For the past three years, I’ve somehow found myself in the Vancouver area. Vancouver was never on my list of places to visit and while I stand by my opinion that these Northwestern cities are just freakily quiet, there is something special about Vancouver. It’s cool (in both senses of the word), relaxing, and scenic. I love the mountains and there’s so many beautiful places to walk around. Not to mention, I have an obsession with the Museum of Anthropology there.
I started off in Richmond for a few days to attend a conference and though they do have a really cool Olympic center, I didn’t do much exploring beyond the mall. (What can I say? Maybe Brazil is rubbing off on me.) However, there was a Crossfit box right now the street – I could literally see it from my hotel window – and I had the opportunity to train there two mornings before my meetings and sessions got started.
The coaches at Overdrive Athletic Club were really friendly and helpful. I got some great pointers on my bar cycling during a WOD with a bunch of hang cleans. My technique on cleans overall has improved a lot since last year, but I still have such a long way to go. I’m not fast or efficient at all, so I’m extremely grateful for any pointers I can get, especially from coaches who have that knack for watching your movement and pinpointing exactly what needs to be better. Just within that workout, I felt myself speeding up immensely!
Later in the week, my mom joined me to go explore Vancouver. She’d never been before and I’m leaving for Brazil again next week, so we thought it would be a nice way to spend some time together. We stayed at the Opus Hotel which was very boutique-y and in a great spot for public transportation, though we ended up walking nearly everywhere.
In an attempt to keep up my training, I also checked out Crossfit BC, which had an intimidating number of Crossfit Games plaques on the walls. For the WOD, we worked on squats and I had the opportunity to partner up with two other really sweet and kind women. It’s always fun to check out the different styles of coaches and communities. I also tested my 500m row time and got it down to 1:57, an improvement from the last time I checked!
On Friday, we (wisely) took a cab over to the Totem Poles in Stanley Park and then walked all the way back to the downtown area in search of food. I satisfied my perpetual bubble tea craving – this is not a thing they have in Brazil, despite the popularity of tapioca – and then we grabbed some lunch at SMAK, which is an entirely gluten-free restaurant. We had a bit of a hard time finding both vegetarian and gluten-free food, though on our first night Amici Miei had some fantastic gluten-free pasta options, as well as desert.
We also made our way to one of my favorite places, the Museum of Anthropology. Every time I walk in there, I announce that I need to go back to graduate school to study Anthropology because it riles up all of this passion I have for the field. This time I texted Gustavo announcing that I would apply for a PhD program so I could study body image and feminism in Brazil, a topic that I’m struggling to dive into for so many personal reasons. One day.
The entrance is this gigantic, windowed area with a ton of totem poles from native tribes in the region. To me, it’s such a beautiful way to honor the area’s history and culture, from the past up until today. I was disappointed because, this time, they had an exhibit on Latin American art, but didn’t include anything from Brazil, something about which I have a sort of personal vendetta. (But, really though, if you get past the language barrier, Brazil is most of South America 😐)
We spent a little more time shopping, walking around, and exploring. Walking all through Kitsilano was gorgeous, and something I hadn’t done on my previous trips. It’s such a cute neighborhood, with so many quaint cafes and bookstores. By the end of the weekend, however, we were ready for the loud sarcasm of the East Coast. Even landing in Newark, families were already fighting with each other, unashamed to raise their voices amidst the crowd to make sure their point was heard. Ah, the sound of home.