Curling to cross-country skiing – a month of very Canadian activity…

Curling

When you think of ‘interesting Canadian sports to try’, what comes to mind?  Hockey?  Lacrosse?  But why choose those when you can choose….  Curling!?  What.  A.  Weird.  Sport.  After a twelve second explanation of everything – the rules, the names of the different lines on the floor, and a five minute drilling about it actually being a sport and making us all run like lunatics up and down the ice sweeping, we were pros.  Apparently.  After a single demonstration of ‘this foot goes here, the other one sits on this slider thing, your right hand holds the rock while your left holds this balancing thing, then you slide this foot and the rock backwards and finally push that foot in front with your knee under your chest and push off with your other foot, sliding up the ice and then releasing the rock’…  Ahh.  Okay, good.  It was SUPER easy.  I fell over.  Next turn…  I fell over.  But I’d learned something – stop doing it all at once!  Once you work out that you need to get your knee under your chest before sending yourself flying down the ice it all becomes a little easier.  Then you get to sweep…  Who invented this sport?  What was wrong with them?  Running down ice sweeping is ridiculous, and I got into trouble repeatedly for giggling as it ‘made my sweeping less effective’.  Are you kidding?  Pretty sure my sweeping was pretty ineffective anyway due to the fact that it WAS REALLY HARD.  For some unknown reason he thought that shouting ‘SWEEP HARDER’ would help me.  It did not.  Still.  Red team wins – take that yellow team!  I won a drink bottle.  But not really.  I won it in a draw, but I’m counting it as my first curling trophy.  A champion is born….

Summary – curling is really hard and very active and takes place on pebbled ice while you were weird things over your shoes so you don’t fall over.  They’re not that helpful.

Fashion Week

What’s better than going to Fashion Week?  Going to Fashion Week with a friend who’s in town for the week!  Hooray!  A lot of beautiful designs, along with some weird…  Finished by a beautiful show from Australian Eco Fashion Designer, Green Embassy.  Check out their stuff – beautiful and gives back to protecting our oceans.  Seriously nice stuff and an amazing show – standing ovations all round.

Summary – Get front row seats.  Try to take selfies with your mate as he’s strutting on the catwalk without dropping your phone and making a spectacle of yourself.

Making new friends/being recruited….

Moving to a new city is hard.  Meeting new people is really hard.  So when I met this nice, bubbly, talks-too-much-to-spend-more-than-an-hour-at-a-time-with girl, I thought ‘what the hell’ and agreed to meet for a coffee in a public place (because she really did talk just that bit too much to not be mildly concerned about…)  I don’t love meeting new people if I’m honest, I find it very nerve-wracking.  So.  Off I go to Starbucks.  After five minutes I’m thinking ‘this is okay.  She’s a bit full on, but this is okay’.  Ten minutes in I’m getting a bit weirded out – does she want to open a Starbucks franchise with me?  What is happening?  Thirty minutes in and I’m hearing about her ‘mentors’, which is fine because I have mentors, they’re great people.  But….  She keeps evading questions.  Not hard questions, I’m not asking personal questions about her life.  Questions like ‘so what business do your mentors have that you’re so excited about and keep talking about without being specific (I was less aggressive in my actual language, probably saying something like ‘Oh sounds great – what business are they in?’ but it’s less cynical).  Nope – wouldn’t directly answer.  Would tell me things like ‘they’re so great and I’ve learned so much, is that something you’d be interested in?’  Then came the ‘so if you are interested then we can meet like once a week and I can give you more information each time’.  What?  Wait…  Am I…?  Am I being recruited?  This is starting to sound a bit scientology-like…  Why couldn’t you have just been a weird sociopath?  She asks if I’m interested.  I reply ‘in what?  You’ve told me nothing aside from ‘I’ll tell you more next time, why not now?’ To which she says ‘that’s the whole idea – that you get information as you go because it’s too much to take in all at once.  You wouldn’t expect to know everything about, say, Nordstrom in a one hour meeting.’  She giggles.  Wait… What?  I said ‘Maybe not everything, but I could tell you that they started as a shoe store in Seattle, now selling high-end fashion across North America.  I could tell you that they have five stores in Canada.  I could tell you about brands that they stock.  At the very least, in less than a minute, I could tell you that they’re a department store.  You literally can’t even give me that information.  TBH it’s weird.  This is weird.’  She replied ‘perhaps we just don’t have the same interests’ then started texting.  I left.  It was weird.  I’m not good at making new friends….  Should’ve trusted my instincts – I KNEW she talked too much….

Summary – Don’t make new friends, they’re weird and you might have to buy a Starbucks/become a Scientologist.

Squamish/Whistler weekend

The ski season is coming to an end and I hadn’t made it to Whistler this season!  Disaster!  Nothing a quick trip can’t fix.  Now, my medical insurance hasn’t kicked in yet, so naturally it’s the BEST time to try new activities that I could be injured in on the way to other activities that I could easily be injured in, so first stop was rock climbing.  Without a lesson I wasn’t allowed on the really big wall, only the fairly big one, and aside from one moment when I got stuck at the top of the wall and was too afraid to jump off and luckily found another handhold before I fell off in a very embarrassing manner, I think I did not completely terribly…

The next day was the perfect day at Whistler.  Lots of powder and sunshine, but not too much, and perfection.  Until about midday, when the wind came up and suddenly…  blizzard.  Still.  A great day of reasonably careful skiing because no insurance until some idiot came flying down the mountain and cleaned me up.  Now, I ski in bright pink and was the only person on the mountain.  Literally the only thing she had to miss on the hill.  Idiot.  Anyway, a little (massive) hit and a ten minutes to recover and aside from being a bit sore all was good – a great last run for the season!

Summary – no insurance means you can be as careful as you want but someone else will try to kill you.

Monster trucks

Why stop when you’re on a roll for firsts?  Monster trucks were coming to Vancouver!  I had no idea what to expect,  I wish I’d taken ear plugs…  When I was home last year to visit my cousin asked her son what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he said ‘Grave Digger!’ which was an interesting response from a small child….  Turns out he’s a monster truck fan and Grave Digger’s his favourite, so naturally he’s who I was cheering for, although it was quite difficult as there was a Scooby Doo truck!

Summary – Loud.  Lots of diesel fumes.  One car caught fire – that was my favourite bit.

E.C. Manning Park

What a beautiful spot!  Still dumping masses of snow and beautiful forest area, perfect for my first snow shoe and cross-country skiing adventure!  Snow shoeing, once I worked out how to put the shoes on, was wonderful.  So much easier to trudge through the snow, and so beautiful.  I made a snow moose, which was much more successful than I thought it would be.

Cross country skiing the next day was a whole different matter.  After being sized for boots and skis they said ‘have a great day!’  I didn’t realised until arriving at Strawberry Flats that I hadn’t actually asked how….  After ten minutes working out how to get the skis on and some helpful advice from a passerby to ‘just keep moving’, it was easier than I’d thought!  Sort of.  Once you find a rhythm it’s really lovely – so peaceful and, while hard work, quite relaxing.  I fell a few times, and have an excellent bruise on my right knee and if I’m honest walking was kind of hard the next day…  But totally recommend it, such a great sport.

4/20 and Unicorn Frappuccinos

Vancouver’s known for being pretty liberal on the marijuana front, with medical dispensaries not hard to find in the city, but on April 20 a huge crowd gathers (illegally) to smoke weed and listen to music and snack.  It’s a huge counter-culture event – they had to change venues this year because the crowd had grown too big.  Starting in the 70s in California when a group of friends used to get together after school, at 4:20, to smoke week.  The term is now used as a code word and while many at the event are simply joining in there’s also quite a political aspect, with many protesting for the legalisation of marijuana.  It wasn’t super exciting but it was a spectacular day for a walk along the seawall and Stanley Park afterwards!

The next day was one of the last that Unicorn Frappuccinos were available at Starbucks so of course I had to get one.  It was…  pretty disgusting.  Very pink and very sweet, chemical mango flavour.  The blue bits were super sour and once mixed in were okay but…  I don’t think I’d be getting another one if they were still available.  Great marketing idea though.

Summary – 420 is basically just a boring party on the beach and then you go for giant margaritas and the day looks better, and Unicorn Fappuccinos are awesome and then you drink it and it isn’t.

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