Summer Vacation: An Ode to Peace

Summer vacation. Need I say more. I would say it’s the most wonderful time of the year personally, but I’m a Grinch when it comes to Christmas. I love the sun, sand, heat, bodies of water, and outdoors. All around, I think it’s a very relaxing season. That is, before I became a university student, and now a university graduate.

For me, summers when I lived at home used to be filled with reruns of Veronica Mars and Criminal Minds, relaxing, going to the beach, going for hikes in the middle of a smoky forest, bike rides, working, and volunteering. Never too much of one thing, except maybe being stuck at home when I didn’t have a license or when I was too young to take public transit by myself. If a day could be jam packed with fun, it would be.

I remember one summer my friend Carlin and I went for a hike at Buntzen Lake. The trail in total takes about 4-6 hours depending on your pace and any leisure activities you want to take part in as it’s a loop around the lake with beaches on either end. Anyways, one day Carlin and I decided to do this hike. It really is beautiful, and close to home so it’s a perfect spot. We decided to go on what probably ended up being on of the hottest days of the summer. That was mistake number one.

The second mistake was that due to all the forest fires in BC that summer, tons of smoke had settled into valley that this lake is in, including the higher peaks of the trail. I have asthma, I could hardly breathe. Next, sometime during our hike, these boys we know asked if we wanted to go to a beach DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER that night. We should’ve said no. But how could we resist? We rushed through the last of our hike because I’m pretty sure we also decided to hike during midday (aka the hottest time-aka mistake numero 3). Anyways, we are literally sprinting to my car by the end of the hike just to get home and to the bus loop to meet the guys.

We get to my house and we barely have time to throw on deodorant let alone shower. We quickly grab our bathing suits and my mum drives us to the bus loop. We RUSHED to get there. However, lo and behold, the boys are late so we are waiting at the bus stop slowly and then all at once coming to the realization that we are hungry. Not just hungry through because as soon as it hits us, we are hangry. By the time the boys get to the bus loop and we get downtown, I am seething because I am not nice when I’m hangry BUT I’m (usually) the first person to admit that. Also, they wanted to eat downtown which is like 45 minutes to an hour away. To top it off, could anyone decide where to eat? NO.

Finally, we eat. Finally, we get to the beach. Finally, I catch a magical sunset at English Bay and all is right in the world. The water is a little gross, the company is little annoying, but the destination, the journey, is perfect. Carlin and I still talk about it to this day always with eye rolls and secret smiles. In fact I told her that I was writing about this and she replied, “OMG. What a day.”

English Bay, Vancouver, BC

Summer vacation, a perfect balance to relax, unwind, and get some much needed peace after a hectic school year. I used to be so busy with school, sports, and extracurriculars. My program in Grade 9 and 10 had this thing called AprilMayJune because the months basically blurred into what felt like a week. However, once I reached university this peacefulness during summer kind of disappeared. My school year was spent grinding for that paper–both the degree and the money. My summers were also spent grinding for that paper–sometimes the degree, mainly for the money. Ya girl had to pay rent, eat, and pay tuition for that degree!!! Plus, you know, go out occasionally.

Anyways, now that I’ve graduated, and have a *gasp* full-time big girl job, I still don’t feel peaceful in the summer. I literally went from the full-time job I had in the school year to this big girl job and I probably should’ve taken like a week. Maybe not to go anywhere, but just to chill. Alas, those were my decisions and I have to live with them. So, instead of trying to find peace with long stretched out summers, I have to find peace within moments of summer which hopefully help me find moments of peace in fall, winter, and spring.

To be fair, these past few summers, I was able to go home for about a week but this summer I was not able to do that and honestly it kind of sucked. All my best friends are usually home for the summer and now I don’t know when the four of us will see each other next. Some of my favourite summer memories with them include trips to Hayley’s cabin. Talk about Beautiful BC. Talk about a summer activity.

We’d crawl into one bed together, Hayley and I both wanting to be in the middle. Victoria okay with being on the end. Carlin falling somewhere in between. One night we did henna as it was something I had studied in depth for about 4-5 months. The three of them decided to do some henna on my back. Folks, it was horrendous and it meant I had to sleep on my stomach, not in the bed. I couldn’t even have a blanket and it was cold. Meanwhile they were all snuggled up in bed. Now that I think about it, it was probably a ploy to have more space. Anyways, in the middle of the night I get up and go to the bathroom to get the henna off. I was so happy when I realized it didn’t stain properly. They were not, but that’s okay.

Hayley’s Dock

The first time we went, I went tubing for the first time and sprained my shoulder before rag-dolling across the water because I did not want to let go. Another time, Hayley and I argued about whether or not olive oil or butter should be used in the pan when making pancakes. I water-skied for the first time there too. My legs were black and blue from trying to get up but once I did (and once I knew they had a video) I was so proud of myself and promptly let myself fall to the water and declared that I was done. It’s where I drove a boat for the first time. It’s where we cooked and laughed and tanned and log rolled and trampolined and gave birth to a watermelon and made up stupid jokes (*ring ring helloooooooo*). We didn’t go to the cabin a lot, but we made so many memories there and it holds a special place in my heart.

I love building camp fires

This year I was able to squeeze a couple of days to go to a cabin in Ontario with some friends here. We see these friend pretty much every weekend which is awesome so we were excited to go away. I think we all needed to vacation. I think on this mini vacation, I got my peace this summer no matter how many times they all said Jason was coming out of the water to kill us all. I got to read on the dock, enjoy the sun, we went boating, we had smores, we played games, we drank, we had fires. We played so many games including Settlers of Catan which I think has become a group favourite. When we played monopoly the game ended with Tyler screaming “where the f*** is Ratatouille” so you just know how that went. None of us know how to make business moves, apparently.

It was a nice end of summer peaceful vacation because this past long weekend we actually moved which is stressful but the move was much needed. Maybe I’ll write a blog post on why. It’s hard to believe that summer is over. It flew by fast but in some ways it didn’t really feel like summer. Any of my fellow recent graduates know what I’m saying? If you do, or don’t, I’ll write a blog post on that one too and the disappointment/relief? that I’m not going to school right now.

Stay beautiful my friends, thanks for reading and let me know what you think in the comments. What was your peaceful moment of the summer?

Opinicon Lake, Ontario

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