And so it continues…
6. Bought a bike – I’ve owned bikes in the past that my parents got me growing up, but I have never bought a bike that I can remember, so it was pretty exciting to get this beauty 1950s Raleigh and bike around the city this summer. Sadly, it isn’t built for a hilly city like Vancouver and I’ll be upgrading next spring.
7. Hiked to Garibaldi Lake – This had been on my bucket list for at least 6 years. This is the hike that everyone in Vancouver talks about. A beautiful glacier lake in the mountains by Squamish. We went in August with some of my coworkers. It was about 8hrs round trip with a break for lunch by the lake in the middle. The forest fire smoke had cleared up the day before, so the timing was perfect.
8. Volunteering with seniors – After my two year stint on strata ended I wanted to volunteer somewhere local with people. I found a nursing home type residence in a local hospital and go in and help on Saturdays. It is almost all Cantonese, so I’m mostly smiling and saying néih hóu. This makes it tough to connect to the residence, but I try to and I think they like seeing new faces around.
9. Ate at new restaurants and cafe’s for a month – Dave and I realized we were getting into a bit of a Main Street rut, and decided to only eat a new or long ago visited restaurants and cafes for a month (unless you were invited somewhere by friends). We finally went to Lucy’s Diner, the German club and the mysterious Japanese Yakitori place I’ve been walking past for 8 years (it was awesome!).
10. Worked with refugees – Our church owns a house beside the main building that they plan to tear down and replace next year, but in the meantime the main part was vacant, so Journey Home worked with the church to get a refugee family to live in it until it is taken down. Housing in Vancouver is in a crisis right now, we have thousands of empty condos, but almost no access to them because they are owned by foreign investors, and those few rentals available cost thousands per month. And with a high volume of refugees coming in from the US this year there is almost no where to put them in Vancouver where many of the resources are for refugees.
Dave and I wanted to learn more about how Canada works with this group of people, so we volunteered to help with the family that would stay in the church’s house. We took a course to get a better understanding of what their needs would be and how to go through the claimant process to stay in Canada. It has been very eye opening and really opened our eyes to how amazing we have it in Canada and how hard it is for people to uproot their lives and start new. Imagine learning a new language, navigating a court system, trying to get kids back in school, waiting months for work permits, finding housing and healthcare and dealing with emotional loss over leaving your homeland and everyone you know. Now imagine it all happening at the same time and with little to no money.
Working with this family has truly been one of the hardest and best parts of my year.
A special extra!
11. Reading through the Bible in Year – I have never read the Bible cover to cover before. What a great thing to do to finally piece together all the passages and parts of the Bible that I read through and hear in Sermons. It was such an awesome experience and gave me so much more depth and background to my faith. I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner. Crazily enough, I did this almost completely on my phone on my commute to work (remember that selling the car thing?). Looking forward to diving deeper in 2018. Special thanks goes out to Megan Auld for telling me about the Read Scripture app. Each book of the Bible has a video that illustrates what the book is about, which is really helpful before reading. I highly recommend it.
Extras – Saw Cirque du Soleil (Kurios), bought a Japanese knife (two actually), saw Arcade Fire, got a yoga membership, had a professional headshot taken, made ramen, snaked and fixed a drain, did an Escape Room (and won!), bought a hot dog from the hot dog guy on Main St (finally!), ran into Elijah Wood (3 times), collected eggs from under a chicken and cooked ribs!
I hope you try some new things in 2018. Looking forward to hearing your stories.
Dana (and Dave)