Summer in Vancouver

Happy Summer!

It honestly has been quite some time that I have written about anything (busy life problems, am I right?).

I have been going through so many personal adventures and I have had so many things to share. I decided to come back and write about some of things that I have been up to this summer. Summer is so glorious in Vancouver, I cannot complain. Although, I work Monday to Friday, the weekends are spent exploring the city. The best part of Vancouver is that there is an endless supply of adventures. If you are into low-key sitting by the water, we have tons of bodies of water whether you live in the city or more outside of the lower mainland, there are various options. If you’re into the more intense exploration, we have anything and everything to cater to your adventure needs.

Personally, some weekends I need major adventures and other times I am very low-key and just require a tree to sit under to read my books. I wanted to share 5 things that I think are the best things to do in Vancouver (that are free or a low cost). Of course, this is entirely my opinion and there are many other blog posts out there of even more exciting things to do in Vancouver.

  1. Vancouver Symphony Orchestra @ Sunset or Deer Lake Park

This was my first year attending the free concert and I will forever make it a summer tradition. The orchestra shares with us a display of wonderful music, talent and beauty. The concert lasts about 2 hours. My friends and I made it into a thing. We brough a picnic basket, dressed up and basked in the sun while we lived our disney princess dreams. Although, I ended up with heat exhaustion (at the beach performance), it was worth it. I would highly recommend that you take transit or do what we did and get there early, since finding parking basically sucks.

2. Surrey Fusion Festival

Another fantastic event is the Surrey Fusion Festival. Although, my video is from last years’ event (I’m heading there tonight for the final day), I had to share. The Surrey Fusion Festival is a culmination of different countries coming together to share their music, their food and culture with the City of Surrey. The Fusion Fesitival has played a large part growing up in the Surrey/Delta area. My dad has performed at this event a couple of times and it makes me proud that we live in a place where we can share this with others. Plus, I really like food. I am quite adventurous when it comes to food, so this is the perfect place to try new things. This year Walk off the Earth is performing and I am super excited.

3. Celebration of Lights

Although I have not gone to the Honda Celebration of Lights since I was a kid, I hear it is a great experience. I hope to go this year. Every year, different countries show us a display of colorful lights (I only see pictures through instagram). This year the line up is Sweden, South Korea and South Africa. This event draws a major crowd. It is highly recommended that you make a day of it, find a place and stay until the end. The event is divided into three separate nights and at the end, a winner is chosen.

I really hope that I finally get to go on one of the nights. Its hard when you live outside of the city.

4. Lakes & Beaches

Not including the cost of gas and food to take on adventures. This is the least costly thing to do in Vancouver. Again, depending on where you are in Vancouver, there are tons of bodies of water to plant yourself to and enjoy. My three top places to go are Sunset Beach, Crescent Beach (which is about 45 minutes from Vancouver) and Buntzen Lake (about an hour from downtown Vancouver). Our parks and beachs draw a lot of attention in the summer. Being by the water makes me so happy. I enjoy sitting outside, reading my book and listening to the water splash. I don’t know how to swim (so being in the water terrifies me). And before you laugh at my not knowing to swim, I legit have this thing where if I cannot touch the ground, I freak. However being near the water is so soothing for me. I love it. When I was younger being at the lake was my childhood. Unfortunately, adulting sometimes gets in the way of being by the water.

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5. Playland (FAIR AT THE PNE)

Okay, so this is the most expensive on this list. But when the PNE Fair at Playland starts, it is fantastic. Playland is already great on its own with all the rides and carnival foods, but the Fair makes summer wonderful. More attractions, more random foods, more fun. They also have amazing performances (Summer Nights Concerts Series) on given nights and that’s what really lures me in. This year Cyndi Lauper, Boyz II Men, Salt N Pepa (for 90’s night) will be performing and I think that is absolutely exciting.

These are so many other things to do in Vancouver. I could honestly go on. There is always something happening in the summer and I think that’s why I love summer. I think I want to share more about my adventures in Vancouver and outside of Vancouver. Let me know if that is something you are down to read.

TedxSFU: How will I ‘connect the dots’? (Part 1)

TedxSFU happened yesterday and I can start off by saying, it never disappoints. This is the second time in my life that I have attended TedxSFU and every single time, there are speakers and stories that make a difference in my life. I wasn’t sure about how I would share the experience, at first I wanted to write a review of what everyone said but that would mean I would have to sit there and take LOTS of notes. I found that I would probably miss the experience by doing that so I decided to write certain lines, quotes and things that I found relatable. I apologize in advance at how long this post might be. I definitely tried to limit my word count but I want to be able to share my experience.

This year the theme was “Connect the dots”, right off the bat this theme meant a lot to me. Even when I was applying, I wondered why this was important to me. Recently, I discovered that I am a multipotentialite–this means that I have a lot of interests and skills that vary so I have hard time finding that one thing that I can call my own. We grow up thinking that we need to be that one thing, that we can’t do more than one thing or combine multiple passions into one. There’s this saying in spanish that says “el que mucho abarca poco aprieta” which translates to “He who embraces too much holds on to little”. And I grew up feeling like I had to pick one dream only, one career, one interest but I began to feel restricted and suffocated. So how does one connect ones interests? Do I do one at a time? Do I do two? Or three? Am I capable of achieving all of them at once? Do I prioritize? All these questions started running through my head. What am I supposed to do?

Well, you attend a TedxSFU talk. Or at least that is what I do. Right off the bat, it inspired me. During the introduction, Sam Thiara–the co-founder of GradusOne said two things that really resonated with me. The first thing was that we should “discover the extraordinary [from] the ordinary“, I found this to be extremely important. Sometimes we sit around waiting for something extraordinary to occur in our lives, or we don’t take opportunities because they seem to ordinary and we end up preventing ourselves from finding something extraordinary. All of our stories are important, they are all unique and our experiences make us who we are. The second thing he said was about our attendance at TedxSFU, he mentioned that it’s not all about just attending, sitting and listening but what will you do with what you hear and feel? I find that to be true, sometimes we just go to listen, to meet people, feel inspired for a moment and then move on with our lives. I think that we need to be able to apply them to our goals.

The next quote that I found relatable and important, especially for someone who sometimes thinks that can be a little impatient at times. The next speaker, Dr. Ryan D’Arcy talked about brain plasticity, hope and inspiration. He talked about Capt. Greene and how he has become an inspiration because of all the things he’s accomplished after his injury. I was captivated by how much perseverance, determination and support can do for a person. I was extremely moved and happy to hear this story but what really got me was when he said “little steps add up to make quite a distance“. Sometimes we want to see the whole picture right off the bat, we’re so focused on the big picture that we forget about the steps we took, or we don’t realize that each step we take will get us to that main goal. If you want to know more about this story, I encourage you read about it, his achievements and what he plans to accomplish real soon. Capt. Trever Greene (CBC news story link).

Next was Bryce Evans, Founder and Operator of the The One Project–which is an online photography community to help with depression and anxiety. As someone who tends to get anxiety a bit, I found this talk very important. There are so many ways to express how we are feeling whether through a song like Lindsay Dixon or through photography like Bryce or writing or dancing. There are so many ways to get the message across on mental health, our personal struggles without having to actually talk. I found that super important because sometimes we are afraid of what we say and how people respond to what we say. There were a few things that stuck out for me such as “have conversations with yourself” and being authentic to ourselves. We have to find ways to have a healthy relationship with ourselves and figure out what we need and what we want. A few more things that stuck out to me that Bryce mentioned was that “[our] full potential cannot shine until we feel whole” and that “[we] are the most important project of our life“. I can agree with this. You cannot help others until you have helped yourself.

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Zoya Jiwa, she was the most articulate 21-year-old I have ever met. Zoya is the founder of As We Are — an online community where people with illnesses, diseases discuss their stories and use style to share how they navigate through their conditions. I found this to be amazing, she didn’t want to lose her love of clothes because of her conditions. Zoya not only has lupus but also suffers from fibromyalgia and got tired of not being able to wear the clothes that express her individuality and personality–which is a sweet, intelligent and adorable human. This was one of my favourite talks because we all own our fashion, it tells our story, it makes us who we are. She used that to express her conditions and to connect with others with a similar story. Here are my favourite things she said:

Go from problems to possibilities

Let’s celebrate who we are, as we are, in this moment

Treat your body as a friend

Sometimes, it takes a breakdown to make a breakthrough

You may not control what happens to you but you can control how you respond

She had so many good ones but these were the ones that really stuck out to me. We all have problems but those problems change to possibilities when you change how you react to them. I also recently learned to accept my body and who I am, so these really made me happy inside.

I know that this has been one of my longest posts and I hope to share even more about my experience. I decided to divide it into two parts so that it doesn’t take too much of your time. I shall post the second part to it after I’ve organized my notes a bit more, expect it either later tonight or tomorrow morning!