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.

To The Ones Who Come And Go

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1. “I am giving this to you, because it embodies one of the most important things you have taught me. It’s a picture of one of the first times we were reunited again, but the polaroid didn’t turn out and I put it in my discarded pile of film. You have shown me that there is beauty in the darkest of places. That was true then, and it is still true now.”

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2. Remember that no matter how many times you come and go, you take a piece of the True North with you in your heart. Point your compass straight always, and branch out so far that when God shakes your limbs, the entire world gets covered with cherry blossoms.

Montreal Photo Set Part 3

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1. The rate at which I’m intaking information, sensory details, and experiences makes it easy for my travels to become a kaleidoscopic blur. One moment I am enthralled by the story of someone new, and the next, I am in awe by a mural or building or cute coffee shop, already leaving behind the former and letting bits and pieces fleet away as I move forward more quickly than my soul can handle. I forget why writing is good for me, and try to keep track of everything in my head; glazing over the small things and acting as if the things that fall between the cracks don’t have the power to move hearts. There is a quote that goes: “Being inspired is not a luxury. It’s a responsibility.” And I think part of that responsibility is letting myself soak in and process the things that I see. It’s tempting to always go and go and go and go when I only have short spurts of time in each place, but I’m always getting my ass kicked with that lifestyle. I’m wired to rest once and a while, even if there is an entire city to be explored before me. How am I going to come home a changed human being if I don’t give the things that are going to change me the time to sink in a little more than skin deep?

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2. My mom always told me to never go to Montreal, because once I go, I will never come back to her. When she went to school in Ontario, she would take trips to Montreal on the weekends purely just to shop, and I still keep a few pieces in my closet from her shopping trips. Her favourite part of the city was Old Port. I wonder if I fell in love with Old Montreal the same way she did when she was 21. DSC_0011 DSC_0022

3. Nancy and I checked out a band called • Seoul • on Saturday night. They have chill vibes and there is nothing bad about them, so you have no reason not to click that link. (There are a lot of negatives in that sentence, but I promise that you will feel positively about this band.)

Montreal Photo Set Pt. 1

I have arrived in the land of BYOW (Bring Your Own Wine), French everything, and best of all, brunch city! Here are a few shots form my first two days here, but it’s been so crazy since I got here that I’ve barely had time to transfer photos from my camera to my laptop. In the words of my favourite Montrealer, Francis (actually, I think he is the only person I know who’s actually from Montreal and not just here to study/work):
“This is Montreal. You pretend to be rich by going to fancy restaurants, bars, and shops. And then you end the night by eating poutine in the park.”

DSC_0007BAR: Big in Japan Bar (“the place you would take your mistress”)

DSC_0019COFFEE SHOP: Kitsune Espresso Bar

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DSC_0033LUNCH: Lola Rosa (make sure you check the drawers for notes!)

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DSC_0073DESSERT: Juliette et Chocolat

DSC_0083BAR: Bar le Saint-Sulpice

Final Toronto Photo Set

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For my last night in Toronto, Dimitri took us up to Panorama Lounge, which is way too overpriced and a little pretentious. BUT it’s on the 51st floor of Manulife, so it was the perfect place for him to take me to make sure I fall in love with the city and come back. 

I came here to be with the people I love, and I am leaving feeling so, incredibly loved. Everyone I’ve met and been surrounded by are such passionate, genuine human beings, and they are moving my heart in the right direction. I’m beginning to understand more and more what it looks like when hope and hard work meet. Thanks T-Dot! My heart is set on being back soon.

Toronto Photoset Part 2

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COOKIE SHOP (choose your own dough and toppings and they bake it on the spot!!!!!): The Red Bench

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BARGAIN CENTRE (that will be closing down soon for condo construction, boooo): Honest Ed’s

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MEXICAN RESTAURANT (we waited for an hour for dinner and drinks on the patio, but I would say it was worth it!): El Catrin

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VINTAGE STORE ($10 everything!!): Black Market Vintage

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GELTAO/CHOCOLATE SHOP: Soma Chocolate

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KOREAN CAFE: Cafe Soban

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BOARD GAME CAFE: Castle Board Game Cafe

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If you follow me on social media, you will know that I am very invested in my friends Grace and Ben. Most of the time, when people start dating, they spend less time with their friends, but we are a huge exception. I got amoeba’d into their relationship, and we even endearingly call each other “Bae Ho,” “Bae Chen,” and “Bae Kim.” We used to see each other everyday when we were back in Vancouver, but with us all being in separate cities this summer, we had very prolonged, sad goodbyes at the end of May, because I was certain that I wouldn’t see them until January. Anticlimactically enough, I showed up in Toronto (mostly because I missed them both too much), and so did Ben for the weekend, and we were all able to be reunited together for a few days! For the past year, they are the people I have been growing with, been encouraged by, and been walking through sorrows with. They are the kind of people that I’m more than willing to fly across the country for. We’ve all had more than our fair share of crap this year, but to grapple with change and distance together has been worthwhile.