When I was growing up, I had this idea that an “adventure” was something elusive. Not just anyone could have an adventure. I think I read too many books or something, because I had high standards for what classified an adventure. In my mind, you had to be in the Fellowship of the Ring or something to have an adventure!
Since then, I’ve realized that I can have my own adventures (even if they mostly involve coffee shops and flower baskets)! So without further ado, I’d like to share and document some snippets from my adventure in Canada with my mom.
I just got back from Vancouver, British Columbia on Friday, July 5th.
It was my first time out of the US so I was very excited for the trip. The main object of the trip was for me to compete at the North American Irish Dance Championships. My mom traveled with me and it was so special to be able to have this trip with her.
We flew out of Dallas last Saturday (June 29th) and arrived in Vancouver that evening. We took the train from the airport to our first hotel, the Victorian Hotel in downtown Vancouver.
The hotel was very old fashioned (picture me trying to lug two suitcases up narrow stairs) and the room was tiny. It was so charming though! The highlight was that at the free breakfast the hotel offered the next morning was that there was already brewed English Breakfast tea in a cannister alongside the coffee. Being in the minority as a tea drinker in the US (lol), I was very excited!
We attended mass at the Holy Rosary Cathedral a few times over the trip and it was beautiful. The church was gorgeous without being too extravagant or overawing. Simple beauty–my favorite.
Competition day for me was Monday! I didn’t know what to expect of myself because despite battling achilles injuries earlier this year, I had since been injury free…that is until I fell really hard on my back about two weeks before competition day. I don’t think the injury was really serious. But, my back was bruised and made dancing extremely uncomfortable…to the point that I struggled to hold it together the day before I competed because I felt like I could barely dance. Every time I jumped, I felt my back twinge. Despite having trained extremely hard, I think by the time I got to the competition, my body was just done physically. Oh well…there is always something to learn.
But I am still happy with the way I danced. My treble jig (hardshoe round) was one of my strongest I have ever performed in competition. I usually feel like death and do not enjoy performing it, but for the first time I felt like I had the energy to enjoy the performance! WIN!
My second round was slip jig (soft-shoe round). While my slip jig didn’t feel the best, it still felt good and solid. My mom said it almost made her cry, but I tried to take that with a grain of salt (love you, mama).
I did not recall (place) and while I wasn’t expecting it, there is always a glimmer of hope. However, I knew I could be proud of my dancing and I tried to appreciate the opportunity to compete at such a high level amongst internationally acclaimed dancers who have competed at Worlds and won World medals.
After dancing, it was time for the vacation to begin! We spent time in coffee shops, my favorite of which was Coo Coo Coffee, which was a small shop cozied in a residential neighborhood. We also visited Stanley Park, the Vancouver Art Gallery (kind of weird!), Granville Island (can I live there???), and even went whale watching.
That whale watching was something else. When I booked our tickets there was the option to sit inside or outside. My mom and I thought obviously it would be better to sit outside, right? WRONG. There were literally four seats outside, two on each back corner of the boat. We had to wear crazy environmental suits to protect us from the cold and wet. It was an adventure but we were kind of freezing and would sit inside next time! The scenery was beautiful however, and we did get to see whales (though at a distance).
Gastown was another beautiful area to explore! It was a neighborhood with brick roads, cute shops, and my favorite…flower baskets on lamposts! The flower baskets on the lampposts were my favorite thing ever. Still obsessed with them. We went to Soft Peaks for Ice Cream and it was so good. My mom loved that it wasn’t too sweet.
Another highlight of the trip was being able to watch a younger friend who I’ve known since she started dancing compete. It was her first Nationals! It’s been amazing to watch her grow from a little beginner into a beautiful championship dancer. I’m so proud of her. Love you, Kate!
One of my favorite things about visiting Vancouver was the ability to walk pretty much anywhere I wanted to go. My mom and I were able to pretty much walk anywhere we wanted. Museums, Restaurants, Coffee shops (there were SO many!), etc…it was great and made me really want to live in a walkable city!
Overall, Vancouver was a beautiful city and I am so grateful for the memories I made there with my mom.