May 2015: UBC, Good Coffee, and Even Better Music

After finishing up my junior year at Uni, I decided to move out further west to the beautiful city of Vancouver for the summer. Not only for a job opportunity, I moved to see how well I could do on my own. This summer I'll be doing research at UBC investigating the wonderful world of silicon photonics and its biomedical applications. I've been living here for a month, but it feels like I'm just moving in. I've started my routines, found my coffee shops, set grocery days, and I can't believe I'm already a quarter way through my summer. Quick side note: everyone here dresses very well, and has forced me to step up my outfit game. Another side note: bus drivers in Vancouver are so nice it makes me sick. I've already come to terms that the humidity, although good for my lungs, will forever keep my skin a tad dewy as long as I live here. Anyways, let us proceed.

University of British Columbia is by far one of the most gorgeous campuses I've ever visited. Just walking down Main Mall, with the trees and flowers in full effect. The mountains peaking in the back ground just left me breathless. I've always seen the school setting as a stressful and tense environment, but not this one, I'll tell you that much. New buildings, old ones, all stand in sync with one another. It's quite the site. I also went to Wreck Beach, a clothing optional beach, and that was the first time I've ever been to a beach of that sort. The idea of it being 5 mins away from campus would make it difficult for me to do work if I attended UBC.

I'm living in the heart of Downtown. The main difference that I've noticed between Edmonton's downtown and Vancouver's is that Vancouver's doesn't die down after dinner during the weekdays. Living walking distances from shopping centres, great cheap restaurants, art galleries and Robson Square, I have a hard time figuring out what to do with my days off. There is always some sort of protest or gathering in Robson Square, which always keeps for an interesting walk around.

One of the more touristy things I've done whilst being here is visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge with a couple of my class mates from a workshop I attended. Paul and Parisa from McGill joined me in visiting the bridge. I'm not a big fan of heights, but this was definitely worth it. I think what really got me was the fresh air. There's nothing like it. The bridge wasn't as high as I thought it would be, but I had more fun attempting to swing it.

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Kristin, a bartender from Transcend in Edmonton, recommended I go to Revolver for coffee, seeing as I needed a new spot to go to after leaving Edmonton. This was one of the best advice I could have followed. With a simplistic menu, no fancy caramel maple frappes here, it made it easy for the coffee to do the speaking for itself. Instead of asking what flavour of syrup you wanted in your latte, they ask you what kind of espresso you wanted. They have a menu of local and non-local roasts and that's what I greatly appreciated. Such a great atmosphere. Beside the shop is their Archive, an open concept workspace that I l love. I know I'll be spending a vast majority of my time here. Some of the best coffee I've ever had.

James Vincent McMorrow and LANY at the Media Club on May 16, 2015

Flume and Sleepy Tom at Stanley Park on May 21, 2015

Milky Chance and the Family Band at The Vogue Theatre on May 22nd

Gilligan Moss and Glass Animals on May 25th, 2015

P. Morris and Shygirls at The Electric Owl on May 27, 2015

I think my favourite thing about Vancouver so far is the music scene. Seeing some of artists i've been dying to see has been great. Smaller bands tend to skip over Edmonton. There are so many great venues on Granville street. I would go to a small intimate bar over a massive sold out arena show any day, and I'm glad Vancouver has both. I've already made some friends that happened to be at the same shows as I. Summer time is time for live music, and although I won't be going to Osheaga this summer, I think I'll be just fine with all the live acts coming to town.

So far Vancouver has been great, besides the PST. Going from a 5% tax to a 13% tax, definitely takes a toll on the bank account. Anyways, I'm looking forward to working here and exploring Vancouver. Going on a couple hikes is next on my to-do-list. I'm excited for a couple of my friends to visit me as well. Here's to a great summer filled with adventures and new experiences.

Your friend,

Jon