Posts in spring
Not All Days Are Sunny

I’m pretty good at looking up places to go, around Vancouver. I wanna make sure we’re not just visiting the same places over and over again, even though sometimes the familiar is all you want. A mix of both is nice. We have a car, Misty, and she can take us pretty much wherever! So we try to venture outside the home -> work routes on the weekends.

Most of the times I look at Instagram for inspiration, then I save the location on Google Maps. I saw a picture of the Centennial Beach with Mt Baker in the background, it was a beautiful purple and yellow sunset. It looked glorious. So we decided to go there as well. But not all days are sunny.

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Mt Baker is somewhere there, hiding. It wasn’t as beautiful as the picture maybe, but it was something else just as worthy and perfect. Kite surfers and grey skies. If you romanticize regular moments in your day to day life just becomes better, it really does.

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It helps that Andrew usually is around. It honestly doesn’t matter where we are. Yes, I’m throwing a bag of cheese directly at you reader BUT I love him and I love exploring with him.

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I’m trying to be better with allowing pictures of myself to take up space. I don’t want to be like so many women with body dysmorphia before me that have refused to having their pictures taken and shared and therefore erases herself from her own history.

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That’s it. That’s all from this beach day. We’ll be back, the weather might be better, or worse. It really doesn’t matter.

Mount Seymour → Baden Powell Trail → Quarry Rock

On a Saturday during the last weekend of April after working 8 hours alone in an empty office without the lights on, Andrew picked me up with my boots in the car. We drove over the bridge to North Shore, up to Mount Seymour which was empty of people. The hills had some leftover snow but other than that spring had reached the mountain top. On the way down we stopped where Baden Powell Trail crosses Mount Seymour Road. We didn’t really know where we wanted to go, we just wanted to walk where there was no people among tall trees and the perfect shade of greens. Walking in parks in North Vancouver will always be one of my favourite things to do. The forest here is not like anywhere else, it is warm and comforting. It’s spacious without ever being empty of lushiness and sounds. Moss, wildflowers, glacial water running through streams.

Not knowing how far we wanted to go, we decided on a whim to walk all the way down to Quarry Rock. Andrew’s never been before. I went there with my dad, but I took the more popular route via Deep Cove. It was only when we approached Deep Cove area that we saw other people. The rock was filled with people taking afternoon hikes.

On the way back we were alone again. Uphill for 1 hour until we finally reached the car. Afterwards I had forgotten I had even worked that day. And that’s how you should spend every Saturday.

As you can probably see this post has both camera and phone photos.

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Buntzen Lake Trail 5/5/2019

After working four weekends in a row and that week working 6 days in a row with overtime on some of those days the last thing I wanted to do on my 1 day off was to go on a hike. But after a little cry I came to the conclusion myself that perhaps a hike was exactly what I needed. To not get stuck into working, going home, sleeping, working, going home, sleeping.

Me and Andrew have been to Buntzen Lake before and walked part of the trail, but we’ve never been around the whole lake. We went together with his cousin + her boyfriend. It was hot, hotter than I expected. Luckily most of the trail is covered by tall pine trees so there’s tons of shade. We had picnic at the North Beach and dipped our toes in the lake (well, some of us) before we continued on. All in all I think it took about 3 and a half hour, and that includes the picnic break.

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The Battle of Land and Sea

I’ve been having extreme knee and leg ache lately, and in my mind walking on pebbles and rocks helps. The beach helps. So we went to the beach!

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During this precious walk, Andrew proclaimed that he didn’t believe in soul mates; that we, as an example, just met by pure luck. From there on, we tolerated/liked each other enough to stick together for a while. How romantic. He said I’m just as compatible, probably, to random people in India and Norway as I am to him. While that might be true, I refuse to adopt that type of mindset! I’d like to think he’s a soul mate of mine. Even though it was pure chance that I moved to Ireland in 2013, I’d like to think it wasn’t random at all. I’d like to think the universe provides. And maybe he’ll change his cynical mindset too, eventually. Or maybe I’ll agree with him later on, who knows.

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I ended up complaining about billionaires and people’s naivety when it comes to the environment. Lately I’ve been so angry. And I’ve got a complex relationship with anger, so does Andrew. So when either of us are angry, it’s just not ideal. When he’s angry at someone in traffic, or when he drops a glass of water, I cannot relate to the anger at all. For me, it’s completely unnecessary to be angry at those things, things you can’t control. I’d say he feels the exact same way when I get on a mad-rant about politics and injustices. I guess I need to be better at how I’m expressing my anger, because I don’t believe that anger in itself is harmful. It means things move me, it means I’m emotionally connected to my surroundings. But perhaps there are other ways to funnel that anger. Less shouting, and saying words like “I hate” for example.

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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.

From Carrie & Lowell to Illinois

Every spring starts with deaths that, for some reason, I feel like I, personally, could’ve prevented. Which is simply not true. Last year it was Avicii. I was paralyzed by the news, felt so deeply connected to him as a person despite never really being a fan of his music before. Could I have done something different? Could I have been there for him in some way? Of course I couldn’t have, I didn’t know him. But he felt close. Someone my age, from my country, living out what we thought was his dream. But he wasn’t happy. He was sick. And the sickness took over. Universally coded success did not matter.

This spring another beautiful soul Angeliqa Mejstedt, an outdoor/hikefulness blogger from Sweden, took her own life. Angeliqa inspired us to live our best lives, to say no to what’s not bringing you joy and to pay attention to the small things. Always smiling, always advocating for nature and Mother Earth, always rooting for you. To, I’m gonna say, all of us it came as a complete shock that she was suffering from depression so severe she simply could not continue on living. Again I’m filled with the belief that I could’ve done something here, I could have saved her. But I did not know her, I just followed her on social media. We have no way of knowing what actually went on, and I’m not here to speculate. All I can conclude is that mental health is a serious, serious business. And that we can never know someone’s true state of mind simply by following along on their public-persona-journey.

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Sometimes it’s not enough to simply do more of the things that makes us happy. Healing from depression is not eliminating everything that doesn’t spark joy and keep whatever makes you happy. It’s just not as straight forward as a Marie Kondo clean-out. We can be surrounded with friends, family, joyful days and houses and things and trips, and love can be ALL around us but we can still feel lonely. And sad. Sad to the core, where love and joy cannot penetrate. For some of us it’s not as simple as making changes in our day-to-day life, some of us need professional help from doctors. But how do we know, how do we know what category we fall into?

So much of how we’re feeling and who we are can only be discovered in conversations with others. When we get uncomfortable, when we’re doing the things that are difficult and exhausting. Sometimes we have to not choose positivity, we have to dig deep into the pile of shit that is our thoughts. We have to do things that are really, really painful. People help, conversations help. But only if you open the door to them. Which is a battle in itself. A battle that’s hard to imagine if you haven’t been there yourself. It’s a “if you know, you know” type of scenario.

It’s hard to ask for help while thinking you’re being demanding; a hard-to-deal-with kind of person. Because people want you to be happy, and people have an idea of what happy means, so they think they know how to make you happy. It’s easy for them, do x, y and z. It’s hard to ask for help because sometimes it means to ask someone to be there for moments in complete darkness and not just for party that occurs when you reach the surface.

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Lately I’ve been feeling really low. I’ve been listening obsessively to Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens, and death has consumed me. Death of people I don’t know, the imaginable death of people I know and love and death of the planet. As beautiful as Carrie & Lowell as an album is, it’s an album about death. I realize this might not be the best type of music to consume when you’re already feeling down. But sometimes it’s necessary to lay down in the hole you dug yourself, to stay there for a while. To realize it’s not too bad, not if you only stay for a little while. Eventually you reach a point where you have to reach out, you have to ask for help. And when you reach that point, please please call on someone. Please let someone know. It’s hard, sometimes impossible, to get up on your own. You don’t (and won’t be able to) have to fix everything that’s wrong there and then, just ask for someone to listen.

Eventually after days of rain the sun will come out. I promise. It won’t stay forever, but life is complex and multi-dimensional. Just as it wont be all sunshine and rainbows, it doesn’t have to be all overcast and cold winds either. Let’s just help each other to battle both conditions.

One day you’ll put on Chicago from the Illinois album where Sufjan sings that all things go. He fell in love again, all things go. There is light somewhere out there, seek it.

The End Of All Ends
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Someone asked me the other day what my goals are; for life, in general. In the grand scheme of things, what do I dream of?

And I dream of so much. I have visions on top of visions, 76 goals at all times. I dream of a cottage. Of forests. Of lakes. Of pine needles and camp fires. I dream of having a garden, with big crowns of lettuce and potatoes. A green house with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Of keeping bees, goats, donkeys, 20 dogs and 2 cats. A big fat horse, that will take me around fields of wild flowers. I dream of having kids, to teach them about everything. Teach them about space and love,and how to be an active participant in society, how to cry and how to make someone smile. I dream of creating something I’m proud of. Releasing it to the world and to have people saying how proud they are of me. How beautiful it is. I’ll say “thank you!” instead of" “oh it’s nothing”. I dream of celebrating a lot; both celebrating my own life but also others.

I dream of meaning something to more people. Or mean more, but to a few. I dream of becoming someone people can trust, that they feel safe around. Someone who people cry to, someone that people go to when they need help. Or wanting a meal and a night in. I dream of going to the north and south and east and west. But intentionally, not just weekends here and there. I dream of really being where I am. At all times.

But that’s not what my reply was, of course. I replied that it doesn’t matter; that earth is doomed to be destroyed so what’s the point in having life goals. It was over a drink, so it wasn’t that serious. But the fear is real; I’m so anxious all the time that those dreams of mine won’t mean anything because we’re ruining our planet. And I tell myself I’m not allowed to be mad at others, because I’m not perfect myself.

But it’s not about being perfect. It’s about being an active participant in society; it’s about taking responsibility, to make the earth a better place. Even if it only improves a tiny, tiny, tiny bit. It’s still important, it’s still worth it. So I need to do better. That’s my goal. I need to write about it more. I refuse to stand at the end of all ends and have regrets; thinking I didn’t do enough. I didn’t even try. To know that I only had fear and anxiety, and left it at that. That I sat inside, trying to hide from the danger. To believe it would magically disappear by itself like in a fairytale.

Anyway. Spring has come to Vancouver, I have so much to talk about. The sweet smell of flowers and trees makes me hungry and full at the same time. I could eat you up, I love you so.

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Week 12 Moments

Surely week 12 of the year 2019 marked the proper beginning of spring. Light jackets, birds singing, sunsets to-die-for (light coming in through the blinds), spring flowers and allergies. Allergies and a head cold from hell.

After announcing at work that I never get sick and would love to have a “sick day” I was doomed to get a nasty cold! Monday and Tuesday was spent at home, not doing much. Watching tv and baking banana bread. Trying to breathe.

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The super moon came and went. On Wednesday morning as I walked to the bus, ready to start work again, I saw a glimpse of her before she went down behind the trees and I got chills. For 2 seconds. This picture below was not of that moment.

Am I the only one that rarely document exact moments of joy? Because when I’m in them, those moments, I forget. It’s only later when I’m out and about reflecting that I will stop and take a moment to document something that, sort of, resembles that moment.

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On Friday I got off at 14.30. Afterwards I went home, scrubbed dishes and cleaned even though I felt like dying (still sick). Later on I took the bus + train to meet Andrew outside his work. We bought a new room spray, had dinner and then went to see Us - which was so, so good.

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On Saturday I met my friend Keith who just moved here from Ireland. We shared pitchers and ate pasta as we updated each other of this and that. It was the first time this spring that I could sit outside in the sunshine and I was ecstatic. Oh the joys! Of course, I didn’t take a single picture of our dinner. I only took photos on the way to and from that moment.

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On the way home that Saturday I jumped off the bus early and walked through Queen Elizabeth Park home. It was the perfect temperature, the perfect sunset, the perfect amount of people in the park (only a couple at a distance from me), I was listening to the perfect early-spring-evening-album (Blue by Joni Mitchell) and everything was just. Delightful.

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Sunday was spent dragging Andrew around Canadian Tire looking for a portable BBQs and buying a new table cloth for our living room and cleaning. I love our home. I prepared a bath for Andrew, I lit all our candles and I had a gin and tonic before we made a pork roast dinner and cuddled up on the couch.

And that was the end of that. Hi spring, you are so, so welcomed. Allergies and all.

Dream Nineteen Q2

There’s a popular blog post format doing the rounds in Sweden at the moment. By “at the moment”, I mean it did do the rounds a couple of weeks ago. Since then I thought I’d try to write up my own version of it. Basically, a blog post that describes how 2019 would look like if it was completely up to me. A dream scenario, yet have it be realistic enough that it doesn’t seem out of reach.

I tried writing up my dreams for the full year, but I only got till June. For me it was tough and stressful to dream up plans. I wanted to make them real! I wanted to schedule them in! “At what time exactly are we having that dreamy coffee?” It’s the virgo in me.

The dream-plans ended up being too realistic I think. I couldn’t dream of a better world, because I prefer to make plans in the world we have.

Anyway. I thought I shared my visions/plans/dreams for Q2 of 2019. This is what I came up with:

April:

There are cherry blossoms everywhere. After work, I take trips to document all the glorious streets where the pink trees are taking over. We visit The Big Picnic, Cherry Jam Downtown, Fraser Valley Food Truck Festival and Spring Lights Festival. I go to Tangram for coffee and Sakura ice cream. I swing by my old job at the pet store to say hi to dogs and familiar faces. During Easter, I invite some people over for an Easter dinner. I enjoy Swedish candy that dad sent over in an Easter egg (dad, if you’re reading this, send an egg!).

Oh, and we’ll spend time with Andrew’s cousin and auntie who are both here visiting his other cousin who already lives here - maybe we’ll have brunch at the french cafe down on Fraser. We get our tax refund and it turns out to be way more than we ever could’ve imagined! We spend it all on eating out.

All of a sudden, after a tough winter, I have so much energy. I walk everywhere and clean the house thoroughly every single day. I go to the doctor for beta-blockers and I don’t have a single migraine. Oh, and for some mysterious reasons all my spring-allergies are gone! I breathe in the smell of new cut grass and green leaf trees waking up to bask in the sunshine. I sleep 9 hours a day, I eat prepared lunches almost every day and I manage to repay all my debts.

Oh, and I finally cut a fringe. Imagine that?!

May:

Pre-summer at its finest. We buy a small portable barbeque, which will be our most precious possession during summer 2019. We not only bbq at home, we have our first bbq at the beach! Everyone’s at the beach nowadays. We go there after work some days just to watch dogs run. We read, plan, film. We have margarita and nachos at Sal y Limón. Maybe we’ll dare to try Los Cuervos Taqueria & Cantina too. We take walks down by the water around Yale Town. We have picnics in parks watching people play sports.

We visit Abbotsford Tulip Festival. At the end of the month Andrew leaves for Ireland for almost two weeks. I cry, and cry, and cry, and cry. I spend those days reading loads of books, trying not to miss him too much. Trying not to miss my own home country too much.

This month we celebrate our five year anniversary as well! We find the perfect place to have dinner. We dress up in our very best clothes. We take a picture of us down by the ocean.

june:

Andrew’s gone for the first week of june. We all know how I feel about it. I’m a needy girlfriend, what can I say?! When he’s back though, we enjoy Main Street Car Free Day and farmers markets and beach days and park days and Midsummer celebration. We drive up to Squamish to find small lakes to swim in. The water’s cold. We finally go to Richmond Night Market and maybe even the Shipyard Night Market.

Andrew turns 30 at the end of the month; he’ll be gone for work in Victoria. We celebrate both before and after. I’ll join him on Vancouver Island in the beginning of July, and we have some dreamy days on the Island just shooting footage of waves and tall trees. We pretend it’s Hawaii, because that’s really where he wanted to go. I hope and pray he’s happy with this, here, with me, our life. He tells me he is, that this is everything he ever wants from life.