Four months ago, during our post-exam ecstasy, Kelly and I created Summer Bucket Lists. Now, as August draws to a close, the last days of summer are slipping away and I’m spending some time reflecting on the last few crazy, wonderful months.
I gleefully leave Montreal and the stress of school behind and head to Vancouver, determined to make the most of my precious month of free time.
I see old friends, visit old haunts, go on fantastic hikes, and eat as much sushi as I can.
I finally take my second road test and get my full driver’s license, and I paint and re-furnish my childhood bedroom. I hunt for the perfect travel pack to accompany me on future adventures, and finally find one on sale.
I hop in an RV with my parents and our two dogs and take a 10-day trip to northern BC, Banff, and Jasper. We see bears and moose and turquoise clear glacier water and I feel so lucky to live where I live.
And then we come home and all of a sudden my month of freedom is over, and I have a seven-week job in Connecticut to prepare for.
My parents fly with me to New York, wanting to spend some time in the city before dropping me off at the camp that I’ll be spending most of my summer. We spend our days walking through Chinatown and Little Italy, Soho and Greenwich. We stumble across the Highline, a spectacular railway-turned-park suspended over the city.
We bike across the Brooklyn Bridge, and stroll through the dancing flappers at the Jazz Festival on Governor’s Island. We watch the sunset from the top of Rockefeller Centre and I finally get to try some of the insta-famous desserts I’ve been drooling over.
My dad gets into a fight with a hot dog vendor and I take us on the wrong train, and end up in halfway through Queens instead of Times Square. I see why people love the city, and why people hate it. I’m drawn in by the boundless energy and the people who don’t fit in anywhere else but fit in here, but repulsed by the bitterness. I contemplate whether I want to live here.
And then I’m in Connecticut, and it’s the first day of work and I’m hauling air conditioners into windows and haphazardly duct-taping them in and praying they’ll stay. Its hot and humid and sweaty but I don’t really mind because I’ve already met so many amazing people, and I can tell that I’m going to like it here.
Work all day, drink most nights, repeat.
And then camp is over. I’m drained, both mentally and physically, after seven weeks of gruelling hours in the office, long nights out, and little sleep. I’m taking a late night train with two of my best friends, backpacks slung over our shoulders, trying to find the Mystic Seaport to board a 36-foot sailboat, our home for the next week.
We spend a week sleeping and swimming and exploring the New England coast and sleeping some more. We wake up to the sunrise and then fall asleep on the bow as the boat slices through the calm, early morning water. We eat breakfast and then fall asleep to the rolling of the waves, the blue sea stretched out far to either side. We make port and lazily stroll around the quaint beach towns, and then fall into bed, somehow still exhausted.
I fly back to Vancouver feeling relaxed and excited- in a few days Kelly will join me, and then we’ll fly to Hong Kong together.
Kelly arrives and I finally get to show her my hometown. We go hiking up Cypress Mountain and perch on rocks at the summit, gazing below to the bright blue shimmers of the Howe Sound.
We go to my family’s cabin on Vancouver Island with some of my old friends, and spend the next couple days swimming and tubing and wakeboarding and laughing.
I can’t stop laughing at Kelly’s face, red with exertion as she desperately tries to cling on to the tube, and instead get myself tossed off into the warm waves.
We return to the city and I frantically pack for the next four months, feeling excited but woefully unprepared. Our flight leaves at 2am, and I’m asleep before we even take off.
And when I wake up, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, summer is over and the next adventure begins.