Tag: Vancouver

PHOTOS – Songs That Remind Me of Places

I love how hearing songs can help one rediscover places frequented long ago. The way smells seem to bring back forgotten memories (Juicy Fruit gum for me, for some reason), it’s like you’re transported back to when that sensation of being was first mentally recorded. Usually emotive, intense nostalgia can be both fun and scary.

Is there a song that reminds you of a place? How does it make you feel? Let me know in the comments. And please click the images to get a deeper story on where each photo came from…

I’m in Vancouver for my cousin’s wedding. I had been listening to Carla Bruni’s “Tout le monde,” finding the music video where she emerged through a dark tunnel as particularly relevant to international travel (even to Canada). While I didn’t have to pass any dark tunnels, Vancouver was definitely a light at the other end of the path. Pristine, brisk and full of natural beauty, it was a great escape from the normalcy of everyday life.

Coldplay always reminds me of my time at The Conversation Group, most likely because it was there that I first listened to Viva La Vida. While it was bittersweet, as all their songs are, it leaned more to the sweet side.

I’m home in Hawaii for Christmas and I find an unopened copy of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Show Your Bones in my parents’ collection. No one is really sure how it got there, so I immediately enjoy the album and claim it for myself. While I didn’t care for YYYs after hearing “Maps” in college, the songs on Show Your Bones really resonated with me. I’ve since gone back and acquired their previous releases, but this album is still my favorite.

I spend about 13 hours wandering around Manhattan while listening to Rilo Kiley the entire time. I have tickets to their upcoming show at the The Warfield and I need a crash course on their discography before heading back home. While this isn’t my favorite song from their first few albums, it’s the one that reminds me most of wandering around for hours. Another good candidate would be “All the Good That Won’t Come Out,” a song I recall hearing a lot despite the random rotation.

Another one in New York City: I’m at the Brooklyn Bridge, and hearing this song reminds me of the other, more familiar ocean. When I hear this song, I imagine drifting away on waves into the vastness of the ocean, a characteristic of the sea I’ve always marveled at.

“The ocean rolls us away… away… away…”

Moving Past the End of a Decade / Through the looking glass…

I’ve been asking people how they felt about 2009. Almost all of the responses expressed sentiment ranging from apathy to discontent. Personally, I’ve never wanted a year to end more. While I wouldn’t say it was particularly bad, it was definitely overwhelming in terms of emotional and career changes.

I used to wonder why people placed such an emphasis on a changing calendar year. It’s the end of a pretty big decade, when I think about it. College. Working professionally. Finding a new city as a home.

But does life really change more from December 31 to January 1 than with the transition between any other two days in a year? Yes, it does. If you want it to. Just as a graduation ceremony signifies a transition or the Eucharist cracker brings a Catholic ritualistically closer to God, the changing calendar digits offer us a symbolic chance for change. It’s a spiritual renewal… I mean, if you want it to be.

My Key Moments of 2009

12.18.09: Visiting home for Christmas.

12.16.09: Watching a noisy action movie while wrapping Christmas gifts with friends. A really nice send-off before leaving San Francisco for the holidays.

11.26.09: Spending Thanksgiving with a friend‘s family.

10.31.09: An exceptionally adventurous Halloween. Lots of house parties across multiple nights. I was an “80s action hero.”

10.02.09: Got laid off. What a downer. Luckily there’s a Yelp Elite Event the same night. It’s a nice escape to be on a boat with an open bar amongst the stars and city lights. And I’m not sure how it happened but I’m apparently nominated as prom king (the event has a prom theme).

09.18.09: Going to Vancouver for the first time with my family for my cousin’s wedding. It was our first family reunion in over a decade.

08.26.09: Riding the duck boats and pretending to be tourists.

05.30.09: Performing at Slim’s with Festizio. One of the first shows I had ever seen in the city was at Slim’s, so performing here was particularly meaningful.

05.23.09: Memorial Day weekend trip to Fort Bragg and Fort Ross with Tinna. We both needed an adventure and found it in the most unlikely of places.

04.20.09: Our studio album is finally released. We celebrate at Hemlock Tavern, our favorite local bar.

02.14.09: Valentine’s Day Pillow Fight, but none of us actually jump into the fray. Went to a bar instead.

01.23.09: Starting the year with heartbreak, the kind that feels like it’ll consume you forever. It was honestly the worst I’ve ever felt. I used to wonder if I could ever feel like I would want to marry someone, truly. Now I know.

12.31.08: New Year’s Eve 2008, my first time ringing in the New Year in the city. We spend the night at a friend’s place, counting down to 2009 in the middle of the street. Now, I can’t recall how I felt about the coming year…

But I have a good feeling about 2010. For me, it’s about utilizing the change and troubles from 2009 and working on moving forward. The sense of security I had last year has gone and I’m pretty much unsure how things will play out this time around…

Honestly, I prefer it that way.

Carla Bruni – “Tout Le Monde” / Crossing the Northern Border


I know I already reviewed Carla Bruni’s debut album, Quelqu’un M’a Dit, but I wanted to revisit one of her tracks in relation with my trip to Vancouver. Before heading to the airport, I discovered and shared Bruni’s “Tout Le Monde,” knowing it would be the last thing posted for a week on my Facebook profile (yeah, serious business). It’s my favorite song right now as it reminds me of the moments I spent with my family in Vancouver, in limbo between employed and (what I would discover a week after returning) unemployed.

Vancouver is a pretty city. It’s got a great living balance between urban life and an appreciation for nature. They’re pretty good with keeping things green too (idling your car is a crime). The numerous mountains surrounding the pristine harbor create a really breathtaking view. And at night, lights high in the hills emit a row of faux stars floating above the city, confusing us for days until we finally figured out what they were.

Before I left, my friend, Elena, convinced me to write an essay for the book she’s publishing. I remember starting the essay in our dark hotel room, blessed with a view of Yaletown building lights. I started by writing about the quietness of the space – muffled street sounds perforated by rambunctious voices of late night revelers below – and included mentions of my parents, soundly asleep in the bed nearby. But I wasn’t able to finish the essay in Vancouver…

Just like the video, like going through a dark tunnel, is how one might describe traveling. When you’re in a plane, it’s as if you’re not a part of this world. You move between cities in a climate unique to your own. While it may be raining and dreary on the Earth’s surface, your existence above the clouds leaves you immune and bathed in sun or stars… in transition and above the storm.

My phone was off for a week. I don’t think I’ve ever had a phone off that long… No internet. No email. No Twitter. Totally free. It felt really nice. Checking my stream upon returning to the States was a little disheartening. I really don’t need to be hearing about the latest-upgrade-to-software-I’ll-never-use during all my waking hours, I discovered (no offense to you if that’s what you love to Tweet about). It was really nice being cut off. I can’t stress that enough.

I wasn’t able to finish the essay in Vancouver… Instead, I finished it after I returned, a few days after getting laid off. I think the multiple scenarios, time lapses and life situations in which the essay was being redrafted in really aided its development. It framed itself within a new perspective, reflected upon and transformed. And that it found completion during this period of uncertainty and confusion is particularly ironic given the focal topic of the essay project…


See the complete photo set: Facebook Photos – Vancouver
Read more about the places I visited: Yelp Reviews – Vancouver!