Van City!

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On Christmas morning, I literally screamed with joy when I opened my present from Brad. It looked like a Christmas card (because, well, it was), but contained within it were details of a weekend away to Vancouver! The kicker? Tickets to see my favourite hockey team, the Colorado Avalanche, play against the Vancouver Canucks in February. My Brad knows me so well!

When the weekend of our trip finally rolled around, I was bursting with excitement ... and a need for tea, as we had to be up early to catch the morning ferry to Vancouver. This was going to be a trip of firsts. Our first time to Vancouver (now everyone on the West Coast can get off my back about having not been there yet), my first time seeing the Avs play, and Brad's first NHL game. I knew that it was going to be a fantastic trip, and of course it didn't disappoint.

We took the ferry over to the mainland, which was a very wonderful and surprising experience. Getting to see all of the islands en route to Vancouver on such a clear day made for a lovely journey, and it didn't feel like we were on a boat at all. I don't do so well with being "below deck" sometimes, and my own experiences with ferries are limited to the Dartmouth-Halifax ferry in Nova Scotia, the PEI ferry (which I got very seasick on as a child), and the Victoria-Seattle ferry (which I usually pop a couple of Gravol for and just pass out during). The only downside of our trip was that I'd overpacked a little, which meant my bag was terrible to carry. I opted to use the weekender bag that Brad got me for my birthday instead of my roller suitcase, and I paid the price (or, to be more accurate, Brad paid the price because he offered to carry it and I wasn't about to refuse). Lesson learned!

I don't like itineraries when I travel. That's not to say I don't have an idea of things that I want to see or do, but I try to stay away from planning every second. I'm lucky that Brad is the same way. Whenever we travel, we spend a lot of time just walking around, discovering places to get tea and coffee, or stumbling into really neat shops. Thankfully, we only came to Vancouver for two reasons - hockey, and Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

(If you think I'm joking, I'm absolutely not)

032916-01The view from the ferry terminal in Swartz Bay is something else. The beauty of British Columbia never ceases to amaze me.

032916-02First stop? The nearest pub to our hotel for a beverage and some lunch. Kingston Taphouse & Grille.

032916-03Naturally.

032916-04One of the many cool looking buildings in Gastown.

032916-05Where there are hipsters, there are hipster bicycles.

032916-06The extremely cool art in Revolver, composed entirely of nails.

032916-07Of course, Brad got coffee, but they had some lovely tea as well, which I needed a side of peanut butter cookie with. ;)

032916-08 032916-09 032916-10Hey, we know that place!

032916-11 032916-12 032916-13The Olympic Cauldron.

032916-14Nifty art in front of the library.

032916-15The view of BC Place from our hotel room.

032916-16One of my favourite spots from our trip, The Templeton. It has an old timey diner feel, mainly because a lot of their furniture and fixtures are from the era of diners!

032916-17Some Wonder Woman for our morning reading.

032916-18Blueberry banana pancakes with a helping of fruit.

032916-19Lunch was gooey nachos at Patron Tacos & Cantina.

032916-20An Avs fan in enemy territory ...

032916-21.... thank goodness I had some back up!

032916-22 032916-23 032916-24We had, arguably, some of the best seats in the house, mainly due to Brad's inability to double check things. ;) When buying tickets, he "accidentally" bought club seats - we had our own private entrance to the arena, seat service, comfortable seats, and an excellent view of the game. I don't think I'll be able to settle for anything less from now on!

032916-25FACE OFF.

032916-26 032916-27 032916-28 032916-29The Avalanche ended up losing 5-2 to the Canucks, but it was still a spectacular time.

032916-30A panorama of our view of the city from Stanley Park.

032916-31Our relationship summed up in one picture.

032916-37 032916-38The trees in BC are so tall. After more than two years on this coast, I'm still not used to them.

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032916-32Back in downton Vancouver, Brad and I took part in reason #2 for our trip to Vancouver - Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Brad was the first to take the plunge.

032916-33That is what happiness looks like.

032916-34My turn!

032916-35Oh my goodness, oh my damn. Oh my goodness, they're goin' HAM ...

032916-36It was everything that I wanted it to be.

While Vancouver isn't my favourite city that I've travelled to (the economic disparity was a bit much at times and really affected me), it was still a marvellous trip, and I'd love to go back some day soon. I do have some family and friends over there that I would love to see. There are also a few museums and galleries that I'd like to check out - we had planned to do that on our last day there, but most things ended up being closed or too expensive. See, this is one of the things that happens when you don't actually have an itinerary! Even still, I don't think that could be the way that I travelled.

Thank goodness we're not that far away. ;)

The Dream of the 90s is alive in Portland!

008In July, Brad and I took a mini vacation to Portland! We had wanted to go earlier in the year when The Replacements were playing, but their show there was sold out. Brad kept talking about wanting to take me to Portland because he was sure that I would love it. So, when we found out that one of our favourite comedians, Jim Gaffigan, was doing a show there, we certainly couldn't pass up the opportunity!

001A gorgeous view from the plane. Brad was tasked with taking this photo, as sometimes I find it extremely difficult to look out of airplane windows.

002SO. MANY. FOOD TRUCKS. Lamentably, we didn't get to partake in any of them. Portland, lovely as it was, kept a temperature of 40°C the entire time that we were there. Suffice to say, we spent a lot of time indoors, and I was a sweaty Megan.

003I basically want to live there.

004"You're taking my photo while we look at menus? That's such a tourist thing!"

005Beer. Om nom nom.11703569_10153480679682416_7295349893894701641_o

00611850736_10153480679782416_4745446960306023038_oI'm not much of a coffee fan, but Brad certainly is! Thankfully, they had tea. Although I forgot that it was "American iced tea," and not "Canadian iced tea." 00711807135_10153480681112416_9080403722888820467_oHey, I know some of those places!

11807331_10153480680047416_7650251459340174911_o11816349_10153480681117416_5041893241827996212_o 009On our second day in Portland, we went to the zoo! Naturally, it was the hottest day while we were there. A lot of the animals were sleepy and not doing much. I can't say that I blame them.

010I've come to the conclusion that bears are basically big, dumb dogs. 11834767_10153480680402416_4504422533897711220_o 011Okay, seeing real live elephants was amazing. But equally, if not more amazing. was this elderly Southern woman standing next to us who declared "I ain't never seen no elephants before!" Oh my god, she was darling.

012 013The main event! I unfortunately didn't get any pictures from the show, as there were no cameras allowed. But Jim was absolutely hilarious, and retold his famed Hot Pocket bit.

014A blurry photo of Brad and I in the Alrene Schnitzer Concert Hall. :) 015Happy travellers!

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Brad thinking about his true love ... pizza. ;)

Seattle!

Back in April (shh, don't tell me that it's the beginning of July), I had the pleasure of going to Seattle again! Brad and I had both been to Seattle before - for two nights, and one day last November. With only one day in Seattle last time, we got all of the major touristy stuff out of the way - visiting the Pike Place Market, climbing the Space Needle, and wandering through EMP. Looking back, I'm surprised we managed to cram so much into one day! This time we had two full days to enjoy Seattle, and enjoy them we did!

The trip was born of Brad's favourite band, The Replacements, embarking on a reunion tour. He'd seen them back in 2013 (after years of thinking that he'd NEVER see them live, as they disbanded in the early 90's), and they played a couple of festival gigs after that. But this was their first tour since getting back together. As soon as I received a text months ago (likely in all caps) that they were touring, I knew we'd be going to a show. And I was more than okay with that! I like The Replacements well enough, and it would definitely be a good time! I'm a big fan of music and concerts. We originally wanted to go to the show in Portland (because I have yet to go there), but it sold out remarkably fast. The Seattle show still had available tickets, and we both fell in love with the city during our short visit there, so we figured why the heck not!

Next weekend, we're off to Portland, so I thought that maybe I should be a good blogger and get some of our pictures from our trip almost three months ago up on my bloggity blog! (Forgive the quality of the pictures, they were all taken with my less than stellar iPhone)

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On a boat, on our way to Seattle!

17We spent quite a bit of time up in Capitol Hill, which we've come to realize is our favourite neighbourhood in Seattle. Next time we go, we're probably going to stay in an AirBnB in the area if we can!

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Elliott Bay Book Company, which I never wanted to leave.

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No journey to Seattle is complete without a visit to the Public Market! We spent a lot of time just wandering through, checking out all of the vendors. I did end up buying an art print (a re-imagining of the Seattle skyline as if done by Van Gogh).

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Some sweet jams being played down at the Public Market.

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We almost went for a ride, but my fear of heights won this round!

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006 We went to a delicious pizza joint called Rocco's for dinner! The best part (aside from the pizza)? Their drink menus were in re-purposed kids' books!

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I love this man more than I love pizza.

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NOM!

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The main event! While Brad was naturally super stoked for this concert, I found myself all kinds of excited too! By the end of the night, I would be a fan. :)

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The decor inside of the Paramount is just stunning. I took a lot of photos of various light fixtures.

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THE REPLACEMENTS! The crowd exploded when they took the stage - although seeing them was delayed. They performed behind a curtain for the majority of their first song, leading me to think that may be how they played the entire show (it would not be out of character for them to do something foolish like that).

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"Androgynous" performed with Paul Westerberg in a tent for some reason.

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It was an absolutely stellar show to kick off their tour. Sadly, it seems that they may have parted ways again. No official word, just rock star antics on their last show of the tour in Spain, but Brad has told me it would not be out of character for them to do something like that and remain together. I suppose we'll have to wait and see!

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Our last day in Seattle we didn't do a whole lot, mostly wandered around and tried to find things that we hadn't seen or done before. We took a tour of Seattle's underground, and needless to say it was very informative and oddly hilarious.

016No trip to Seattle would be complete without a cocktail at Zig Zag's! We drank a little too much, and told stories from our teenage years, some neither of us had heard before! It's so nice that after being together for over a year (close to two now), Brad and I still have so much to learn about one another!

We already want to go back, but there's so many other things to see and do in the Pacific Northwest, so we figure that we should probably see some other places as well. Despite living in Victoria for over a year, we still haven't been over to Vancouver! Anyone I mention this to declares, "You've never been to the mainland!?" We're working it. Maybe after Portland. ;)

Go West, young woman!

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I have discussed this with some friends, made it "Facebook official," and talked about it in other places around the internet, but I've not brought it up here, which is something that I would like to change right now, seeing as how I'm likely going to be updating this blog far more frequently, so as to keep in touch with people.

At the end of next month, I will be packing my bags and moving across the country to British Columbia.

This is something that happened very suddenly, and to be honest, isn't something I thought I would be doing, but the opportunity being presented feels like the most right thing that I have ever done (along with the most insane). It was not a decision that was made lightly, even though it was the right thing to do, and at this point in my life there is nothing that I want to do more. While my reason for moving all the way across the country was born more of not wanting to give something and someone up when we have a good thing going, it could not have happened at a better time in my life. When 2013 began, I wanted to make this very much my year - take the chances that I never had before as they were presented to me, do things that scared me, do things that I always wanted to do but for some reason never did, carve my own path in life instead of worrying so much about other people and what they thought.

And, in the last month of an already fantastic and crazy year, I've had the opportunity to go all out. Why not take it?

I am so excited to embrace this, so thrilled to begin this new chapter in my life, but I am also more terrified than I have ever been. I'm leaving behind practically everything and everyone I've ever known, and the idea of not seeing my parents, sister, and dog whenever I want to has been the most difficult pill to swallow. How am I going to get by without weekly hugs from my Dad, my Mum's home cooking, puppy kisses from my dog, and my sister's snark? Family is a big part of my life, and that aspect of this is going to be the most difficult. Thank goodness for Skype! I anticipate that I will be using it a lot. A couple of my cousins are out that way, and I have two very dear friends who live in the city that I will be moving to, so it helps knowing that I won't be "alone," and that there will be friendly faces. But I will certainly miss the friendly faces here as well.

This is insane, I know it is. There's no way to downplay the insanity or hugeness of what I'm doing. I would not want to spend the rest of my life wondering "what if?"

Fully processing this still has not happened yet, as I've had less than a week to deal with this. My life since this past Saturday has been an emotional roller coaster, and last night was the first decent night's sleep I've had. I've done a lot of laughing, a lot of smiling, and a lot of crying. I anticipate that there will be much more of all of that in the weeks to come.

My first blog entry of 2013 was titled "The future starts slow."

The rest of my future starts now.

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Boston // Part Five

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This post has been a long time coming - almost four months, in fact (if you count when I actually left and returned from my trip)! I've read that the key to blog readership is consistent updates, and I have definitely failed in that regard. Thankfully, my blog readership tends to be good friends, most of whom are well aware of my high level of procrastination, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that my last entry recapping my Boston trip is extremely tardy. Also, I have some big news to inform you all of in the coming weeks - so stay tuned for that!

My last couple of days in Boston were a bit more laid back than the first few, but ultimately still fun and awesome! I think that I was beginning to get exhausted. That and I wanted to enjoy and savour spending time with my friends!

The fifth day in Boston was dedicated to actually finding TD Garden, as I'd previously lead Jackie and Nell to the financial district the day before ... which was in the opposite direction. D'oh! Being the huge hockey fan that I am, I definitely wanted to see the statue of Bobby Orr, and sort of just bask in the general awesomeness of being where the Boston Bruins play. They're not "my team," but they're my Dad's, so of course I had to get him a souvenir.

IMG_2844I look so tiny!

After checking out TD Garden, we decided to make the pilgrimage to a Davids Tea, a popular tea company up here in Canada that is beginning to branch out into the States, and receives a large chunk of paycheque every couple of weeks. We spent hours wandering around Boston looking for the one that had been suggested to us by someone's map app, and ended up in this adorable community filled with brownstones. It was a hipster paradise (complete with bicycle covered in flowers), and I never wanted to leave.

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We got some lovely iced teas, and then sat outside at one of the little bistro tables to drink and just take it all in. It was a lovely summer day (although I remember it being a little warm and slightly uncomfortable), and it was so nice to just sit outside with two of my buds and indulge in tea drinking!

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My last day in Boston was very bittersweet. We did a lot of fun and awesome things, saw some great sights, but for the entire day I was very much aware that I was leaving Jackie and Nell behind, which made me sad. I did my best not to think about it, as I still had the whole day with them, but it was very difficult to not take them with me when I eventually did leave (so much so that I kept getting distracted while getting my bag checked).

We had lunch at the oldest tavern in America, the Bell in Hand Tavern. Anyone who knows me well knows my fondness for both history and beverages that have an alcohol content, so this was right up my alley!

IMG_2886IMG_2892IMG_2893Just me and my new boyfriend. ;)

After lunch at the Bell in Hand, we did some more wandering, eventually finding our way to the Old State House, which was the sight of the Boston Massacre (or if you're less dramatic, as Nell and I are, The Incident on King Street). It was really cool to see such an old building nestled among the more modern buildings like that, and it reminded me a lot of Halifax in that way, marrying the old with the new.

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The interior had a really nice gift shop, plus some rooms filled with artifacts from the Incident on King Street, or things that had belonged to prominent figures in Boston's history (some of John Hancock's clothing was there). Some of the little exhibits seemed a little corny, but there were no complaints from me, as I was just really excited to be there!

IMG_2916IMG_2920I don't care how old it is, I'll still drink it.

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After our stint in the Old State House, we deemed it only appropriate to walk down to the harbour and sit for a little while. It was a really nice day, and there was a bit of a breeze coming off the water. Sitting and basking in the sun next to the water is certainly a favourite summer pass time of mine, and so much better to share it with two lovely ladies!

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After sitting by the water for a little while, we decided to go and get some ice cream. I can't remember for the life of me now which flavour I got, but I remember it being very yummy! We had a quiet night in, watching some more Star Trek: Voyager and a movie. Jackie and I made fajitas, which Nell had never had before, so Jackie had to prepare Nell's for her, which was kind of adorable. Nell also got to witness Jackie and I eating Mexican food again (we'd had nachos the previous night), and be in awe of our ability to make Mexican disappear.

Looking back on my Boston trip, even months later, I'm still so sad that I had to leave. It was easily one of the best weeks of my year, and probably even my life. Anyone who ever tells you that internet friends are "just" internet friends are foolish. Bonds formed with people, regardless of how you've met them, are very real and wonderful things. Were it not for this silly little thing called the internet, I never would've connected with Jackie or Nell, nor would I ever have met them, and that thought makes me sad, because they are both such wonderful and remarkable ladies. I still miss being in the same room as both of them.

IMG_2952I love you both!