I’ve struggled a great deal over the past couple of years to commit fully to a goal. I’m a dreamer, I talk a big game about goals, constantly looking ahead, yet terrified to consider my present. I started the tourism challenge with a goal in mind: to write about each attraction I visit as I experience my new home city (and earn my tourism privilege pass). It was more about giving myself a chance and exercise to write, no matter how mundane the topic. It was a short- term goal that I found myself able to commit to, a month and a half where I planned to record my efforts at least once a week. I have eleven days left before the tourism challenge is over, but I hope I continue to write about life’s challenges which tends to help me consider how to actively contemplate the positive experiences that come out of pushing past discomfort. I love to write, but I have had zero interest in finishing any article or story I’ve ever started (I’m unsure how I made it through one degree, let alone tried to pursue a second). I love museums, art galleries and the sort, but to commit to attending at least one every weekend for over a month has become a bit of a drag and my mood hit an all- time low. As the weather improves I struggle to commit the same amount of time to writing about what I am doing, when I would rather be outside “doing’.
My aunt is the most ‘morningest’ person that has ever lived. And it got to me this weekend.
She texted Friday night, “We leave for Whistler at 8am Saturday morning- don’t be late- your grandmother is taking the bus in from New Westminster”.
8am. Saturday morning. For almost a year I was coaching every Saturday morning at 7:30am, so early Saturday mornings are not a new concept for me. During those, as the coach, I was the chipper one (and even that was a stretch). Let me tell you, trying to motivate six teenaged girls to run, tumble and flip before 10am was no easy feat (I think requesting any of these was particularly arguable on a Saturday, regardless of the time). They would drag their feet, groaning, probably silently cursing me in their discontent of being dragged out of bed so early on a Saturday morning while many of their friends were probably just getting to bed. Their level grumpy was nothing in comparison to that which I demonstrated this past Saturday.
I rolled up a little after 8am, already mad at the world. I did not want to drive out to Whistler. I did not want to spend two hours in the car each direction. I did not want to enjoy the sunshine. I did not want to deal with the crowds that would inevitably come with being in Whistler village. I did not want anything other than my bed for the entire day and coffee and treats. How much does that sound like a spoiled child? I’m the first person to give a disclaimer to people who are forced to be around me when in this mentality. When in that kind of a mood, evil seeps out to destroy everyone else’s happiness. This was soon established as Angie jumped in the car singing “It’s going to be such a beautiful day”.
“It might be fine,” I retorted shortly. “Sorry, I need coffee, maybe don’t talk to me until then”.
It really was a spectacular day for a drive out to Squamish and Whistler. First stop was the Britannia Mining Museum. I really will need to go back to take it all in, there was quite a bit there, and my foul mood did not permit me to retain much. Nestled on the side of a mountain with restored buildings from those old mining days long past, detailing the history of BC’s mining history.
I was pretty unaware of the rest of the days plans as we headed to our next attraction, the Sea to Sky Gondola. Upon arrival we were notified that Victoria Day long weekend was a black out date where we couldn’t use our challenge passes- something we had neglected to read about. Not helping my already bitter outlook, I hopped into the back seat for a nap while Angie drove the rest of the way to Whistler where we would meet up with my mother.
2012 was the last time I was in Whistler. I got to thinking about that trip, the nostalgia set in. A group of us went to participate in Tough Mudder- something I had completely avoided preparing for. I remember the drive into Whistler, the winding roads and steep hills that lead to the brakes of the car we were driving to smoke so badly we couldn’t see. I remember being in a foul mood most of that weekend as well. I hate to blame my mood on others (because it truly is something only I can control) but the guy I was dating at the time had accidentally called me by an ex-girlfriends name during the drive- somewhere around the same time the brakes almost caught fire. There was a history with that, which made the mistake a particularly heinous crime in my eyes, causing me to struggle to forgive the guy as he bent over backwards to try and make up for it. He would eventually go so far as to give me a piggy-back during parts the mudder event as I struggled to put one foot in front of the other. I was such a crab that entire weekend I think I would have bailed on myself if I could separate my mind and foul mood from my body, so for that I was and am grateful.
Walking into the Olympic Plaza on Saturday, there were swarms of people enjoying the blazing heat. Some couples wore tags on that read “Amazing Race” (like the TV show) which reminded me of the less unhappy events that took place that last time in Whistler. I recalled the scavenger hunt my friends and I put together one of the nights we were there before mudder. “Take a picture with a bearded guy”, “finish a team mickey and dip your feet in the creek”, “get a piece of advice from a stranger”, were some of our tasks back in 2012. We pub- &- shop- hopped our way through the village, taking a shot then going and spending too much at lululemon and Aritzia.
That trip reminds me how lucky I am to have had these experiences with some incredible individuals.
Present day, Angie, my grandmother and I still had a task to undertake visit the Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural centre for our tourism challenge stamps. Here we learned about the traditional territory of the Lil’ wat and Squamish tribes who came together to build this historic centre, just a few hundred metres from the Olympic Plaza. It is a gorgeous building featuring wood and many windows, it reminded me a bit of UNBC Campus. There is a pit house and long house out back, a full running café and restaurant that looks like an event centre. Totem poles line the walls, traditional flat bottom canoes hang from the ceilings and floors.
Our tour guide tells a story that sounds quite like Hansel and Gretel- Wild Woman of the Woods tells a tale of children who were captured by the witch Kalkalih and took them to her longhouse where she tied them with cedar rope. The kids managed to escape and trip the witch into a fire where she burnt to death. Sort of- her ashes turned into mosquitoes and lice.
My grandmother really enjoyed this experience, grinning after learning how to make a cedar bark bracelet.
We headed back into the village to meet mama Susan. It was opening weekend for biking, in addition to Go Fest. Plenty of people, activities to partake in and music including 54-40 and the Zolas (we missed both). We grabbed a bite to eat and caught up with my mum and watched the crowds pass us by before gathering our things and hitting the road back to Vancouver.
By this time I was slightly less grouchy and took to taking crappy drive by pictures on the road. Angie pulled over so we could take some pictures of the mountains, rivers and the Chief. The beauty of the drive at the magic hour through Squamish made me forget that I was just a few short hours earlier probably in need of an exorcism.
I counted my stamps tonight, up to 30! Going to aim for 40 by the end of next weekend, and I will be able to say I successfully stayed on track and met my personal goal (thanks to Angie and everyone else who joined in).
With a busy week ahead, and feeling slightly emotional going into it, I hope I can keep the spirits up and finish strong.