I have never appreciated that song about driving home for Christmas as much as I did on that flight home. It would have been a massive understatement to say that I was “excited” for my own bed, a good roast dinner, and maybe a hug from Mum.
It had been an emotional month, what with exams and my 21st birthday as well as a spotting of lasts with some of the closest friends I had been closest with on this trip. The so-called “squad” was losing half of its members after Christmas, which meant a few long hugs goodbye and watery eyes. Most of the leavers were Australian, which has been a big push for me to organise a trip there in the coming years. You could say I may have caught the travel bug, with the thought of settling down into an office job sounding more and more distant.
Current bank balance: -CA$4.50 (about -£2.25).
What can you blame this on? Expensive flights? Christmas presents? Pizza? Yes, all of these things, but mostly RIDICULOUS PHONE BILLS!!! I’ve ended up forking out about CA$250 in fines for going over my monthly allowance in data and roaming in the United States (I visited NYC -see last blog- and Buffalo for an NFL game.) Quite an issue, so watch out, younglings, if you are buying a Canadian cell agreement in the future!
The last few weeks were a hive of activity, as usual, with exams and then flights sneaking up on me.
Bleary eyed and dozy I stumbled off a train in the outskirts of London, dropping my large pink suitcase on the platform and leapfrogging over it into a group of unsuspecting commuters. Finding my way out of the station proved itself more difficult than anticipated and eventually I relaxed as I saw my dad’s car turn the corner. He swiftly carted me off to my sister’s apartment where I found both my mum and sister in bed, yet to rise, which I found preposterous having been awake over 23 hours.
Eventually we made it to the house viewing scheduled for that morning – my sister’s of course, which was a very confusing and bewildering experience for me. When I finally got the opportunity to visit the local co-op I didn’t hesitate in buying a prawn mayo sandwich, cloudy apple juice, and a strawberry trifle that happened to be in the reduced section. It’s funny what jet lag does to you.
We finally arrived home and I was able to climb, fully clothed, into my much anticipated bed. But not an hour had passed of heaven before my sister dragged me from under the covers and into the kitchen for a “Family Meeting”. My 21st party was looming on the 28th December, and planning needed to commence.
The next day when I was able to function slightly better, albeit awake at 6am, I designed a seating plan and prepared myself to surprise a close friend at his birthday party later that night. I had told him I was going to miss it due an exam in Canada, which I had actually managed to defer until Winter Term Reading Week. I will never forget the cinematic moment when he came outside to answer his phone and saw me out in the street with a balloon, oh he was surprised!
Suddenly it was Christmas! My dad appreciated finally receiving a Blue Jays cap, my brother a Maple Leafs hoodie, Granny Maple Leafs socks, and Uncle Robert enjoyed his notebook with the caption “Things I Moose Get Done”. Also: FINALLY A ROAST!! What a delight.
A few days later saw my big 21st party, held at the local golf club where we would be hosting around 100 guests. Planning had been a struggle from abroad, but miraculously we pulled it off! It was the best to finally be surrounded with the faces of those who I loved the most. The photos and memories will remain close to my heart, as it was probably one of the best nights of my life. We had hired a DJ who complained when I sent him 9 hours of music in a playlist, and had a buffet of wonderful food, finished off with the largest cake you have ever seen – the leftovers of which required 2 people to carry it. They must still be eating it back at home now, months later. I also received 7 bottles of champagne, which I look forward to enjoying upon my return to the country in June. We hosted 30 guests at the house overnight which warranted the largest mass breakfast operation our kitchen has ever faced.
Never one to pass up a chance for a party, the next few days saw a few excuses for celebration: with visiting Grandpa in his home, and of course New Years Eve, also meeting a friend’s new baby for the first time was a very special moment.
Packing was once again a military mission, and not one that I took lightly. I was sad to be leaving home but also excited for the new semester, one that has yet failed to disappoint.