I think next time I go to Vancouver, it will have to be without Troubadour Dad.
Seeing the city with him right after we moved up here in 2007 was a lot of fun -- I'd never explored Richmond (the suburb with all the amazing Asian seafood restaurants offering live catch in tanks for you to order) and I hadn't seen the public market on Granville Island. There was also Stanley Park to check out and the Chinese herbal shops in the downtown area to experience.
Since that first trip, we've gone back to Vancouver with my parents two more times (one visit for each subsequent summer we've lived in the Pacific Northwest). And each time, we've done the same itinerary, even down to the same restaurant (yes, singular) for lunch and dinner multiple days running. The only difference, perhaps, has been less time in the park and more time at the table or in search of things to put on it.
Now, I do enjoy a good gastronomic tour, but in a city that contains so much more than food, you'd think it would be nice to explore some of those other cultural offerings, wouldn't you? Unfortunately, Troubadour Dad is not very adventurous, and as it has been for the rest of us in the family since I was very little, it's his way or the highway. I've been trying to figure out how to change this dynamic without catastrophic fallout (aiming for a few falling rocks rather than an entire landslide), but at this point, my muscles are giving out. What that means for the future, I'm not sure. At the moment, it just means taking a breather from Dad-controlled vacations before my head explodes. We've had four this summer (vacations, not explosions, in San Jose, Boston, Newfoundland, and Vancouver) so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I feel this way. Still, the situation makes me sad.
We did get two hours' reprieve from food on this most recent trip, which I was grateful for. Troubadour Dad wanted to commission a Chinese painting for a friend of his, and one of Troubadour Mom's former schoolmates, who does wonderful work and has had it exhibited, is now living in Vancouver. So we got to visit her in-home studio, where she showed us samples of her watercolors and calligraphy. Newly Graduated Sis and I had fun taking pictures of her tools, still out after a private lesson earlier in the morning:
Troubadour Mom also took classes in calligraphy and watercolor before leaving Hong Kong, and when we were kids, she let us use her brushes and her special ceramic dish (similar to the one above with multiple compartments) to paint. I had forgotten all about that until I saw those tools again.
Supposedly, Troubadour Mom has many old friends who have settled in the Vancouver area, so if we can get her up here on her own, we might have a chance of reconnecting her with a few more of them. That was the best part of this trip, of course -- getting to witness the reunion between her and her schoolmate, whom she hadn't seen in thirty years.
More on non-gastronomic sightseeing soon, as well as thesis reading updates and a final blog award nominee (I know, I'm getting to it!). More frequent posting in general too -- it's a relief to be in one place again.
Photo by Newly Graduated Sis
1 day ago