My family moved to a new house recently, after staying in our previous home for nearly 13 years. I was having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around this significant change, particularly due to its being plunked right in the midst of many other changes happening simultaneously.

Up until the move, I had been telling myself that the thing to focus on was that no matter where we lived, home would be where we as a family were situated. However, this was more difficult to do than I anticipated when I was faced with the final moments I would spend in the house. I think this would be difficult in any time of my life, but this particular time came with a handful of difficult reminders: The move was prompted by a death that was coupled by another and very unexpected death; I would soon be moving back to UBC into a new role after graduating; a few really important people won’t be at UBC with me; I only have another year of clear plans in place.

I sought comfort and closure with my camera by taking photographs of the empty spaces and surroundings in and around my old home – then I drove away. I’ve got emotions flowing with gusto most moments of my days, and this day was a particularly strong example of this. The weight of the reminders of other life changes was heavy in the back of my mind.

Sentiments constrict my composure sometimes and leave me like an emotional glob, responding to any reminders of my emotions with a flood of them. I tend to experience intense and deep periods of emotion that leave me a little emotionally “dry” when one of these periods passes; it can be tiring to go from so high to so low frequently.

Despite the exhaustion, it is a kind of sickening comfort in spiralling within those low moments – I honour my emotions and those of others, but I recognize for me that I will not be okay if I don’t recognize that I must challenge those lows that debilitate me. I have to reflect on the ways that I can occupy my thoughts without denying myself those feelings. They are and will be with me, but I cannot let life stop whenever they make themselves known.

Too much free time this summer has probably made it more difficult to do this, but when things start up in August, I must make myself accountable to my responsibilities and those I work and spend time with, and I must be accountable to me in order to appreciate all that I have and can work towards. If I value these past experiences so much that weigh so heavily on me, how can I allow myself to sacrifice future experiences because I am longing for familiarity and fond memories? I can’t, because that contradicts my values.

Moving has been a very in-my-face reminder of a multitude of changes, but I have seen how it happened and in a way became normal without my notice – by going through the motions and focusing on what is in front of me and my family, we are finding ways to establish a new familiar or new ways of approaching the unfamiliar. This will need to be how I approach the upcoming changes that will certainly be challenges at time; as things that must be faced head-on and invested fully in in order to be appreciated and transformed into new fond memories.

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#PembyFest: The Ressurrection

Two weekends ago, I had the exciting experience of being an attendee at the comeback-year for the Pemberton Music Festival! My first music festival experience.

While I missed almost the entire opening night’s lineup of artists (including Nine Inch Nails and Cage the Elephant), I was able to catch some serious bass at Bass Camp stage, and get my groove on into the wee hours of the morning within an hour of arriving to the festival grounds.

Come the next morning, the cycle of…

Find food > Walk around > Listen to a new artist > Find an already-loved artist > Find lunch > Nap > Prepare for evening festivities > Find dinner > Dance dance dance dance > Sleep

… began! The weather also had a cycle of rain, heat, silly wind and clouds going on that kept things cool and interesting. 

 We explored vendors (selling a variety of goods from fair-wage Thai-made clothing to bannock) and took in the beautiful scenery that exists in that part of the world.

I think what made this particular event extra-special was that I was able to enjoy it with a large part of my family being there – swinging around a corner every couple of hours to find a friend or relative made it fun and comfortable to take everything in.

Delta Rae performing for a crowd of new (and loving) fans!

The Pemberton balloons that seem to become
lunar come nightfall.

The daisy that I would like to grace my future
home’s yard.
I was able to see a multitude of artists,
some notable ones included…
Delta Rae
Snoop Dogg (oh boy)
Modest Mouse
Chance the Rapper (fun!)
Hey Rosetta!
Randy Newman
Matthew Good
Frank Ocean (ahh)

There was, of course, food to be explored – I think that my favourite item to be found was the deep-fried-avocado taco (referred to as “The Green Bastard”). Holy guacamole, was that texture and taste soooooooo good.

Besides the scenery, the people speckled throughout the grounds always served for fun entertainment or friendly company (or impressive athletic feat inspiration).

I should note that she was doing leg presses with
him balanced like that – no support!

A mini Snoop Dog fan enjoying the show with Dad!

The last night was fun – the atmosphere seemed to have a tangible feeling of building momentum, as it was very quiet and calm leading up to 6PM. Slowly, though, crowds began to gather as a few notable names (Modest Mouse, for example) hit the stages – then darkness descended…

… and with it came Outkast (with, which them, came topless women, clouds of smoke, and a lot of jumping)…

These people seemed to come out of nowhere!

Animated faces decorated the trees, while a light show
was displayed on the mountains behind us.

 … and then Frank Ocean! What a sweet-seeming fellow with a wonderful voice.

By Monday, we vouched for leaving early and finding breakfast along the way – and we found a lovely road-side diner through Whistler! Many vegetarian options to be chosen from, and it was good.

All-in-all, a very enjoyable weekend with good people, music, and memories made.

Catching Up

The last month has been full of family, travel, work and, of course, food. Where to begin?

Summer sunsets.

Belated birthday outings, featuring friendship with
a side of veggie burgers and vegetable chips.

Canada Day relaxation.
A necessary 3AM trip to The Naam.
Drive-in dates!
Summer time BBQs of veggie
dogs and tofu kabobs!
Mischievous kittens.

Birthday sushi fun times!
Riverside chats.
Young entrepreneurial-themed discussions over
newly-discovered (and huge) vegan breakfast dishes. 

In the last month, I have knocked a few items off of my spring/summer to-do list:

  • A new healthy food routine: I’ve gone devotedly into one of my favourite snacks – green smoothies – with new recipes from Simple Green Smoothies! The recipes are delicious and refreshing and give me a little cleansing boost in my days.
  • Attended my 3rd Calgary Stampede and did some serious two-stepping.
  • Consistently spent at least one hour per day outside – power walks with mi madre are almost essential in ensuring that this happens, while simultaneously offering good exercise!
  • I tried out a new exercise regimen for one month, courtesy of the kind-hearted Sophie Gray and her Plyo Madness eBook (only $10!). It was intense and included 3 rest days per week and made me (especially my legs) feel tight and lean by the program’s end.
I also started to read a new book (Gone Girl, for anyone who is curious), and am currently making my way through a philosophy book I bought in Portland that critically examines different aspects of sexual practices in college (from the “walk of shame” concept, to the act of gay/lesbian individuals experimenting with opposite-sex encounters).

Additionally, I have expanded my résumé further: This summer, I have been both a baking intern at Vegan Vices, as well as more recently a host at Nuba! For anyone who is in this city and is not yet familiar with Nuba’s Lebanese cuisine – I can assure you, you will find something that you like, and the prices and service and taste will keep you coming back for more. It is very exciting to have been employed at a restaurant that I so dearly advocate for as a customer, especially a veg*n customer!

While I have not yet exercised my world-wide legality since my birthday, I enjoyed a relaxing day at home with my family and have used one gift received as inspiration to take up hats as a new wardrobe element.

The weekend before last, I partook in my first music festival! The Pemberton Music Festival was resurrected this year, and it was exciting to be there with my whole family and see such an array of talent and individuals all in one place over the span of a few days. More photos from that event will be posted following this.

Overall, the last month has been good to me. I can feel both the strength of the summer season and the imminent autumn, bringing with it my standard crazy year with some new twists. There is barely 3 weeks until I begin my residence advisor training, and from there it will only become more interesting as the school year rolls into effect, I’m sure.

More details and thoughts to come…

Spring: The First Few Weeks

The last week has been fun!

And full of food adventures.

Since my first day at work, just over a week ago, I have declined two job interviews on account of being unable to commit to the hours of the position if it were offered to me, I attended a day of rodeo fun, and I got my ‘Wack fix!

Before I continue, I will provide some photographic updates of my food adventures in the first week or so of being off school…

Strawberry-infused H2O.

A delicious salad from Town Hall.

Mom’s vegan casserole!

Mom’s eggy breakfast with Daiya
cheese and veggies for me!

Vegetarian “chicken” fillet with
mushroom gravy and yummyness.

This is Abby Cadabby, she has been my amiga through most mornings and evenings at home! She carries my tea.
Cyrina’s first experience at The Naam –
Thai Dragon Bowl-style.
Mother’s Day – SUSHI!

Making copious amounts of juice with MZ and G!

The weeks have progressed with some much-needed friend visits (more are needed, though), a great deal of catching up on TV shows, missing my fella’, going on a few adventures and touring friends around my home turf…

The uncertainty of the future with my current job is somewhat exciting, despite the fact that it is a bit unnerving. I think it will involve many learning curves and a lot of delicious baking – that sounds like a good deal to me either way…

The flexibility also gives the the chance to explore my summer opportunities a bit more! I can go on little trips, get in my friend and family time, and establish my incoming-residence-advisor presence at school over the summer (at go to Summer Community Eats). 

All-in-all, things are going well and while I’ve turned away from a couple of different opportunities, I am also going into one that is very interesting and full of nice company and yummy treats! I am also content with my decision to stay at home, as it has been very rejuvenating to be here.

More photo updates will come (along with some stories, I hope!) following a trip to see m’boy and to explore Seattle and Portland with G! This hasn’t been a very in-depth update, but it has been more of a time to be laid-back and to take it easy than to do too much in-depth exploration and thinking.

Looking Forward: The next 4 months.

The next four months: a time I both welcome and fear.

For the most part, I believe that I will enjoy the next four months – the weather will (hopefully) be summery and show signs of life blossoming everywhere, energies will be high, and a reprieve from school will be mine. However, he is going to be back at home, and visits will once again become once-every-few-weeks sort of occurrences; I do not know what job I will be holding (I would really rather not return to my old safety net and have chosen to search elsewhere). 

1. Weather.
– Get all the Vitamin D!
– Wake up by natural light streaming in early through my window.
– Be rid of the chills by simply laying down for 30 seconds outside.
– Rain is exciting and rejuvenating and makes me happy for the plants.
2. School reprieve.
– I love school, but my body feels the strain of spending too many hours ‘loving’ it.
– Social life, work life, and other ‘lives’ become independent of one another. 
– Must come up with a schedule of my own when work is not in the picture.
3. Absence.
– Visits will be the most exciting of times.
– Alas, my heart shall ache often and yearn for its partner in crime. 
4. Employment. 
– Where have I applied? Let us take a look: Chocolate cafes, healthy living cafes, jobs with the city in event planning, program coordinator, communications assistant, internship with local produce delivery company, summer camp counsellor, restaurants.
– Where might I apply? Let us take a look: Favourite UBC-local cafes, restaurants, healthy living themed shops.
– During the school months, I miss work! I miss that income and sense of having done a job well and making others satisfied through my service. Next year I suppose a great deal of my involvements will revolve around a sort of employment – even if it isn’t a regular paycheque like those I would receive during off-school months.
– I want to try something new; I’ve had good times with my ol’ pal Safeway, but I’d like to feel challenged in what I do this summer.

I expect excitement, friendship revival (for which I’m very excited), painful yearning, lots of family time, and hopefully a bit of travel this summer. It would be my wish to feel that I’ve grown a bit more, learned a few new things, and seen one or two new places. Many photos should be taken, and perhaps even a new friendship is to be made!

ABCs of: Denim, Easter, Food

The day of near denim overdose.

(See how I continued the “ABCs” with the words in my title?)

There is little to update anyone on during this frustratingly lengthy exam break (12 days between my first exam and my last two exams on the same day), but I thought it would be a nice time to throw down some photos and muse over things.

My last exam was welcomed, as I had a 9-day break between that and the last day of classes – and as it is a difficult course for my arts student background (Brain and Behaviour Psychology), I was very pleased with how it went! I finished in less than an hour and was given chocolate-covered almonds at the end. 🙂 

Following this exam’s (and course’s, I suppose…) completion, I began about 36 hours of intensive resume-depositing and driving between school, home, the ‘Wack, and back! It was really nice to just kick back in the ‘Wack after all of the driving and make some veggie meatloaf with my daddy-o while watching movies. 

Father-daughter camera dates!
The most delicious of unmeatloaves.

After a too-brief but rejuvenating visit with mi padre, I ventured back out to UBC and put in some more study hours in preparation for a busy Easter Sunday back at home. 
Thus far, the study schedule I have devised has worked exceptionally well for being so simply-structured, so I’ve been on track for everything so far! I sense that I will be well-prepared for my favourite class and that I will make it through my least favourite.

Ah, dinner – one of the most magical moments to capture (not really, but it is a moment that can elicit salivation over and over, which is kind of magical, right?)! I tried a vegan “imitation ham” which added
some fun texture to dinner, and with the help of gravy and everything else on the plate, dinner was both filling and delectable.

Not a couple to let food fall by the wayside, he and I decided to celebrate 20 months of togetherness with a trip to The Reef for a Caribbean lunch! Plaintain chips, jerk tofu, Johnny cakes…. I still haven’t tried one of their coconut cocktails yet, but I think when that day comes, it will take the Reef to a whole-new level!

Hopefully, more exciting and interesting adventures will arise in the week still left before my next exam takes place. In the meantime, I will continue to hunt for a summer employer, contemplate what courses I will take next year, and try to pack up some of the belongings in my dorm room to prepare for moving out in just over a week. 

Vacation seems both too far and too near at the same time.

Spring is in the air! Plus a new dining discovery.

All of my body’s sensory systems are being bombarded by signs of Spring:
– Fully and pink cherry blossoms
– The smell of food wafting from open patios at restaurants
– Seasonally-appropriate Refreshers from Starbucks
– Slipping into Toms every day
– Tired and heavy footsteps during outdoor jogs

 I am struggling to determine if the end of classes (a) was perfectly-timed with the beautiful weather or (b) liberated my mind and allowed me to fully embrace the impending season and all of its glory – either way, it has been lovely.

21 years of life – completed by MM!
We enjoy mason jars over the
traditional glassware.

Block Party/MM’s birthday was fun this year! Many friends, amazing weather, and lots of dancing – followed by vegan s’mores on the beach (highly recommended). 

Post-Block Party consisted of more birthday celebrations! And the beginning of studying. While the weather does not seem conducive to studying, it does lift my spirits and has served as inspiration to earn my time outside! Following an afternoon of studying, I had a nap to prepare to socialize more at The Afghan Horseman – a new dining discovery with delicious food! I had the Vegan Plate from their Vegetarian Dishes (pictured above), and zombied my way through dinner before collapsing into bed later that evening.

The following day, GD and I moseyed down to experience The Juice Truck for the first time! This is something I’ve wanted to do since stumbling across their Instagram account. After sharing two very fulfilling smoothies, we grabbed some free ice cream from Leonidas at Waterfront (a Hot Chocolate Festival location!) for wishing one of their employees a happy birthday.
After all of these birthday and food-related events… We had another birthday AND food-related event! On JS’s birthday, and to celebrate a triple-birthday week, I attended a birthday dessert potluck. Wu-Wu and I supplied healthy, vegan chocolate chip cookie muffins! Topped with coconut whipped cream and blueberries, we feel that they were definitely a baking success (thanks Chocolate-Covered Katie for the recipe!).

Before further birthday celebrations continued the following day, I celebrated a belated National Grilled Cheese Day by making vegan grilled cheese (Daiya cheese) and homemade soup with GD, as we had neglected so far to eat dinner. 

Finally, to cap off this entry, the sister and her fellow came over for dinner! We made vegetarian stir fry with a special sweet and sour “pork” recipe from the Calgary Farmer’s Market, alongside some homemade mango guacamole supplied by our guests. It was a good birthday dinner for GD and a good day overall!

Now I am delving into studying before my 12-day exam break, where I hope to have more adventures that I can document and write about – until then…

UBC REC full-team selfie!