British Columbia… how I've missed that place. It was an amazing trip, I'm so glad I finally decided to go. I'm back in my little loft now with the air conditioning cranked. I can't believe the heat wave we're having in Ontario! In BC the temperature never rose more than 20 degrees Celsius if we were lucky. And most of the days were cloudy… but I'm not complaining.
I took a red eye home yesterday, so I left Vancouver at 10:30pm their time and didn't get to Toronto until 7am our time. I didn't sleep a wink because airplanes scare the crap out of me, so yesterday was a complete write-off. I meant to get right into work and this blog, but I was so tired that my eyes were perma-unfocused and my body felt like it weighed over 500lbs. 20 hours of sleep later, I'm good to go… almost. I still feel drowsy but it's manageable.
I wanted to give a brief re-cap of my trip and show you some photos… I didn't bring my good camera because I was afraid of breaking it, but the D90 and kit lens did a decent job! Hope you enjoy. :)
Day One: I arrived in Vancouver at 12:30pm their time. My friend Leah Farrell was at the baggage carousal waiting for me, which was so exciting. I love Leah. After exchanging hugs and hellos and all that good stuff, we waited for my luggage to show up… and waited… and waited. It never came- which would have been a more terrible experience if it hadn't been for the hilarious Air Canada baggage guys that helped us. They somehow made losing my stuff almost… enjoyable. So thank you, strangers! Customer service truly is everything.
With nothing but my purse and camera, Leah and I headed to this cool little restaurant called Tomahawk in North Vancouver. Where we got free indian headdresses! Which we decided to wear for the rest of the day- until it got awkward and we took them off.
Next we went to Lynn Canyon Park. The forests in this province are absolutely incredible. We don't get stuff like this in Ontario. If you needed a definition for enchanting, the BC forests would be it. Tall trees, taller than any I have ever seen. And millions of shades of green. Crystal blue water flows through rivers which begin deep within the mountains, and the air is fresh and cool. It's heaven. Especially on a hot day.
Later that evening Leah and I drove back to her home in Maple Ridge where I freshened up and got ready to go to Tuesday night youth (The Revolution Movement) with Leah (where she works as an intern).
Before I go any further, I'm sure most of my readers know my views on church… I've had too many bad experiences with them to want to be involved with religion again. (Here's the blog on that if you want the full story.) However, seeing Leah, the other interns, the youth pastor, and the youth themselves behave that night gave me hope for the next generation of christians. It was just so genuine. Everybody was friendly and welcoming and happy. Nothing weird was going on… no fake seizures, no yelling out in made-up languages, no pretending they were farm animals or that they were "drunk in the spirit" (trust me, I've seen it all.) Just a normal group of people who were authentically excited about God and sharing His love with others. So refreshing to see this type of church can still exist.
Also, I should mention that their band is awesome. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of talent that people have over there.
Afterwards Leah drove me to Langley where I was staying with my incredible friend Sarah Erhardt for a few days.
Day Two: Sarah and I decided to take the sky train to Vancouver for the day. So much cheaper and easier than driving. We need a sky train in Bruce County… I'm thinking of calling up the township on that one. Anyways, we explored the shops on Robson Street for a good part of the day, eventually wandering down to the ocean front. So many memories of summers past happened here. It was good to be back.
Nadine Schroeder picked Sarah and I up and took us to Granville Island (COOLEST PLACE EVER! Hadn't been there since grade eight. For those of you who don't know, it's an artsy village built under a massive freeway bridge). We had dinner at Cats Social House, which was super trendy and made delicious food. I had nachos. They were amazing.
Later the three of us walked around the island and took pictures of ourselves.
And we found bird feet. Literally, ripped off the body bird feet.
And we found bird feet. Literally, ripped off the body bird feet.
Day Three: I went to Abbotsford to see my grandma Holda. Who isn't really my grandma at all, but my family just calls her that ever since she was my dad's choir teacher back when he was in bible college out there. Holda is incredible. She's in her 70s, but by her personality you'd think she was a 25 year old. Love her.
She's very social, always attending events and parties and travelling the world with friends. So of course, the first thing we did when I arrived was go to a classical music recital where she was the first music teacher of the two performers. Talent, I tell you. Maybe not my style of music, but extremely talented nonetheless.
Afterwards we had a wonderful meal on the patio of her condo with one of her friends, and then the two of us headed up the mountains to Stillwood Camp to pick up my sister, Mariah, and Ben for the weekend. (The three of them are from Ontario, and the camp gives them weekends off from work so they need a place to stay. Holda, being the amazing person she is, loves hosting that crazy trio.)
Stillwood. I spent two summers working there, and I can honestly say it was the best two summers of my life. The people (who if you haven't figured it out by now, are the same people I was visiting on this trip) are unbelievable. Some of the best I have ever met. And the camp itself is so great. Located up in the mountains, overlooking a glacier lake, surrounded by the forest… man I miss it.
Time moves on though, and eventually reality takes over. I'm getting married, and need to earn money. But I'm so happy that my sister and her friends are there now, experiencing it. It's a life-changing, magical place… I can't even begin to tell you.
Leah, Ben, Mariah, and I spent the night at a Betty Suderman's gorgeous house- who is a world renowned pianist. Mariah and I shared a bed, and talked late into the night about Stillwood. A perfect way to end the day.
Day Four: Betty made us a delicious breakfast of home-made granola, vanilla yoghurt, fruit salad, scones and fresh jam. We spent over an hour talking about our ancestors and sharing travel stories. Betty has been all over the world. Someone needs to write a book about this woman.
Lunch was at Holda's, where she and Leah made rollkuchen and watermelon. YAY for being from a russian-mennonite heritage and having the best food ever in our repertoires.
Sarah picked me up in the afternoon, and we headed back to Vancouver with her boyfriend, Lee and his roommate, Justin for a hike in Deep Cove. So fun! It was foggy, and I literally felt like I was in Twilight. Later that evening we had a bonfire, and a thunderstorm rolled in. British Columbia rarely gets thunderstorms, so it was quite hilarious to see everyone react to it.
Day Five: Lee, Sarah and I went to Lee's parents' church to hear his dad give the sermon. Afterwards Sarah and I met up with Katie Garcia and the three of us spent the day in White Rock. The tide was out so we walked far out on the ocean floor. I got bit by a sneaky little crab on the finger and foot. Or pinched? I couldn't tell, but it hurt like heck. We spent some time shopping in the quaint little stores along the main street, and eventually headed back to Langley, where I packed my belongings and went to Maple Ridge to spend a few days with Leah.
Day Six: Before I begin, I just wanted to say that the night before, Leah and I watched the second Narnia. For the ones who have seen that movie, do you remember the part where they're in the cave sanctuary thing and all of a sudden that bear/wolf/wolfman and old lady/crow come out? WHAT THE FRIG?! That was honestly the most terrifying thing I have seen in my whole life. I'm still having nightmares. Like, what happens if a kid saw that? They'd need therapy?
Anyways… Leah and I went to Bellingham, Washington on this day, and I found my favourite store of all time. It's called The Buffalo Exchange, and basically it's a thrift store where you can exchange your old clothes for even cooler ones. Or you can just buy them, which is what I did. I went nuts…
Then we drove up to a look-out on the ocean and watched the ships sail. Eventually we started to miss Canada and headed home, where we made the best goat cheese salad I've ever had.
As the sun was setting, Leah and I met Sarah and drove up a mountain where you can see the lower mainland. The goal was to go while it was still light out so the trail wouldn't be sketchy. Unfortunately, it took us about an hour to find the trail head, so by the time we got there it was dark. We decided to hike it anyways, but by halfway up we were so scared of wild cougars and Robert Pickton that we chickened out and settled for the lower look-out. Which was still really pretty, even though my photos suck.
Afterwards we went to Boston Pizza where Leah ordered a hot water and a cold water (haha, I love it) and we split a chocolate cake and goat cheese with bruchetta dip. I also filmed a video of their infamous BC accent which I claim everyone has but no one else believes me. (I'm serious though, instead of saying camp or spandex they say "cahmp" and "spahndex." It's reeealll!) I'd show the video if I could figure out how to post it on here.
Day Seven: Leah and I explored the quaint little town of Fort Langley, and had a chicken & guacamole sandwich at Porter's. Then we went to the Langley location of the Revolution youth group to set up for that evening's service. After we were finished, Sarah met us at the church and we drove to the location where they filmed Bella's house in Twilight. Too bad they brought the house with them after they were done. Oh well.
We went back to the church and a friend of mine, Brendan Kwiatkowski met us there. Sarah, Brendan and I got slurpees (Sarah's addiction) and caught up on life while creepily hanging out at a high school football team's practice. (It was the only place that had a decent place to sit!)
Revolution followed, and again I was blown away by the authenticity of it all. I also got to meet my photography idol who attends Rev, Jamie Delaine, who is SO nice and absolutely gorgeous!
After saying goodbye to Sarah and her family later that evening, Leah and I went back to Maple Ridge and gorged ourselves on ice cream, cupcakes, grilled cheese sandwiches and One Tree Hill.
Day Eight: My last day. Leah and I drove to Vancouver and met up with Nadine. We then proceeded to explore every thrift and vintage store the city had to offer. I bought a pretty black dress, feather earrings and a delicate perfume. And then Nadine had to go, which was sad. I love you Nadine.
Leah's indie sister recommended we go to The Foundation for dinner. Little did we know how truly hipster that place would be. We had no idea what we were ordering… we thought we ordered sweet potato fries, we ended up with orange mush on a plate. We though we ordered linguine, we ended up with a bowl of green, nutty substance. It was good though! I liked how our water came in Mason jars. And how all the waiters were wearing ripped jeans and cropped Harley Davidson tank tops with toques. Tres interessent.
But, being the junk eaters that we are, we needed to go to McDonald's and get McFlurries to satisfy our stomachs after all that health food. Win.
Finally, as the sun started setting, Leah drove me to the airport. Saying goodbye sucks. It's one of my least favourite things to do, and I have a bad habit of just running away from the whole situation all together. I'm working on it though! And I think I did pretty well on this trip.
After Leah was gone I sat at my gate and listened to depressing music on my iPod. At 10pm I boarded the jet, and flew all through the night back to Ontario… still listening to depressing music, because I'm melodramatic like that.
So that's it! To everyone out there that I saw, it was lovely to see you again. And I'm determined not to wait three years before we're reunited.
PS. Come visit me in Ontario. I'd love to show off all of our non-mountains and non-oceans to you.