2014, in lengthy detail

I haven’t been able to keep up semi-occasional blogging (last post was in May!), so I will attempt to sum up the last 12 months here! Luckily, I think most of my readers (hi Dad! Hi Grandma!) read Katrina’s blog, so I will attempt to be brief.

School: 2014 could be called THE YEAR OF THE SCHOOL because I spent most of my time studying/at school. I can explain the 3 semesters like this: sucked, okay, great! The first semester back was hard as I didn’t have that many friends and I had 15 different group members across 6 different projects in 5 different classes which also included a fundraising project. Luckily, over the year, I had less group members, more friends and was studying topics I was more interested in. The semester that just finished was my best semester in university so far – two A+’s and one A (and a B). I also took a Negotiations class which I liked to call Murder Mystery Fridays (as you had to play a negotiation role each class), which I think was my favourite class yet.

Work: Even though I took a billion classes, I worked a lot this year. In the winter I did a short contract at my old non-profit job where I wrote a (successful!) proposal for them. That was a good experience, but it was hard doing that and balancing school at the same time (and the 15 group members). Then in May, I started being a Teaching Assistant for the Business Communication course at school. That was pretty fun, but I am glad to be taking a break from it. I also did a short contract at school as a Research Assistant to help prepare a new Collaborative Work Environments course at school. Wahoo, dollars! (You will see what I needed it for as you read on about the infinite number of road trips)

Lauren: Lauren got to Canada at the end of April on a tourist visa. After a couple of slightly worrying months, he activated his working holiday visa at the beginning of July (thanks Katrina for driving him to the border!). Phew! It’s way more fun being with him here instead of him being in New Zealand ;) For a while he worked for a carpentry firm, but now he is working at Valhalla Pure Outfitters (a fancy shmancy outdoor gear shop) which he loooooOOooOoooOoves, hehe. Lauren has about 735 friends and has gone on about 251 trips.. so I think he is settling in fine here.

Apartments: In September, Lauren and I moved into our own apartment! It is small, but we barely spend any time at home so it is pretty good for us! It is quiet and we can have about 3 people over at a time MAX. I think I will fully appreciate the location when I start working downtown as the commute is really short. We are a short bike ride away from the climbing gym and Main St/Commerical Drive, which is a good distance away because there is less of a chance we will spend all our money on Vancouver’s 8 billion restaurants. It was a bit of a pain in the bum bum living far away when I had to go to school 5 days a week.. whose idea was it to put a school on a giant hill?? The apartment has a backyard which will be nice in the summer. Before the move, we/I lived in a shared house just down the road with friendly people, but multiplying cats (mreow).

Skiing: I got the student Whistler pass this year and last year. I couldn’t resist such a low price for something that usually costs so much.

Rock Climbing and other Outdoor Activities: As soon as Lauren got to Canada, I said “PACK YOUR THINGS” and we went on a week long trip to Smith Rock in Oregon with a few friends. By Day 3, we were used to the extremely high first bolts but everything. hurt. all. the. time. It worked out that we also met up with our friend Natalie from New Zealand who was on a short US west coast trip which was cool! We also did a trip to Skaha (near Pentiction). We also went to Vantage, Washington over Thanksgiving with the BC Moutaineering Club. We did some hiking on the North Shore and also up near Pemberton. We also went up to Squamish a bazillion times (but not as much as I had hoped as I had to study).

Other Trips: I went to Osoyoos and Cowichan Lake with Kat and Scott. I also had a Christine-Liz-Rose Fiji reunion at Christine’s cottage on the sunshine coast. I also visited Chloe on Salt Spring. Lauren and I went to a pig roast on Galiano Island. Luckily, we are all extremely frugal so we can find a way to fund all of these road trips. Kat, Scott and I visited Ottawa (and I visited Kingston) in Feb and Kat and I visited Southern Ontario in June.

Other Notable Events: I got my wisdom teeth taking out and then got dry socket. Fun times. Melted frozen yogurt forever! I tried skeleton – the first time was a lot scarier than I anticipated. I hosted an epic BYOIngredient Sushi birthday party. Santa Day was THE BEST – I can’t wait for version 2.0 of the Christmas tree. Lauren and I had Christmas dinner this year which was our first time cooking a turkey. Turkey success! Turkey isn’t my absolute favourite meat, but our turkey only cost $12.50 for something like 6.5 kgs. We should have bought another one because it is going to feed us for WEEKS!!! MONTHS!!! We made stuffing, carrot and apple salad, greek salad, roast potatoes, and two kinds of gravy with chocolate lava cakes and ice cream and then we collapsed on the floor for 3 hours.

I just remembered I made a list of 2014 goals… here ya go: climb the chief in Squamish (nope – though I did follow up people twice on the Apron, which is like half the Chief…right?), climb once a week (probably if you even it out over the 12 months), concentrate on my studies (ok I didn’t do that well in Finance, but I did do between good and really good in my other classes), climb at Smith Rock (check!), go to the US (check, but that was part of the last goal), venture father east in BC (check), get a promotion at the climbing gym (noooope), volunteer (nooope), outdoor lead a 5.10d (yes! 5.11a!), get hired as a TA (yep), win a scholarship (yes, but they forgot to tell me and just mailed me a cheque), get a good co-op job (yes! starting next year), and eat more naturally (ummmmmmmmmmmmm.. nope.. especially not when I was in school), and make my Fiji/NZ travel journals (no.. which I do want to do).

Looking Forward: I am starting my new job on Monday at AON Hewitt as an Associate/Analyst in the Performance, Rewards and Talent department. I will be working there until the end of August. If I take an evening class both semesters, I will be able to finish my studies by the end of December if I take 5 classes in the fall term. Or I could do another co-op term, if I feel like it. In January and in April, Lauren and I will be doing a ton more visa/residency paperwork. If the rules don’t change, and Lauren is able to get a second Working Holiday visa, it should be a pretty smooth transition. Hopefully? Is that what everyone says? Not sure what will happen next January.. some ideas we have tossed around are another working holiday in Japan or Europe, moving back to New Zealand, staying in Vancouver, moving to Squamish/Pentiction/Whistler, going on a month-long trip to Europe or Mexico and pretty much every single other idea that you could have.

Goals for this year: climb even harder (5.11c?), train harder, do more cardio, go on a couple of 3+ day hikes, finish school, eat better, grow things I can eat, brew beer (I was supposed to do this by this weekend but have not yet), do well in school, rock at my new job, finish a few craft projects (including the NZ/Fiji journals), learn how to make Korean food properly, take bouldering lessons (thanks Lauren for the prezzie!), get up earlier, go to bed earlier, and read a few books that aren’t school books (yeah, right).

And that is all for now.. tomorrow I am going skiing with some friends in Whistler, and then we are camping overnight in Squamish. Lauren and his workmates are meeting us up there and we are going to attempt bouldering on New Years Day. I haven’t been bouldering outside in Canada yet, even though I go to the indoor bouldering gym all the time… my goal: 5 VO problems (as it is 201….5! FIVE!). Maybe I’ll post about how it went ;) Now I am going to go examine the extremely pale focaccia I just took out of the oven.

whistler day 11/lauren’s first ski day

Day 11: (run of the day: Jersey Cream?)

Last Sunday, Lauren, Katrina and I headed up to Whistler for the day. Lauren has been saying that he wants to learn how to ski since I met him so for his combined Christmas/birthday present, I gave him a lesson and day on the slopes. It probably would have been more wise for us to go before we went to Smith Rock because there was probably more snow then, but it still worked out!

We paid a UBC student named Michael to give Lauren a lesson and it turned out to be a great deal and experience! It was cheaper and he seemed like a really great teacher. I can’t remember my first ski lesson.

Anyway, as you can see from the video, Lauren did really well for his first day! He zoomed by other beginners. If he turns into a pro-skier, we can use this video in an emotional TV commercial.

I am in the second week of school now. I am taking Group Dynamics & Teamwork, Finance and Recruitment & Selection and also working as a Business Communication TA. It will be a busy semester but a different kind of busy than last semester I hope.

whistler day 8-10


whis-0Day 8: (run of the day: Glissando Glades)

Rob and I skied around Symphony/Harmony the day after the Men’s Hockey Final. This ski carrying technique is inspired by:

whis-2Day 9: (run of the day: The Bite)

This was from the weekend that Kat and I went up to Whistler when she was doing lots of skeletoning. I skiied with my roommate Nathan and friend Luke. Nathan got to try his new AT skis out on the way back to the parking lot!

whis-1Day 10: (run of the day: Whistler Bowl & Grand Finale)

On the Sunday of that weekend, Katrina and I skied together. She asked for powder so I brought her down this. She was not happy. You can see her in the picture but she kind of looks like a tree (hehe). It had snowed a lot over the couple of days before and there was lots of powder!! Cue muchos falling. I also met up with Lisa and Phillip for one last run which was lots of fun!!! So good!!

Whistler is open until late May this year, but I am not sure how many days I am going to get in. It was nice getting a ski pass this year, but I found it pretty stressful trying to find rides to get up there! Even though it is a great deal, I am not sure if I will buy a student pass again. Lauren and I are hoping to get up to Whistler this weekend so he can have a ski lesson. Pizza! French fries!!

smith rock 2014

I just came back from an awesome rock climbing trip to Smith Rock in Oregon. My friend Martin mentioned the idea of going last November and I am really glad that it ended up working out perfectly!


The campsite even had a bouldering wall!

SMITHROCK-6 DSCF0044Warning: There are many pictures in this post because I couldn’t pick the best ones. There are also many pictures of silly people in tights. These pictures are a mix of all of our pictures.

Three days after Lauren got here and the day after I finished my last Spring exam, we were off! On the trip there was Lauren, my long-time friend Martin, two new friends Bengt & Andrew, and we ended up meeting up with Natalie from NZ! How this all ended up working out, with Greyhound buses and smushing everything into Bengt’s mom’s car.. I am not sure.

We were originally going to camp the first night on the Oregon coast, but the weather was incredibly rainy and windy, that we ended up forgoing that plan to drive all the way down to Smith Rock… without looking at the gas tank. FYI: All the 10 gas stations between Salem and Sisters, OR close at 7:00pm. So we ended up spending the first night in a “town” called Detroit in a teeny weeny motel room and cooked lentils on the floor on our camp stove. Haha! It was such a silly start to our trip. The motel only cost $75 including tax for us to all jam into one room…


Marty, Andrew, Lauren & Bengt

Smith Rock (once we got there) was incredibly beautiful and had lots and lots of (hard) climbing. The most memorable climbs I worked were Double Trouble (a 5.10b tricky arete), Cool Ranch Flavor (a 5.11a lead we did in a team), and Captain Xenolith (a 5.10a slab that I really enjoyed). We didn’t go on Monkey Face (a classic 4 pitch route), but guess that means we have to go back!


Lauren and me


Bengt on JT’s Route – Phoenix Buttress


Morning Glory


The boys on Bunny Face – Diehedrals


Cool Ranch Flavor – Morning Glory


Lauren and a chilly Rose




Monkey Face

SMITHROCK-4Before I go back again, I need to work on my finger strength (so many finger pockets), work out my toes (so many tiny rock knobs to stand on) and pace myself better!! I think I climbed a bit too much on the second day and was a blobular mess for the rest of the trip.

It was great spending a few days with Natalie on her short trip through California and Oregon!! It was good to see her!! The group also got along so well.. new friends! Very exciting. It was also nice to spend time doing fun outdoorsy stuff with Lauren again! (He totally told me to write that)




Me, Natalie and Lauren

We decided that colourful tights were mandatory for this trip, which a lot of other climbers there enjoyed quite a bit. One guy took an instagram picture of us: #brightandtight


Andrew, Bengt & Me


Oh dear…

SMITHROCK-0We ended up eating really well throughout the trip (lots of lentils, rice, curries, spaghetti, gnocchi, vegetables, beans, etc) and keeping the trip pretty cost efficient, though we did make mandatory junk food stops at Jack In the Box, Five Guys (so many french fries and so many toppings!!), and Salt & Straw (the ice cream place that Kat and Scott recommended). Mmm.. consuming all the calories we burned on this trip. We also stopped by REI where I bought a new insulating layer because mine is ripped and way too small. Primaloft!

SMITHROCK-8It was a lovely way to finish off the semester. Will post more about everything else in another post!

babby’s first skeleton

Today was Family Day for the BCBSA (British Columbia Bobsled Skeleton Association) and because Kat is slidey slide, Scott and I got to slidey slide!! FUN!!! OF COURSE, YES, I’M FREE, LETS GO!!!!

skeleton rose

Matt’s photo!

I thought I would be more nervous before my first run, but I wasn’t as nervous as I am before going on high ropes courses, giving a class presentation or other such activities like that. I made Kat gave me 1 million tips but basically everyone just says ‘just lie there and try to be as aerodynamic as possible. sack o’ potato’ which I think is hard to prepare for. Anyway, Ivo (the coach) pushed my head down and pressed my legs together and off I went! Slidey slide!

… ok the first run was kind of terrifying. I think I thought about pressing my shoulders on the sled for about three seconds until I started going up on the sides a bit (WHAT KAT TOLD ME THAT YOU STAY IN THE BOTTOM WHY AM I GOING UP ON THE SIDES PANIC). And then I feel like I actually went into the straightaway away at the end totally sideways (I am exaggerating) and preceded to take what felt like six inch gouges out of the track as I bounced the sides of the track 12 times. Thankfully I was using the sled that Kat used which is made for skinny people because you can put your arms entirely on the sled and I didn’t touch the ice at all the whole day. Sorry sled.

Anyway so then we went back up to the top and I waited for my turn and thought ‘press your shoulders against the sled’ and then just as Ivo was about to push me he shoved my face down closer to the ice and said to look out of the top of my eyeballs so I did that! And this time I did much better at 99.59 km/hr (1st one was 98.29) and felt like I had good form. I think I have performance anxiety because as soon as I knew the finish line was coming and the big last turn I think I broke my form and hit one side of the wall and then automatically my body goes into flail mode instead of sack o potato mode and I hit the track back and forth (only 6 times this time).

Anyway it was really fun and I came in 6th the second run (out of 30ish beginners) and 2nd out of all the females! I think I was the youngest and definitely on the lighter side of the spectrum so that is pretty cool!!!!! Even though I think this is mostly based on luck and not necessarily skill (because I only did it twice, haha). I want to try and not flail all over the bottom half of the track so maybe I have to try it again! But I need to win the lottery first Charlie Bucket style.

january & february


– I went snowshoeing before new years with a couple of friends up to Elfin Lakes. We played Risk by headlamp light. It was fun. I have pictures but I haven’t had the chance to upload them yet.

– I am doing lots of school stuff. I also am working a lot. YAY $$$! And good experience.

– I am doing a regular Step & Strength fitness class and this week was harder than usual and it kicked my bum. I haven’t been climbing that much.

– Lauren bought his plane flights! He is coming around the end of April. Anyone want to sponsor him for a job? Anyone?

– I went to Ontario! Highlights include:

Visiting David/Steph/Dylan in Kingston. We had lots of catching up to do, we went rock climbing, out for dinner, had hot pot, and did some homework too. Their reading week is always a week after SFU so they all had some work to do (as did I).

Seeing my dad, Kate, Callum with Kat and Scott and watching extreme amounts of Olympics! We also had a family bonspiel, which was awesome, and ate dimsum, which was also awesome.

Liz came and visited! That was coooool!!! We went to the ice slides, saw an IMAX South Pacific movie, ate lots of shawarma, went tobogganing, skated on the canal, played board games and continued to watch excessive amounts of Olympics.

Non-highlights include: The plane ride back from Ottawa. Scott, Kat and I flew the same flight to Calgary, and then Scott and I were transferring on in Calgary to Vancouver. The plane was held up in Ottawa, and there was bad weather in Calgary = we missed the SkyTrain, and had to take a cab to Scott’s house and then Scott drove me home. He probably got home at 1:45am. I did not do well on my midterm the next day. I think if I am in school next time I am going to fly direct or leave a little more gap to get home. Zzzzz

– I am applying to be a TA for the summer. I hope I get it.

squamish climbing & a general update

climbing-2I know it’s cold in the rest of Canada, but Vancouver has been having a balmy winter! Last weekend, my roommate Nathan and I went up to Squamish for my first/his second climbing day of the 2014 season! In January! This is nuts! I decided to forgo skiing (possibly not the best year to buy a season’s pass…) and enjoy the 10 degree weather. It was lovely climbing and getting back into Squamish.

climbing-0 climbing-1 climbing-4We climbed 4 different “Squamish 100” cracks and I was equally rusty at all of them. It’s an entirely different type of climbing than the climbing in New Zealand. I even got to try a 5.11c crack called “Crime on the Century” which I was not very good at. It was lots of fun!

climbing-3Here’s a picture of that climb:

crimeofthecenturyI am not that good. Nate did it quite well though on top. He’s an awesome climber.

Other then that, a general update:

– House: I am living in a house with 4 other people (all working): Nathan, Josh, Leena & Edvin. They are all really nice. I’m not really sure how long I will be staying here because…

– Lauren: Applied for a Working Holiday visa last week and is on the waiting list. He finished his application in 9 minutes and apparently that means about 200ish on the waiting list. I hope they change the system soon. Anyway, he’s still planning on coming in March or April. YAY!

– School: I am taking: Project Management, Management Science, Business Communication, Managerial Economics and International Business. Even though this only adds up to 16 hours of class/week, it is a mad amount of work and I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up. When you get to upper division business classes, every class has a group project, so I have 5 different team projects with 14 different people that I don’t know. Scheduling nightmare. THANK GOODNESS Scott gave me a smartphone because there a ton of apps that make group projects way more efficient.

It seems like the workload also has kazumpled in my classes, but each component is worth less. Like I have a massive Management Science assignment due next week and it’s only worth 3%? And I have finals that are the size of normal finals but are only 20-30%? I am not used to this. Most Biz classes at SFU are based on rank, not by grade, so I just have to do better than the rest of the students in my class….

I am so thankful for Bell High School English department and Mom and Dad’s pre-preschool Excel training because that takes a load off of two of the classes. I am rocking at my writing class so far!

My schedule is insane. I’ll give you a sample of this week:

  • Monday: 9-12 Class in Surrey, 12-1 Transit to Burnaby, 1-2 Int Biz Group Meeting, 2-5 Class in Burnaby
  • Tuesday: 8-9:30 Homework, 11-2 Class, 2-5 Homework, 5-6 Class, 6-7 Office Hours, 8-10:30 Int Biz Online Group Meeting
  • Wednesday: 8-9 Study, 10-11:30 Proj Mgmt Group Meeting, 11:30-12:30 Rec Meeting, 12:30-1:30 Fitness Class, 2-5 Class, 6-8 Outdoors Club Meeting
  • Thursday: 9-11 Work, 12-1:30 Proj Mgmt Group Meeting with Charity & Venue, 4-5 Business Communication Group Meeting, 5-8 Class
  • Friday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_XaIuw6K6Q

Unfortunately they are starting roadworks at SFU in a few weeks, and that’s going to add on 20-30 minutes on to my commute. Grrr. /rant over

– Work: Luckily, I’ve only been working between 0-4 hours a week and that seems totally okay. I got offered some contracting work with my old non-profit job, but we’re still working on logistics and fitting it in.

– Ontario: I am going to Ontario soon to visit friends/family. I am starting in Kingston and then to Ottawa. I am excited but I have about seven hundred things to do between now and then and while I am there. That’s ok.

Ok that’s all for now. I have done some interesting stuff, but I’ll have to blog about it later.