Monthly Archives: September 2011

A Busy Little Bee is Me

Yes, I realize the grammar of the title is wrong, but I enjoyed the end rhyme.

These past two weeks have been a lot of fun, and very instructive.

First of all, writing is difficult. Not the writing per say, though that certainly can be a challenge, but rather the selling yourself to potential clients. There are a few clients I am waiting to hear back from, including one very promising lead of a job translating between French and English, but so far I have made most of my money writing for a general article mill company. Although the rate per article is low, selecting articles that can be properly researched and written quickly makes it a fairly reasonable source of income at the moment.

The fish in the Vancouver area is excellent. So far we have purchased lingcod and sole from a fishmonger at the local market.  The lingcod was absolutely fantastic, easy to cook and prepare, with a very meaty texture; we cooked it by covering it in bread crumbs and pan frying it in sesame oil. The sole I will be preparing tonight, using a baked lemon sole recipe. I will also be preparing a black rice risotto to go with it, along with some pan-fried burdock root.  These are all new recipes, so it will be interesting to see how it turns out, but I expect it to be delicious.

Last weekend we visited the Vancouver Aquarium, and it is an experience I strongly recommend. The layout of the aquarium is excellent, with areas for the various animals. My favourite of the outdoor animals was likely the lone sea otter in one tank, which was continuously spinning around in the water while grooming itself. The indoor exhibits were also a lot of fun; the tropical area completely astounded me with how well it was done. There is a section of it that you can actually walk through, with various birds, butterflies and apparently sloths (we never saw any) all moving through the trees around you.

This weekend we plan on hiking up Grouse Mountain, a trail nicknamed the Grouse Grind. We expect it to take us two hours; it will be interesting to see how well we will manage it.


A Squirrel’s Eye View

It was our second weekend in Vancouver, and with the nice weather we were having we decided we wanted to do something outdoors.  Capilano Suspension Bridge was the outing we decided upon, and with my trusty smartphone in hand to help get us there, we were quickly on our way.

Of note, getting there was quite easy.  After an intial Skytrain ride from New Westminster to Waterfront Station, it was just a short walk to the front of Canada Place, from which we were able to catch a free shuttle to Capilano.  The shuttle was certainly…interesting, using old park benches, screwed into the floor of the bus, as seating.  Not the most comfortable of seats, but they did the trick during the 20-30 minute drive.  The driver was friendly, giving a quick touristic description of the surroundings as we drove by.  I did feel bad for some customers that had to be turned down, all the seats on the bus being filled, but the driver made certain the company would be contacted so that another shuttle could be sent.

Capilano Suspension Bridge was beautiful.  I’d never seen trees as wide, or as tall, as the Douglas Firs that grew in the park.  The Western Red Cedar and the Western Hemlock were also very beautiful, and nearly as big, and a tour guide provided interesting information about the importance and uses of the various trees.  I would have loved it if some of the Red Cedar Tea they talked about had been offered to try.

The main suspension bridge itself was fun; walking on a moving bridge is a very different experience then walking on the standard static bridges we primarily use today.  However, my favourite attractions were the suspended walkways and the cliffwalk.

The suspended walkways are a series of suspension bridges installed on average several meters above the ground.  Attached using a compression ring system, rather then by drilling the tree, they offer a very different view of the forest.  A squirrel’s eye view, as our tour guide put it.

The cliffwalk was another fun attraction; it’s a walkway attached to a sheer cliff wall, likely a hundred feet above the ground.  Vertigo was felt a lot more strongly here then on the other bridges, so perhaps not what I would recommend for people afraid of heights.

Capilano Suspension Bridge turned out to be smaller then we expected, and we managed to tour the park in a few hours.  It was an afternoon filled with beautiful, breathtaking scenery, and we definitely recommend it to anyone who has yet to visit it.

Good Eats Cafe: Great Way to Start the Morning

The morning after my girlfriend and I arrived in New Westminster, we still hadn’t had the chance to buy our groceries, so we headed out into the down-town area to find somewhere to eat.  Deciding we wanted something simple, we looked around until we found this little whole-in-the-wall called Good Eats Cafe that was just opening up its doors for the day.

The menu was simple; they offered a few soups,  several sandwiches, and a variety of drinks.  Inquiring about the soup, we found out it wasn’t going to be ready for another 30 minutes, but the owner offered to heat up a small amount for us, if we wanted.  We ended up ordering the following:

My girlfriend:

  • hot chocolate
  • beef and barley soup
  • cucumber and cream cheese sandwich
  • cappuccino
  • breakfast sandwich (toasted bread, egg, bacon, cheese)
The food and drinks took several moments to arrive, with the owners either letting us know it was ready, or bringing it out to us.  Then, we discovered something fantastic: it was good.  Very, very good.
The drinks, the food, everything seemed to have made using quality ingredients.  The soup seemed prepared in advance but home-made, which makes sense for this kind of cafe.  The cucumbers were crunchy, and the cream cheese was light and tasty.  The breakfast sandwich was delicious, much better then those I’ve had at other cafe’s and breakfast places.  The cappuccino was the right amount of bitter for what I like, and had a very rich, full taste.  And the hot chocolate…hmmm, that was a good hot chocolate.
We were pleasantly surprised by Good Eats Cafe, not having really had any expectations, and strongly recommend it to anyone in the area.  One important note, it is cash only there, and they don’t seem to be open all day long, though I wasn’t able to find any hours posted.

A New City, a New Job, A New Blog…What Could Go Wrong?

Hello, and welcome to everyone!

First off, an introduction.  My name is Sebastien, a University of Waterloo student in his last year of studies.  My major?  Biology.  My minor?  English literature.  An odd combination to those who don’t know me, but a logical one to those who do.

To those of you who don’t know, the University of Waterloo offers an option to its programs called Co-op.  Student will alternate between 4 months of study and 4 months at a work placement.  The work placement is obtained by applying to jobs posted on UW ‘s jobsite.  If selected, you will have an interview, after which you can get matched with the job based on how you and the employer ranked each other.

Now, this period of 4 months, from September to December 2011, is my last Co-op term.  And it’s also my girlfriend’s last Co-op term.  Wanting an adventure she applied for, and was matched with, a job in the Vancouver area.  Woohoo! (UW is in landlocked Ontario.  For someone who loves seafood as she does, she was quite excited about moving to the coast for 4 months).

Upon our learning this news, I was faced with a dilemma; either I continue attempting to find a job in Ontario, or I move with my girlfriend to Vancouver.  After weighing the pros and cons (living without my girlfriend for 4 months VS living with my girlfriend for 4 months), the choice was clear; I’m moving to Vancouver!

Of course, I didn’t want to simply bum off of my girlfriend.  So we talked about it, and agreed upon the following: I would try my hand at freelance writing.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do, and have never had the guts to actually try.  This is the perfect opportunity, we thought, and so here I am.  This blog is to be an outlet for me, both so I can share these new experiences, and so that I can practice my writing.

A new city, a new job, a new blog…what could go wrong?