Every organization should have a customer service wunderkind. Ours goes by the name Emily Sproule. In between doing it all and doing it well – basically bringing sunshine and happiness into the lives of others – “Em” (as we like to call her) sits in the hot seat this week for the Ethical Bean blog Q&A.
ADL: You and your husband have wanderlust extraordinaire. Paint us a picture of the exotic from a recent adventure that will momentarily allow us to transcend the omnipresent rain of this Vancouver spring and summer.
ES: We escaped the cold & damp of April in Vancouver by flying off to Bali. If you’ve ever been to Bali you know just how beautiful it is, and how warm! It’s the green, lush, floral jungles, the rugged shorelines dropping into turquoise waters, the Balinese stone architecture accented with Hindu gods, and the daily flower and incense offerings on every doorstep that called us. The Balinese are some of the most friendly, welcoming and genuine people we’ve met in all of our adventures, which made it easy to relax and smile while we were there. The secret to Bali is getting away from the “package vacation” and exploring the island on your own merit. Bali is not just for the beach bums in Kuta, it’s for the adventurers as well. Seriously, when’s the next flight? Someone needs to tie me to this chair.
ADL: With travel comes risk. Please share with us what it’s like to belong to the 0.1% club that’s been bitten by a poisonous snake and lives to tell about.
ES: It seems my husband Chris and I are cursed. We’ve seen a lot of hospitals in developing countries, and more often then not it’s in one of those “am I going to make it?” situations. Bali was no exception. I was not well versed in the intricacies of snake bites, so after staring a neon green Temple Viper in the face and looking down at the bleeding fang marks in my foot, I pretty much went into my very own special version of shock and started laughing. I just couldn’t help but wonder, “was this it?” After a second life threatening adventure of the day, driving through oncoming traffic to arrive at a dilapidated emergency department, I was transferred to the international ward. Five days later and a lot of anti-venom medication, I was out of the hospital and pretty sure that Temple Vipers weren’t actually known for killing people. After all, here I was, on crutches, very much alive.
ADL: You’re hard-core Vancouver. Would you be so kind as to share with us some of your insights that only an eastside living, two-wheeled pedaling denizen might know?
ES: Hello bike. Hello sunshine. Hello East Van. Together you all make my life amazing! We have fantastic bike routes around Vancouver and they are only getting better. Biking is the fastest way around the city and if you use the designated routes, stop at stop signs and smile at fellow bikers, it’s an incredibly safe method of transport. As for being hardcore Vancouver, I doth protest. I mostly just like going to yoga at East Side Yoga on Grant St. followed by shopping at East End Food Co-op, Drive Organics and South China Seas to make all sorts of tasty wonders at home. I guess you could say, I’m a hard-core Vancouver yogi – foodie- cyclist.
ADL: Does trouble find you or do you go looking for it?
ES: Oh it finds me. Nuff said.
ADL: Everyone has a favourite old candy: Pop Rocks, Nerds, Big League Chew, Fizz…You get the idea. Yours?
ES: As a kid I loved those old pipe shaped black licorice candies. Looking back, they must have been pretty awful. I think I was attracted to feeling like a wise old man smoking on my pipe. The Macintosh Toffee, was also another favourite. So sweet. So not allowed to eat the whole thing. So always did.
ADL: Some might describe you as pathologically friendly. Which side of the family did you inherit this from?
ES: Ha ha, I haven’t heard that before. Both my Mom and Dad are friendly. My Mom is lovely and sweet while my Dad grew up in a small town in Ontario. That just never leaves you. He can talk to anyone and loves to give the grocery store cashiers a hard time. When I’m on a roll, I’m all Dad.
ADL: Vegans are a marginalized group anywhere East of Burnaby. Where do those in the know go to eat? Hook a vegan brother up!
ES: Vegetarian my man, I’m vegetarian. Vancouver is a veggie haven, but I’m never more impressed then when a traditional French restaurant actually has an awesome veggie option. Risotto is just not good enough in this day and age people! Generally, I stick to non-veggie restaurants for the best eats. Some of my day-to-day favourites for delicious veg are Nuba, La Taqueria and Vij’s. I really don’t think there are many interesting veg options east of Burnaby. If there are, someone should tell me. No overcooked pasta please.
ADL: You ride your bike a lot. What’s your favourite ride through the cherry blossom laden streets of Vancouver?
ES: I love the Adanac bike route on my commute in to work. When I used to live in the West End I would ride it from Science world to Boundary. I miss the bit through Strathcona now that I’m on the east side. Strathcona has those cute houses, Union Market, the lovely trees and it’s pretty darn flat. The section I ride now is a little more hilly but even more dense with cherry blossoms. On those grey days, the spring cherry blossoms change my world.
ADL: Weekend coffee ritual? Give us the details.
ES: I’m all French Press, all the time. Freshly ground Sweet Espresso or Exotic. For Sweet Espresso I splurge on cream, for Exotic – straight up. Currently I’m taking a short break from the world of caffeine, but I still need the ritual. Luckily we have the best decaf in the city!
ADL: As a wine connoisseur what could a guest bring to dinner that would really light up your eyes?
ES: We cook a lot of Indian, Thai or really anything spicy. You are my dearest friend bringing me a lovely BC Gewurztraminer for dinner. For a wine and cheese sort of extravaganza, I love me some Kenwood Jack London.
ADL: You’ve been to Permata Gayo, our favourite Indonesian coffee cooperative. What is one thing that remains with you having been there on the ground?
ES: One thing? That’s hard for a girl who’s so long winded. Hmmm, I’d say I took away how hard everyone worked there, especially the women. The women were picking coffee, processing coffee, drying coffee, watching for rain, looking after kids and in some cases working second jobs. Women are tough.
ADL: You’re young, hip, urban…I could go on. A brief glimpse into what those of us that are older, with young children and in bed by 9:30pm are missing in the best city in the world!
ES: Young, hip, urban? That’s actually my husband. I can’t keep up. There’s always a new band, a new art show or a new DIY collaborative project. Vancouver is full of amazing events and activities. My favourite events are those that involve a dance party. You can always catch Chris and me dancing our ridiculous little hearts out on the dance floor.