Week 4 was very very fun. We crammed in as many BC experiences that we possibly could. This is gonna be a massive, non-chronological, post!

We went to Vancouver one day for a massive day of seeing people and eating things. Let’s see if I can even remember everything…

  • started by going to Bulk Barn to buy more zingy zaps
  • met up with Kevin at Meat & Bread for porchetta sandwiches
  • bought a few treats from Purebread for later
  • met up with Phil for ice cream at Earnest Ice Cream
  • stopped at a random sushi restaurant for one yam roll
  • went to Terminal City Training while Rosemarie and Scott went to Parallel 49
  • met up with Liz, Tom and Kevin for Japanese BBQ
  • followed it up with some late night bingsu

A big thank you to Rosemarie for facilitating this ridiculous day.

We had a bit of time to kill in between eating things so Rosemarie suggested we check out the Bloedel Conservatory. It was neat! There were a lot of random types of cool birds in there. The highlights were:

  • Kramer, an insane parrot that danced and screamed
  • the four suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper high boys that were fascinated by everything in there including leaves

OK back to Squamish. AKA where Rosemarie and Lauren live now.

Probably taking a panorama.
Rosemarie’s favourite forest.

Squamish is scenic AF.

We put together the Hogwarts model that dad gave to us. And by “we” I mean 95% me. :D I enjoyed it.

Trivia night. Lauren was probably trying to cheer me up because I had THE WORST MARGARITA OF MY LIFE.

Calculating how many lactaids we need to take.
Lunch with Lauren at an amazing Japanese place near his work. SOO YUM!!
Lauren made us epic okonomiyaki. So many shrimp. I was in heaven.
Even just regular neighbourhood walking in Squamish is scenic AF.

Of course we played more Pickleball. The Squamish courts were luxury, with those fences to divide the courts up so our rogue balls don’t go rolling into other people’s games.

No one wants to see a pickleballer from above!
Not the best pic but I had Nadal shoulder from falling off my bike the day before. I looked jacked… on one side.
Wingspan!
I was trying out Leslie’s weighted blanket.

Leslie and Kyla came up to stay with us for the whole last weekend and it was awesome. We had so much fun.

Rosemarie’s friend Kevin is da best.

We are so spoiled. It was the very beginning of spot prawn season so Kevin brought up fresh prawns from Vancouver. They were still squirming in the sink. He poached them, made a delicious sauce, and taught us all how to shell them. They were so sweet and delicious. I had about 12. :D

Getting the fire going.

Liz and Tom came up and we had a backyard sausage sizzle with everyone. The weather behaved for us. Kevin ate 9 sausages.

Divvying up cake.
Have you ever had an Oreo race?
At the Squamish Farmers Market.
One last meal together before Leslie and Kyla had to leave.
Scott pushing my bike up the hill for me because I am a whiny baby. <3

We went mountain biking twice. The first time we borrowed a bike from Rosemarie’s friend. Despite Rosemarie picking a route that involved the absolute least uphill biking, we still had to bike uphill for 90 minutes for 5 minutes of downhill riding. I complained the whole time. I hate uphill anything. I was unconvinced that this is a fun sport.

So the second time all four of us rented e-bikes. Now that helped! We were flying up the hill compared to everyone else, and it really didn’t require much effort. We did three big laps in our half day rental. However, it was terrifying!!! Lauren is a good teacher but I found it really really scary and hard. Yes I know I used to do skeleton racing, but skeleton doesn’t have sticks and rocks and pointy things all around you! Scott was much less scared and did much better than me, he was pretty fast.

My main problem was being a big chicken and not keeping enough speed to get over the bumps. I’d slow down too much and then have to pedal and then the bike would shoot me off too fast I felt like I was not under control. Also I really did not like the bridges. Lauren kept telling me to look more ahead and not down at the ground in front of me, and to relax more, but I probably did the exact opposite.

I fell off my bike twice. The first time I kinda just fell over, that wasn’t so bad, but the second time I had a bit of speed and it actually hurt a lot. Rosemarie was supposed to be helping me but she was long gone!!

Also Scott didn’t fall off his bike but managed to do a mini-crash where the spikes on the pedal tore the shit out of his shin.

I am still unconvinced that it is a fun sport.

Our final BC activity was doing a yam roll crawl in Vancouver on the way to the airport. I found an area that had 4 different sushi restaurants within about 10 streets (near Commercial Station). We parked in the middle and then split up and hit each place for a yam roll, and then met back up in a park to eat.

I think the cheapest one ended up being the crowd favourite? It actually was probably one of my favourite things we’ve ever done.

And the final few pics you already saw on Facebook:

Kind of old news at this point but for posterity…

I think I was still a bit dopey from the flight…

Had to wake up though because Rosemarie and Lauren picked us up from the airport in Vancouver and we went directly to Liz’s house in North Van to host a party. Rosemarie prepared lots of Canadian treats for us like perogies, Smartfood popcorn, Canada Dry, party mix and lots of our Vancouver friends showed up! Thanks Liz for letting us stay there!

The next morning we headed back to the airport (via Duffins Donuts ofc) to fly to Ottawa. This is the last picture with Lauren for a while because we had all sorts of problems.

First our flight out of Vancouver was delayed. The lovely Westjet agent tried to help fix up our flights for us but since we had booked on three different tickets he was only able to get Scott on I on a new route via Calgary before that flight filled up, and had to keep Rosemarie and Lauren on the original flight to Toronto that might not make the connection to Ottawa. He offered to switch us back so that we could at least stay together but Rosemarie told us to go ahead and we’d just cross our fingers. Amazing Race style.

The way the flights were staggered we wouldn’t find out if they made it until much later. Poor MEP and Paul had to stay up all night waiting for us and didn’t even know how many of us they would be picking up from the airport.

Scott and I got to Calgary no problemo. But then we saw messages from Rosemarie saying that they didn’t let Lauren on the plane in Vancouver because his ID was expired and that he had to go home. Team member down! And that her connection in Toronto was looking TIGHT.

Scott and I got to Ottawa late but relatively successfully. But then we found out that Rosemarie didn’t make her connection, had to stand in line for hours to get her free hotel, and had to wake up very early to get her new flight the next morning. Which also ended up being delayed because they couldn’t close the luggage compartment door. Poor Rosemarie. Her team definitely lost Amazing Race.

Anyway eventually we all (well… three of us) made it to Mary Ellen’s and dad came over and of course we played some games. Yay.

That night we went to the Haberl’s for a good old fashioned sleepover. It was great. We played lots of games and ate lots of food and laughed a lot. A very lovely time.

3/4 Ace Gang Reunion. Unfortunately Cassia didn’t make it because of Spanish bureaucracy. We got lucky even seeing Helenka… she ended up having her twins very early, a few days after this brunch!!

Scott trying to catch some maple sap to see if it tasted like maple syrup (it does!).

Things relaxed (a bit) after the first few days of the trip. We spent some time hanging out at MEP and Paul’s.

Sweaty after doing a HIIT class.

I managed to keep up my training while away. My coach made me a commercial gym friendly leg strength program that was basically max squats all the time. Sometimes Rosemarie and Scott came with me, and sometimes they did other random classes or played pickleball. I am glad they get along so well.

Jill had another memorial party for Joe that just happened to fall when we were in Ottawa. It was nice to see a lot of people I hadn’t seen in ages. And the canapes and cookie favours were delicious!

We started to go through some of the stuff at the house. I think Cassia made me that poster when I was about to leave for university. D’awww.

Same pictures that I already posted on Facebook/Instagram:

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.