Posts in vancouver
September Days III - Cold

I’m currently home from work, on my couch, with a proper September cold. The last week or so I’ve felt my energy draining day by day. Perhaps it was naive for me to think that, on my day off last Thursday, a pool day would solve it all. But I’ve wanted to go to Kitsilano salt-water pool since the start of the summer, and on this particular September afternoon the sun was out, I was off. It felt like it was my very last change to go. So I did.

Before going to the pool that day, I went to an optometry center to get my eyes checked. I haven’t done this in year. Maybe 10-15 years, I’m not sure. My eyesight is actually amazing, however recently I’ve been noticing my left eye straining quite a bit. I usually get cluster headaches right behind my left eye, and I have almost a constant twitch on that side as well. My insurance covered the visit, so I thought why not! I was right, my eyesight is slightly worse on the left eye which is causing a strain. So I got a prescription and had a look on some of the options there. I’ll do some more extensive research on frames later. It was quite an eye opener (pun intended) to realize how many hours a day I spend in front of a screen though. If I’m not working in front of the computer (my work is all computer work), I’m either on my kindle, phone or in front of the tv. That really needs to change as well.

Looking back, swimming in the (although slightly heated) pool right next to the ocean with its breeze probably triggered the cold even more. Anyway, here we are!

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Andrew was able to join me after work, which rarely happens, so I ended up having an amazing day. Afterwards we decided to go out for dinner instead of going straight home. We went to our local and most visited place The Main on Main Street. We had our usual dishes, sitting by the window and letting the sunset warm us up. From outside we all of a sudden heard some strange noises, and peeked back only to see this little guy looking right at us.

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Dont worry, his owner was a couple of meters away having a pint. The parrot loved sitting where he could observe people walking by, admiring him. He probably loved the attention.

Today it’s grey outside, and the forecast for the week is all grey skies and rain. September weather, just like April, wants you to have it all really. I’m not complaining.

September Days II - Home

There’s so much delicious magic in nesting. I feel like my life so far has been a long search for home. A longing to go home. I’ve moved all my life, having separated parents means going back and forth. Meeting in parking lots, moving from one car to another. Your mom’s new boyfriend, and their new flat together. You move in there. Your dad’s new girlfriend’s house, you move in there too. During the summers I slept over at grandma’s summerhouse with my cousins. The color coded toothbrushes for all of the blonde children, grandpa next to the fireplace and grandma making black-current cordial in the kitchen - that was home. At fifteen I moved away all on my own, to stay with other high school girls in a far away city. We survived on oatmeal and mom’s frozen taco pies. In the evening we talked about home, missing home. I lasted a year, before I went back to mom’s lake house.

Four years later I moved continents, to California. Thinking I belonged there, thinking I would discover home next to the beaches and palm trees. After every semester I moved place, looking for room-mates and apartments that felt like home. Not counting those random motel rooms and in-between places, I rented six different rooms. The only thing I brought from house to house was my mattress and a red lamp with a tiger foot. Once the honeymoon years were over, I craved Europe and didn’t feel at home in the land of yoga and wine and cobb salads anymore. I took the train to the airport; I listened to To Build A Home by The Cinematic Orchestra thinking ‘I will remember this moment for the rest of my life’. And here we are, I remember.

I didn’t feel home “at home”. The years away had alienated me; I didn’t belong in the north west Swedish small town among the birch and pine trees anymore. Even the language didn’t feel like home anymore, or how people didn’t smile when meeting me at the grocery store. In the midst of panic, feeling like I didn’t belong, I took the first opportunity I could get and moved countries again. This time to Ireland.

Ireland felt like home. The farmers markets, the sea, the rain and the book shops. People seemed stuck in a different century here, listening to music popular 10 or 20 years ago. Their hobbies hadn’t changed with time: people gathered in pubs and actually talked with each other. But finding a home, an actual place to stay at, was more than difficult. I was forced to stay in a hostel for three months, surrounded by strangers. Home was no longer a physical place, due to necessity it had to be a state of mind. A Starbucks, a friend’s place, the school library. I searched for home wherever I could find it. I found Andrew, then, and he became a place of home.

Close to the three year mark in Ireland, I started to miss home. Again, not knowing what that meant. I thought it meant Sweden, so I went back for half a year. I tried my hardest to nest (painting my room at dad’s place, buying decorative figures and books) and feel a sense of belonging. And I did, but not as much as I craved. The feeling wasn’t strong enough to keep me there, Andrew was missing me so I went back to Ireland. Stayed for another year. It wasn’t a good time, it wasn’t home, but we tried. We tried our absolute best, while daydreaming of creating something new, together. In Canada.

Cut to the present time. We’ve been here for almost two years now. We spent the first couple of months in an AirBnB, and then moved to a basement apartment a couple of blocks away. And while the apartment is not truly ours, whatever that means, it feels like home. The furniture is not ours, so everything is not handpicked by us. But we try to make it as much ours as possible.

One day I’ll have a place that’s completely mine. A small little place, close to nature but not too far away from the roads either. I’ll enjoy that then. Right now, I’m enjoying this. The more you romanticize your own life, the more magic you create. The more you realize you can find joy in the most average of places and things, the happier you get. I think I believe that now.

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September Days I - September Babies
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September babies are born from Christmas miracles and new years celebrations. If your parents weren’t together, most likely you were conceived during a drunken night when your mother and father strayed from their families to meet other young ones out on town. If you’re a September 20th baby like me (and many babies are), most likely the stars aligned on December 25th. December 24th in Sweden is for family celebrations, December 25th is for friends and strangers. That’s when they met, my tall dark father and my short blonde mother, in 1988. I’m not sure if they were together before that, if they knew each other. I believe they had common friends already, I’ve seen pictures of gangs gathered around old Volvos. Women with over-sized jeans jackets and men with leather vests. Anyway, it’s not my story to tell.

Every September I feel reborn. In a mellow, content kind of way. I didn’t come in to this world screaming through a bloody, torn vagina; I didn’t make that trip. Instead, after a 24 hr painful struggle suffered by my mother, I was carved out. As a baby I didn’t scream much in general. I preferred sleeping on chests and quietly observing the dynamics of the world around me. Not much has changed.

In 18 days I’ll turn 30. I made it, my youth is officially behind me. 30 doesn’t automatically mean proper adulthood, whatever adulthood means. But it does mean accepting what is, what was and what will follow. The lump of clay has taken some type of shape. What follows now is detail work and caring for the mass of space I ended up becoming. 30 for me doesn’t mean having all the answers, rather it means I now know what questions to ask.

September is a fusion of summer and autumn. The best bits of both all blended into one. You can still swim in outdoor pools and even the ocean will welcome you, if you want to meet it. There’s still warmth in the air and water, but the wind gives birth to baby winds and the core slowly cools down the lake. Leaves falls from the mother ship like romantic petals, slowly. Independently, not all at once. That’s October.

Here’s to embracing all of September and every last day of my twenties. Here’s to the Harvest Moon and Mercury’s forward movements and Autumnal Equinox and birthday celebrations. Bad days, good days, September days. I’ll try to write it all down.

Heart Like A Wheel
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I woke up early today, only half an hour or so after you left. You didn’t say goodbye as you went away to film another wedding, I figured you were still angry. Angry at me, sleeping, pulling my knees up high and having them due to gravity fall back down slowly, creating a sound of feet being dragged over the sheet. You yell at me, sleeping. Will you STOP. I don’t know how to stop because I don’t know how I started it. The motion. Why does my body want my knees high up during sleep?

I google.

Periodic Limb Movements. Anterior Pelvic Tilts. “My gf says i do this and last night she kicked me in my nuts and now i cant have kids. Please make your significant other aware if you do this because my gf got freeked out.”

I text you saying I hope you weren’t too angry at me this morning. You text back saying I was but I’m over it. I miss you so so much. I can’t stop thinking about you love.

This week has been Bloody Awful. Rotten. Dis-gos-tang. Or maybe it’s been the last two weeks. What is linear time anyway and who cares about it. I haven’t worn mascara in ages cause what’s the point when you weep every 5 minutes. Sometimes when I’m in the middle of it, the crying / the not-breathing, I see other versions of myself existing in other universes. I see them all, as if I’m temporarily stuck on a fast-spinning roundabout and I see glimpses of all my possible past and future selves, trying to decide where to jump off. I try to calculate the outcome; if I do x, then y and z will follow. If I do a, then b and c will follow. Can I do x and have a c happen down the line, does it work like that? I try to decide myself, naively, as if I had a say in the matter. I try to be stern with myself, I try to be an adult. But then it hits me that I won’t get my way anyway, and I relapse into a child who has to accept that while we have a bit of a say in this world, it’s not much and it’s not as much as we think it is.

So I control other things. I look at my plate and I organise what’s there. I book an appointment to finally get a haircut. To hell with it. I read, and read, and read. My eyesight gets blurry from all the typed up words describing worlds I will never live in but yet they’re so, so familiar. I go for fast paced walks up and down hills while I still have legs. On one of the walks up a steep hill I try to take deep breaths through my trachea that’s increasingly getting narrower and narrower. I almost faint, there’s no air. Why is trauma stuck in places that are crucial for breathing; existing? Why is it in the way?

Anyway. Here are some good things: Ali Smith. Elizabeth Day. Donal Ryan. Oat milk. French white bread. Kate & Anna McGarrigle. Daddy-O shampoo. People respecting your space; people leaving you alone; people not touching you; people asking are you ok and do you want anything from the kitchen. Seona Flanagan. Local organic blueberries. Finally, some gray skies. Sleep. Andrew Moore. Andrew Moore. Andrew Moore. Bastard.

Island Park Life and Island Park Walk

Granville Island can be incredibly busy on a normal weekday, but it’s definitely crowded on a sunny Sunday in the middle of summer. There are places on the island that are less crowded though, that act as little bubbles away from the rest of busy island. Ron Blasford Park is one of those bubbles. The only people there are people with blankets who are either snacking on something they’ve bought from the Public Market or taking naps in the shade of the trees surrounding the grass patch.

Me and Andrew went there prepared: with our blanket, SkipBo, nachos, salsa, water and food bought at the market. We also bought donuts from Lee Donuts, which is a bit of a hit and miss but on this day they were delicious!

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If you sit there long enough, you’ll be able to catch the pirate ship cruise; a theatre production on a pirate ship with its audience on the boat with them experiencing action up front. It’s fun to see, and I can only imagine what it would be like to be on the ship as a child.

After we’ve been in the park for a couple of hours, we decided to walk along False Creek on the Island Park Walk, something we realised we’d actually never done before. You walk out of Granville Island, past the water park, and onto the path that will lead all the way to Science World. There are so many spots along the way that you can stop at, and so many views we hadn’t seen before; Stamps Landing with its many lively restaurants, Husain Rahim Plaza, Habitat Island and the steps going down to the sea, reminding me of Europe, at Olympic Village.

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Finally at Olympic Village we decided to go for drinks at Tap & Barrel, to sit on their patio. Something we had never done before either, despite going past it so many times. Andrew had some chicken wings, we watched dogs walking by and a woman asking strangers to dance with her on the boardwalk. Just before the sun went down, we took the bus home. All in all another 10/10 type of day.

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vancouver, summerEmma Carlsson
Fish Sticks And Sausage Deluxe?

Richmond Night Market. I mean, where to start? We went on a friday night because we didn’t go once last year and it’s just sort of those events that you need to visit at least once if you live in Vancouver. We took the skytrain there, which was easy enough. However, before even starting our trip there both me and Andrew were exhausted from the week that had passed. The last thing I wanted to do, really, was to venture out to a crowd of people. But! Sometimes you have to push yourself. Otherwise I would stay in all the time.

When we got there we were met by young girls selling season passes shouting “skip the 45 min queue by buying passes”! We smiled, what a clever way to make money. There’s no way the queue is actually 45 min. We were right, it was longer than 45 min. Immediately off to a great start, queueing for close to an hour. It was boiling outside, I was wearing the wrong clothes, I was tired, I was THIRSTY! And also hungry, after being on the other side of the fence looking in on people with their many plates eating like it was some medieval feast.

Once in, we went straight to a food stall we’ve been watching from the queue where they sold simple “steak on a stick”. After seeing the “popular choices” on the poster as we waited to get in, we knew that it’d be quite difficult for us to find something basic to eat that wasn’t steak on a stick, so steak on a stick it was. It was coated with sugar, which made it delicious but also so, so fulling.

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There was rain in the air, but we knew we were gonna be spared. I loved the smell, at first, of the upcoming rain and the smoke from the various BBQ places around the market. The sun was setting and the colours were amazing. I tried to capture it all, but I mean a phone camera can only do so much.

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Once we started walking around, not so hungry or thirsty anymore, I began to feel more and more sick. Sick because there was just so much food and waste and animals being eaten everywhere. I know we just had steak sticks, and they were delicious, but the thought of so much meat in one place started to really get to me. And there was the seafood, the endless seafood. People walking around slurping tiny squids and eating fish on a stick and the SMELL of both raw and cooked seafood made me… sad? For a lack of better word. Add that with the huge amount of people present at the market, and the whole thing was just really overwhelming.

We managed to find the most basic type of dishes at Richmond Night Market: steak sticks, tiny dutch pancakes with Nutella, corn on the cob and taco fries. We didn’t spend time really exploring any of the stalls around the market apart from the food stalls. There were just too many people, we were tired and overwhelmed. Shortly after finishing our fries we walked to the skytrain again.

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I also want to write about something extremely… silly, I guess, is the word. Or something like that. I don’t really like any of the pictures in these posts. And in many of my blog posts, I include pictures that I don’t love but I include them to show a full picture. That “not everything is perfect” I guess, and also that your favourite blogger who you are comparing yourself with; who only posts perfect photos of their days out probably has hundreds of photos they don’t show. It’s silly of me to want to not posts memories just because they don’t fit in to a certain visual narrative. My life is not a single themed event, it’s multidimensional with blurry ugly pictures. The colours are off, the lighting is off. Mostly it’s just point and shoot kinda photos. 

Then there’s the issue of photos of me. But that subject belongs in a post by itself. so I’ll wait to discuss that in full. I will say that even this picture, the last one of me simply standing in the neon archway sparked an argument between me and Andrew. I looked at the photo once he took it, and it wasn’t what I expected; what I had in mind. I told him to retake it, and he got mad at me. Because it’s something I do a lot. Get frustrated at him for not taking the picture I had in mind; I come out looking like someone else, or at least that’s what I tell myself. In reality most of the times I just come out looking exactly like me. And that’s what I have a problem with. But more on that later. 

All in all, we probably won’t revisit Richmond Night Market. But at least we can now say that we went! And before I got all upset about my own looks, we had a nice time. Because the truth is, whatever we do we always have a nice time together. And for that I am truly, truly blessed.

ps. obviously not just blessed, but very willing to do the heavy labour in order to get the very best harvest!

To Celebrate The Light

Saturday the 27 of July. What happened to summer? It was there, I was there. I enjoyed every little bit of it. I speak as if I think summer’s over; it’s not. There’s at least a full month of it left. And then we have late summer, early fall. September, with its still very warm weather and beautiful sunsets. Perhaps not hot enough for swimming in the ocean, but warm enough for barbeques on the beach. We’ll bring a blanket, a light jacket, cuddle up next to Bridget the BBQ. July, however, is over. And despite not being able to let go of the fear that that the weather shouldn’t be this hot: our earth is overheating and we will all die probably sooner than we think, I had such an amazing June and July.

On saturday the twenty seventh of July, the very last weekend of the main summer month, we parked Misty on 4th Avenue and walked down to the closed-off Kitsilano. Past gorgeous, european-looking neighborhoods with its little nooks, past museum of Vancouver, past the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival area, down to Vanier Park.

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Once by the seafront, we bought kettle corn and hotdogs and watched a plane do stunts over English Bay. I saw a seal peak up in front of us from the water to see what all the commotion was about (twice!). The sunset was gorgeous. Friends joined later, bringing cans and blankets. There was childish joy in the air, if you like.

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At 10pm India showed their fireworks skills in Celebration of Light. A fireworks championship of sorts. For 26 minutes they went on and on, showcasing the extravaganza lightshow to people all around the bay. It was magical. You’d think that that was the end of last weekend of July, but no. We had an amazing Sunday as well, but more on that later.

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Shipyards Night Market + Italian Day On The Drive

Italian Day On The Drive

Another early June adventure. Me and Andrew went to the first of the summer markets, the Italian Day on the Drive aka Commercial Drive here in East Vancouver.

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Once there, it was so crowded. Commercial Drive feels narrower than Main Street, but I’m not sure if that is actually true or if there were just more people on Commercial! Nevertheless I enjoyed eating one of the best gyros I’ve had in ages (not italian food, I know!), watching the proper italians grill mackerel and later on (after hiding inside a bar having cold drinks (again, super hot and super crowded!)) a slice of neapolitan pizza and sfogliatella (which honestly wasn’t that good).

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Shipyard Night Market

One friday before Seona left, we all decided to go to the Shipyard Night Market on the North Shore. A quick seabus ferry later, you arrive at Lonsdale where every friday during the summer there’s a night market with a beer garden, food trucks, jewelry and homemade bits and bobs stalls.

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After some food and wandering around we decided that the beer garden was a bit too crowded for us, so we went to the patio at Tap & Barrel for some drinks and appetizer. I love any location where you can see downtown Vancouver from a distance. Looking at these pictures of Seona again makes me really, really miss her. There is nothing more beautiful than female friendship and I miss her company, humour, intelligence so much!

These pictures also makes me realise that 1) maybe I shouldn’t cut my own hair anymore and 2) just colour your hair if you really wanna colour your hair. Don’t suffer with roots!

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Main Street Car Free Day

Here’s an update from early June! I really try to be more with the times when it comes to updating, and maybe one day I’ll get into a nice little flow. But for now later-blogs will do. I still want to include these moments on my page since I see this page as sort of a time capsule.

End of May / start of June the heat arrived properly. I wore my lightest dress (yes, despite covering my whole body), sunglasses that has since disappeared and sandals that has since broken down. I loved the sun with all the happy peeps and our favourite street in Vancouver; Main Street being the focus of the day.

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All the music were provided by young bands in after school music groups / summer camps. We loved listening to hard rock cover bands and our favourite band of them all; Scranton City. We enjoyed virgin mojitos and crepes.

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Cue the cutest kissing both I’ve ever seen and this woman celebrating trans-rights with everyone high fiving her.

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Due to the heat, we decided to go to The General Public, a hipster-sushi place for cold drinks with Andrew’s cousin + friends for the reminder of the day.

On the way home after such an amazing day I asked Andrew to take a photo of me. I don’t even like the photo, but I imagine it being a nice one to show my kids in the future and say “look, this was how carefree your mom was before you guys” knowing fully well that’s a massive lie. It’s more a portrait of a woman in constant crises and anxiety who’s trying her very hardest to romanticize as many parts of her life as possible. And that’s why I document as much as I do.

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Bits & Bobs #2

Friday night in July. We’ve invited friends to BBQ down by Spanish Banks. They’re all busy; we decide to go anyway. Once on the way with the car packed with Bridget our portable BBQ and a basket with groceries, Alisa and Mikel texts us to say they’re coming. We break bread together while having cans and watching the sunset. Soon Alisa and Mikel will have to move back to Spain while waiting for their next visa.

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Saturday morning in July. We have a weekend off, together. We’ll call it Andrews birthday weekend in Vancouver, decide to to go brunch at Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe; a diner inspired spot in Kitsilano. Our portions are huge and delicious, despite me ordering the wrong thing. Andrew gets a strawberry milkshake and waffles to match his sweet personality.

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Saturday night. Andrew spent the day up in the air in a sea plane (his birthday gift). We feel like extending the day, so we go home, change clothes and walk to main street to The Main; perhaps our favorite spot in all of Vancouver due to being our “local spot”. We sit in the evening sun, drinking pints and eating the best gyro in town (oh and a plate of straight up feta cheese). On the way home the light is still gorgeous; we think of Michael Scott and past, future and current life together (probably).

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After a day at work, I take the bus to London Drugs to get myself a new pair of headphones. I take a picture of an iconic Vancouver sight; the mountains, the tall apartment complex covered in glass panels, Japadog and people gathering around Science World / Creekside.

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Finally. I decide to bring a book into work that I bought at a second hand store just because I liked the cover of it. I read one page, then decide to put it away. Not because it’s bad, just because I’m lazy. While waiting for the bus home, I watch a guy do push ups at the stoo. Being quite the opposite of lazy I guess.

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Low & High Tides

It’s not that I want to write lots of “this is what happened on that day” kind of entries, they just happen. Summer is filled with activities and in between there a job where I just sit and stare blankly at people’s Instagram stories without updating my own. My job’s pretty quiet right now, which is nice and suits the season. Being in Vancouver during summer time is pretty much ideal if you can’t be off on holidays but still want to do summery things in the evenings and on the weekends.

Two weekends ago, on a Sunday, me and Andrew went to White Rock. We went there once last year as well, and just like then the weather was amazing. White Rock is only less than an hour away, yet it feels like you’ve been transported to some far away tropical place. If you get there early enough, the tide is low and everyone is out with their parasols and sun tents. The dogs are running around, swimming. Even the small tiny dachshunds due to the low tide gets to have fun. As you park up and walk across the train tracks and the beach appears, you get a really childish “is this real life” kind of feeling. You smile, cause you can’t help not to. The water’s warm, like really warm. Last year I swam, this year I just rolled up my pants and walked as far out as I could.

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Apart from the beach, White Rock’s Marine Drive, the street located past the train tracks along the beach, is filled with restaurants and shops that just screams summer. We stopped at the same place as last year, a fish and chips place called Fishboat. None of us had fish though, but their chips are really good and I love the colors surrounding the restaurant.

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Almost right next doors to Fishboat is an ice cream shop called Sandcastle Sea Shoppe; again, a place we went to last year that have over 60 flavors of ice cream! I settled for a red cherry scoop and Andrew had his usual strawberry. As we walked towards the parking lot, the tide was back up. Instead of people playing on the sand, they were now in kayaks or on paddle boards. Some were brave enough to just swim with the crabs and jelly fishes. If I had my bathing suit I would’ve been one of them, but I was so satisfied with the day as it was that I didn’t mind.

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Smoke & Bones
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After working 9 - 5(30) last week, I had a “normal” weekend off which rarely happens. I spent Saturday having a much needed day all by myself cleaning corners of my apartment that had been neglected for a while. Same can be said about myself I guess, I cleansed corners of my brain that had been neglected.

On Sunday I was ready to face the world again! Me and Andrew went to Port Moody, to Lake Sasamat. About thousand others had the same idea, the sun was out and the temperature was high. Everyone in Vancouver (it seemed) brought their entire family + their huge unicorn floats to the lake. People were parking wherever they could find a spot, getting tickets but not caring. A day at the lake was worth it.

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We brought a minimum amount of supplies: water, camera, bathing suit, towel, blanket to sit down on. Excuse the look of me looking so touristy.

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There’s a bit of a walk to the actual beach area, across the floating bridge and then halfway around the lake. Wherever you looked people were camped out alongside the trail. The thought of us finding a spot of our own seemed impossible.

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We managed to squeeze in somewhere at the edge of the beach, in a shaded area (thank god). I swam and it was g l o r i o u s. Wish we had planned the trip more so we could’ve stayed longer. I overheard someone saying they had arrived there at 8.45am and even then every spot was occupied.

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After some lake chilling we went down to Port Moody town to visit the Rib Fest at Point Park. Point Park was crowded as well, but we managed to find both a grass area and later a table inside the beer garden to sit down at. At this point, we met up with Andrew’s cousin + boyfriend.

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Appetizer: corn on the cob!

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I believe there were at least 5 big rib “food trucks” like these, all competing against each other. Andrew got a full rack and to no ones surprise finished the whole thing.

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After a huge late lunch and a couple of beers later it was time for ice cream from Rocky Point Ice Cream. I went for half a scoop of rum and raisin and half a scoop of banana fudge.

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After paying $7 for a glass of beer at the Rib Fest we went to Yellow Dog brewery across the street to get a full pint for a way cheaper. Sitting out the in the back patio we were surrounded by the sun, the heat and the smell of garbage.

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10/10 would recommend to spend your Sundays exactly like this.