Thursday, December 14, 2017

some kind of resolution

so if you don't follow along with me on the ol' social media machine - click click - you may have missed the fact that i was just in my former home of vancouver for five days!

even though i haven't been blogging lately, it's true, it was a bit of a spontaneous decision brought about by a number of factors coming together: rammstein announced that they're not touring until 2019, which freed up a bunch of my savings for fun travel; westjet had a black friday sale so i got a cheaper return flight than i'd ever gotten; i was long overdue (eight years!) to see my old west coast friends.

plus, come on - i'm not great with air travel but i knew i needed to get over that anxiety. it had been five years since i'd set foot on an airplane, and that was long enough, thanks. (i'm looking to do some work travel next year, so it's smart to start getting used to flying again) time to buck up and face my fears.

and: fears were faced! honestly, as i always realized afterward, it's never so bad as i think it's going to be. (though yeah, the multiple glasses of red helped.) and from there, i landed in incredibly foggy vancouver, back to the place i'd once run away to.

i was staying at the cambie hostel right downtown, mostly because 1) it was dirt cheap ($168 for five nights!) and 2) i thought it'd be a riot to stay above the cheapass bar i used to get tanked at all the time, and it worked out fine for me - i only ever need a convenient place to shower and sleep, after all. plus, the cambie is right down in gastown, a very lovely neighbourhood with some fine architecture:

but when i got in to vancouver proper, i was pretty geographically lost due to plenty of new buildings (who'd have thought infrastructure could change in eight years, right?), though i still managed to get around fine after the first day - when i lived in van, i spent most of my free time wandering the city while listening to music, and my muscle memory is very good for remembering my way around cities. it was still a bit jarring to see how different everything is now post-olympics - i hadn't been to the city since 2009, after all - but at least the new skytrain stuff was super convenient.

over the course of the weekend, i went back to my old neighbourhoods - kits, north van, the cafe i managed at west hastings & burrard - and did a hell of a lot of walking, as per usual. also managed to pack in a couple of local delicacies - the coffee (my favourite in canada) and donut (i got a peanut butter & jelly donut which, as you can see, was the size of a plate) combo at 49th parallel:

and the glorious terimayo japadog, which i'd always wanted to try but couldn't when i lived in vancouver because i was a vegetarian then (dumb idea, i know):

not to mention a wonderful dinner of curry and cocktails with my west-coast sister melissa:

Curry overload

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Red lips sink ships

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plus - plus! - i was lucky enough to be in vancouver during a weekend when an eccw show was happening, which means i got to experience indy wrestling west-coast style:

it's true, i find the wrestling wherever i go.

another bit of good timing was in the city while the vancouver christmas market was going on, and old toronto pal katy (who now lives in port moody) and i headed off to see the sights:


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and take in the view from the olympic cauldron:

(that there is north vancouver, where i first lived when i moved out west in 2007. i have bleary memories of getting up at 6:30 a.m. to catch the 7 a.m. seabus to the mainland for work, eating energy bars and trying not to fall asleep along with all the other early-work zombies.)

cap that off with plenty of wine and pizza with melissa and her adorable bunny rabbits and it was a good final day in van. (and i'd finally managed to re-conquer the bus/skytrain system, which felt like a great success. i only took two cabs while i was there and my wallet was pretty, pretty grateful.) one last sleep at the hostel, one last skytrain ride to the airport, and after a 2-hour delay due to bad weather in toronto (yeah, you know that didn't settle my anxiety one bit) we were up in the air and headed home late tuesday night.

but it was all something of a mindfuck, for sure, being back in the city that i once gave up everything for and tried so hard to love. ten years ago to the day, i would have still been living in kitsilano, still working at the coffee shop, and it was hard not to see the ghosts. it was bizarre to feel that overlap being back out there ten years in the future, remembering how conflicted i was then, both exhilarated and miserable in equal measure. and it was only a few days ago that i drank coffee and smoked and looked out over the water and all i could think was, my life is in reruns but the tape's running in reverse.

but i am back in toronto now, and i want to wrap this city around me like a big smelly blanket. i'm not going to harp too much on the stuff i already wrote about, because everything's said and done and things are in a good place, but being back in toronto has always helped with getting my shit together. this place is my center. that's why it was so hard for me to stay in vancouver all those years ago - because i know, instinctively, that toronto is where i've always belonged. and, like i wrote in my birthday entry, you have to always know who you are.

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[ music | florence + the machine, "no light, no light" ]