I am in Victoria, British Columbia. This is my sixth day on the West Coast and so far, everything has been spectacular. A mini-rundown of my travels thusfar, including a bit of a prelude (i.e. my last days in Kingston before I hopped a train to catch a plane out here):
May 8 - 11 - PRELUDE TO A TRIP
So my last weekend before traveling was a crazy, hectic one that lead partially to frustration and partially to fun. On the frustration side was my clumsiness, which lead to me dropping my 1.5 year old Sony camera while the lens was open. Then the lens wouldn't retract. Then I had to shell out a good chunk of $$ to buy a new Canon digital camera. What a time for one to break her camera eh? Just before a trip. Anyways, the other main frustration of the weekend was that I was supposed to housesit/dogsit for my awesome friend Ana. I was meant to stay at the house and take care of Kopka while Ana was off at a kayaking festival (i.e. where there was no cell phone signal). Well, the plan was aborted before it even began because the key to the house did not work and the place was locked up tight so no breaking in through a window. So Kopka was inside and I was outside. She was fine in the end, but I have to admit to feeling like a failure at my first Kopka-sitting gig.
Fun for the weekend included a visit from Doug & Rachel, who were passing through on their way back to PEI from Toronto. I tried to show them the best of Kingston - including the Farmer's Market and the elevator guy at the S&R department store. I also went out dancing with a bunch of Ying's peeps to a place aptly named Stages. A place I'll not likely return to. And the rest of the weekend was spent packing, prepping to leave and catching a late night showing of XMEN Origins. Yuuummmmm to Hugh Jackman.
On Monday I woke up early after a sleepless night (3 hours of sleep were had due to adrenaline coursing through my body). I had to get up earlyish in order to catch a train to Ottawa, where I was staying with Adam and his friend Kelly for the night, before catching my flight on Tuesday. Well,frustrations continued when I discovered that the train was three freaking hours late. Those three hours could have been enjoyed in bed. But I was at the train station and had spent $15 on a cab to get there, so I didn't leave. I waited. And eventually I got my train to Ottawa and had a great evening with Adam, Kelly and another friend of theirs.
MAY 12 - MAY 15 - LEAVING OTTAWA AND FIRST DAYS IN VANCOUVER
Tuesday, I got a lift to the airport with Kelly and Adam. Conveniently Adam was catching a flight to PEI the same day I was catching a flight to Vancouver. The only snag was that Adam's flight was about four hours before mine so I had a lot of time to kill at the airport. I spent a good chunk of it working out - I did lots of leg work in a quiet space that looked out on the tarmac. I'm pretty sure there were a few people staring, but whatever. Airports should have gyms.
The flight to Vancouver was uneventful and I was greeted at the luggage carousel by the friendly face of my fabulous friend, Andrew. We bussed it back to his apartment and spent the remainder of the night watching the Biggest Loser finale. Good stuff. Inspiring. Waaayyy too many prodcut placement ads on that show though. Seriously. WE get it -if you use Ziploc you'll lose weight. The correlation is clear.
Wednesday, Andrew & I went to Granville Island and wandered around the food market and craft shops, then he had to work at the wine store so I wandered a bit more. In the evening we had a delicious homemade dinner of west coast salmon and veggie kabobs. There may also have been some wine consumed.
Thursday we walked down along the waterfront, near Stanley Park and eventually made our way to Canada Place, where a cruise ship was in port. Andrew wanted to watch it leave, so we waited and waited some more, and then it finally left. Woohoo. Apparently there are cruises going super cheap to Alaska - 7 nts for $500. All inclusive. I am tempted.....but not really that tempted.
MAY 15 - NOW VICTORIA, VANCOUVER ISLAND
Friday was probably the most interesting day I've yet had because I decided that my trip to Victoria would be more fun if it were taken by sea plane rather than ferry! The sea plane just made more sense - waaaay faster in terms of taking passengers from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria (the flight itself was 35 mins). The ferry on the other hand is an hour and a half, and while I'd be ok with that, there are also super long bus rides on either side of the ferry - a five hour trip all in all. The seaplane fare was $140 BUT because I am a student I went for the student standby special at $70!! The trip was awesome - it was a gorgeous, sunny day and seeing the islands and mountains from above was def worth the $. The best part - none of the freaking crazy security that they have at normal airports.
Arriving in Victoria I spent the rest of my Friday afternoon sitting on the grass outside the majestic Empress Hotel, reading a trashy fiction novel (Angels & Demons) until my friend, Chris, was able to get off work and collect me. We walked back to the Callendar residence and Chris showed me his vegetable garden and WEndy's flower garden. I was envious. His garden was already very green and I haven't even planted anything in my garden plot in Kingston! After a light dinner Chris & I went to the track to watch a 5k race that some of his friends were in. It was amazing and inspiring. Some of the runners were doing 5 k in under 17 minutes!!! Wow.
Saturday, after a big fry up with Wendy & Chris, I wandered to downtown Victoria and did some sightseeing/shopping. I decided not to go whale watching and quickly spent the whale money on more workout gear. If anything, I'll be a well dressed runner when I get back to Kingston in June! Saturday evening we went over the Natasha's house for a BBQ and delicious fondue. I was soo happy to see Tash, one of my favorite PEI peeps! She loves it out here and I totally understand why.
Sunday, I met up with Tash in the afternoon and we had an awesome time biking the trails of Victoria - I think we tallied up about 33km. It was a perfect bking day - sunny and warm, but not scorching. The best part was that Tash let me ride her AMAZINGLY WESEOM FANTASTIC hybrid bike. What a smooth, fast ride it was. I am in love with Tash's bike. In the evening, I went out with Chris and a couple of his high school friends to a pub in Langford. Originally we were supposed to go to Music Bingo but it was cancelled for some reason. So instead we spent about four hours talking about everything under the sun. Then we went to see Star Trek!! Great flick!
Today i am meeting up with Andrew, who also made the trip to Vancouver Island and we are going on a winery tour! Then he invited me over to his Uncle's place for homemade curry. Am I lucky to have such amazing friends or what? Seriously. Chris, Wendy, Andrew & Tash have been the highlights of my trip so far - they are the sights I've been wanting to see and they have not disappinted!
So far I've been having an amazing trip. The weather has been spectacular for the majority of it, I've had some great quality time with good friends, and I've managed to fit in some exercise every day so far! I've also had some time to read for leisure and think about things I've not had time or the inclination to think about in the past few months.
A few of the bigger revelations that I've stumbled upon and decisions that I've made so far are:
1. I am moving to BC after I am finished school. Probably to Victoria. Everything about this place speaks to me - it's green and lush, with most homes boasting beautiful flower and vegetable gardens, being active is a way of life here - biking and running seem especially popular, the people are friendly and a bit more laid back than in bigger cities, there's plenty of sunshine and escapes to smaller islands are only a hop, skip & jump away, and, of course, some of my favorite people are already living here! I don't know how to explain it, but it feels like home here. Just like Edinburgh did. And just like PEI always doe (but without the downsides of PEI - like being isolated in a small town that's full of old people and has horrible weather for a good chunk of the year)
2. I miss having a network of old friends nearby. In Kingston I have been sooo fortunate to have made friends with some of the most interesting, generous and fun people one could meet and am entirely grateful for that...but...there's no replacing my Jen Mac or Too Far Tash or The Shack or Adam A. . And they are on the coasts, east or west, while I am smack in between in Ontario.
3. I am in need of change. Things need changing. I am going to make some major changes upon my return to Kingston - things that will better my physical and mental well-being. I am constantly being reminded of how intricately linked every facet of one's existence is. There is no separating the physical from the mental or the emotional. I need to keep reminding myself of that.
4. At the end of the day, the truth is that I find myself lonely more often than I care to admit. Lonely doesn't necessarily equate to unhappy, but too much of it can certainly affect one's overall mental and emotional well-being. I think that the frustrations I have been having with regards to my physical well-being over the last few months are directly linked to this loneliness I've been experiencing, but unwilling to acknowledge until recently. It happens every time I leave PEI though. Every time I move to a new place I meet wonderful people and have great experiences, but these are ofen overshadowed by the distress I experience regarding the weight I consistently put on when I live outside of PEI. Well, I realise now that the weight gain is simply a physical manifestation of underlying emotions that I am either unaware of or unwilling to acknowledge or simply don't know how to handle. And the root of these emotions is a sense of being alone - there is nothing that can compare to the security and familiarity one feels in a place where family and old friends are a stone's throw away. That is something I can atest to now, having lived as far away from PEI as one possibly could. Phone calls, messenger and emails are no substitute for being able to spend an afternoon out on the deck with your family or a night out at a favorite old watering hole with some of your best friends.
And that's all I can say for now. I am going somewhere on this trip,but I'm not sure where yet..