solstice

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1. When people say, “Others will find healing in your suffering,” you can either take it as a cop-out answer to what you are going through or you can believe it. But I promise you that if you choose the latter – bigger, more powerful things will come of it.

Remember, if you ever feel like you’re backtracking, it’s not true, because everyday is a choice and some days are harder to choose what is good than others.

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2. It makes sense that I met you in a time where everything is blooming. It makes sense that I met someone who understands that the past has made me who I am, but doesn’t make me who I am. Someone once looked at us and said to me, “This makes sense.” This makes sense.

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3. We used to throw a backyard BBQ every summer solstice, and we would celebrate the longest day of the year laying in the grass; everything smelling like sunscreen and smokey meat and everything tasting like watermelon. The word solstice has always been one of my favourites, because it means the highest point and also the lowest point. Some solstices are shucking oysters by the sea and swimming pool chlorine, and some solstices are Christmas lights and seeing the stars before dinnertime, but all solstices have a way to be celebrated.

Bowen Island on Film

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1. Shooting with my DSLR while I was on-the-go was the best, but now that I’m home, I’m more than happy to have my film camera back. The theme of coming home has been relearning everything. I’m relearning how film carries a different weight. I need stillness. I need patience. I need to forgo certain shots in order to take better ones. It takes time to reach the end of a roll. It takes time to receive the final product, and time puts a haze over expectations. Film photography is forgetting, and then remembering again.

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2. Last weekend, we spent our days huddled on Bowen Island in a house on a hill owned by hippies with 3 Juno Awards. We went hiking. We played video games (because the boys obviously could not leave their video games behind). We got drunk, told secrets, and laughed a lot. We were quiet. We were loud. We had dance parties.

For me, the week before was one of those heavy-shoulders, runny make-up, eye-bagged weeks. I literally cried over Richard eating my pizza, because that’s how bad things got. And when the weekend hit, I felt like I could breath again. Getting out of Vancouver physically got me out of that headspace for a few moments, and it was like hitting a reset button. Or maybe it was just the snooze button, but whatever it was – the mountains and the sea do that to you. Rest does that to you.

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3. My favourite thing about the weekend was that we all cooked for each other, and the weeks leading up to the trip, everyone bragged about how awesome their meals were going to be. I was talking about the weekend later with Ben and he said, “It was great to see what everyone brings to the table,” and he really meant it literally. I love that when we are called to serve one another, we step up our game and go ham (ok, no more food puns from hereon out).

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4. “Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that new world is born.” – Anais Nin

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5. I have been thinking about ceremonies and traditions a lot, and how many times you have to do something before it becomes a tradition. Everything grows differently, and at this age, I will never have expectations for things to stay stagnant for very long, but tradition is what eases comings and goings. It’s what makes leaving heartbreaking and what makes returning look like open arms. I haven’t been with these friends for very long, but already, there are patterns that make me feel comforted – the way we play the good kind of games; the way certain things are always done in communion, and the way that our traditions tend to be invitational. I hope these are things that always stay important.

#HOPARKCOLLAB 1

In an effort to practice our photography and graphic design skills and do something collective while we are far apart, Esther and I have decided to start a series called Ho Park Collab. We have a hope that every week, I’ll send her a photo from my travels, and she’ll overlay typography with quotes/words or hand-drawn graphics that are line with things we are walking through, even if we are walking through them on opposite sides of the world.

A question that people always ask me is why I chose Bordeaux, and I tell them it’s because it’s by the ocean. It’s a different kind of west coast and a different kind of ocean, but it’s a cure for homesickness. My roommate describes the ocean as “infinite,” but I know that somewhere my eyes can’t reach, Vancouver is on the other side of it.

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Moments in Bordeaux

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1. I had my first day of orientation yesterday, and I felt incredibly lucky that I already had friends going into it. It was an exciting and tiring day, and here is a photo of some of my favourite people that I’ve met so far! They seriously look like they came straight out of a magazine

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2. If you Google a picture of Bordeaux, you’ll probably see the quintessential photo of the Miroir D’eau, which is a reflecting pool that mirrors the Place De La Bourse. Last night, a bunch of us exchange students gathered by the pool and soaked in the full moon over the river. It was an occasion to drink straight from the bottle, wander the city centre, and wonder how September can still feel like summer nights.

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3. Since school hasn’t started yet, we are taking every opportunity we can to hit the beach. Today we went to Lacanau Ocean, which is a surfer beach with higher waves, so we swam out until our bodies were just bobbing heads against the horizon and let the tide carry us back to the beach.

“What is the English work for ‘it never ends’?”

Infinite.”

Yeah, I think the ocean is infinite.”

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4. My lovely German friends have a garden in front of their flat, so they hosted us this evening with plenty of drinks and snacks to go around. The conversation was so warm that we missed the last bus home (whoops) and all the candles melted. We kept going around the table talking about how things are like in our home countries and translating words in English, Swedish, and German, and I kept thinking about what Isabelle said to me before:

“If there is one thing that is beautiful in this entire world, it is that everyone is different.” 

Beach Day

Today was 30 degrees, so 3 Germans, 2 Swedes, an Austrian, a Russian, and a Canadian drove along the French shoreline and explored the beaches of the coastal towns. The first place we went was the Dune De Pyla, which had mountains of sand as far as our eyes could see. On one side was a forest, and the other was the sea. We were disappointed when some locals told us that the dune was too steep to go down to the water, so drove on the countryside to some of the other beaches in Arcachon, which had the cutest old buildings and way overpriced food (haha).

We dove into the Atlantic Ocean, tip-toeing at first because of the cold, but then after – headfirst, with eyes closed, because it’s painless that way. When we sunbathed, the water kept crawling closer and closer to us, until it tickled our toes.

“Look,” Osker said, “The ocean is inviting us to come back for a swim.”

We talked about the way water is where we’re from, and I thought about how home often feels like sand in between our toes and salt in our hair.

“I’m used to the cold ocean, because the water is always freezing in Swedan.”

In Munich, there is no ocean, but there is a huge river where people can surf.”

At the beginning, we were strangers, but at the end of the day, we parted ways like the French do: cheek-to-cheek on summer skin and kisses that smell like saltwater and ice cream.

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Portland Photo Set Part 2

After 7 hours in a cramped car (because Abraham decided to buy a television while we were in Oregon, so our new friend Samsung hung out with us in the back), we finally made it home last night! For our final day in Portland, we only had the best – the best coffee, the best doughnuts, and the best view in the Oregon coast. As we were driving down to Cannon Beach, everyone in the car had only one response: “Woah.” And it took everything within us to tear ourselves away from the beach and head home.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get much video footage this, because I was really sick for one of the days I was in Portland (I know, of all places to fall ill), but here’s one of the songs I was thinking about using for video I would have made:

I’m really glad the boys let me tag along for this road trip to the chillest city on earth. There is something about big cities that feel small that always get to me, and I’m 100% convinced that the west coast is the best coast. 2 weeks left in Vancouver, and then I’m off to a different kind of west coast!

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