After dropping Scott off at the airport we headed to Alberta Maple Ridge to visit Julie and Steve. It had been a long time that dad and Julie had cousin-time. I think he enjoyed the catch up. Rose coordinated the rice dish and Steve made us really nice steaks.

I took dad to the Capilano Fish Hatchery while Rose and Lauren were working. I wanted to see fish flopping all over the place. Another glorious weather day (srsly we got sooooo lucky this whole trip). We took the bus there and started at the top end of the park near the reservoir. I liked the reflections on the calm water. Then we walked down to the dam. It is a big dam. Dad said “If I come back to Vancouver in the spring, I AM COMING BACK HERE”.

We continued walking downhill till we got to the hatchery. It is free. We saw lots of salmon. There is a fish ladder with windows on one side so you can theoretically see the fish jumping upstream but they didn’t jump very often. I saw one jump and it was unsuccessful in getting to the next level. But there was another little river area with dozens of salmon just randomly flopping around. Then we continued walking downhill (I am so happy the bus dropped us off at the top of the park and not the bottom omg) and had pizza in a cute little neighbourhood before catching the bus back to Van.

Dad suggested making sushi for dinner one night so we obliged. We had shirmf, roasted yam (Scott is the deep fry guy and he wasn’t there, sad face), and the other usual suspects: avocado, cucumber, cream cheese, and sesame seeds. It was fun and yum. Lauren made the best rolls…. possibly because they were 50% cream cheese. :D

I can’t really remember what I did the next day. I think I just rested because my cough was getting bad. Oh yeah we went bowling in the evening. Rose and I are bad at bowling.

Then dad was leaving too. I’m glad he came out to Vancouver. It was much easier for Scott and I, cheaper for Rose and Lauren, and I think dad had a nice time. We all had a nice time. We probably tired him out, but he has lots of time to recharge.

This was the weather for TWO WEEKS STRAIGHT. 18-20 degrees and sunny. So nice.

After dad left I did one last errands morning where I got new skates, some clothes, and another yam roll #nomealleftbehind. This one was a mango avocado yam roll.

Thursday I met up with Kevin, my old clinical placement supervisor, and Lesley for lunch at Red Wagon. I took no pictures unfortunately. We had a great long lunch with good chatting. And then I went with Lesley back to her house for a sleepover/one last hang. We played many games of Azul. I also got to go to a Dollarama and stock up on Smartfood and Cheetos to bring home. That was the very last things on my shopping list. Success.

The last day. I headed back to Rose’s nice and early the next morning so we could play several more games of Azul and have one last dose of sister-time (she took the day off). We went to Sushi Nanaimo for lunch #nomealleftbehind and I got one last training session in. I had seen all of the old gym gang except one guy, and Al arranged for him to come in as a surprise! Came back and played more Azul. Leslie and Kyla popped in for bonus-time before heading out to see Ellen!

When Lauren got home from work we went out for dinner at La Mezcaleria, one of my favourite restaurants anywhere. I had a margarita of course and we shared spicy tuna in a black ash and ink sauce, queso fundido with chorizo, and a bunch of tacos. It was delicious, as usual. We had a little time before I needed to be at the airport so we stopped at Duffins Doughnuts too. #yolo. (Maybe this is why I gained 2 kg on the trip…) (WORTH IT.)

Then they dropped me off at the airport and I headed home. Full in stomach and spirit. It was really a great trip. My family and friends are so great.  Thank you to Liz for lending us your car and apartment. And Lesley and Kirsten and Max for housing Scott and I and Rose and Lauren. And Kyla and her family for sharing Thanksgiving with us all. Lauren for putting up with all the crazy. And Rosemarie for preparing so well and organizing so much. And all our friends for being so thoughtful and great and fun!!!

Our trip to Vancouver was hectic AF. We had checklists, Google documents, Facebook events, a detailed calendar, and group chats just to fit everything we wanted to do (and eat! #nomealleftbehind) on the trip. It worked though, the trip was very successful.

Second meal of the trip: poutine. (First meal was perogies at Rosemarie’s house.) #nomealleftbehind

We tried to see as many as people as we could right away (and beat jetlag) by booking a big table at Steamworks for the first night. Scott’s whole old work team showed up, plus the whole Ryan Ryan and Brian group, and good old Liz and Rob, and Rose and Lauren of course. It was fun.

The next day we headed to Salt Spring Island, and Seattle as well, which I’ll save for separate blog posts.

Scott’s friend Hannah from London just happened to be visiting Vancouver for one overlapping day. We met them for porchetta at Meat & Bread (#nomealleftbehind) and Scott walked all around the seawall with them while I took off to visit my old work and pick up some Darn Tough socks for all my poor Australian friends who I’ve convinced they are the best socks ever and can’t get them here. Sorry, sort of.

The next day dad arrived. We picked him up and made him tag along to the hockey store where Scott got a whole kit. So much cheaper than Australia.

It was a beautiful day so we drove up to the top of Mount Seymour to do a short hike (Dog Mountain). It was harder than I expected because it was so rooty, but we made it. The view from the end was very nice. It was a little hazy but you could still see the whole city.

The next day dad went for a big bike ride, Scott went to visit his old work, and I had training. I managed to keep up with all my weightlifting training while I was gone which was so good because I have a competition coming up next week. Rose actually lives within walking distance of the old gym I used to go to when we lived there and Al was very nice to make space for me. It was so confusing training in pounds again.

That evening we went to the SFU observatory where lots of space nerds showed us stuff with their telescopes. We could see Saturn’s rings!! It was pretty cool. Rose gave us a tour of her old uni and then we had some late night ice cream, yum yum.

Saturday was an insanely busy day. We squeezed in three different events with three different groups.

1. Dimsum with Rosemarie’s friends. Scott is so creative with his panoramas. Can you guess how he took this one?

2. We got the old game gang back together and had a games day like the old days! We played Mysterium, a space dice game, Sushi Go/Sushi No (where you try to get as few points as possible), ate nachos and Smartfood popcorn (#nomealleftbehind), and caught up on all the gossip. Was great.

3. Dinner and games with Lesley and Jean Pierre (not pictured). She made really delicious tacos, and we played Settlers (of course!!). We also played Monopoly Go. I miss having a friend like Lesley around.

Finally the last day of Scott’s trip we trekked out to UBC for one of our favourite Vancouver events, the apple festival. Rose, Lauren and dad had never been! (It was Scott and my fifth time, haha). We tasted all the apples, ate apple pie, drank apple cider, and learned all about plant medicines. I forget what my favourite apple was, but of course it was something kinda mushy. The sales area was completely wiped out so we couldn’t buy anything.

Then we dropped Scott off at the airport. We all wish he could have stayed longer.

OK no more footy talk for six months. What else have we been up to?

I did another weightlifting competition at the end of August. My back wasn’t great at the time so my coach and I were being pretty conservative. I wasn’t expecting any PBs because I was powering everything, but I went 6/6 and still got a 2 kg PB in snatch and 1 kg PB in clean and jerk! I have another comp coming up in November and it will be interesting to see what I can do if I do full movements.

We got these pretty carrots from Costco. I roasted them whole for about 30 minutes. Then mixed up a 3:2 ratio of balsamic vinegar and honey with a bit of thyme, drizzled the mixture over and broiled them for another 10 minutes, then sprinkled with salt. They turned out like salty-sweet-tangy candy vegetables. So yummy. I especially liked the crispy tips.

Also the Pinch of Yum freezer wild rice soup recipe is magical. I still can’t understand how a recipe can be so easy at prep time and at cook time and still turn out so good! All of her freezer meals are so intriguing. Basically they’re a whole bunch of recipes where you cut up and freeze a bunch of uncooked stuff, and then later pop them straight into your pressure cooker frozen and voila 30 minutes later you have dinner. PS I doubled the recipe and split it into three dinner packs. Also I used brown rice instead of wild rice because wild rice doesn’t exist here. Scott said it tasted like the inside of a chicken pot pie. I will 100% be trying more of these recipes.

This is our new house btw. It’s pretty great other than the lack of insulation. I want to buy one.

The other morning we went to the Tesselaar Tulip Festival with Scott’s mum and aunt. It was alright. They must be making bank because it was very busy and it’s not cheap. I think it would be better if they planted the flowers into cool designs like in Ottawa, but perhaps my standards are a bit high, haha.

I am very pleased to report that my allergies are not a problem any more. I just have to use antihistamine eye drops, antihistamine nasal spray, and a daily antihistamine tablet. Is that too much? I hope not because this is the first spring in like 8 years that I have felt like a normal human.

I trekked out to ALTONA NORTH to go to my old coworkers 30th birthday party. It was nice to catch up with them, I do miss my old EH work pals. Also wow Melbourne is so big it’s like the West and the North could be entirely different cities… I never go there!!

I went on a work wine tour in the Mornington Peninsula with a bunch of techs and nurses and receptionists from medical imaging at my current job. It was very fun and silly. Now I see familiar faces if I have to go to MRI or CT and stuff which is nice.

Myles turned 1 and had a birthday party with 9 trillion kids. He is v cute.

A little while ago Scott’s dad won a gigantic charcoal bbq and several boxes of wine and a bbq lunch party from a liquor store contest that he didn’t even know he entered. They had the lunch on Saturday. A lady came and cooked up like ten different kinds of meat for us, and served it and cleaned up afterwards. What a treat for Scott’s parents. The most hilarious part though? The lady used the regular bbq to cook it, not the prize one hahahahhaa.

This Friday we’re going to Canada!! Just to Vancouver to visit Rosemarie and all our old friends. I can’t wait! I have a very long list of foods I want to eat: Macintosh apples, Jamaican patties, perogies, poutine, yam rolls, Blenz hot chocolate, Smartfood popcorn etc etc. I have to be so strategic about my meals. NO EATING FOODS I CAN GET IN AUSTRALIA.

All for now.

OK wow, I knew I had been procrastinating doing another Crafty WIP post, but I didn’t realize I’d left it TWO YEARS! Holy moly. I have a lot to show off, so I’ll have to do two posts! Here are some crossstitches I finished over the last couple years.

Papa and me in Fiji. My first photo pattern. I used My Photo Stitch to make a pattern out of a picture. I was so skeptical it was going to look ok because it was asking for like green and purple to stitch our faces, but it does!

The back was a little crazy.

The cloth is filthy and warped so not quite sure how I should display it yet.

Quick little Nintendo controller. I added the letters and the arrows to the pattern myself.

My spirit animal/life motto? Not sure what to do with this one as I didn’t leave enough extra room at the top. I might cut it out if I can figure out how to keep the cloth from unravelling, and then sew it onto something like a patch?

This one was fun to stitch. So cute. I do <3 Canada.

This was a huge project from last year. It’s a Frosted Pumpkin pattern, but I switched all the months around to fit the Southern Hemisphere (particularly Melbourne) because at that point I knew we were moving. I actually purposely didn’t show it to people in case they figured it out before I’d told work. Perhaps I was a little paranoid, haha.

Now I just have to get around to ironing and framing all of them!

My next crossstitch projects are either going to be a 22 page black and white Escher pattern that will probably take 80 years to finish, and/or experimenting with crossstitching on clothing using waste canvas.

June 24th – June 28th, 2016

It was a bit of an ordeal getting to Lund, Sweden, due to a broken train track combined with a holiday weekend. We waited 5ever in Malmö for the replacement bus that never showed. Finally a very nice Swedish girl offered to let us share her cab, since she was going to be getting reimbursed anyway, so we finally made it to Lund, many hours late.

We found Sarah, and then got ready to go to a Midsummer party at her friends’ place. Lund is a university town, so there are a lot of students, from all over the world. We ate, drank, played games, jumped on the trampoline until the sun finally started going down (2 AMish?) and then caught the bus (yay public services!) back to Sarah’s dorm. It wasn’t long until the sun was already starting to come up again (4 AMish)!

Sarah took us around on a walking tour of Lund. I especially liked the fancy clock in the cathedral. It gives all sorts of information about dates and astrological signs, and other things that we couldn’t figure out. It does a cuckoo clock thingy too but we weren’t there at the right time.

I couldn’t visit Sweden without having a smørrebrød!

It was fun hanging out with Sarah. We marathoned the entire latest season of Game of Thrones so Scott could catch up and Sarah could watch the last episode. We cooked weird meals with all the things she had left in her food supply since she was leaving in a week. We went to sweet Swedish parks with hammocks and outdoor gym equipment and parkour structures. I tried Kalles Kaviar, new types of candy and ciders. We did NOT try surströmming, sorry.

We did a day trip to Copenhagen one day.

We went to a very hip street food market that I had seen on TV. I had a salad wrap where the wrap was made out of egg. We went to the Danish National Museum which was really cool (and free!) but only had time to look at the viking and medieval stuff before it closed. I would want to go back some day because I think there is a whole floor dedicated to Lego!

We took the bus (free with intercity bus ticket!) to the mermaid statue because we are tourists. There were a lot of people there. It reminds me of the girl in a wetsuit statue in Vancouver, although apparently that artist doesn’t think they are similar.

Copenhagen was cool but everything was SO EXPENSIVE! I tried to get over it, because YOLO, but it wasn’t easy! I liked the very photogenic canals, and that there is an amusement park right in the city. They also have the healthiest 7-11 I have ever seen, so many salads!!