Two hundred and eight

Life can’t get any better than this.  I love Vancouver sushi.  And it is so great spending some ‘me’ time wandering the city and reminiscing about when I used to live here.  I went to many of my old haunts, did a bit of shopping on Granville Island, and lots of sushi.  And it’s warm here!

Rita (number two) from Germany’s first kiss

I woke up Marguerita (Rita for short) when I entered my hostel room at 2 pm, slamming the door into the lockers behind it and flipping on the lights.  I didn’t notice her there on the top bunk until she sat up in her bed.  I apologized and turned off the lights, but then somehow managed to keep being clumsy and making noise.  “I should get up,” she said.  “I didn’t sleep last night, but I have only two days here.  What’s your name?”  After introductions and stories about both our adventures to get here (she’s from Germany and is on a month-long trip across parts of the United States and Canada), I brought up my blog.

“I was 14.  We were going to a party.  You had to be 18, but I wore lots of makeup.  It was with a boy who was 15.  My friend said all the girls wanted to be with him.  He looked good.  We were sitting on the floor together, then we were dancing.  He just pulled me and kissed me.  It wasn’t very nice.  I was like ‘yay, I was kissed’, but it wasn’t romantic or special.  Before I didn’t know what to do or how to do it.  Then it happened and I was worried it would always be that way.  It was wet all around my mouth.”  Rita made a circle with her hand to show it was wet about an inch circling her lips.  “I thought why would people like to kiss then?  Not very nice.  But I realized when I got older that it gets better!”

Two hundred and seven

On my way to Vancouver, but first one more first kiss story from Gibsons.  Rita is from Ontario, visiting family on the sunshine coast for a few days.  I’m a sucker for these romantic stories…

Gibsons waterfront in a break from the rain


“This is the best first kiss ever in my entire life.  I was running a social group for lesbians in Etobicoke and Mississauga.  We had an event at a karaoke bar.  I spent the evening meeting new members and greeting old members. I just finished singing a song with friends.  When I got down, there was Jan sitting at bar.  I asked her if she wanted to join Women of the West End?  Jan asked me ‘what do you guys do’?  I explained we got together for games, social events.  ‘As long as we don’t have to play Scrabble’, she replied.  I sat down next to her and we talked all night.  We ended up leaving together.  As we walked out of the bar together, we kissed. It was mind blowing amazing.”

“Who kissed who?” my friend Meredith asked.  “If you asked me, she did.  If you asked her, I did,” Rita said.  “What’s cute is after that initial meeting, from that day on we’ve not been apart for more than seven days in the last seventeen years.”

Two hundred and six

The rain is still coming down on the Sunshine Coast.  I’m staying in Gibsons for one more night in hopes that my journey over to Vancouver will be a little less wet.  And of course to hang out with my amazing friends here some more!  It’s nice to have a lazy day after traveling so much.

Jughead and Cheeseburger’s first kiss together (these are the code names they chose)

“Get Cheeseburger to tell you the story,” said Jughead to me after I asked him about their first kiss.  “Her stories are more colourful.”

“Then he can add in details,” said Cheeseburger.  Jughead and Cheeseburger live together in a house in Gibsons.  They met seven years ago in university.

“The first kiss we ever had was at a party at Jughead’s friend’s place.  We were doing a boat-racing challenge (a drinking game involving teams chugging pints of beer).  Me and Jughead were on one team and his friends on the other.  At this point in my academic career I did not want a boyfriend.  I was hit by a car and recovering.  But somehow there was Jughead.  We were holding hands and I gave him a kiss on the cheek.  Ok, he said, but I need my hand to boat-race.  Then give me your other hand, I said.  There we were holding opposite hands boat-racing.  Later that night we were watching movies and I was cuddling up to Jughead.  Right, Jughead?” Cheeseburger looked to Jughead for back-up.  They exchange a special smile only meant for each other.  He nods.  “His friends were egging him on.  So Jughead kissed me while I was sleeping.”

“Then you woke up,” said Jughead.

“I woke up and said I had to go and left.”  Cheeseburger laughs.  “But our first real kiss… It was a friend’s birthday at school and we were having beers at the engineering bar.  From noon to 4 pm we were having beers.  Jughead was drinking out of this one litre stein.”

“I was given it because I was a loyal patron of the bar,” adds Jughead.

“Everybody was a little drunk.  I had borrowed my roommate’s bike.  When I left the bar to head to the birthday house party Jughead followed me.  We decided to double on the bike.  He was on the seat, I took the pedals.  We were pulled over by the campus police and told to get off.  So we walked the bike to the edge of campus and tried again.  Then Jughead twisted his ankle.  We put the bike down where we crashed and sat on the sidewalk to rest.   We were lying on the grass, half in a forest by the school.  We started holding hands, then cuddling, then kissing.  We were making out at four in the afternoon!  Jughead’s TA (teaching assistant) walked by, saw us and brought it up in class later.  When we got to the party we had leaves in our hair.”

“What do you think, Jughead?”  Cheeseburger looks to Jughead.  “It was all pretty accurate,” he says.  They touch.  Seven years later they are still inseparable.

One hundred and thirty-five

I love getting mail!  It’s amazing how a delivery of a package or a card in the mail brightens up my day.  It’s the best part of this month.  Yesterday I woke up to a delivery man calling my cell phone (I wish this happened all the time, as by the time I hear the doorbell and walk down to the front door from my top floor apartment, the delivery people are usual impatient and leaving).  My lululemon sports bra – which happily fit!  I left the house and returned to another package from with my toiletries that I needed.

The great thing about living in the city is that it’s easy and fast to have things shipped to me.  My neighbours will usually collect a package for me if I’m not there, and I will for them (which coincidentally happened today for my neighbours in the basement).  There was once when I had to drive to Etobicoke to pick up a package that I wasn’t here to receive.  In general, though, I have it pretty good.

I was interested to see how it was like for those people not in the city, so I asked my friend Meredith who lives in Gibsons, BC – a small town outside of West Vancouver only accessible through air or water:  “Because there is a smaller population there is a limitation to the goods available here. Also, the stores that are here may not even open during hours that a full time day worker can access. Often we find ourselves planning trips to Vancouver in which we spend most of our time driving from one store to another in order to stock up or find things unavailable on the Sunshine Coast. We have also started buying a lot of things online because they just aren’t available here.”

“Sometimes we can get things shipped, and sometimes we can’t. We get our mail from the post office, so our mailing address is a PO Box. Many online US companies ship using the US postal service but will not ship to international PO boxes. As you are probably finding out, its often hard to find things to buy online from Canadian companies, especially if the object is specific or obscure. If a company doesn’t ship to international PO boxes we might have the option of a courier– a more expensive option that, honestly, isn’t always available. In some cases, we have the courier option but the online shop doesn’t recognize/accept the PO box for our credit card billing address. I guess I could go with the courier option always, but I’m cheap. If I’m going to have to pay an additional $30 to have an item shipped, I’m probably not going to get it unless it’s an awesome sale.
The other thing that happens is some online sites don’t tell you the shipping method. In that case, we put both our PO box and our street address and hope it gets here. Unfortunately, if the street address is on the item, our post office may (and has) returned it to the sender despite the PO box also being on the package.
In summary:
-if we are getting something by canada post or USPS it goes to the PO box
-if we are getting something by courier it goes to our street address
– if the site doesn’t recognize PO boxes PERIOD then we can’t pay with our credit card
– if our post office sees our street address on an item, there’s a 50/50 chance we won’t get it (even if the PO box is there, too)

When we bought our awesome home brew pot from a company in Washington State I included in the comments “if sending by USPS send to PO box (etc), if sending by courier send to … Street (etc).” The lady at the store was very helpful. After several emails and phone conversations she figured out how we could get the item shipped to us. It took about an extra month to get it. Needless to say, we have bought more things from that company, but they are the exception, not the rule.”

Thanks Mere for your input.  I can’t imagine what’s it’s like for people who are in really remote areas!