This was my third visit to Vancouver, B.C. With every trip, I become more and more impressed. The city has a cosmopolitan vibe to it. With mountains and water playing backdrop to a beautifully designed downtown, it is easy to see why so many people call it home. Surprisingly to me, these people come from all over the world. They bring their food, their way of life, and their culture. This convergence makes this city the perfect place to experiment and venture out of your normal routine. For us, this meant hunting down the perfect Korean BBQ. Fortunately and completely by accident, our Air B&B apartment was within a few miles of such a place.
Seoul Grill House did not disappoint. For about $25 a person, we were treated to all the food we could eat. We were also able to cook raw pieces of meat at our table; a first for me. Pork belly, steak, and chicken were soon crackling in front of our eyes, before we knew it they were being mixed with vegetables, and then our appetites were fed. Needless to say, I was over the moon and have found a new type of food to crave.
The reason for our trip was to see Alabama Shakes in concert. Both Brandon and I are big fans of the band and we have missed them the last two times they came to Seattle. Luckily for us, they picked Memorial Day weekend for their show in Vancouver. This meant we got to kill two birds with one stone; we got to see one of our favorite bands play live and we got some much needed time away from our responsibilities.
As we listened to Alabama Shakes play for nearly two hours, I was struck with many thoughts, but none were more gratifying than this; the future of music is in good hands. Now, I am not trying to be melodramatic, nor am I showing my age. I am constantly searching for new sounds and bands. What worries me is the death of the singer/song writer. I worry about lyrics with no real depth and artificial beats created on a laptop. As the music from Alabama Shakes filled the park in which we were standing, those fears began to subside. They were doing their part. Now, it is up to us to support other bands following in their footsteps.
When you visit a foreign country, even if that country is your friendly neighbor to the north, it can feel like an out-of-body experience. When visiting somewhere new, I always try to picture what my life would be like in that place. With all the talk of who are next president might be, this thought has been easier to conceive than anytime before. On the surface, life as a US and Canadian citizen are quite similar. Both countries are ruled by democratically elected governments, respect individual freedom, cherish self expression, practice capitalism, patriotism/national pride are evident... The list could go on and on. To me, the transition from the United States to Canada would be easier than anywhere else in the world. I know there are differences that wouldn't become apparent until I actually called it home. There were differences between Seattle and Oklahoma City that didn't reveal themselves until I moved to the Pacific Northwest. With that said, this was the first time I set out to test the possibility of living here. While the results were inconclusive, I am still proud to be an American, it does begin an interesting conversation about the possibility of living elsewhere.
I am unapologetically American. I am proud of the fact that I was born and raised here. This doesn't mean that I think my country is infallible. We are not without sin. We make mistakes. There are times when we should apologize. No person on the face of this planet is perfect and the same goes for every country. With this in mind, I once said I left Oklahoma, because I didn't recognize myself in its flag anymore. I am slowly reaching a point where I don't recognize myself in the flag of the United States anymore. The national debates, our global approach, the things we fail to focus on domestically, our hypocrisy, our political gridlock is beginning to wear on me. Now, I know these are all byproducts of living in a democracy; at times it can be painfully slow. Yet, the feeling remains and it has become even more prominent within the confines of another American presidential election. As I traveled around a small portion of Canada with my partner, I couldn't help, but wonder if they feel the same way about their country as I do about mine.
Brandon and I took our first trip together to Cannon Beach, OR over Valentine's Day weekend of 2015. Since then, we've made several other trips together, but never alone. This trip was an opportunity to break that trend. To be honest, it was exactly what we needed. I firmly believe that you don't really learn someone until you travel with them, because this activity more than any other tests your will, patience, and their ability to improvise. Like so many other things he excels at, Brandon couldn't be any better. As our relationship progresses and we begin to make plans for the future, I hope trips like this are always something we are planning. I couldn't imagine my life without them. I couldn't imagine my life without him.
Be good to each other,