Maple Bay, Vancouver Island
Last month, I took a relatively spontaneous trip to British Columbia. My friend Thea was getting married, and I had delayed confirming my attendance for a long as possible; I wanted to go, but I wasn't sure if I could afford the time and money. But when Westjet (bless them!) presented me with a seat sale I couldn't refuse, I pulled out my Visa and booked myself a ten-day trip to the West Coast.

I don't know if it was the promise of a wedding, or the excitement of eating at Burgoo - my favourite restaurant in the whole world - again, or even just the prospect of getting on a plane, but I was more excited about this trip than I have been about any other in recent memory. And it was for good reason - I had an incredible time.
This is the only picture Karen and I have together. #how

Because I have kind and generous friends all over and around the Vancouver area, I stayed in 9 different beds in 11 nights. I spent the first two days with my friend Karen in White Rock. We explored the beach and took care of her co-worker's dog Bindy, who became my immediate best friend. I spent time watching the World Cup with her dad and brother, experienced the most non-Newfoundland BBQ I've ever had (smoked salmon and risotto (which was delicious)). We went to her church where I had one of those moments when it feels like everything was said just for you. We drank a lot of Starbucks.

We crossed the border on foot without passports. #rebels
Karen tried to get me to paddle board. It's like she doesn't know me at all.
My mom and his dad are twins; can you tell?
I then stayed with my friend Maria in New Westminister. Karen drove me into the city, where we first explored Kitsilano beach, before I met my cousin for brunch. It had been so long since we'd seen each other that we couldn't actually remember the last time we had, but we both ordered the same breakfast separately, which served to show us that family ties run deep. After parting ways, I had a few errands to run "for old time's sake": taking the Seabus across to North Van and back immediately, eating cupcakes from the best cupcake shop in the world, and checking out the Roots store on Robson. When I finally met up with Maria, we ate sushi, talked about and bought makeup, and concluded the evening with a game of Catan.

It's been three years and I still haven't gotten over you.
We learned the hard way that the bear wasn't edible.
Kits beach, the beaut that she is.
I spent the next two days exploring my old haunts around the city. I met up with my friend Greg, who I wrote about a little while ago, and we drank coffee and he showed me the little artsy things hipsters build in cities when left to their own devices. My friend Jeanette and I combed the city's makeup stores and she replenished her collection, and finished the day with the much-anticipated soup and sandwich combo from Burgoo. I spent those nights in Langley with my previous Ottawa room mates, Steve and Phil, and we BBQ'd and played Cities and Knights, which changed the way I play board games.

The hipsters are real.
Actually couldn't be happier than I am at this moment.

I tried to take a picture of this clock, but I ended up taking a picture of this random man.
This breakfast cost me $8.99 at a little dive cafe. I watched the Italy-Uruguay World Cup game with the Italian owner (who wore purple pants and a tight blue jersey) and his friends, and had a long talk with my waitress. The service, food, and atmosphere was so good, I gave them a 100% tip.

After two nights in Langley, I was off to Vancouver Island for Thea's wedding. After a Bond-esque race to the terminal with stunt-driver Phil, I was greeted by Thea's uncle Wayne in Nanaimo. After a stunningly beautiful drive through the Island, we met Thea and her mother Doris at their house in Maple Bay. I hadn't seen Thea in almost three years, but it was like no time had passed at all. The four of us ate pizza on their patio overlooking the bay, laughing and talking. The next day was spent racing around the Island with wedding prep, and concluded with an evening out Thea's husband's family's boat. After a delicious rehearsal dinner with lovely speeches and wonderful people, Thea's family and I drove back to the hotel.

This is my god-dog, Phoebe. She missed me.
Diana, Anne, and Gilbert #throwbacktoavonlea
Things I learned this trip: I would like a husband who can drive a boat.
I love this picture, and I really don't know why.
A MACL selfie with a stunning bride.
I had thought that I would have regretted not going to Thea's wedding, and I now know that's definitely the case. I had such a great time meeting her family and friends, getting to know her husband Steve, and dancing. Oh there was so much dancing! It rained on her outdoor wedding, but the sun came out long enough for the couple to say their vows. It didn't dampen the mood, either; guests cheerily shared their umbrellas, and it was all very cute and special. Thea was the most stunning bride I've ever seen, and they cut their cake with a sword. A sword! #Navymen. My friend Stacey and I also went to the gift opening the next day, where we said our goodbyes and thank-yous to Thea and Steve's families for such a wonderful weekend on the island.

Just like Alanis says, it's like rain on your wedding day.
The most beautiful location for a few nuptials!  
We strolled around the rose garden afterwards. Stacey is good at posing.
Stacey and I didn't plan to dress alike, but sometimes wonderful things happen when you least expect it.
My last night was spent at Stacey's back in the city. As fate would have it, she lives pretty much next door to a Burgoo restaurant; naturally, we dined in style that night. I spent my last day roaming her area, looking for cupcakes. When everything was closed because it was Monday (why is that a thing?!), I found a coffee shop and a Danish man who shared his table with me, and watched the Germany-Algeria World Cup game. Stacey and I spent the evening talking about writing and publishing (she has a new book coming out this fall and it is amazing!!) and I hopped on the Skytrain and back to the airport.


I've written a lot about my time living in Vancouver, so I won't go on at length here. In summary: it was really hard living there. I was lonely, sad, and directionless. I ate a lot of cupcakes, watched a lot of TV, and spent a lot of time on the bus. I was not in a very healthy head space four years ago when I arrived in Vancouver, and I was even less healthy when I left 9 months later. For the past two years, I've thought long and hard about returning to Vancouver. I've often said that I felt like I needed to go back to reconcile with the city, because I harboured such negative emotion about my time there.

I'm so glad I returned, and I'm especially glad I went back for Thea's wedding. I spent so much time with so many wonderful people that I can only describe my trip as "warm." That feeling of warmness you get internally when everyone around you is someone you like, and someone whose company you enjoy. I was welcomed into my friends' families with open arms, and there's nothing that makes you feel at home as your friends' parents and siblings and extended family smiling at you and making you feel as though they are glad you are there.

I was so glad to see my friend marry a wonderful, kind, generous man, and to feel strongly that they are probably going to make it for the long haul. It was comforting and empowering to talk to my friend about publishing, and to know that you have to work hard to be a writer, but it'll be worth it in the end. It was good to see old friends and reminisce, and also know that they are happy and are doing cool things and living great lives.

It was so good to make peace with a part of my history that had left me with an uncomfortable, unresolved feeling. It was good to learn that time heals.

And it was so good to eat at Burgoo.

Oh hello.
Current book: Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Current TV show: The Good Wife (season 1)
Current nail colour: OPI's "Bubble Bath"


Unknown said…
Jill! I know we've talked about your trip, but it sounds down right amazing. I am so glad that you had a such a good time. I am so jealous of that sushi and I've never heard of Burgoo, but now I want to eat there more than anything.

Anonymous said…
This post made me feel really happy! And dang girl, your make up in that wedding selfie looked amazing.

Now I miss you. Please, let's meet in Felix Cove again soon.
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