06 January 2008

And then

Well, I did it. I survived two overseas flights, two bouts of jetlag, the hellish onset of pneumonia and (the occasionally hellish) two weeks living with my parents over Christmas and New Years.

Christmas day wasn’t much to write home about (and the cats can’t read), but the moment I knew I could get out of bed without wanting to fall back into it, we set out to explore the city in as many ways as we could fathom (seventeen, all itemized).

Most of our time was spent with my niece and her new boyfriend, both of whom were great company and accommodated our desire to see and do things that didn’t include sitting on the sofa discussing eagles (a desire I will leave to my parents, bless ‘em). They have a gorgeous, big apartment in the West end of downtown Vancouver, which made theirs a good home base for activity.

We went to Granville Island for lunch and Kitsilano for shopping, English Bay for the Polar Bear swim (we talked my niece’s boyfriend into doing this so we could take photos) and Gas Town for New Year’s Eve.

The four of us rang in the New Year upstairs in a tiny wine bar belonging to the Irish Heather, and there were maybe two other tables of people, which made for a very chill and intimate evening. Across the way, a fetish party was in full swing by ten, with dozens of buff men and women taking their clothes off on the massive balcony they occupied. After much shouting and charades, a group from our side crossed over into the nubile atmosphere of theirs, which left us nearly alone for midnight. It was nice.

Bruce and I did plenty on our own as well – we visited the aquarium in Stanley Park, shopped on Robson and Granville Street, saw some impressive video instillations at the Vancouver Art Gallery and, of course, caught a few good films (Juno and Sweeney Todd).

We didn’t see my sister or nephew again until the last day, as they finally succumbed to whatever made everyone else in the family ill at Christmas and weren’t feeling up to leaving the house. But it was a good last impression, and my family felt full and content in a way it hadn’t ever before, at least not for me.

Coming back to England was difficult. I don’t think I realised how much of a struggle it can be living in London, at least not until I left and the ice melted from my temporary shield. It’s going to make being at work much harder knowing that a day’s travel could result in the comforting embrace of mountains, fresh air and good customer service, among other things. As much fun as I’ve had here, at heart I’m just another Canadian girl, pining for Canada. Who knew?

But we’ve been talking a lot over the last few days, about how to make things even better for ourselves. We haven’t worked out the details, but there will be some exciting changes coming up for us this year. I guess if there’s one thing I’ve learned from meeting Bruce, it’s that I can expect the unexpected. Yeah. There are kids screaming bloody murder beneath my window and I want to nail them with something frozen, though there’s no snow in London.

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