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In my quest to discover 99 Things That Bring Me Joy, the next list in my journal asks me to describe one memorable family vacation, & there is one specific vacation that pops up in my mind vividly. I’ve been on many meaningful & fun family vacations throughout my life. Some of my favorite family trips were of my family along with my dad’s childhood & lifelong friends (including their respective families) going on summer camping trips in Lake Tahoe, up in Northern California. However, the most memorable trip I can fondly recall was an amazing road-trip my immediate family went on from way back in the mid-1990s.

My dad had taken a serious chunk of time off of work to take my mom, me & my younger cousin visiting from SoCal for the summer, on a really memorable road-trip in his modestly awesome Toyota Sienna minivan. We traveled from the Bay Area, up to & through Northern California, through Oregon & Washington, then ending all the way up to British Columbia in Canada. It was one of the best family road-trips I’ve ever been on, all thanks to the incredible planning by my late father.

Now, a lot of time has passed since then, & I don’t remember every little town we visited. I can only vaguely guess that my dad drove up Interstate 5 from California, through Oregon, then Washington, all the way up to British Columbia, Canada. Some of the little towns we drove through were really quaint & cute. Others were unique & fun. Back then, I was a teenager still going through puberty, & my cousin was barely even in her tween years, & those were the days before the technology boom of smartphones & tablets. So, naturally my cousin & I spent most of our time in the car either napping or playing the Cat’s Cradle string game. (Side note: We once tried to play with cards in my dad’s minivan, but quickly found out we all got carsick super fast & one of my cousins actually hurled into a plastic bag.)

Starting around San Francisco, we rode my dad’s above-average minivan up north, somewhere near Redding. We spent one night in an economy hotel, then continued up further up north, passing through Portland, Oregon & then on to Washington state. I remember one of our main stops along our road-trip being in Leavenworth, Washington. We stayed in a really cool hotel that had individual cottage style lodging. I specifically remember our cottage having an all-white color scheme. All of the wood furniture was light colored (like they were from IKEA or something), & the layout had a cute little kitchen & living room space, a master bedroom, & a separate smaller bedroom…the one my cousin & I shared. The only other time in my life where I had ever visited a Scandinavian-esque town was when my family would drive through the little town of Solvang in California on the way to visit family in Los Angeles. Let me tell you, Leavenworth is a whole other experience. It was a really cool & interesting touristy town.

My mom had a blast shopping for lots of little blue & white porcelain bric-a-brac to clutter up our house, as well as buying yards & yards full of delicate, handmade lace curtains to add just that little touch of gaudiness to our mid-century modern Eichler home. My dad loved sampling all of the delicious traditional German delicacies at the local restaurants. My cousin & I were so excited to have one unchaperoned night all to ourselves in our little hotel cottage, while my parents had a night to themselves to have an adult dinner.

Later that night as we went to bed, my cousin & I had to share one queen-sized bed in our small room. I remember the down comforter on the bed was the most fluffiest, & softest comforter I had ever slept on. It was super thick & pillowy. My cousin & I liked to stay up late (very late according to my parents’ standards) & chat. We tried to keep our voices low, thinking that my parents couldn’t hear us from two rooms away, but we could still hear my dad scolding us to go to sleep. How do you expect two giddy teenage girls to sleep when it’s barely dark outside? I mean, sometimes my dad’s bedtime hours were ridiculous.

After leaving the town of Leavenworth, we continued to travel north toward Canada. Our destination…The Buchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay, somewhat near Victoria. Here’s where my mind is getting a little fuzzy. I can’t remember which parts of Canada we drove through to get to the ferry that would take us to Brentwood Bay. The only part of this portion of our trip that I can clearly remember is the time we spent on the ferry & the time we spent at The Buchart Gardens. My mom easily gets seasick, & I remember there were parts of our ferry ride that wasn’t exactly the smoothest. My cousin & I were so bored on the 10+ hour ferry ride, by the time we got to our destination, we were ready to kiss the ground.

When we arrived at The Buchart Gardens, we were awestricken. The Buchart Gardens is one of my parents’ most favorite places in the world, & it was one of my dad’s goals to take his family there for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I will admit here that my cousin & I didn’t appreciate the gardens as much as we should/could have. For two teenagers who were mostly interested in boys, TV, & hanging out with friends, in the beginning of our tour we weren’t as enthusiastic about looking at bushes & flowers for the entire day. However, as the day progressed, we took a bigger interest in the gardens. We all fell in love with the bright colors & grandeur of the gardens, & had such a memorable experience. I remember my dad taking a lot of photos of the three of us ladies: my mom, my cousin, & me.

We didn’t stay in Canada for very long. Shortly after our day in The Buchart Gardens, we headed back down south in my dad’s trusty minivan. We passed through Seattle, Washington, & I was super excited to be able to see the iconic Space Needle as we drove through the city. We then, took another drive through downtown Portland in Oregon, & I was a little disappointed that we couldn’t stop to look around for a bit. Then, as we passed through Northern California again, we stopped at a little town where we saw a shop selling handmade wooden furniture made by Quakers. My parents ended up buying a wooden China cabinet/hutch for our kitchen that we had shipped to our house. That China cabinet is still sitting in our kitchen, & it still looks as new as the day we brought it into our home.

My  absolute most memorable experiences from this entire road-trip was when we stopped at a cute little toy shop while strolling the downtown area of this town who’s name I can’t remember. My dad let my cousin & I each pick out one souvenir to buy, & I vividly remember picking an alarm clock. Well, it wasn’t just any plain old alarm clock. No. This alarm clock was shaped like a puffer fish. It creeped me out at first because the teeth of the puffer fish represented the numbers on a traditional clock, but the design eventually won my heart over with the little rotating clown fish that represented the second hand of the clock. Let me show you an example of this clock for your reference.

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My dad thought I was absolutely nuts for choosing something so unattractive & weird as my souvenir, & my mom tried to get me to pick something else, but I was determined to get this alarm clock. Ever since I first saw it in the display window at the shop I was completely drawn to it. No matter what else I saw at the store, my eyes kept darting back to this ridiculous alarm clock. I just fell in love with it, & had no regrets ever since buying it. This alarm clock lasted for nearly 10+ years before it finally “clocked out” for good. (Pun intended.)

I initially thought I would get a scare every time I would walk into my room & see this creature staring straight at me, with it’s mouth gaping open & baring its sharp teeth, but it didn’t bother me at all. It took me a couple of weeks to get adjusted to having such a large object, especially a clock, occupying so much valuable space on my small nightstand, but it was a pretty smooth adjustment.

This alarm clock may look kitschy & like a cheap novelty toy (it was not very cheap), but it served its purpose well. I used the alarm function of this clock every day for school, & it worked great until one day it just stopped working & I almost was late for school. I had tried changing the battery, but that didn’t work, & I knew then that the clock was busted & broken. It would’ve cost me more money to repair the clock than it was actually worth, so I ended up tossing it out.

Now, I wish I still had that clock today, even in its non-working condition. It would’ve been nice to keep it just as a sentimental keepsake of our amazing & unforgettable road-trip as a little family. I loved telling strangers that my little cousin was my sister. I never had any younger siblings growing up, & I had always dreamed of having younger siblings. Back in those days, I hated being the youngest child, always getting yelled at or picked on by my older siblings, & being overbearingly over-protected by my parents.

Having my younger cousin around during the summer holidays when we were growing up was so much fun. We made so many great memories together, playing, talking, & learning about life together. Now she’s a mother of two & living her best life. I am currently in the process of expanding & adding parts to my already-in-progress best life ever. So, let’s get on to the next post. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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Two weekends ago I took a weekend road-trip to Los Angeles for my cousin’s 40th birthday. Jian & I had a blast. We were able to equally split our time with our family, our friends, & take time out for ourselves to spend alone. All in all, it was a good day weekend. (Sorry…I couldn’t resist adding in that infamous Dr. Dre song lyric.)

This might come off as a little bougie to some, but over the weekend, Jian & I ended up staying at two different hotels. For the first leg of our Los Angeles extended weekend, we stayed at a hotel called The Jeremy. The hotel is located in a great location that’s close to all of the things Jian & I like to do when we’re there, but it’s still somewhat close to the area where a majority of my relatives live. We had never stayed at this hotel before, but whenever we travel to L.A., we always hang out around that West Hollywood neighborhood.

The last time we were in L.A., this hotel was still under a ton of construction. It was still under quite a bit of remodeling & reconfiguring during the weeekend we had stayed there. Yet, even though the hotel’s layout was a little confusing during all of the reconfiguring & remodeling of their main lobby, we still had a good experience staying at that hotel. One thing I could not believe was that this hotel (The Jeremy) was the most affordable hotel we could find for that weekend (the second weekend in March). It wasn’t super cheap, but it was still affordable, & typically hotels in the West Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles are expensive no matter what time of the year it is. Here, I’ve included photos of our hotel room. It was super spacious considering it was only the two of us (& we usually share a suitcase on short trips).

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Our main objective while in Los Angeles was to attend my female cousin’s big 40th birthday party. However, we were able to take time out for ourselves to swing by all of our routine L.A. haunts, as well as checking out some new hot spots that Jian discovered while browsing the internet. Jian has a fun time window shopping at his favorite licensed Japanese clothing brand retailers (like UNION Los Angeles, VISVIM Exposition, etc.). At the same time, I have a good time of my own browsing through all the various stationery/office supply/gift shops for lots of cute Japanese branded goods. You know, I feel like since Los Angeles has a larger Japanese population there’s a much higher retail demand for Japanese branded products in those shops, compared to similar shops in the Bay Area city where I live. So, I have a much easier time finding things that catch my interest in the shops down in Los Angeles, & I like that because it saves me from having to plan a big trip abroad back to Japan or Taiwan just to satisfy my meaningless retail hunger.

[I AM JUST GOING TO INSERT A LINK OF MY SHOPPING HAUL HERE BECAUSE YOU DON’T NEED ME TO EXPLAIN IT TWICE.]

Now, as I am typing this blog post & thinking about the layout & format of my post, I am kind of, sort of regretting not taking more pictures of the delicious food we ate during our trip. I’d have a good amount of cool food pics to show you, but I ended up not taking very many photos of what we ate/drank. Part of the reason why is because I get in a lazy rut sometimes & just don’t feel like taking photos of anything, but mostly it’s because Jian has been complaining a lot lately that I spend too much time on my mobile phone taking & editing photos (especially of food & drinks) when we go out.

So, lately I have really been putting in effort to not fiddle around on my phone every three minutes while we’re out & about, especially at restaurants. If I complain about those Insta-posers who take carefully staged/posed photos of their food to get more Instagram ‘likes’, then I shouldn’t contribute to the problem by whipping out my mobile phone everytime I’m about to devour something delicious. Therefore, I’ve got nothing of interest or substance to show you in this section of my post. However, I do have a couple of rare food snapshots from a new seafood joint we discovered for the first time, located in a really cool, up-&-coming hipster shopping district called The Row DTLA. The place was called Rappahannock Oyster Bar, & it was a good Happy Hour spot for both of us to rest our feet & whet our whistles.


Here comes the par-tay! For my cousin’s birthday, her husband first took her out for a fun, intimate dinner near their house. Then, they invited all of their closest friends & family to join them at a rented music recording studio space for a laid back & casual dance party, complete with a bartender slinging simple drinks, catered food, & a really cool DJ spinning some of the best song mixes of both today & yesterday’s hits.

Aside from my cousin, the one person who was living the absolute most bestest life ever was our little 2-year old niece. This little munchkin loves to dance every chance she gets, no matter where she is. As soon as she arrived & heard the loud music, she made a beeline straight for the dance area. She could not stop running around the event space & following her mom everywhere. This girl seriously cannot live without her mom (not even dad can corral this little spitfire). She was the cutest little thing the whole night.

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Yup! That’ s my niece playing the bongos!

Jian & I had so much fun dancing the night away, & Jian actually spent the entire night nursing one margarita, while I was surprisingly chugging beers all night without feeling even one ounce of tipsiness or tiredness like I typically do if I even consume half a bottle of beer on an average day. I had such a blast singing along with most of the songs throughout the night, & Jian kept trying to sneak away to grab snacks at the catered food stand, even though we had a pretty hearty dinner right before going to the party. (I warned him not to eat too much, or else he’d get indigestion when we got back to our hotel, but he didn’t listen…as usual.) By the time we got back to our hotel room, our feet were throbbing, our thighs were feeling tight, & we were both ready to each take a super hot shower to soak our overworked (yet underused) muscles. It was all worth it though, just to see my cousin having the time of her life.


On the very last leg of our whirlwind weekend, we very quickly stayed overnight, for one night only, in my brother & sister’s southern L.A. beach neighborhood. We were both extremely disappointed that we were not able to visit & spend time with my niece & nephew, whom we are both very close to. It would have been great to spend a little time with them, especially when my niece’s birthday is coming up in one week. We knew they would’ve both loved to see us, but we were told that everyone would be busy that weekend, & it would be a huge inconvenience for her if we tried to meet up with the kids.

We had decided to switch hotels on the last days of our trip because we were planning on visiting our best friends who live in Irvine, & we didn’t want to actually stay overnight in Irvine & have to drive back to northern California from so far south. So, we thought spending one night in my siblings’ neighborhood would be a good compromise. It was a good resting point between visiting our friends, & driving home early in the morning. For our hotel choice, we decided to book a room at the same hotel we usually stay at when  we visit my siblings.

The hotel is in an extremely convenient location, approximately a five-minute drive from each of my sibling’s places, & it had recently been remodeled & re-branded under a new name, but still under the Marriott hotel chain. The new hotel name is called WestDrift, & the newly remodeled hotel rooms were roomy & comfortable as well. Surprisingly, our room’s couch was larger at the WestDrift compared to the one at The Jeremy even though this new room we were staying in was smaller, & our new room didn’t have any cheesy, skeezy hotel carpet. Hooray for hardwood floors! Here’s a peek at what our new room looked like.

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We met up with our friends on the last full day of our trip. We love spending quality time with our friends & their fun pets, just hanging out at their house, chilling on their couch & chatting while something Netflix-y is playing on the TV in the background. Our friends took us to one of their favorite sushi spots down in Irvine/Costa Mesa, & it was a cool experience. I mean, I’ve never had a piece of nigiri sushi topped with fresh garlic & a dollop of chili sauce. It was something I never expected from a traditional sushi restaurant, yet it tasted really good.

We definitely ended our trip on a high note by spending quality time with our close friends, & Jian got to bromance with his best friend. It was a great ending to a wonderfully action-packed, yet relaxing weekend. We had so much fun blending family time with personal time, & meeting up with friends from afar. Now is the time for us to buckle down at home & not travel for a while. We’ve got lots of home maintenace projects lined up for the forseeable future, so we’re going to have to put our traveling & big activities on hold temporarily, but that’s okay. We truly enjoy spending quiet time at home too. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

I’m officially back from Vancity, & I just want to say that we all had a blast! I felt like an awkward tourist that stood out like a sore thumb whenever I walked out of my hotel lobby wearing my thick jacket & scarf each day. I mean, seriously, I don’t know how the locals are able to walk in the brisk/chilly weather wearing what I would consider to be nothing (but actually thin layers), some wearing only t-shirts & thin hoodies, & I saw some girls actually wearing skimpy dresses. I’ve experienced crisp, cold weather like this before, but I still could not imagine wearing such thin layers. I probably looked like the Michelin tire mascot the whole time I was in Vancouver. My mom surprisingly had no major issues with her sciatica (no flare ups), & all the walking we did around the city did wonders for her physical therapy regimen. Well, now that I’ve gotten that little intro blurb out of the way, let me get on with it.


THE WEATHER

It was freaking beautiful the whole time we stayed in Vancouver. We thought it was going to rain the entire time we were supposed to be there, so we brought our rain coats & compact umbrellas, but we practically had no need for them. It seems Mother Nature had cried out all her tears the week before we arrived, so it was sunny with mild wind nearly every day. There was only one day where it barely drizzled, but nothing that required us to pull out our umbrellas. It wasn’t nearly as cold as we thought it would be. A couple of Jian’s co-workers explained to him that the weather was supposed to be much colder than it had been during that time, & that kind of scared us a little bit, but in the end the weather wasn’t much different from the cold wintery days of San Francisco.

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THE ACCOMMODATIONS

We stayed in the Yaletown neighborhood, right behind the BC Place Stadium, at the DOUGLAS (an Autograph Collection) hotel. The hotel was very close to Jian’s office in the Olympic Village area. He could walk to his office in approximately 15 minutes or so. First of all, I loved the neighborhood of our hotel. It was so convienient to get anywhere around Vancouver proper. I loved our hotel even more. The staff were super friendly, & the service was excellent. I was the most charmed by the architecture & decor of the hotel itself. It was a mix of modern city living, contemporary luxury, & mid-century modern. I took some photos of our room for your reference. I feel like for three people, the room might feel a little too cozy for some, but if there were only two people, then the room size would be adequate.

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THE FOOD

I’m not very much of a fan of fusion style food, but I ate quite a bit of it while I was in Vancouver. One of the first fusion style restaurants we ate at was called PIDGIN, & I think Jian just single-handedly turned me into a bona fide foie gras fan after trying their infamous foie gras rice bowl (a.k.a. donburi, 丼). After listening to the many times Jian had raved & gushed over this restaurant (especially raving about the rice bowl), I decided to try this restaurant, just to make him happy. Jian was not wrong. In fact, he was so very right. We shared the foie gras rice bowl & a dish of sweetbreads. I can clearly see why Jian loves this restaurant so much & has to eat there at least once on every trip to Vancouver. This restaurant has a great Japanese-Korean-French fusion style, but they also make killer cocktails. Sorry, we don’t have any photos of this famous rice bowl…we always end up digging right in as soon as the food arrives, without even thinking of a photo-op.

Another fusion style restaurant we tried was called BAO BEI CHINESE BRASSERIE (宝貝, a.k.a. treasured object). This restaurant is pretty popular, since it’s owner(s) are trying to revive the nearby Chinatown area by opening this restaurant there.  The place serves Chinese-French/ish fusion food, but we were not too impressed with the dishes we ordered based on our first impressions. Also, although the restaurant interiors looked hip & swanky, the space itself was rather tight (as in small). I think that if we have a second chance, I would like to visit this restaurant again, & see if the second go will change my impression of this Chinese-French/ish cuisine.

One of the most memorable eateries I tried in Vancouver was, of all places, a bakery called SMALL VICTORY BAKERY. Oh, man! I ate at this bakery at least three times during my stay in Vancity. Yes, that’s how much I enjoyed the pastries (& the coffee!) at this fine establishment. Plus, it was super close to my hotel, still in Yaletown, so it was easy for me to pop over there for a nice hot cup of drip coffee & a freshly baked treat. The decor & the font of the bakery’s logo remind me a little of our MR. HOLMES BAKEHOUSE here in San Francisco.

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We also ate at various other delicious eating establishments like: THE FLYING PIG, MINAMITUC CRAFT KITCHEN & TETSU SUSHI BAR. At The Flying Pig, I’ve never seen my mom devour a whole plate of tri-tip steak sandwich and shoestring fries. It was very delicious (& incredibly filling), & the restaurant’s menu items reminded me of the typical California-style cuisine I’m used to back home. Jian was very eager to introduce us to Minami, a very traditional Japanese restaurant, where we could try their version of box sushi (a.k.a. Oshizushi, 押し寿司). I don’t really eat boxed sushi, mostly because I don’t like warm sushi topped with warm, cooked fish. The textures & sometimes flavor don’t appeal to me, but the boxed sushi at Minami is definitely worth a try. I tried their version, & genuinely liked it.

When we ate at TUC, I didn’t know that I’d be scarfing down a 12 ounce slab of porterhouse steak. It was massive! OK, so I didn’t actually eat the entire 12 ounces of meat; I shared a little with my mom & Jian, so I pretty much ate close to 10-11 ounces of juicy, flavorful steak. Yum!

Remember when I sad I was converted into a foie gras fan? Well, Jian took my mom & I on our last supper in Vancouver to Tetsu Sushi Bar. This sushi spot serves up sushi using super traditional techniques, & it was some of the best sushi I’ve ever eaten this side of the Pacific Ocean (meaning outside of Japan). We were treated to a delicious slice of heaven when Jian ordered the foie gras nigiri sushi (握り寿司) for each of us. My mom didn’t eat her piece, so Jian & I each shared one half of her piece, which is a big-time faux pas in sushi eating culture. (Part of the so-called unspoken rules of eating sushi, especially at the counter in front of the sushi master himself, is you do not split your slice of sushi in half, nor do you pick off the slice of fish from the ball of rice. Those actions are like a metaphorical slap of the face to the sushi master, as though you’re quietly saying his skills suck.) So, we tried to be as discreet as possible in sharing my mom’s piece of foie gras sushi…because Jian thought it was unfair that my mom gave me her entire piece for myself. Therefore I decided to share it with him.

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Is dessert considered to be an actual meal? I would think so because the cups of liquid nitrogen frozen ice cream from MISTER were pretty substantial. I also visited this ice cream shop about as many times as I visited Small Victory Bakery. Well, when my mom requests to eat ice cream, who am I to turn her down? Plus, their creme brûlée ice cream was to-die-for! I mean, the shop went the extra mile & added a layer of sugar crust just like a regular creme brûlée dessert. If ice cream wasn’t such a guilty treat, then I’d eat this flavor of ice cream everyday.

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Ok, & here is where I’m going to insert a montage of all the delicious libations we partook in.


THE ATTRACTIONS

Aside from all of the walking we did, my mom & I visited many of Vancity’s finest museums & gardens. We first explored around the VANDUSEN BOTANICAL GARDENS, where I got to experience my first hedge maze. Even though my mom was suffering through her bout of sciatica, she pulled through like a badass trooper, & was able to walk around the entire botanical garden without a single hitch or twitch. It was a nice relaxing day getting some fresh air & observing all of the various foliage & flowers. It made my mom & I really wish my dad could be with us to share in this enriching experience. My dad always loved gardens & parks, & the two of us enjoyed reminiscing aboout the good ol’ days with my dear ol’ dad.

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I was extremely thrilled when I found out that there was still a chance for me to catch the art exhibition from one of my all-time favorite pop art artists Takashi Murakami at the VANCOUVER ART GALLERY. I had heard about his unique exhibition called THE OCTOPUS EATS ITS OWN LEG through a video blogger on YouTube. This girl, whose monthly vlog I watched, explained how she got personally invited to the exhibition while she was in Vancouver doing a photo shoot for her startup fashion brand. She had incorrectly informed her viewers that the exhibition would be over at the beginning of March, which bummed me out, but then I was lucky to find out that Murakami‘s exhibition would be running until May 6! I quickly bought tickets to this exhibition (which also allowed us to visit the rest of the art gallery)…I could not miss this opportunity. I’ve seen a few of Murakami‘s artwork here & there around various museums, galleries, & high end shops, but I’ve never actually been to one of his full exhibitions before. It was a real treat to not only be able to view his art, but also learn about the excruciatingly painstaking process of creating one of his art pieces, & learn about his inspirations & art idols. At first, I wasn’t sure my mom would want to accompany me to view pop art flowers, cartoonish skulls, & grotesque morphed figures, but she was curious to say the least about this exhibition & thoroughly enjoyed herself. She was especially taken with the pop art teddy bear figure Murakami had created for Kanye West & his album Graduation. My mom had fallen in love with the diamond-encrusted gold necklace on the bear figure. I was especially grateful to be able to take a closer glimpse into the art life of one of my creative idols & inspirations.

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Aside from viewing one of the most creatively inspiring exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery, my mom & I also visited a few historical & cultural museums along the way. We went to the MUSEUM OF VANCOUVER & the MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY. At the Museum of Vancouver, we learned so much about how Vancouver was formed, & we were especially interested in learning about the rich & long-standing Chinese & Japanese history of Vancouver, like how Chinatown was formed & how the Japanese were treated in the internment camps during the war. This part of Vancouver’s history particularly struck a chord with me because there’s a lot of both Chinese & Japanese culture &/or ethnicity threading through my family tree. We didn’t get to spend very much time at the Museum of Anthropology because my mom’s sciatica was bothering her a little bit, but we were able to take a look into all of the amazing artifacts from all of the First Nations of Canada. The museum was so well organized & orderly. It was too bad we coulnd’t browse around more. On top of that, we were eager to meet up with Jian, since he noted he would be able to leave his office extra early on that day.

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ALL THE REST

I was flabbergasted & shocked to learn from Jian & various other sources (like our varied taxi drivers) that: 1. there are no freeways, highways, or interstates going to or through Vancouver, & 2. there are no UBER drivers in Vancouver (yet…I think). I just could not fathom the fact that everywhere you go by car in Vancouver, you must take commercial & residential street routes. I am so used to driving on a major freeway or interstate in my city to get around more efficiently (even though our road traffic is getting increasingly worse each year). Then, I just got the hang of using the super convenient UBER instead of calling a taxi, but to find out that UBER is not allowed to set up shop in Vancity, that just boggled my mind. However, I heard from a taxi driver that sometime within the next year or so, UBER will be allowed to operate in Vancouver, which is a good sign.

One other note, I love how friendly, polite, & amiable the citizens of Vancouver really are. I mean, it’s no exaggeration when Canadians boast about how polite & humble they are. There was one night when we were trying to get a cab from the taxi stand in the public garage of our hotel, & the line for taxi service was pretty long since a lot of people from the BC Place Stadium next door had just finished watching a Canada Sevens rugby game & were all trying to get a taxi as well. One guy had gotten into a heated argument with his girlfriend earlier on in the day, & was already amped up from that fight after the girlfriend had stormed off in the taxi they were supposed to share, leaving the guy to awkwardly hold her purse. The guy eventually took his frustrations of missing his cab out on the valet at the taxi stand as well as some guys waiting the taxi line who were trying to stick up for the ever-well-mannered valet. After this angry dude let out his teeny-tiny tirade, he quickly & profusely apologized to everyone in view of his little rant. He kept saying that he didn’t mean to project his issues on to everyone else. He made a grand apology & then quickly got into the first available cab. Nobody said a word about his tirade other than to comment on who witnessed the argument between the frustrated guy & his pissed off girlfriend. This incident surprised me. In San Francisco, if a situation like this ever unfolded, the guy ranting about his missed taxi would’ve been in the middle of a fist fight real quick.

There is one last thing I want to say about the fair city of Vancouver. THANKS FOR PLAYING ALL OF MY FAVORITE MUSIC EVERYWHERE I WENT! I mean, every time I ate at a restaurant or cafe, or whenever I stepped into a shop, there would be commercial-free music playing throughout the entire place…& not just any music. All the music being played were all the golden hits from the 1990s, early 2000s, & the chart topping music hits of today…most of it being Alternative & Rock music. I practically was singing everywhere I went. It was epic.

[INSERT MY AWESOME SPOTIFY PLAYLIST HERE]


Overall, my Vancity trip was great. We got to catch up with old friends visiting us from Seattle, Washington. We stuffed ourselves silly on food & drinks…soaked up all the culture & good weather.

I wish I had more time in Vancouver to explore more neighborhoods & areas, but since my mom was sort of limited by her sciatica, & I was there playing care-giver to mom, we pretty much stayed within our Yaletown/Gastown bubble. I would have liked to explore more of the city on my own & walk to more places or do more outdoorsy activities. Jian is scheduled to take another business trip to Vancouver in a few months, & he has already invited me to travel with him. If I am able to roma around by myself, I would love to explore more of Vancouver! Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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July 2019
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Isn’t she lovely... 🚘 . . . . . . . . . . #Toyota #Corolla #auto #autos #car #ClassicCar #VintageCar #classic #vintage #retro #SoCool #ToyotaCorolla #NotAdamCarolla #inspired #MyFavorite #SoSlick #HayesValley #SF #SummerSun #Summertime #CarsOfInstagram #carstagram #CityLiving #CityLife #LineCamera @linecamera_official @toyotausa @toyota
I love you. . . . . . . . . . . #repost #wordables #ILoveYou #love #LoveQuotes #quotestagram #Instaquote #QuotesOfInstagram @Wordables
Sliding into Negroni Week’s DM’s, like... 🍹🥃 . . . . . . . . . . #NegroniWeek #FrenchLuau #YellowChartreuse #cognac #Scotch #CharredPineapple #lemon #JamaicanBitters #SmokyNegroni #gin #CocchiTorino #campari #smoked #NoFrills #delicious #TheProgress #SF #HappyHour #DrinksOfInstagram @LineCamera_Official @foodieapp.official @theprogress_sf
No frills 🥯 . . . . . . . . . . #bagel #creamcheese #plain #SoGood #PhiladelphiaCreamCheese #ThomasBagels #BagelAndCreamCheese #NoFrills #breakfast #ILoveCarbs #NoCondiments #delicious #FoodsOfInstagram #FoodPorn #Foodstagram #BagelsOfInstagram @LineCamera_Official @foodieapp.official @lovemyphilly @thomasbreakfast
Tonight’s sunset is brought to you by the letter ‘N’ for nature. 🌅 . . . . . . . . . . #NOFILTER #sunset #NotEdited #BeautifulSunset #NoPhotoshop #ombre #NoFacetune #nature #gradient #MotherNature #outdoors #outdoor #MyBackyard #MyHouse #MyNeighborhood #beautiful #skyline #BeautyInNature #California #BayArea #Penninsula
Fin. . . . . . . . . . . #SFMoMA #MoMA #museum #SF #NewExhibition #FromAToBAndBackAgain #FromAToB #latergram #art #beauty #colorful #culture #ArtIsBeautiful #StopAndSmellTheFlowers #SummerInSanFrancisco #ArtIsEverywhere #MuseumOfModernArt @LineCamera_Official @inshot.app @sfmoma

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