Why Vancouver? Why You?
Sponsor Ken Wyder's summary: click here
The sun sneaks into my room past my curtains to kiss my skin, the friendly finches greet me good morning. Sometimes I wake up to the soft murmur of Jodie Vance of City TV’s Breakfast Television, and other times its the early morning cartoons. I have lived in the West End my entire lifespan of 16 years and-then-some. I was here during the 2010 Winter Olympics and here for Game Seven, when my parents went out at an ungodly hour in the morning to get good seats at Malone’s on the corner of Pender and Seymour, while I sat at home by myself and surveyed from my twenty-fifth floor balcony the smoke rise from the city beneath me. I am a Vancouverite, born and raised.
Every summer for the last four, I have rolled out of bed at 11:30 AM (only on the days I’m scheduled to work, of course.) to call my boss at the Sunset Beach Concession Stand, and it’s routinely the same conversation, “Sunset Beach Concession, Al speaking.” She says, for lack of call display due to the faded telephone screen, “Hi, Al!” “Hi, Rhyleah, 1 o’clock?” “Yep, sounds good.” “Alright, see you, sweetie.” That’s usually where the call ends. Other times its something more along the lines of, “I have five cheeseburgers and four salmon burgers up on the grill and I’ve only been open for half an hour. Get here as soon as you can, bye.” In which case I’ll walk across the street and roll down the grassy and hopefully-not-covered-in-
Located inside King George Secondary School, is a gem. I go to an alternative mini school known as City School, where the motto has been “Using the city as our classroom” for forty-plus years. I joined City School due to the fact that I wasn’t satisfied with the standard schooling system, because there is so more out there. I have enrichment time, we hold communal meetings where we can openly talk about any item and add to the agenda as we please, our teachers are on a first-name-basis because we are all equal, we garden, cook, make art, play music, do all our academic classes and more; Best of all I am getting out of the classroom and doing fantastic activities and enjoying myself. Since I have been enrolled at City School, this being my first year, I have never been so fortunate and never loved school more than I do right now. I think of myself as lucky to be involved in such a unique and enriching program filled with neat individuals and supportive staff. I have attended my first opera, Tosca, through City School, numerous marvellous plays, lectures, read enthralling books because I want to and not because I have to, written lots of pieces varying from essays to poetry, and learnt proper terminology for attending a mock UN council meeting and getting the exact same credit in my courses as any other student would, but actually taking pleasure and real life knowledge and experiences away from it. I am anticipating my grade 11 year upcoming this september.
I also have a life outside of work and school surprisingly. I go to a lot of shows, when I’m not getting my dad to drive me down to Seattle I settle for The Vogue and the Rio Theatre or underground local shows mostly. And in the time that I’m not going to see bands play, I am playing myself. I am in a band called Bring Back The Kingdom with four of my best friends; our band is a five piece, three girls and two guys, all except for our lead guitarist I’ve known for over a decade. In our band I play rhythm guitar, but I also play bass, drums, ukulele, and sing. I sometimes mix music with my turntables. Just listening to music via record player, walkman, or iPod is cool too. My music taste is all over the place really, from The Cure to Dance Gavin Dance, UB40 to The Tragically Hip, Bon Iver to Fall Out Boy, and everything in between. I have such a passion for the dynamics and thought and technicalities that go into making music its crazy. I think the thing that upsets me the most is when people say that bands aren’t allowed to ‘change their sound’. To me, that is equivalent to saying to someone that they have to wear orange shoes for the rest of their life because that was the colour of their first pair, which is absurd. I’ve met a lot of band members, such as Pete Wentz at the Starbucks on the corner of Smithe and Granville, and hung out with the boys of our local and very successful band Marianas Trench and their parents back stage at a couple of the eight shows of theirs I’ve been to, and been in one of their music videos as an extra. I used to see the bass player Mike Ayley and drummer Ian Casselman around town so much they knew me by my first name, I even made Mike a hotdog down at the Concession once. Music aside, I love art! Painting and drawing especially. I won a contest years ago through the West End Community Centre and had a painting I did as a young kiddlet as the cover of their magazine guide, my prize was a hundred dollar gift certificate for Toys ‘R’ Us. I also cosplay, and go to conventions such as Fan Expo and Cos&Effect, I had a lot of pictures taken of me in my Dave Strider (from a webcomic called Homestuck) cosplay last year at Fan Expo. I enjoy photography, sewing, snowboarding, and making swords and shields in woodshop.
I love Vancouver, I know it like the back of my hand. All the shortcuts, side streets, and quickest routes. I have to hand that to my loving parents though, they have definitely shown me the reigns. I’m glad to have grown up in such a loving and diverse city, its really something to be proud of. The moon is bright, the tide is high, the city is bright, and I can’t wait for more adventures Vancouver will bring to me.