had stayed a couple of extra nights here, but we were only here for one night. These are the only 2 pictures I took (I think?), but according to Andrew this was his dream apartment, so I guess that’s saying something!


After a nap in the apartment we walked down to the harbor. It was the day before Canada Day, so Victoria was popping! Victoria is way cuter than Vancouver in many ways. There’s more historic-looking building, no skyscrapers or litter covering the streets. Victoria takes care of itself, and you can tell. We spent the evening doing the whale tour, which I’ll post more about later. We ended the night with pizza at Fiamo Pizza & Wine Bar right next to our AirBnB, a really cozy well-priced Italian restaurant. It was Andrew’s actual birthday, but I made sure to wish him happy birthday throughout the week to really make him know how much I love, love him and want to celebrate everything with him.

The Golden Hour Treasure Hunt

Last week me and Andrew spent a couple of days on Vancouver Island to do some sightseeing and to celebrate him turning 30! I’ll write more on that trip later once I have all the pictures collected. Once home, we both worked the Saturday and spent Sunday hiking around Burnaby Lake in rain. After work on Monday, we were delighted that the sun finally showed up in Vancouver.

The weather’s been really crappy lately, I don’t mind but I’d love more sunny days here! Throughout winter and the rainy spring it’s the only comfort people give you: “just you wait for the summer!” So to have it rain pretty much 80% of the time is a bit of a let down. When the sun does come out though, Vancouver is m a g i c a l. We drove straight to the beach to walk on sand and watch people barbecue and play volleyball.


I collected some glass/plastic/cigarette butts along the shoreline and Andrew was windswept. I love how we try to really treasure each moment we get to go out and do something and not just go from bed to work to couch and then straight back to bed. Fighting capitalism since 89!

Young Americans

Hi from a post-Seona world. I’ve now occupied her cubicle in work, made it my own. In true Seona fashion I continue to sigh loudly at annoying people, places, things and I correct people without being ashamed of coming of as too much. The Lisa Simpsons of the world unite!


The last afternoon before she left we went down to English Bay to have a final farewell hangout. First we had food (fried cheese and steak salad) and orange juice to cure our hangovers.


We spent the evening on the beach on blankets listening to some weird guy playing music on his guitar while screaming his heart out and drinking gross peach tea alcoholic drinks.

Look at these cute American-coming-of-age-style-Polaroids we took!
10/10, will miss these hangouts x

The Water Cure


After an emotional phone call and a crying session on the couch, it’s nice to live in a place where you can decide to just drive to the beach and watch the sunset despite it being past 7.00PM. The soul wants what it wants, and sometimes that’s walking barefoot on sand while watching dogs fetch balls and glee at a young pair of sibling covering each other with sea weed next to the shoreline.

Oh, and I love how different I look in this photo vs the anniversary photo. Here’s to celebrate every version of you, greasy hair and greasy sweatshirts and all.


ps, The Water Cure is a book I read earlier this year about a family of sisters and a mother living isolated from men and the rest of the world. It stays with you for a good while, read it.

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.


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.


(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.


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!


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!).

Jones Lake Reservoir

The last weekend before Seona and JS left for Ireland we brought them on a day tip to a couple of lakes around Chilliwack. One of the lakes I looked up was Jones Lake, which looked pretty accessible on Google Maps. Not reading anything about it before we started our journey, just looking at pretty pictures, we all got a bit disappointed when we arrived at the start of a steep gravel hill. Luckily Misty, our car, pulled through and brought us all the way up to the lake with only a couple of scratches.


Alison’s got some nerve having a birthday party this far up in the woods. Obviously Alison doesn’t have friends that don’t own trucks.


JS found this aerodynamic frisbee and I think it changed his life. He hasn’t been seen without it since. We went to Spanish Banks in Vancouver after our road trip to watch the sunset and had a pretty good game of frisbee.


Frisbee is L I F E.


In the distance we could see Alison’s birthday party. We thought about crashing it multiple times, but we were way too scared having seen too many scary movies about rural people in trucks.


Couple photos alert!


Seona Flanagan <3


Couple photos alert nr 2! And yes that’s a lens cap in my breast pocket.


After Jones Lake we went to Cultus Lake, another lake we hadn’t been to before. Maybe more on that later!

Seona Flanagan: World Class Traitor

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.


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.


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.


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.

Beauty Cleans The Mind

Sunday before Andrew arrived back home. I cut my own hair in front of the bathroom mirror over the sink. Exhilarating, why haven’t I done this before? One side turned out shorter than the other, but it’s just hair. I fixed it on the monday anyway.


I walked down to the Kingsway crossing, had lunch on my own at Sal y Limón. Slushie margarita with grilled chicken huaraches (first time, wasn’t a huge fan of the deep fried corn tortilla itself but the toppings were amazing?).


After lunch, I walked over to Robson Park to sit down with my kindle, silently weeping as I finished reading Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig.


At home I roasted a huge tray of vegetables which I ate in front of of Black Earth Rising on Netflix, celebrating my last day at home all alone. But also celebrating life, I guess, because Matt Haig’s book had left such a mark in me.

Here’s his list of 40 Ways to Live Better:

1. Appreciate happiness when it is there.
2. Sip, don’t gulp.
3. Be gentle with yourself. Work less. Sleep more.
4. There is absolutely nothing in the past you can change. That’s basic physics.
5. Beware of Tuesdays. And Octobers.
6. Kurt Vonnegut was right. ‘Reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found.’
7. Listen more than you talk.
8. Don’t feel guilty about being idle. More harm is probably done to the world through work than idleness. But perfect your idleness. Make it mindful.
9. Be aware that you are breathing.
10. Wherever you are, at any moment, try to find something beautiful. a face, a line out of a poem, the clouds out of a window, some graffiti, a wind farm. Beauty cleans the mind.

11. Hate is a pointless emotion to have inside you. It is like eating a scorpion to punish it for stinging you.
12. Go for a run. Then do some yoga.
13. Shower before noon.
14. Look at the sky. Remind yourself of the cosmos. Seek out vastness at every opportunity, in order to see the smallness of yourself.
15. Be kind.
16. Understand that thoughts are just thoughts. If they are unreasonable, reason with them, even if you have no reason left. You are the observer of your mind, not its victim.
17. Do not watch TV aimlessly. Do not go on social media aimlessly. Always be aware of what you are doing, and why you are doing it. Don’t value TV less. Value it more. Then you will watch it less. Unchecked distractions will lead you to distraction.
18. Sit down. Lie down. Be still. do nothing. Observe. Listen to your mind. Let it do what it does without judging it. Let it go, like the Snow Queen in Frozen.
19. Don’t worry about things that probably won’t happen.
20. Look at trees. Be near trees. Plant trees. (Trees are great.)

21. Listen to that yoga instructor on Youtube, and ‘walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet’.
22. Live. Love. Let go. The three Ls.
23. Alcohol maths. Wine multiplies itself by itself. The more you have, the more you are likely to have. And if it’s hard to stop at one glass, it will be impossible at three. Addition is multiplication.
24. Beware of the gap. The gap between where you are and where you want to be. Simply thinking of the gap widens it. And you end up falling through.
25. Read a book without thinking about finishing it. Just read it. Enjoy every word, sentence, and paragraph. Don’t wish for it to end, or for it to never end.
26. No drug in the universe will make you feel better, at the deepest level, than being kind to other people.
27. Listen to what Hamlet - literature’s most famous depressive - told Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. "‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’
28. If someone loves you, let them. Believe in that love. Live for them, even when you feel there is no point.
29. You don’t need the world to understand you. It’s fine. Some people will never really understand things they haven’t experiences. Some will. Be grateful.

30. Jules Verne wrote of the "‘Living Infinite’. This is the world of love and emotion that is like a ‘sea’. If we can submerge ourselves in it, we find infinity in ourselves and the space we need to survive.

31. Three in the morning is never the time to try and sort out your life.
32. Remember that there is nothing weird about you. You are just a human, and everything you do and feel is a natural thing, because we are natural animals. You are nature. you are a hominid ape. You are in the world and the world is in you. Everything connects.
33. Don’t believe in good or bad, or winning and losing, or victory and defeat, or up and down. At your lowest and at your highest, whether you are happy or despairing or calm or angry, there is a kernel of you that stays the same. That is the you that matters.
34. Don’t worry about the time you lose to despair. the time you will have afterwards has just doubled its value.
35. Be transparent to yourself. Make a greenhouse for your mind. Observe.
36. Read Emily Dickinson. Read Graham Greene. Read Italo Calvino. Read Maya Angelou. Read anything you want. Just read. Books are possibilities. They are escape routes. They give you options when you have none. Each one can be a home for an uprooted mind.
37. If the sun is shining, and you can be outside, be outside.
38. Remember that they key thing about life on earth is change. Cars rust. Paper yellows. Technology dates. Caterpillars become butterflies. Nights morph into days. Depression lifts.
39. Just when you feel you have no time to relax, know that this is the moment you most need to make time to relax.
40. Be brave. be strong. Breathe, and keep going. You will thank yourself later.

daily, summerEmma Carlsson
Bits And Bobs

One day:

Both tired from work, we take a walk to the closest park. Just cause the weather’s amazing and it’s too early to go to bed, that kind of thing. We met this precious little creature. The privilege of being born a cat.


The park was filled with kids at soccer/baseball practice and their parents cheering them on.


Another day:

We visited the same park, with our trustworthy blanket we bought last year at Canadian Superstore. We spent an hour or two underneath a willow tree next to a pond watching duck-politics and discussing human-politics.


Afterwards Andrew FINALLY got his hair cut and honestly, he has never looked better. While I look more like a hag by each day, he as a man just keeps on getting more handsome? Is this a fact or an idea I believe in due to the patriarchy?


Another day:

Andrew’s favourite activity on days when he doesn’t feel like driving anywhere is to just stroll down Main Street. So that’s what we did. Look at this very extra sign outside a new, hipster cannabis shop.


We had lunch at El Camino, a really cool mexican place. The food looks amazing, and Mexican Fanta is my favourite. However I wished the food tasted more? Had more flavour, spices? In classic Canadian (sorry!) fashion it was quite bland.


I had good company though so didn’t really matter that much!

And so are the days of our lives (wow).

The Lark In The Clear Air

A list of things that have happened recently that I don’t have any pictures of:

  • Andrew left for Ireland and left me all alone! The day before we finally went to that burger place in the River District and it was the best burger I’ve had in Canada.

  • Game of Thrones finished, the tv show that is. I also finished reading the first book in the series and have officially fallen in love with the Kindle again.

  • I had a “girls night” with Keith and Seona at my place a couple of days ago. We had cans, I made curry, there were nachos and just lots of chats while listening to Mariah Carey.

  • We bought a new bed, a very firm one from IKEA. All from “extra” money we got through our jobs, even better.

  • Oh, a couple of weeks ago I went to Rocky Horror Picture Show with some friends of mine. It was fun! But more so because it was a thing we did together and not so much the show itself.

  • I’m in love with the smell of summer. Vancouver really smells of plants and flowers and it’s amazing.

  • We got our tax back! I paid off my debt to my brother and it felt a m a z i n g.

  • I read Call Me By Your Name. Here’s my review: Part 1 is out-of-this-world, but then I kinda lost interest. I prefer the storyline/tempo that’s in the film?

  • I finally watched Fleabag and now I’m in mourning. I want Phoebe Waller-Bridge to be my best friend and I want Andrew Scott to marry me.