June 13, 2018

From the Camera Roll

It has been quite the busy past couple months for this ole introvert. It has been a little over a year since I've convocated from university and to tell you the truth, a whole lot has changed. Having shaken off the weight of readings, projects, term papers, and exams, I have been introduced to the concept of free-time. I have been flirting with guilt-free naps and indulging in packed social schedules now that I'm no longer bound to the soul-sucking lifestyle of academia.
Throughout my years in school, I was making a beeline for graduation, with crossing the finish line and getting on a plane to New York as my saving grace. For a long while, that was what my eyes were set on. And so when August of last year came and went, I got on that very plane, and eventually had to return back to reality. It was an adjustment having to sort myself out and figure out what was next. After several months of feeling unhinged and completely lost, things eventually gave way and some semblance of a path cleared. Getting through all of that was a struggle and weighed heavily on my chest, but now that I have come out of it on the other side, I have been given new life.
Because of that, I have been given so much breathing room and so much time to just enjoy being a twenty-something year old. I've managed to thwart off my introverted tendencies of being exhausted by people and plans, and instead have found myself constantly going out, seeing the world, and doing things. I was worried that summers and life in general after my trip to New York wouldn't compare, but life has a funny way of surprising me. The month of April alone was filled to the brim with exciting things and moments worth remembering, and so I thought it was about time I do another series of 'From the Camera Roll' to give you a glimpse of what I've been up to lately.


April was the month I got to finally try Ask For Luigi for the first time. For a long while, I would hear about this place here and there and all that I've ever heard was good things on top of more good things. Finally, on one of my favorite human's (Colleen's) birthday, we managed to get a table after work and grab an early dinner before heading to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Not being the most well-versed on food, I blindly ordered the pappardelle with kale and oyster mushrooms and was not disappointed in any shape or form.
We delightfully enjoyed our meal and the atmosphere of the late afternoon sun streaming through the small home-y structure bettered the entire experience. The place itself is a tight squeeze, but the entire restaurant was filled to the brim. We were lucky enough to be seated right by the kitchen so we caught glimpses of the chefs cooking in the back. We were pretty fixated with watching them move so artistically and with passion for their craft. If you haven't made it out to Ask For Luigi quite yet, I'm telling you now, go and you won't be disappointed!


After dinner, we headed to the gallery to catch the Murakami exhibit. It was Tuesday night so entrance was by donation. We waited a long while before venturing out to catch the exhibit. By that time in April, the Murakami pieces were already on their last leg from what I recall. With that in mind, we didn't think that the line would be so long -- considering that many and most have probably already been.
To our surprise, the line extended to the far reaches of the courtyard. It was packed and by the time that we got in, we had just a little less than an hour to wander before the place was closing. Regardless, we managed to speed through and see all that we had wanted to see. I will never regret going to a museum, and so despite the short time we spent in the gallery, I was still thoroughly satisfied by the end of the evening.


Being the night owl that I am, I practically always get the exciting electric feeling when plans converge and I end up far from home in the middle of the night. Duffin's is not quite the grandest place as far as the eyes can see, but its less than stellar look is what makes it hold a certain sentimentality that I have come to know and love. Besides the wildly random menu selection, the fluorescent lights, and the old diner booths and seats, Duffin's just has a certain kind of feeling to it that makes you want to come back -- for the drive, for the conversation, and for the memories.


Everyone that knows me well enough knows that my quintessential combo involves tacos and ice cream. In particular, Tacofino and Earnest Ice Cream holds such a tight grip on me that I might as well be their official spokesperson. If I lived any closer, I'd frequent those two places more often. But for now, I hang on to each and every time I get to cross the bridge and order fish tacos and salted caramel ice cream.
For a stretch of two back to back weeks in April, I was lucky enough to be back at those places for two Thursdays in a row. I was over the moon to say the least. If I wasn't already happy about the dinner and dessert choices, going to those places both times also involved wandering around the downtown streets afterwards. The first Thursday, we walked to False Creek and just hovered around Science World. I love looking at the lights and the water and can think back to several moments in the past where I got to do just that. All are some of my fondest memories that I hold near and dear to my heart.

The second Thursday post-quintessential combo involved walking around Main Street and getting to marvel at all of the new murals that have popped up in the area. Main Street will always be one of the coolest places in Vancouver in my books, because of all of the art and culture that live in the area. On the top right is one of my favorite murals that we came across. It's no surprise why I love the mural so much; it involves astronauts and space, and dogs! Simply the best!
That very night, we also ended up on a rooftop near BC Place. Besides outer space and doggos, I also have a special place in my heart for rooftops. To my utter disappointment, there's not nearly enough and in fact, there's barely any accessible rooftops in Vancouver. But for this one night, we unexpectedly managed to stumble into one and I was thrilled to say the least.


Next up was reliving our childhoods and embracing our youth. The day after that night on the rooftop, a group of us headed all the way to Abbotsford to Castle Fun Park. Admittedly, it was my first time and I was pretty stoked to finally see what the place was all about. That night, I got to pretend I was a robber going through lasers, I came second at the world's seemingly longest round of mini-golf, and I also got on and drove a go-kart for the very first time. Amidst all of those wild activities though, of course my favorite part of the night was getting to walk away with some photobooth pictures and some blue plastic dinosaurs in tow. If it wasn't apparent to you yet, I have a tendency of being a sentimental hoarder.


My last round of 'From the Camera Roll,' was published around this time last year and I'm starting to notice a lot of parallels. Tacos, ice cream, Steveston and White Rock were all running themes in the other post as well. And although there is a lot of parallels, the experiences were entirely different and stand tall on their own two feet. This year, coming back to Steveston involved getting frozen yogurt from Timothy's Café and walking around the wharf during golden hour. Highly recommend that combination if you ever find yourself in Richmond. It's some kind of magic eating something cold while being warmed by the last rays of the setting sun.


Wooden Spoon was another place that I found myself back again since last year. It was once again a pit-stop for brunch before heading to the beach because of its prime and very convenient location. When we got there, the place was pretty packed and so we left our names on the list and then had a wander around the area. We stumbled into a couple murals (because life has a loving way of giving me continuity lately), and leisurely weaved through the stores nearby.


After brunch, we spent the afternoon walking around the beach. It was low-tide so there was plenty of ground to cover. The wind was pretty swift and so I was very grateful that I had my denim jacket on me. After a while, we just parked ourselves on a log and talked about life. Shortly after, a couple of guys approached us. Some jokesters who were feeling friendly and decided to strike up a conversation about friend-zones, and meeting people at this day and age. It was odd, unexpected, but non-threatening and made for a good laugh at the end of the day.  


April was also the month I got to meet up again with some pals I haven't seen in ages. The last I'd seen Jenny, Phil, and Alex was before Christmas of last year. Finally, we managed to set something up and we caught up over dinner and dessert (naturally, ending up at Earnest Ice Cream... again).
It's weird that we all live in various parts of the Lower Mainland now, and although we're not over an hour away from each other, our busy lives and schedules still make it difficult to meet up. It took a long while to find a date and time that suited all of us, but the effort is worth it when it comes to special people. Ultimately, growing up means being more intentional about holding onto the people that matter despite the difficulty, and I'm prepared to exert that effort if it means keeping these three in my life.


At the start of May, on a quick pit-stop to the mall to get rolls of film, we unexpectedly were greeted with a full on carnival in the parking lot. We managed to convince a bunch of people to meet up with us back there later that evening, and although the rides cost way too much for too short of a time, wandering through the busy lights and the colorful structures was still pretty rad. After all, how often do you get to say you quite literally stumbled into a carnival that popped up out of nowhere!
That about sums up April for me. May was just as busy, if not more, and now that we're approaching mid-June, the craziness hasn't seemed to slow down. It's been refreshing to have such a packed schedule, especially since the hustle and bustle is tied to doing fun things rather than the chaos of workloads and deadlines. It's nice to come to the realization that I don't need to go on big trips to feel excited about life.
Stay gold,

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