So let’s rewind to the 5th April. Oh my gosh it feels like ages ago already. Cassie and I hired a car from Kelowna and drove across to Vancouver for my final chapter on my Canadian working holiday visa. I was super excited to be heading back. I love this city and I had missed my friends.
It was an easy transition. In fact it felt like I hadn’t even left. The only difference being I had about 3 months left on my visa this time round. And I certainly wasn’t wishing my time away. I had such big plans, as always. First adventure crossed off was a brief visit to Grouse Mountain.
Through our Big White staff pass, we managed to snag a free pass to Grouse Mountain before our season ended. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t looking great so Cassie and I decided not to ski or snowboard. In hindsight I kind of regret this decision however on the day the conditions were pretty dire. Mainly slushy snow and a half frozen ice rink. We took the gondola up and walked around trying to avoid slipping on the slush. It was nice to finally see Grouse, after living so close for a long time. Unfortunately we couldn’t see any views from the top. The clouds were hiding all the good stuff you see on Instagram. It is a very small ski hill so I’m not upset that I missed out on skiing. I’m more gutted I missed the views of Downtown Vancouver. Maybe I’ll do the Grouse Grind at some point.
Jemma came to visit! The Big White season ended on the 8th April and Jemma was heading home to Australia, to do another winter season. She stopped in Vancouver for about a week. It was good timing because I was still unemployed so we could explore together. We hit up all the touristy stuff like biking Stanley Park, visiting Granville Island, walking around Lynn Canyon and Capilano Suspension Bridge. We had a good time and I miss her so much. I’m definitely coming to Australia to visit as soon as I magically come into some money.
Daisy and Rachelle bought a car, the beloved Carsandra. She took us on a few adventures in our very limited time together. We went to our very own private beach at Lions Bay. We went to Alice Lake in Squamish. They went mountain biking whilst I soaked up the sunshine by the lake. We feasted many a time on delicious food. It is after all what brought us together. Rachelle and I cheered Daisy on at the Vancouver half marathon. She smashed it. We hung out with Stella the wilderness dog. I’m still convinced we aren’t cool enough for her. Then the 23rd May came and I had to say bye to Daisy. You guys have become my best friends and I’m gutted that Destiny’s Child is now split up. I hope we can eat cheese together very soon.
I was eagerly awaiting for crazy times with my Irish girls, Lauren and Lenny. And it didn’t disappoint. We somehow wangled our way into a birthday party in a hotel room with endless supplies of free champagne. It was a messy night which ended up with me getting “locked out” of their apartment building and then realising I had the key in my pocket all along the next morning. They live so close to work so I’ve popped in numerous of times to talk boys, exchange funny shit that happens to us on a daily basis and just for general lols.
I developed a soft spot for Sunset Beach. If you follow me on Instagram you know I am a huge lover of sunsets. If you don’t follow me, then please do (jess_baillie). Well this is the best spot for a Vancouver sunset. And to make it even better, which I didn’t think was possible is a bbq. Anna and Anja, the best hosts bring their bbq down to the grass near Sunset Beach. We have Anja sliced weiners on the bbq and watch the sunset. My Italian sausage didn’t go down as well. It is definitely my favourite spot in Vancouver right now. You guys treat me so well and I will forever be grateful for Spokes bringing us together.
Talking of new loves, I have a slight obsession with salad rolls. Thanks Daisy. Salad rolls are a Vietnamese dish. For people who don’t know what I’m talking about I’m going try and describe them to the best of my ability. It’s like a cold spring roll. Instead of a crunchy deep fried pastry, it’s a cold rice paper. Filled with the freshest of the freshest ingredients and served with the most delicious condiment, peanut sauce. I thought mayo was on the top of my favourite condiment list but it has moved to second place. My favourite salad rolls are from Cafe Phin & Pho on Denman Street. I need to suss out a place in Hull to get my fix or I’m going to have to make my own.
Cassie and I went on a small adventure to Buntzen Lake, near Port Moody. It is accessible via public transport so we got there eventually. We relaxed by the lake with snacks, Uno and our new pals the Canadian Geese. They literally poo everywhere but kept us entertained. I love getting out the city every now and then. It’s good for you and always a treat to visit somewhere new.
I went back to Spokes, shocking! I guess I wasn’t very desirable to companies with a visa that expires in 3 months. They look for committed human beings. It’s not my fault Canada doesn’t want me to stay because I really want to. I’m looking for single Canadians for possible marriage visa. So I went back to bike rentals. I just can’t get away from rentals. I love this job for meeting people. I’ve met some really awesome people working here. I’ve also met lots and lots of dumb tourists. My customer service skills are depleting as we speak.
My friend, Naomi from home came to visit me very last minute for 6 days. It was a short but sweet trip. She got to see the best bits of Vancouver. The list includes Stanley Park, Sunset Beach, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Granville Island, VanDusen Botanical Garden, Yaletown for the best ice cream, a bike art mural tour (check back for a dedicated post on this), Deep Cove paddle boarding and Quarry Rock hike. It was an action packed 6 days and I’ll see you really soon.
I attempted disk golfing again. And I’m still terrible. I went with Anja (the queen of disk golf), Jenny and Mojo. I’m sure you all had a great time laughing at my “skills”. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned disk golf on my blog before. It is something I only discovered in Canada. Very similar to frisbee but heavier and smaller. You throw them into a metal cage on a golf course. I am terrible at throwing so it comes as no surprise to me that I’m awful. In other news I have developed excellent catching skills. Anja likes to throw random objects at me at work and now I can successful catch them. Let’s celebrate!
I went for homemade cocktails at Vanessa’s house. She has a lovely selection of spirits and a very in-depth cocktail making book. She made me a few cocktails and I left rather tipsy. Can you drink and bike? Well it happened and I survived. I’m thankful for your mint spanking skills. Oh and I got to hold her snake too. What a crazy turn of events.
Cassie and I headed to the Sunshine Coast for a day of exploring with Sage the tour guide. We are all friends from Big White so it was really nice to catch up and see a part of British Columbia I haven’t seen yet. It started as the worse day weather wise, torrential rain. Within 30 minutes of being on the Sunshine Coast, the blue skies made an appearance. I really had one of the best days there and I will definitely be back. I also plan to dedicate a whole post to this day so I won’t say too much right now. Apart from go when you get the chance! It really is very beautiful. And I saw a bear in the wild.
I’m sad it took me so long to write this. I hate to use being busy as an excuse but it’s true. It takes me a couple of hours to write a post and share my photos and I’ve just not had the time. I’m heading back to England very very soon so I’ve just not stopped socialising and taking in every last moment in Canada. I am feeling very emotional about leaving but I know I want to come back. I just need to get my act together and make it happen.
Come back really soon to read about my art bike tour, my day on the Sunshine Coast and my last week in Vancouver. Be prepared for lots of honest, emotional posts about my move back to England. I want to share as much as possible because I really do not know what to expect. It is very daunting. I’ve already cried twice writing this and once walking home today.