As we drove into Vancouver, Canada, our first impressions were that it was HUGE!!! High-rise apartment and office buildings flooded the skyline, traffic was jam-packed, and so many people were walking around that it felt like we were in a big Asian city again. We’d expect to see that many people outside if there were a festival or concert ending, but it was just a regular weekday afternoon.
We had just come from Salt Spring Island, and the kids were tired of all the ferries and driving, so we thought we’d stop at a playground. We decided to check out Stanley Park, which was recently rated one of the best parks in the world, but we were a bit disappointed. It’s not a convenient park to visit — at least not in a car, because the road around it is one-way. It takes over 25 minutes just to drive around the perimeter of the park, and while there were several places to stop and see an attraction, parking cost $2.50/hour, and by the time we saw a playground, we had already passed the parking lot for it, with no going back. This park might be fun to visit on bicycles, and it seemed well maintained, but I wouldn’t want to drive in it again.
So we headed over Lion’s Gate bridge, which had a fantastic view that we caught a quick glimpse of, and arrived in North Vancouver, which was also crowded with cars, but we were able to find a nice park to play at before heading further East to the lovely townhouse we rented near Deep Cove. This area was much less crowded, and had more trees. Marie made immediate friends with the neighborhood kids, too, and spent many hours playing outside with them.
The owner of the townhouse, Tom was a great host, and met us at a park for pizza one evening, where he reminded me how unique our lifestyle is, and how many things we’ve been through and learned, and that our story is inspirational to many people. Afterward, I felt more inspired to continue sharing my story without fear, and even consider big media outlets, including for my business. That night, I got an email from a casting assistant at the Travel Channel inviting us to apply to host our own travel show. I almost deleted the email, but remembering our conversation with Tom (and after hearing how excited the kids were about the idea, and what a great learning experience it could be for our family as well), we decided to apply. Who knows what will happen, but it feels good to be more open to new possibilities like this, as long as we stay within our integrity.
Our first morning in Vancouver, my Mom and aunt Kristin drove up from Washington and met us for tea at the Secret Garden Tea company. Actually, it was just a girls thing, which is good because I’m not big on tea anyway. But I had an errand to run, regardless. It turns out that Thrifty car rental won’t let you rent a car for more than 30 days (even though I booked it for 5 weeks online without a problem), so I had to go to their office in person and extend the rental agreement an extra week. Overall, we’ve had a much better experience renting through Enterprise, which will probably be our default from our now on. The girls had a great tea time though.
We spent one day with our friends Alison and Shawn, who we first met in Penang Malaysia, but who have been living in Vancouver for the past couple years. They live in the Kitsilano area, which is very walkable and bike-able, but also crowded, expensive and not very car friendly. We visited some playgrounds with them near the beach, and also went to the Planetarium where we saw some funny and educational live shows about rockets and Newton’s laws, what it would take to live on Mars, and explored the universe in a star show.
We also walked to Granville island for dinner and enjoyed the atmosphere of the place, and had great conversation while the kids played. The ferry ride back was lovely, too.
Jennifer and I also celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary in Vancouver. We went to a nice restaurant near Deep Cove and stumbled upon a fun concert of Beatles impersonators.
My how much we have changed over the years, and our lives along with us!
Another day, we got together with some new friends we’d met online, Scott and Grace, who have two daughters the same ages as our oldest. They live in North Vancouver hear Lynn Canyon park, where we walked across the suspension bridge and played in the frigid river water (well, the kids did), then stopped and got some candy at the store. We had a great time visiting, and the girls were instant friends, too.
Wanting to get our fill of museums while we had the chance, we also went to Science World, where our minds were blown a few times by the interesting and interactive displays. My favorite part was watching the show on illusions, where the presenter had us stare at a spinning disc for about a minute, after which he told us to look at his head, which appeared to be getting larger and larger! I couldn’t help but laugh out loud along with the other kids watching! There are so many interesting ways that our eyes and minds play tricks on us. The workers at this museum were very helpful, too, and even played with Aysia while the rest of us explored the area.
Overall, we had a great time in Vancouver. It’s probably not a place we’d want to live, mostly because of the size and population density, but it’s a beautiful city with plenty to offer, and we’ll probably be back one day.