The Rundown - December 2016
Happy new year, friends! Hope you had an amazing holiday season and got to spend lots of time with loved ones, doing all the best things in life - namely eating, drinking, and being merry. I know I sure did!
December was such a fun and FULL month. I settled into my new life in Canada, caught up with old friends and family, visited my fave people in Victoria, sunk my teeth into my awesome new job, and got my little apartment (mostly) set up and functional.
I got to meet up with old friends (including one I hadn't seen in 20 years!), make new friends, and generally just have so much fun with the additional cheeriness of the season. I love the sarcastic humour of my fellow Canadians and had deeply missed feeling welcome just by bent of being silly in my own language. It was like a nonstop hug and one I needed more than I had realized. All that fun included several Christmas parties, going to a hilarious play with the family, lots of coffee and wine and chocolate, a surprise birthday party for my mom, and a super fun work party with a photo booth! My new neighbourhood and my new apartment make me SO happy. I love just puttering around with a coffee or cosying up in my little place. I feel settled in a good way and am actually happy with this change (I was worried I wouldn't be). Plus my work is just a hop, skip, and a flight of stairs away! No chilly commute here.
I spent Christmas and New Years in Victoria with my bestie, some great friends, and my brother. I love that city and the slightly warmer temps meant a bit more time outdoors - to my delight! My brother's friends also threw him a surprise birthday party and included me once they realized I'd be there. It was very sweet and I think he definitely had a good time. I loved getting to know more of his friends and getting a better glimpse into his world - it's been a long time since that was the case. He and I are like night and day (or Big Corn and Little Corn Islands), but he's my ride or die friend, always.
Christmas and New Years were with my bestie and her boyfriend and some friends. Just hanging together is great, but then you add in festivities, extra booze, presents, and awesome people!? Impossible to beat.
Additional highlights of the visit included the Butchart Gardens' light display of the 12 Days of Christmas, a gingerbread competition, and several walks along the water.
The first week I arrived back to Canada I was fortunate enough to have decent temperatures (hovering around 0B0C) but immediately after that the temps dropped and they've stayed dropped for the most part. This is a bummer mostly for the pug, as it's too cold for us to get really good walks in andB she gets a little stir crazy. Winter! It's not for wimps (it sure can be pretty, though). I was sick my entire time in Victoria and had no voice or little voice the entire time. It was a damper, but them's the breaks sometimes.
Being home is great. Things cost money. I need more money. The end. :D
My dad opened his Air BnB home/hostel in Havana, Cuba! He's already booking up through the winter and getting rave reviews. I promise you, it's gorgeous and it's one block from the center of things - meaning you get the access without all the noise. Ideal!
Need a photographer in the Calgary area? Look no further than Andy Nichols, who photographed our work holiday party and is directly responsible for how adorable we all look in that photo booth setup. I'm shamelessly plugging him because he is actually awesome and he snapped photos for our non-profit work party for basically free, which is unheard of.
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Canada celebrates 150 years in 2017, so the government has made all national parks free for the entire year! To everyone! To get yours, just follow this link and they'll ship it right to you. Or don't, because technically they can't deny you access anyways.
I'm a huge, nerdy fan of the Calgary Public Library these days. Their online setup is easy to use, functional, and dare I say, fun. Library cards are free. You can renew and hold things all online and they even have librarians available to chat online if you have questions.
I made the mistake of checking books out that were due while I was away and didn't realize my mistake on time - a quick online chat later and they had given me an extra week on my loans! Love them. Love it. Get reading, people! OH and they offer free classes on tons of stuff, internet and computer usage...seriously, consider them an amazing community resource. I'll stop now :)
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - Okay I know I'm about a decade behind on this book, but I'm seriously glad I circled back around to it. It feels wholly original and I don't think it's just because it's written from the female perspective, but rather that it's written about a dysfunctional (white) family who lives in abject poverty in the United States - whereas I feel those descriptors rarely come together - poverty in the USA...white...family. It seems so often the perspective is male, individual, and often not white or North American (when it comes to stories around poverty, I mean). And where the tendency with authors is to talk largely about the dysfunction, she actually talks a ton about just the day-to-day realities of being really, truly poor.
I found it equal parts fascinating and horrifying. Which is saying something, given I'm no stranger to what poverty can look like in its' many incarnations. If like me, you are way behind and have not yet read it, do so immediately. It will change your perspective on that kid with the ripped shirt and too-short jeans, at the very least. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck - Uhhh...I might not be intelligent enough to really 'get' this book. It's a short novel about a couple of young ranch hands in the USA in the early 1900s but it's really a story about friendship, from what I can tell. And big dreams. And the ways in which we must sometimes do what's necessary even if it's not what we want? Maybe?
It might be one of those sleeper hits - you know the ones: doesn't resonate a ton when you first read it but you find it popping up in your brain over the years? (Death of a Salesman was like that for me, too). It's not boring per say, but it's basically without much intrigue or depth (unless I'm missing it?) or particular climax.
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Snowy scene with bonus pug? Ya, you all agreed it was a winner.
Anything and everything! I feel excited about all the regular-life possibilities ahead of me. There are plans for snowy hikes and going snowshoeing with a friend, walks along the river (if this cold snap would give us a break), wine and games nights, girl friends and guy friends, lunches and workout hangouts, and hopefully a conversational Spanish class (don't want to get rusty!).
If there's still time on top of that and getting my apartment all organized and set up the way I like, I might play tourist and check out a few of the city's attractions. All in all it's setting up to be a great year.
What are your plans/resolutions for 2017?