Getaway with Soleil: Vancouver Part 2

            Believe it or not, this may be my first holiday. Most of my traveling throughout life has been spent visiting family, going somewhere with my family, or attending conferences or competitions. As far as I know, this Getaway will be the first time I’m away from home, exploring the world, visiting and meeting people with more than one explicit purpose (and mainly having fun). In 2012, I visited New Zealand for the first time. In March, I visited Canada for the first time. This trip, then isn’t always about firsts, but about new experiences in familiar places. And, of course, sharing them with Soleil.

            For the next month or so, we’ll be exploring and traveling three countries, multiple destinations and events, and spending time with each other’s families. Perhaps in a ‘normal’ relationship this milestone would have already been crossed in-person, but when you have multiple families across the world and borders are a thing it becomes a bit harder. For this first leg of the trip—Vancouver—we had time to go on dates, try delicious foods and drinks, and enjoy some of that quality time we’ve missed over the last five months. We’ll certainly have plenty of it till our next goodbye.

            On Friday, we had a lazy morning. While it would be fun to be go-go-go on this trip, it would also be exhausting and not budget-friendly. Instead, our adventures didn’t really start until later in the day. Soleil made tinga pollo tacos for an early dinner. They were spicy and delicious, and I could’ve drank the sauce right out of the bowl. One of the nice things about vacation is I don’t have to cook all the time, and it’s nice to share chores or duties with someone else. Yes, the freedom of living alone is nice, but that comes with all the dishes too.

            After dinner, we went to Ki Café for drinks and dessert. This café is well-designed and seems like a perfect place for teenagers and dates. They have signs advising against laptops or studying, which promotes relaxation and socialization versus stress. The use of a giant tree, fake ivy and flowers, and a light palette make the space feel bright and vibrant. An entire wall of shelves has manga in English and Japanese. More than a few figures decorate the space too. I had a Matcha Salt, perhaps the best matcha drink of this portion of the trip, and Soleil had Cocomango boba. We shared a matcha roll and Russian honey cake. This place very much reminded me of the cafes in anime, and it was great to experience.

            I’d recommend seeing what free or cheap entertainment your destinations provide before splurging on expensive concerts or shows. We attended the City of Burnaby’s Summer Cinema and watched Ron’s Gone Wrong on a blanket in a park. Yes, we were surrounded by families and so many children, but it was fun. The park itself was gorgeous, especially when the lights dimmed and the trees lit and the nearby apartments came into their own lives. The movie was cute and it was fun to eat popcorn and Malteasers outside.

            On Saturday, we had our first ‘do nothing’ day. Since our time together had been limited in March, there was always this rush to fill the hours. This time, since we have an upcoming flight and weeks of adventures, it was nice to have a slow day. We did laundry at a laundromat, and I had my first taste of Tim Horton’s. I can definitely see the appeal, but the real highlight was my first pumpkin spice latte of the season.

            That night, with coupons to spare, we had a giant sushi platter delivered to the rental. Even though none of the combinations were specially ordered, they were all delicious and the fish—predictably—was fresh, juicy, and tender. After dinner, we watched The Wind Rises, a movie we’d both wanted to see but hadn’t, and enjoyed the animation, storytelling, and characters. While I can’t predict how many movies we’re going to watch on this trip together, I can say that our combined love of cinema guarantees it’ll be an activity we’ll repeat.

            Today is our last day in Vancouver. It’s a day mostly dedicated to wrapping this chapter up—cleaning the rental, making sure we remembered to pack everything, saying goodbye. Tonight, we’ll get on a long haul flight to New Zealand, time travel, and end up on the other side of the world in spring. It will be my first time flying that distance with someone at my side. I’m sure we’ll have movies, music, and conversation to stay entertained, but who knows what late night talking will happen at 36,000 feet?

            Stay tuned for the next chapter of Getaway with Soleil and the beginning of our Auckland adventures.

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            You can follow my daily adventures on Instagram: @karleypardue (for bookstores, literary discoveries, and more) or @karleycooks (for culinary adventures).

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