At 5:35AM Wednesday morning, I watched my mom climb into the taxi that had just pulled up to take her to the airport. My adventure with her was over but it has been one that will stay with me always. My mom and I have always wanted to travel together. We’ve talked about it like someone on a diet talks about eating a piece of chocolate cake. We craved it.

My mom and I haven’t always been close. There’s a generation gap that often has caused us to butt heads. With time and a lot of conversation, we’ve reached a point where healthy debates can happen without doors needing to be slammed.

A year ago I had just moved to San Francisco and had never truly had to figure out a bus system or a city. When my mom arrived in Vancouver, the person she expected me to be had grown up a bit more than she realized. “Were you scared the first time you took the bus to the stadium?!” She would ask me these kinds of questions often while she was here and for good reason. Prior to San Francisco, I would have been terrified and probably would have been paralyzed by it. This is a small detail but to be able to guide my mom around a brand new city was awesome. We never got lost and we never lost time. I forbid her from cooking any meal for us while she was here as well purely because I saw this as my time to give back to her. Fortunately, we didn’t just eat my cooking – we also ate a lot of awesome food from some awesome places:

I took off work Friday, Monday, and Tuesday which gave us 5 full days of pure adventure. 2 World Cup soccer games, 1 Andrea Bocelli concert, 2 gardens, 2 museums, 2 parks,  20 bus passes, and 1 art gallery later… it was time for her to leave. It’s hard to say what the best part of the entire experience of having her here was. The Andrea Bocelli concert turned out to be a last minute surprise that we both loved. After the Japan vs Switzerland game at BC Place, I was standing waiting for the bus to head back to the apartment when I noticed a banner displaying information about the concert. Despite thinking it would be sold out, I had to take a chance to see if there were any extra tickets. The stars aligned and soon I had two tickets right next to the stage. It was an unbelievable concert that left me truly mesmerized at the skill of the performers (he had some guest performers with him). He left and returned to the stage 4 times for encores! I loved it and I love that I got to share that with my mom who taught me to appreciate the skill of Bocelli early on in my life.

My mom has also instilled in me an appreciation for art. Whether it was dragging me as a young kid to a museum or opening up a history book to read me a story, her appreciation for it quickly became my own. When planning for her to come, I immediately began looking up museums. We first visited the Museum of Vancouver which, honestly, I was expecting to be a fairly straightforward overview of Vancouver. Imagine my surprise when there was an exhibit on happiness followed by an incredible and engaging timeline tour of Vancouver.

I mostly took pictures of the happiness exhibit but the entire museum was amazing. I also stumbled upon the Museum of Anthropology and knew that we had to go there. I took a ton of anthropology classes in school and absolutely love the field as it basically encompasses everything. The museum was stunning and each room we walked into left you with a different consciousness after seeing the variety of pieces of work. One room was full of old European ceramic plates while another contained popular art from Portuguese culture that referenced different parts of their society (heaven, hell, carnivals, etc.). It was all so different that I almost left there desensitized to the magnitude of what I saw. One of the most magnificent parts of the museum were the totem poles. I tried to capture as many pictures as I could but quickly just was sucked into each thing I saw that I would have run out of memory on my phone.

It was pretty amazing to see all of the exhibits the museum had to offer and to also share it with my mom who gave me an appreciation for these kinds of things.

The other part of our adventures had to do with the World Cup which, in many ways, I have given my mom an appreciation for thanks to many years of making her watch my games along with any pro soccer game that happened to be on TV. We were able to go to the Japan vs Cameroon and US vs Nigeria game. While watching the former World Cup champs play was amazing, watching the US take on Nigeria with over 50,000 fans proved to be the more thrilling experience. There aren’t many opportunities to watch the US team play on TV so having the opportunity to see them in person for a World Cup match is very much once in a lifetime. To be able to share it with thousands of other people who I can imagine felt similarly was very uplifting. There’s something magnificent about seeing them play. It goes a bit beyond just seeing a professional team play because 1) most sports shown on tv show only male teams and 2) soccer isn’t shown on TV like football, basketball, and baseball. As a result, the feeling of seeing them play goes beyond any professional sporting event I’ve been to simply because it’s a rarity to watch women play soccer on such a stage . Not that rare == valuable in all cases but in this case it did equate to that for me. Somehow I had a feeling a goal was coming soon and was able to capture the game winning goal by Abby Wambach. What a game.

Before my mom left, we hugged and she said “Anne, I don’t have any words. I will always remember this.”.

I’ll always remember this too, Mom. Thanks for making the trip and for being my travel buddy for the week.

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