Posts in winter
Taking Pictures of Andrew Taking Pictures

This post contains snow, you have been warned. Yes it’s May and spring is officially gone. Winter is just a memory now. Summer is here, or at least that pre-summer period where it’s not 27 degrees EVERY day but it’s lushy green everywhere and you can do with just a light jacket or a warmer sweater on the colder days.

But I have so many pictures that I didn’t share over the winter months. That I just now got around to editing and selecting. And I need to share them because if I don’t, I’ll never share them and knowing myself I prefer looking back at memories here, on this blog, rather than going through a disorganised hard drive with thousands of pictures.

These pictures are from January. I think. Or maybe February. We wanted to see proper snow so we went to Chilliwack Lake. I posted some pictures from there before, but not these ones. We’ll go back soon, hopefully. With a portable BBQ or at least some sort of picnic. Just like we did then, with hot coffee in a thermos and wrapped up sandwiches.

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Women Ruin Nice Moments

We were driving just for driving’s sake, around West Vancouver to look at all the big houses with the breathtaking views. We drove up to Cypress Mountain. Left, right, left, right. The houses disappeared, only pine trees and snow remained. All of a sudden in one of the fast corners the most beautiful view of the sunset setting over Vancouver with Mount Baker in the background appeared. I screamed STOP but we didn’t have time to pull in. It’s a strict one way road so we continued all the way up to the top of the mountain. I sulked. Loudly. Why are you always driving so fast? Why are you not looking out of the window like I am? Why are you so obsessed with speed and corners and why are you not able to just quickly swing in to a parking spot because at that VERY MILLI-SECOND you saw a potential photo op!

I got irrationally angry like I always do. On the way down we stopped at the view-spot. The sunset was gone, left was just the aftermath. I tried to enjoy it, took some pictures. But I single handedly ruined what could’ve been a nice moment due to hunger (probably). Hunger or hormones or hatred for how I looked that day or annoyance that I didn’t drive the car myself. Sometimes being a woman truly, truly sucks.

I have apologized since but Andrew, again, I am so sorry for all the times I’ve been angry at you when you really didn’t deserve it. Thank you for putting up with all my shit. In return I promise to put up with your shit too.

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Greetings from February

May is here. Along with it came summer. It’s been 27 degrees on some of the days this week. The smell of lilacs fills the air, the tulips have already said their goodbyes. Somewhere between April and May I lost track of time due to overworking in an understaffed work space. I still managed to have good days in between my four-weekends-in-a-row work schedule though, I just didn’t have time to write about it.

Before May is gone I need to post loads of pictures from when the snow snow was still here. Like from this weekend in late February! Yes, February. I finally had the time to go through thousands of photographs from the past couple of months. And if I don’t share them here, how will future me know these days even took place?

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We came here in February 2017 as well - see this post here. It felt like a pilgrimage, to celebrate 2019 and the fact that we could stay here another year. There’s comfort in visiting the same places again, they become your places. This year we’ve been to loads of places we’ve already been to before, and it feels great. Familiar. Like Vancouver belongs to us now. We see you, we know you. We know the best routes, best spots to stop for photos, we know how to find our way home.

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Kanga & Roo

In December last year we had the Privilege and Pleasure of dog sitting Kanga and Roo, two adorable “sisters” for a full day! I don’t think people understand just how much me and Andrew L-O-N-G for a dog! Before I got my visa, it was all we talked about. “As soon as it’s approved, we’ll look for a dog!” It helped, to think that something positive was going to happen.

Now I’m not so sure. We still really, really, really want a dog. But reality is tougher than the dream. We don’t want to leave our apartment, we love our little cave. We also, realistically, won’t be able to afford it. I would want to feed the most premium food out there, and then there’s the potential vet bills. BECAUSE of our love for dogs, we wouldn’t want to commit unless we’re absolutely certain we would be able to care for the pup.

Anyway. I managed to take some photos of Roo & Kanga, despite the two of them being in constant motion.

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Mercury in Retrograde

Previously on Blue Lakes Deep Forest:

Emma got her visa approved. Emma and Andrew are making plans for 2019 (spoiler: lots of the same stuff as last year but also trips down south). Emma has a new job, it’s an office job. It’s extremely mundane but it’ll do for now.

Oh yeah, I didn’t write about my job yet. One of our dearest friends here in Vancouver went back to Ireland, so I took over his job. I sit in a cubicle, trying to avoid headaches and fatigue. It’s a good job, it pays good and the hours are great. It’s not exciting, but it is what it is and it works for now.

Let’s go through some updates!

3 things I do a lot of right now:

LISTEN TO PODCASTS

Obviously not a picture of me walking while listening to podcast (god, I wish that was me because DOG), but rather the picture is a visual representation of the state I’m in while listening? I don’t know. //    Source

Obviously not a picture of me walking while listening to podcast (god, I wish that was me because DOG), but rather the picture is a visual representation of the state I’m in while listening? I don’t know. // Source

This is new because I’m not a podcast-stan like most people. It started during my unemployment; I just got tired of hanging out with my own voices all day. It also gave me a reason to get out of the apartment, to take a walk and have it being the length of the podcast episode. Now that I’m at my new job, I’ve been using podcasts as a way to cope with the stress that comes along with being new at a place, sitting alone in lunchrooms (out of choice, don’t worry!), walking to and from work etc. I’ve been catching up with everything I’ve been missing these last… years? Some of my favorites include The High Low and Love Stories, as well as loads of Swedish ones (Daddy Issues, Alex & Sigge, En Varg Söker Sin Pod).  

CLEAN

Not a picture of my kitchen, but a picture that sort of expresses how I feel after each clean. //    Source

Not a picture of my kitchen, but a picture that sort of expresses how I feel after each clean. // Source

Yes, cleaning. Jessica from The Little Chapters podcast talked about Mrs. Hinch; an Instagram profile from Essex who is obsessed (perhaps too obsessed?) with cleaning and updates her stories frequently with her just cleaning around the house, doing the same tasks over and over again. There’s something so extremely satisfying and calming watching her do the job with the enthusiasm she has. She’s also incredibly kind and loving; she’s just a super nice person so I LOVE watching her stories now. It’s common knowledge now that having a clean space and being organised is part of self care and the activity of cleaning can have a anxiety-reducing effect. Hence, why I love cleaning. A messy home means something’s wrong. It’s the Virgo in me.

Anyway, Mrs. Hinch has made me take my already existing obsession to the e x t r e m e. A couple of weeks ago I went to the dollar store and bought 5 bottles of spray-cleaners, cloths, sponges and a freaking BUCKET to keep all my cleaning supplies in. I love it. It’s not realistically for me to have a spot-clean home all day every day, but if I can do 15 minutes here and there - I’ll take it. And I’ll thank myself for it afterwards.

TRACK EVERYTHING WITH SPREADSHEETS

Obviously not a picture of my Google Sheet, but that picture would not be aesthetically pleasing. This, however, is the feeling I get FROM my sheet. //    Source

Obviously not a picture of my Google Sheet, but that picture would not be aesthetically pleasing. This, however, is the feeling I get FROM my sheet. // Source

Same as with cleaning, this is not necessarily a new thing. But me and Andrew have been tracking e v e r y t h i n g lately into our Google Sheet. This helps with so much. It’s not for everyone, but it definitely works for us and we find it to be more important during stressful / anxious times. My memory is awful, and Andrew has dyslexia so for us to have an accessible system where we have to write down e v e r y t h i n g really, really helps. I don’t want to show anyone our spreadsheets, because I know people will think we’re bonkers.


Ok, seems like the common ground here is anxiety and how to deal with it. But it’s been February / March, literally the darkest months of the year. We’re all trying to deal, right?

How I Know You're My Person: A Saturday in February
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A saturday in February. We spent the morning watching The Office. Because even though we’ve already watched all the seasons within the last year, we decided to re-watch them all. And this is why I love you. This is how I know you’re my person. We took the bridge over to North Vancouver, then past West Vancouver, all the way to Horseshoe Bay. We just wanted a coffee. You told me to put the phone away, just like I had asked you to tell me a couple of days before. A weekend without the phone, please.

We looked for a place to eat. The sun was shining, it felt like April. We went to a place called Trolls, which is just a regular diner. Known for their chips. I had a shrimp sandwich - it was extremely mediocre. You had chips and chicken fingers so there were no complaints on your part. I sighed and sulked; we always go to your kind of places for food, never to my kind of places. I’m so tired of diners and fries and boring Canadian food. Boring Irish food too, for that matter. I let it go though. There’s nothing I like better than to eat out with you and talk about nonsense. It doesn’t really matter where it is.

We got a coffee in Starbucks, and headed out to the pier. I had a long speech about creativity and vulnerability. That people who are really talented at what they do often lack vulnerability and therefore they stop evolving. They get millions of people to look at their stuff, but no one will remember their actual name because they didn’t really put themselves out there. I spoke about the importance of being personal, of getting people to remember who you are. Of not being afraid of criticism. Surely it’s better to have a few people know about you, I mean really know about you, than having a million people getting your attention for a couple of seconds and then they go back to not knowing where you came from or where you want to go. I used other people as examples, but we both knew I was expressing my own fears.

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We left and went to Lighthouse Park after strolling around for a while, but more on that later. For now let’s just admire this picture of a you looking like the glorious angel that you are.

daily, vancouver, winterEmma Carlsson
The Day That Kacey Musgraves Conquered The Grammy Awards

The snow arrived yesterday. Me and Andrew walked down to Olympic Village, it was our only plan for the day (I love sundays). When we left our apartment there were only tiny, tiny flakes floating around. As we walked through the residential areas of Mount Pleasant, house spotting, the wind caught up and heavy flakes started dancing around in every direction.

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If I ever, for some reason, had to get a truck, this would be the one.

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We went to Craft Beer Market for lunch. We’ve been there a couple of times before, being one of the first restaurants we visited last year when we arrived. There’s definitely sentimental value to the place. We always get the exact same thing. Andrew gets the hot wings, I get the fish tacos. We sat there for hours drinking beer, talking and watching the snow outside the window.

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While eating, I couldn’t resist taking these photos of the cutest little girl eating her chicken wings. I die! I DIE!

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Heading outside a couple of hours later the snow had properly turned Olympic Village into a winter wonderland!

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Outside in the Olympic Village Square, they have these amazing big statues of birds that we had never seen before. The snowy weather made them fit in perfectly.

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This diary-entry-thing is very photo heavy but it’ll have to do. Sometimes visuals are way better than text - sometimes it’s the complete opposite. I loved spending the day with Andrew just walking around, people watching, dog spotting and exploring familiar and unfamiliar areas of Vancouver.

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We took the bus home. Traffic was a bit crazy, and I don’t blame people going a bit crazy when so much snow came in the space of just a couple of hours.

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Andrew arriving home to find his second girlfriend Misty the Mazda completely covered. It continued showing all that night. It was the brightest evening in a long time all thanks to the snow lightning up the streets! We thought about going out in the evening to take some more pictures, but with the heater on inside and tired from the pints of beer and the wet shoes, we decided against it. Plus the Grammys were on, so.

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daily, vancouver, winterEmma Carlsson
You Are Lisa Simpson

If you were to ask me “Emma, do you consider yourself a workaholic” - I would probably say no, since I’m very, very much against the concept of “working” from an idealistic point of view. I preach resting and rebelling against our capitalists society that wants the hustle to kill you slowly by overworking and making you feel like no matter what you do, you’re just never gonna to be good enough. Strive for the impossible, and feel shit while doing it. Basically.

However. All I want to do right now is work. So. Figure that one out (please).

I’m extremely bad at being unemployed, being in this in-between period. I don’t get a rush of energy to search all the jobs and call all the people. At first, I want to do absolutely nothing except to lay on the couch eating baked goods and watch Netflix. After a while of doing nothing however, I panic about doing nothing. After a while, I want to go back to the exact thing I wanted to escape from just a mere couple of weeks ago. I am me, and work is my boyfriend that everyone tells me to dump because he’s making me severely depressed, he doesn’t cater for any of my needs but he pays the bills. So I stay. Because I’m scared of unpaid bills. And I guess I’m scared of who I am without him as well. Without work, I mean.

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Outside validation is extremely important to me. An old teacher of mine said out of all The Simpsons characters I was most like Lisa. Lisa knows she’s smarter than everyone else, but her knowing it herself is not enough. She needs teachers to tell her that she’s smarter than everyone else. It wasn’t exactly my nicest compliment / the one I’m most proud of, but it was probably truer than any of the compliments I’ve ever received, so. It’s something anyway.

Work provides outside validation. It provides me with a problem to solve - becoming liked, becoming an expert at something, becoming better than other people at something. And I love solving problems! But only if other people created the problem. Only if I’m there to impress others, not if I’m there to only impress myself. That’s why I stay at jobs that do me no good, because I’m absolutely addicted to the validation and security they provide.

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But Emma, why don’t you just get a job you like, I hear you ask. And it’s a fair question. That has been asked many times before, often by my actual boyfriend. And by myself every single work day. “It’s not that easy!” And it isn’t. No matter how many white, middle class influencers online tell you otherwise. In order to go for what you want, you have to figure out what it is you want. Then what follows are a lot of even more complicated steps - but just that one step of actually KNOWING what it is you want, can crush you. Because how can we decide on just this one thing?

For me, it’s always been easier to become good at something I’m not particularly interested in. Because if I am interested in it, and I try it and I find out that I’m not good at it, that would be the end of it. So I prefer to play other peoples’ games instead of my own. Because I’m confident that I could do what they’re doing, but better. I am, however, not confident that I would be even okay:ish at my own game. And that is scary.

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This all sound like a lame excuse as to why I’m not pursuing something. But again, I’m not even sure what it is that I want to pursue. I’m so jealous of people with clear goals. “I want to be a lawyer”, “I want to work with coding”, “I want to design buildings” - whatever it is, I’m so, so happy for you that you know and that there is a somewhat clear path for you to take!

I thought I wanted to do feature film work, hence why I studied film for over 10 years and now have a Masters degree in it. But now I’m not so sure. So what do you do when you’ve had a somewhat clear path, but then abandoned it? Not only do you have to come up with something else, you have to deal with the pressure from yourself plus everyone else thinking (probably) that you’ve wasted 10 years and will probably waste another 10 years on the “next big thing”, only to realize down the line that your second choice really didn’t interest you either.

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And while you’re figuring out what would make you happy, career-wise, you have to provide for yourself. You have to pay bills. Most of us can’t take a year off to “figure things out”. And even people that do have that opportunity, spend most of the time off anxiously thinking “I should be doing something else”, so all that off-time never comes into good use anyway.

So I’m sitting here, on my couch, knowing how to move forward but not in what direction. I want to work. I want to give something my all. I want (need) money, not a lot but I need to get by. I have energy to work. I have ambition. I have a big box of great stuff, I just don’t know who to give it to! Sometimes I think I know, and I take baby step towards that place, only to retreat and change my mind. Because it’s scary. It’s way easier going back to what you hated, what was familiar. And I’m a big baby in the shape of Lisa Simpson whose main wish is just to go back to doing homework in the system that raised her not to be a free-thinker but be a cute lil’ successful conformist (no matter how 'liberal’ she wanted to come off as).

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Traditional Cappuccino $4.25
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What follows is a list of things I sincerely enjoy and should do more often:

a) shower
b) use deodorant
c) cut nails
d) brush hair
e) moisturize face
f) moisturise upper arms and lower legs
g) put on foundation
h) powder
i) blush
j) brow gel
k) mascara
l) pink lipstick
m) brush teeth (preferably before applying the pink lipstick)
n) use perfume
o) drink a glass of water
p) take necessary pills (allergy, headache, sinus, fever, vitamins (sometimes) - whatever it is that that day requires)
q) put on fresh underwear
r) black jeans
s) soft sweaters
t) same old shoes (the ones with holes in them)
u) huge fluffy jacket
v) huge fluffy scarf
x) pack a bag with notebook, computer, wallet, pens, book
y) leave the house
z) listen to music without vocals (on your walk to a coffee spot or a park or just around the neighborhood or wherever) because sometimes your own voice in your head is enough to overwhelm almost anybody


A Saturday in January

Hey listen. If you told me to read the previous post out loud to you, I’d refuse because it probably doesn’t make sense, and I’d be too embarrassed. I was writing it with an extremely cloudy mind due to hormones and migraines and stress, oh my. But I’m going to keep it there as a reminder of my imperfection. Or something.

I need to recap some saturdays here. Ever since I stopped working, I’ve been off on saturdays which has completely c h a n g e d my life. Who knew you could have two days off together with your loved one instead of just one? Is this how normal people live? Also, how sad is it that I’m AMAZED at the opportunity of spending 2 full days with doing exactly what I want. Is that really the type of life we should be striving for? I want more. I demand more than just 2 days.

Anyway. We spent a saturday in January, the first one we had off together, at the Riley Park’s Farmers Market. It’s one of two farmers markets here in Vancouver that are open year around.

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Loads of food trucks, but also local businesses showcasing honey, cheese, deli meats and exotic teas. You name it. You can do your weekly shopping here, if so inclined. Eggs, vegetables, bread - you know. We bought maple bacon that was To. Die. For. Apart from that, we were mostly just dog spotting.

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Andrew wanted a plain crêpe. Just sugar, no butter, no lemon, no nothing. This dog, a regular, obviously wanted one too. He was confident that his charm would eventually break a kind customer into submission. He was right.

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Dogs deserve anything they want and more. I didn’t end up getting a crêpe; instead I absolutely devoured these Cochinita YVR empanadas from Marimba. They were honestly one of my favourite dishes I’ve ever had here in Vancouver. Just thinking about them makes me hungry - and I just had lunch.

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After lunch and a nice stroll around all the stalls, we decided we weren’t done with the day quite yet. We went to Main Street which is my favourite part of Vancouver (which is lucky considering we live just next to it). First stop was The Fish Counter because Andrew was still hungry! While he doesn’t eat fish, he does enjoy a good chipper.

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A big portion of fries for $4, who can resist? It’s all in the batter. After The Fish Counter we headed to Liberty - a bakery / coffee shop that reminds me very much of a European fika place. I’ve already showed you a picture of Liberty in my recent post, but I’ll just add that they have the best cinnamon + cardamom buns in Vancouver! As Swedish as you can get.

Oh, and this is how I looked like. In case future me is wondering.

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eat, daily, winter, vancouverEmma Carlsson
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