Friday, January 4, 2013

Every New Year Comes From Some Other New Year's End


Twenty thirteen. The years keep sounding increasingly futuristic. If vehicle automation has been the revolutionary transportation development of twenty twelve, imagine what our world might look like in twenty twenty...

At this stage in a life, every year seems to be a huge one. This year, however, has been extraordinarily huge. It was the year I turned the legal age to vote and buy lottery tickets in BC. It was the year I graduated from high school. It was the year I ventured across the country to start my post-secondary education.

Just as every year ends, I like to reflect back upon the highlights of the year drawing to a close. As I do this, I am reminded about how fortunate I am to live the life I do... such a comfortable one, full of rich opportunities, packed with loved ones who care about me and never lacking of adventure and enjoyment. Here are some of my fondest memories of 2012:

- My eighteenth birthday spent at the Hyatt Regency Hotel for the Vancouver Model United Nations conference where I played the role of the delegate for Honduras on the DISEC committee.

- In February I found myself segwaying through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco with members of my hockey team and their parents.

- Avalanche tearing it up at the MLK tournament in San Jose. The North Shore Pee Wees, Bantams and Midgets all took home the gold. The advantage of playing in sunny California is that on our time off, we headed to the beach in Santa Cruz and hit up Boardwalk amusement park for a beautiful day of sunshine and team bonding.

- Hanna and Bernard's 50th Anniversary called us out to Lethbridge where we celebrated the outstanding marriage of my grandparents. More friends of my grandparents showed up than I even knew they had. We had a blast visiting with both sides of the family and especially getting those famous family portraits done.

- While the male portion of my family spent a weekend watching the Giants play in San Francisco, my mother and I rode our bikes on board the ferry to Salt Spring Island for a weekend of trekking our bikes up the hill to our hotel, hiking, farmers' markets and some precious mother/daughter time.

- Playing my final hockey game ever as an Avalanche, ever as a minor hockey player. I remember how fortunate I felt after that game, to have been blessed with such great coaches, such amazing team members and such supportive parents over the years. Hockey, as a sport has been a huge passion of mine. Hockey, as a social gathering, has been much more than that. "There is no feeling quite like being part of a team."

- Of course, our Asia trip. Almost too incredible for me to put into words; seeing the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, climbing the Great Wall of China, sea kayaking through the caves of Phuket and seeing the most brilliant phosphorescence of my life. Motoring through the floating city outside of Siem Reap, paddling through the floating market in Bangkok, taking Thai cooking classes in Chiang Mai, riding the Tuk Tuk around the streets of Bangkok and experiencing a meal for royalty in a back alley in Beijing. Adventuring through the forbidden city, trying to eat vegetarian in a place where English was seen as gibberish, watching Buddhist monks worship in Wat Pho (Temple of the reclining Buddha) and in Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of Emerald Buddha).

- Presenting my proudest accomplishments, my personal growth stories and my plans for future endeavours during my exit interview. Sharing some of your most personal life with a panel of teachers, students and community members was a rewarding and feel-good experience.

- Getting tagged out of the bead game... on the third day of action. Then I just got to watch it all unfold while I lived a life of freedom. Until... I was handed down the horrendous job of judging. Even in the hundreds of middle of the night phone calls and the ridiculous amount of time I spent judging a tag I did not witness, I found some sort of amusement and enjoyment.

- Snowshoeing to Dog Mountain with Brianna on a beautiful May day. The sun was shining bright, the snow was sparse but the sky was brilliant blue. The view when you approach Dog Mountain is breathtaking, especially when you're gazing out wearing just a t-shirt.

- On June 2nd, in Richmond, BC, the Vancouver (MOB)ilizers hosted Bands for Berna, where young local talent performed with proceeds benefiting our MOB village of Berna, India. There is something about the atmosphere of a (MOB)ilizers event that cannot be explained. The incredible musical talent and the passion for a better world was captured in that room to create a bundle of heartwarming good-vibes.

- In June, I graduated from Seycove Secondary. Walking across the stage alongside 130 other grads in that gymnasium where we wrote so many exams, played so many basketball games, sat through so many Remembrance Day ceremonies and performed so many band and choir concerts.

- Grad dinner/dance was one of those milestones that you will remember for the rest of your life. Hearing Mr. Russell give a touching toast to the graduates of 2012; commenting on the bright futures that await us and reminiscing on how much he's seen us grow throughout the past 5 years of our lives. Then, kicking my shoes off and dancing my heart out with friends, new and old, with teachers and that daddy/daughter dance.

- In the wee hours of the morning, hopping on the bus with those 130 classmates I had just danced to the point of sweat with. Heading off to Lytton, BC for some camping and white water rafting. Riding the rapids of the Thompson Fraser River, while, as the guide told us, the waves were at record breaking heights was the greatest of adrenaline rushes. Then back to our campsite, where we played cards, hackey sack and a good old game of beach volley ball with all our fellow graduates.

- For the months of July and August, I worked as a bike instructor at Pedalheads. Watch your back Wednesdays never failed to end in either laughter or tears. I calculated that throughout the summer I helped approximately 77 kids learn how to ride a bike. How's that for a summer job?

- Just as the previous two years, three of my summer weekends were spent tenting at Burnaby Lake with Catching the Spirit where we canoed with beavers, removed invasive species and transformed our community garden. Star gazing during a meteor shower, singing camp songs on the sky train and playing ridiculous camouflage games will never get old.

- One August weekend was spent on Keats Island with Brooke and Lisa Hogan. Lots of ocean activities, exploring the forests and the Mancala board game. We even made it over to Gibsons for some SeaCav festivities and their famous fish and chips. It was a fantastic weekend with the sister I never had, and my second mother.

- On August 25th, I, along with many other young environmental activists, Rode for our Future. We cycled our bikes 70km, from the Scott Road Skytrain station in Surrey to the Provincial Legislature in Victoria. As the mass of bikers approached the heart of downtown Victoria, we were chanting "This is what democracy looks like, we say stop the carbon pipeline." Then, at the legislature buildings themselves, young people performed spoken word poetry, and youth as young as 16 years old gave inspirational speeches vocalizing against Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. From River Road in Delta, to the Galloping Goose Trail; it was a gorgeous ride for an even better cause.

- Sitting in Rogers Arena with my good friends Patrick and Marie seeing Coldplay play The Scientist and Clocks live.

- Receiving the Soroptimist International of North and West Vancouver's Violet Richardson award. Attending the awards banquet with a room full of such an amazing group of women was an empowering experience. I was more than honoured to be the recipient of the award.

- Winning the silver at softball provincials with the 94 Stars. Although the silver really means nothing to me... it's the egg toss moments, the lama pictures, the overflowing hot tubs, and the laughing until my stomach hurts, as well as the caught balls, the slides into home, the feel-good hits, the foreseen coaching errors, the double plays, the hot boxes and the epic injuries that I will store fondly in my memory for years to come.

- My first attendance at Vancouver's Pride parade. Thousands of people lined Davie Street and the surrounding area to not only show support for the LGBTQ community, but also to express their own sexuality and to have a great ole' time. Friday, Saturday and Sunday of that weekend were spent downtown with great friends, with lots of Hell's pizza, with a swim at 3rd beach, with plenty of Perrier (because "The more the Perrier!"), with boccie in McCartney Park, with drag queens galore and with flamboyant rainbow floats like you've never seen before.

- Spending one of my last nights in Vancouver with good friends and great live music at Gotye.

- Skinny dipping in the Pacific with all my good high school friends the night before I was about to embark on a new journey in my life.

- Boarding a plane in Vancouver, destination Halifax for my first semester of many at Dalhousie University. There was some anxiety, a bit of nervousness, excitement and even fear. Heading off to an unfamiliar place with not a single familiar face was tough. I quickly discovered; however, that my decision was the right one and I was glad that I took that giant leap.

- Paper Lions, Yukon Blonde and Jeremy Fisher rocking the outdoor stage on the Dalhousie Quad for Dalfest. Free outdoor concerts, gotta love 'em!

- Three of my good Dalhousie friends and I spending two November nights camping in the Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail along the Chebucto Peninsula, Nova Scotia. Eating cold soup and oatmeal, drinking chunky lake water, and hiking 38 kilometres through a vast array of landscapes

- Skinny dipping in the frigid Atlantic in December with my new friends from University.

- Riding the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, at Lawrencetown Beach on December 9th... in 5 degree weather.

- Skiing Whistler on December 26th, having 7cm of fresh powder overnight and not a single line up at the lifts. Boxing Day skiing, I've decided, is far superior to Boxing Day shopping.

I am one blessed girl. Here's to another year full of laughter, peace and happiness. And to creating more great memories.