Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The following is a letter I was originally planning to mail my Christmas card recipients..instead it has ended up on my blog. The reasons are many, the need to explain non-existent. Enjoy the read (I hope) and then do your own yearly review and see how many times you can throw the word 'fuzzy' or 'yarn' or 'conducted' into your personalised "This Is What I Did in 2005" piece. For the record - my challenge was to include the names of all the people I emailed today to inform of this post...

Well, at the ripe old age of twenty-five I have finally succumbed to the versatile, yet slightly impersonal mass letter. It’s not even a mass email, it’s a mass snail mail – I’m not sure whether this is kosher! To be honest I’m not even sure exactly what kosher means, but it sounds good, so I’ve opted to use it. Speaking of mass (see sentence 2), if you go at Christmas, by all means do it in style and go to midnight mass. The stars will be shining, the frost will be frosty and the eggnog will be flowing.

Anyways, I suppose I should get on with this mass(ive) mail by sharing with y’all (thanks for that one Beth) what I made of the year 2005. After all, sharing is what the season is supposed to be all about. In an attempt to jazz up this whole ‘recount 2005’ thing, I will break it down. Not as in hip hop style breaking it down, but chronologically, month by month.

January - Welcomed in the New Year by nursing a rotten tooth (literally). No worries – I had it pulled three days later at a mere cost of $250. Returned to bonnie Scotchland and spent the month holed up at 4 Canon Street. It was a frigid month in all respects. The social outing of the month was the Burns night – a Scottish holiday in celebration of the writer, Robbie Burns. And here I thought we would be having a bonfire and burning some interesting things, instead we stood in humble silence as a sheep’s stomach was piped into the dining room on a platter. Later we did some Scottish dancing – it turned out to be addictive.

- A month of blurriness - possible correlation here to amount of booze consumed. Valentine’s Day was spent in the company of chocolate, wine and fellow singletons. Many ceilidhs were attended, the Irish band, Blue Moose, was ‘discovered’ on a random night at the Walk About, and Drop Kick Murphy’s became the place to be at the end of the night. It was a short month, there isn’t much else to recollect aside from a quick weekend trip to Glasgow, where we still somehow managed to end up dancing at the Walk About.

March - Ah yes, March the Month of Mental Turmoil. I wish I’d known, I would have skipped ahead to April. On a high note, I made my way to Sweden (up there by Norway, NOT the place with really really yummy chocolate). I saw Natasha, the wanderlust, explored a new country and discovered that Volvos are popular in at least one nation in the world. My father is not, after all, the only one with questionable taste in vehichles..there is a whole country out there like him....

April - With April came many new things, very few of which I can actually recall. I know there were new prices at ScotEq’s restaurant by this point in time and, as I recollect, they were contested…and…um..there were new things...uh…. Oh wait, it’s all coming back to me now (sorry for the Celine Dion there)! Yes, yes April was New Flatmate month!! Kelly Coffin, KC for short (good thing her middle name isn’t Francis), moved into the room recently vacated by Keri Shields. A new living dynamic, new blood and new bathroom tissue! Yeah OK, that last one’s a stretch, but it is also a fact that we bought new toilet paper in the month of April. Guaranteed. And Brandon came back to Europe (funny how his return coincided with beginning of softball season..ahem..)

May – May I have another holiday like the one I had in May 2005? Thanks to Europe’s very generous holiday allotment, I was able to jet off to Spain with Jen MacPhail and fellow traveller, Anne (not of Green Gables, but of Rocky Mountain House). Palm trees, siestas, fiestas, sunshine, sangria and a male exotic dancer. That pretty much sums up Spain. I would return in a heartbeat. Following my Spanish conquest, I made my way back to the Emerald Isle.

The plan was to check out the country, which I’d somehow neglected to do during the six months I lived in Dublin with Gavin & Graeme (or G-squared as I very infrequently referred to them). If I had been aware that the bus system in Ireland is slower than the donkey & wagon option available in less developed countries, I would have revised my plans. As it was I spent a good chunk of my Ireland holiday on buses, feeling doubly sick from a horrible cold and motion-sickness. Nonetheless, I managed to have a Grand time in Ireland. Upon my return to Canon Street, I was excited to meet my newest flatmate, Lindsay Peters, who had taken over Jen’s room. The floor could be seen again!!

June - Spent a lot of time doing things I didn’t want to do (like dating an Irish guy that was SO not my type) and things I really wanted to do (like celebrate flatmate birthdays and go out with fab workmates). June also marked the reopening of Canon Street hostel, with some absolutely wonderful guests dropping in to spend time on our IKEA couches and in the company of our resident mouse. Islanders galore in our humble abode! And to top it all off, Jen moved back into Canon Street. And then there were 4 (in a 2 bedroom flat). But back to the mouse – oh what havoc that little critter wreaked upon our nerves. Jen was the only one who didn’t seem in the least bit concerned. Maybe this explains how she is able to now work for a really, really big mouse that talks and is named Mickey.

July – Oh, oh, my favourite month in Edinburgh! Started it off with a bang by celebrating Canada Day in red & white style. I opted for the ole flag converted to a dress option, since I had no more Molson boxers to turn into halter tops (see Canada Day 2004). The month was spent eating, drinking and having a bloody brilliant time. Festivals were attended, wine was consumed, farewell parties were held (still missing you Emily!) and the best holiday within a working holiday was had. I took the last week of July off and in the grand company of Beth & Ailbhe, journeyed to the Isle of Arran for some R&R (or, more accurately, a lot of hiking and very little of anything else!). Arran was awesome in all respects, although I must say it was the company at the hostel that really made the trip for me. The Spiegel Tent still rocks! .

August – Celebrations and adieus galore. Birthdays, Fringe festival shows, farewells to everyone and everything, including about half of my wardrobe and our home/flat for the past year. It was the perfect way to end a very excellent adventure, on the highest of high notes! I even made it to Inverness and managed to gain 10 lbs in four weeks! Much
chocolate was consumed and there was a massive Grand Opening at Lau’s birthday bash.

September – Last of my days in Scotland were spent playing hostess to Canuck friends, Rae, Chris & Wendy. Good times were had by all…except my feet, which hated me..and possibly my stomach, which may have hated me even more for punishing it with food all the time. September 11th I said goodbye to the best adventure I have yet experienced and headed home with not a plan in the world. Luckily I had a place to crash in Long Creek while in this ‘Not a Plan in the World’ mode.

October – I kind of fell into a great job working in Communications. I bought a car and enjoyed Thanksgiving with my family, including Sahra (old sister…er..I mean, older!). I continued to marvel at how lucky I have always been to have things come my way just when I need them the most. It’s a combination of luck, timing, knowing good people and, well, I guess I can give myself a little credit for being persistent! First job perk involved a trip to Ottawa, where I connected with Rae & Becky, revisited my favourite haunt – Sugar Mountain, and met some really interesting and great people.

November - I found myself settling into and enjoying the quiet life on PEI. Of course, I kept myself busy with the gym, hip-hop classes avec Rana, going to the movies, cooking up a storm, etc. I finally broke down and visited a nutritionist. I finally broke down and bought winter tires. But, for a change, I didn't break down with the stress of upcoming Christmas season. What a relief!

December – And here we are again, getting ready to celebrate Christmas. Baking, shopping, decorating, trying to stash Christmas sweets in the purse while at various Christmas functions, putting the ole Raffi Christmas CD on over and over again, and kind of hoping for a light sprinkling of snow before the 25th. It’s a magical time of year, a time where every little wish and every little dream has a chance of coming true. retrospect it’s been a pretty busy and very fun-filled year, as they all should be!

Final thoughts

I am truly grateful to be home, to welcome home old high-school friends like Christine, Jimmy & Schemida, and more recently acquired ones such as Sarah & Kelly. Alas, some friends will be absent, but rest assured they’ll be toasted on New Year’s Eve – Gary, Beth, Ailbhe, Anne, Brandon, Teresa, Pam et al.

I am also grateful to be with my fabulous, if not slightly odd, family this year, as I will be packing up and heading to Australia in the summer of 2006. Christmas 2006 will be celebrated from a Land Down Under for this Shanadian.

I am also thankful that I will not be seeing my nutritionist during the week between Christmas and New Year’s as I fully intend to enjoy some tasty sweets on J’s birthday. And I am thankful for gift bags, because there is no way I can finish wrapping 50 gifts before the 25th. Oh, and I am thankful for government holidays and cheap flights to Orlando and, well, a whole lot of things!

It doesn’t get much better than this folks – family, friends and food...

Enjoy the moments because they are truly what make up a lifetime of memories.


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