Everyone gets yuppie pizza today.

 

Rainbow

Rainbow over Yaletown.

 

Today was the first real rainy day since I’ve been back…

I’m writing this post after some drinks / a pizza in Yaletown. So obviously, I’m loving the rain today.

It is very easy to slide into old favourite habits and routines. Especially post work beverages. Especially when it’s raining. It’s like putting on a comfy sweater. A comfy waterproof sweater (for your brain).

After catching up with a friend I went to buy a bus pass from 7 – 11. The counter lady joked that I was teasing her with pizza. I told her it was cold pizza, but that she could have some. “It’s from the Yaletown Brewpub” … “I’ve never had that before” … “Go for it!” (She did.)

Everyone gets yuppie pizza today.

Then she gave me some advice re: buying the monthly bus pass or faresavers. We can write off the bus pass, but you can’t write off faresavers. And you never know when you’ll want to take the bus.

Sold.

Damp pizza box. Waiting for a bus. Phone calls from friends, “well, I’m going to yoga, but after maybe we can go for a walk”. These people love the outdoors.

I guess I’m one of these people.

I bought rain boots today.

I don’t think I’m going anywhere for awhile.

Also – it’s poncho and cape season.

XO, Vancouver

Ponchos and capes

 

What happened, hippies?

Kathmandu

In Kathmandu

I’m reading “Magic Bus: On the Hippie Trail from Istanbul to India

So, of course, as I write this I am listening to Magic Bus by The Who.

In the book, I’m in India. The author has just visited the ashram in Rishikesh – where the Beatles came to find enlightenment, get off drugs (surprise!) and practice transcendental meditation, where much of the White Album was written, and Mia Farrow’s sister Prudence locked herself in her room – inspiring Dear Prudence (my favourite Beatles song).

Cue Dear Prudence.

I’ve been thinking a lot about India lately. Subletting my apartment somehow, asking a friend about woofing, and taking off for the winter months. Of course this is tied to some sort of finding myself / getting away from the winter / wow, I’m living in Canada again panic.

There is a section in the Magic bus book where the author is discussing with an Indian person the failure of the hippie movement. The owner of Pilgrim’s Books – Rama Tiwari (I went to the Pilgrim’s books in Thamel, Kathmandu) had great insight into this question, one that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately – what happened? He said:

We can only live in happiness if we conquer the restless dream that paradise is in a world other than our own.

Essentially, if you are travelling to find answers, you’re never going to find them.

I asked my parents what happened, why the ideals of the late 60’s and early 70’s went out the window. Why the same people that took up transcendental meditation and practiced free love, then bought Lexus’s and destroyed the economy.

They aren’t in the best position to provide insight because they came of age in the late 70’s and were tail end baby boomers. Their friends’ older brothers and sisters smoked pot and travelled through Afghanistan – my parents got jobs, got married at 22 and bought a house.

I don’t think they’ve ever smoked pot. Or if they did, they hated it.

My mom, a pre-school teacher, said that it was part of coming of age. The hippies eventually wanted to nest and provide for young. Which meant stuff and a house, which can only really be purchased with money you earn from a job and the security you get from living in a place with social services, running water and taxes.

So, did these people search and search, not find an answer, go home and find an answer. The answer being the status quo?

Through my travel experience, countless times I’ve met people that could not understand why I was so far from my family and what I was doing working in their country. If not living in abject poverty, 9/10 these people were usually happier and more satisfied with their lives than anyone I knew at home.

Himalayas

Which kept me going. Obviously there was an answer in Turkey, or Indonesia, or Nepal – if my friends there were happy, then if I lived there too I could learn how to be fulfilled like them.

Apparently, it’s not that easy. The real peace and sustainable change comes from within. If our society is fucked, if our lives are not fulfilled, we have a role to play in fixing it. We can’t run away somewhere else looking for answers, we have to work with what we have.

For now …

29, we’re all fine !

Email from Mary:

Hey dude,

They are writing about us.

Also, this video, shared by Hester :

also:

My birthday cake this year looked like this:

birthday

Seriously, my name is even on it.

So, 29 what’s up?

I’ve been calling it my bonus year, to everyone that asks what I’m doing with my life, or if I’ll ever get married, or when I think is too old to have children. Actually, I tell the people that aren’t asking deeply personal questions as much as I tell the group above, that 29 is my bonus year.

I’m not alone in thinking that 29 is a special time in a young woman’s life – forget motherhood or the start of menstruation (ha!) nope – it’s turning 29,

Like most people of my generation, I’m quick to say that my 20s, frankly, kind of sucked. There’s a cultural consensus that modern post-college twentysomethings are in a strange extended adolescence, full of “the contradictions and anxieties that come with being over-educated, minimally employed, mostly single, and on your own,” according to the Tumblr turned book F*ck! I’m in My Twenties. What’s less acknowledged is the moment when it all starts to turn around.

Ann Friedman’s article, aptly expresses a feeling that myself and many of my cohorts seem to be feeling, that, by 29,  “you give way fewer fucks.”

I think it is easy at this juncture to lament the friends getting married and starting families, and attempt to focus on 29 as this amazing time in life for single women to focus on themselves.

But then, are you doomed to become that obnoxious single woman bragging about jetting off to foreign countries, and crying into her Merlot on Friday nights? Or the one that’s decided to devote her life to cats. Or the one obsessively online dating, trying to find someone, anyone?

Truthfully, if you’ve made it this far – through the tunnel of self doubt, over the “there’s nobody left” abyss and the “what am I doing” mountain – you’re left with you.

And, whatever happens, its a great time to become a better friend to yourself.

By now, you certainly know what won’t make you feel happy and fulfilled – and it’s time to start seriously looking into what will.

A job you don’t really like?

Toxic relationships?

Hobbies you don’t actually enjoy?

Probably not going to uplift you and make you feel good about life.

If you are alone, it’s more difficult to hide from yourself and what you really want. Not that the magic of 29 doesn’t or can’t affect everyone – it’s just that if you are getting/ married and/or have children – there is a lot of different “magic” in your life, and other things that might be taking priority. It’s a different set of fewer fucks given when you have a two year old, or are supporting a husband through law school.

I love my married friends, and my mom friends. We are doing different things. But, another example of just not giving an f – bomb, just because you are doing something different, no one is winning or losing. I know that you have your own struggles, and sometimes it’s hard too.

We’re all really just doing our best.

So that’s it.

29 is reaching a point when you are learning to be cool with yourself and the majority of things in your life (or kicking them to the curb), and you really start to treat yourself as a good friend that you want the best for.

29 – I’m really, honestly, feeling pretty fine.

 

 

Two Month Anniversary (with Vancouver).

On top of the Lions, in culturally appropriate clothing.

So .. Vancouver .. Here we are again.

Did you hear that I’m not leaving?

Yeah, I know. I had set some pretty firm plans in motion.

Again, Vancouver, again.

Do you remember our first time around? I know I grew up in Poco, and spent my undergrad at UBC, but this was always one foot in and one foot out. We know Poco and the city are not the same.

Our first real try at a relationship was post undergrad, in 2007. I had just finished at UBC, and gone to Indonesia for 3 months. It was really hard to find a job in the city, and then it was really hard to find a place to live in the city. I ended up living in a very “colourful” house on 19th and MacDonald. Aside from the mould in the bathroom, the one creepy roommate, and the filth of messy people all living together (to which I do take 1/4th of the blame) this was a blast. All I can remember now is the house parties, and finding the accumulated possessions of roommates past (a very dramatic series of letters from a girlfriend in Japan, accompanied by ultrasounds and a failed attempt to keep a daily journal which ended on January 4th.

But we did break up, Vancouver and I. My boyfriend at the time wanted to go to grad school, and I didn’t want to be left behind, alone with you. Vancouver, you and I were friendly, but not enough for me to stay. I didn’t want to be stuck and have regrets down the road.

So, I went to Turkey for two years.

Our second attempt at a healthy relationship, you and I, was in 2010. I was going to school. I was transitioning to living with roommates and drunk neighbours – from my own two bedroom massive apartment in Turkey’s capital city, transitioning from working and having an income, to working for free and having a very limited income. Apparently, the first place I lived had been a meth lab. It didn’t look nefarious when I moved in, but there was a big hole in my ceiling for the extent of my time there. That winter I would hole up in my basement apartment room with an electric heater, which I hid from my roommate, because I knew the electricity bills would rocket, and drink winter ale and watch streamed movies. This was prior to netflix, and megavideo would cut you off after a certain amount of time. There was a lot of frustration. I watched a lot of tv with my unemployed friend. It was during this cold and dreary winter that I wrote the lyrics to “We Hate this City” (to the tune of, We Built This City”) It’s easy:

We hate this city

Da na

We hate this city

Vaaaaannn Cooooouuu Veeerrrr.

My bad attitude towards the weather winter 2010/2011 ultimately extended into a bad attitude to just about everything. Let’s just say, my dating life was sporadic, confusing and ultimately doomed.

I did work at it though. I called it “the Vancouver hustle”. Living in a city that so many other people your age also want to live in, well educated, friendly and attractive people – makes it competitive for everything from apartments, to jobs to dates. I managed to find all three. It wasn’t enough though.

When the offer to move to Australia came up at work. I took it. I took it and moved my boyfriend half way across the world. I was distracted by the beaches, year round warmth, interesting animals and adventure of Australia. It really turned my head.

At the time, Vancouver, you just weren’t good enough.

We know now that didn’t work.

Where do you run when you are uncertain? Although perhaps counter intuitive, living overseas is far more stable in many ways than living in your home city. Housing, friends, work, money – you’ll have these within a few weeks if you have a decent job overseas. At home? You have no idea how the four will pan out.

But here we are. Sometimes the bigger adventure is going back and trying again.

So lets try this again, home(y). You’ve been a gracious host this summer, with all the sunshine. Please be kind through the winter, and either commit to snow on the mountains OR a respite from constant rain. Maybe don’t drop to – 17 again? Also, if you want to send me some jobs and dates, well, I won’t say no.

I’m not alone. It seems all the nomads are returning to town. Are we picking up on some subconscious vibration? Is the world going to fall to pieces in the next 6 months? I hope not.

But at least we will all be together, working at this thing called home.

Home (?)

Solutions work a lot faster when you come home, because of family and friends.

So, 10 days later, I’m relatively sorted with a place to stay, but now I’m bored.

I have enough of a savings buffer that I can eat and take care of essentials (but not so much that I can fill up my free time with shopping, or going on extravagant trips or to music festivals).

I have places to stay (thank you friends!).

I could even work full time apparently (but that’s not the point right now).

I spent my employment wishing for this free time, and will spend my unemployment trying to deal with an excess of free time.

This is a conundrum buddhists deal with by trying to focus on the present moment. I’m trying to focus on all the food I’ve missed in my absence, and can now eat:

T & T Dragon roll and Jasmine tea (with coconut)

 

 

Departures …

I bought a radio hook up for my car / ipod last year on sale. I loved it to pieces. Literally, it went 4 x4 driving and didn’t survive. I’ve been making due with Triple J (Amazing, Australia, Amazing) and 10 year old CD’s. No Doubt’s Return of Saturn and Alanis Morrisette.

But, I did just discover Spotify, and that if I pay an extra $10 per month for my pay – as – you go phone, I have enough data to use it all the time. My Nexus phone has a speaker and I can play it in the car. If I am in a car accident, this is why. I can make playlists and look up songs in traffic.

My latest playlist is called Sadz. I need a cathartic experience and I need to cry. I’ve been in what I like to call “solution mode” for the last 8 weeks. Solution mode is defined by a lack of emotion and .. finding solutions.

I’ve found some solutions:

I’m moving to Kayseri, Turkey. I like Turkey, I like the job opportunity which has presented itself. I will be able to learn new skills, write, hopefully pick up better Turkish and eventually get into a Masters program (and pay for it!).

I will go to Vancouver for 6 – 8 weeks and have a good time. I will see the people I care about and have fun with them.

I will stay centered with exercise, a little bit of Buddhist philosophy and not overdoing the less healthy things …

Paperwork has been sent, the first of the goodbyes said, plane tickets booked and plans set in motion.

I can crack now.

I watched and read Eat, Pray, Love again. The first time I read it, I was in Bali on a vacation from an internship in Surabaya, Indonesia. I loved the book then because I was in Bali, and I loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s take on spirituality. I was in a weird place there, between Islam and Christianity, living in a Muslim country and spending a lot of time with Baptist Christians.

I read it again at home in Vancouver, years later. I hated it. I thought Elizabeth Gilbert was whiny. I was going through a difficult break up. I was home from being abroad and everything seemed so hard – school, work and the city. How great would it be to abandon everything and just take off for Italy, India and Indonesia? Unrealistic and irresponsible Elizabeth – you’re just lucky or dumb or both.

I love it again, now. Probably because I feel old, and she touches on how ridiculous she feels travelling while everyone else is getting married or having children. The uncertainty, the necessity of learning something new and beautiful, rebuilding from the inside out. A perfect book.

They use Neil Young  music in the Eat, Pray, Love movie. I use Neil Young on my Sadz play list (and would in my movie… if anyone wants to make it, please call me) (tentative title – Eat,Run,Read)

I want to live,
I want to give
I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold.
It’s these expressions
I never give
That keep me searching for a heart of gold.And I’m getting old.
Keep me searching for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old.I’ve been to Hollywood
I’ve been to Redwood
I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold.
I’ve been in my mind,
It’s such a fine line
That keeps me searching for a heart of gold.And I’m getting old.
Keeps me searching for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old.

Keep me searching for a heart of gold.
You keep me searching and I’m growing old.
Keep me searching for a heart of gold
I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold.

My car conversations with Neil Young via the Sadz play- list on Spotify:

Oh Neil, I AM getting old ! I have crossed that ocean for a heart of gold, but now I am crossing back over that said ocean.  It IS such a fine line, that keeps us searching, for that heart of gold. I AM a miner. And I’m getting old.

Thanks Neil Young. You get it.

Maybe I can let go a bit and have a good cry now.