Happy New Year, my darling readers. I must apologise for not blogging over the Christmas period, but I was far too busy enjoying the fact that I was IN THE UK. Yes, I got to spend a whole eleven days in the beautiful land and pouring rain of Britain, and it was utterly wonderful.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
When I last wrote to you (yes, this blog is actually a series of letters written to you, and you alone), I was about to hop on a bus to meet my sister in Toronto.
And to Toronto I did go. And it was lovely. My lack of luggage got me pushed to the front of a monstrously long queue at the bus station, which was a massive win as it got me on the first bus, and the guy I was sat next to on said bus was wearing a Superman hoody, so it was good times. I arrived in Toronto at 5.45am in a sleepless daze, and promptly fell asleep on my rucksack as I waited for my dear sister in the bus station. Toronto is a wonderful city. Even on a wet and dreary day like the one we unfortunately chose, it was amazing. We went to a little music garden, which supposedly had different sections based on the different movements of a Bach cello suite. All we saw were dead plants, some really pretentious descriptions of each "movement" of the garden, and some suspiciously young people having wedding pictures taken. I did, however, give a kick-ass poetry recital while standing on a rock. We then proceeded to the CN Tower, where we paid $30 each to look at mist and pretend to be logs (It was a simulated ride. We didn't just decide to lie really still on the floor). It was a life-changing experience. We wandered around the massive underground mall, watched a 4-piece soul boyband complete with Uncle Phil look-a-like and took a quick wander around bits of the university (shout-out to Becca Funsworth!) which has some gorgeous buildings, unlike Carleton which, as much as I love it, has about as much elegance as Jedward in tutus. We went to a market where we somehow managed to get haggled into buying some ice wine for our parents by a salesman who used to go to Carleton. What a coinkydink. After much shopping and Tim Hortons-consuming, we hopped back on a bus back to Ottawa, on which our hopes of sleep were quickly dashed by a charming fellow who felt the need to test the sound barrier with the volume of music coming out of his headphones. When I can hear your music over my own, then it's too loud, sunshine.
Anyway, now that Toronto's out of the way, I can get on to the really exciting business of the fact that I went home. After a decidedly less stressful plane journey than my one to Ottawa in September, I found myself excitedly greeting the gloomy skies of Britain, while being crushed by the embraces of my parents on Christmas Eve Eve. Words cannot actually describe just how wonderful it was to be home for Christmas. Although I did spend my first evening home crying and moping out of sleep-deprivation, jet-lag and the discovery that I had impetigo (only I could manage to get a skin infection that's most common among young children in hot and humid weather at the age of 19 in sub-zero temperatures). But, as it turns out, a 15-hour sleep can cure everything, and I sprung into Christmassy action with our Christingle service, complete with a 600-strong congregation, a 40-person orchestra and my first chance to sing carols. Yes, it took me until Christmas Eve to sing Christmas carols. I didn't even get to sing descants until Midnight Mass. Madness. Christmas itself was wonderful. Lots of food, lots of family, and the odd bit of casual racism from a tipsy great-aunt. What more could you need? I was also reminded of my favourite ever cracker joke, which I had a few years ago, and goes as follows:
What's yellow and writes poetry?
A ballpoint banana.
Make of that what you will, but whatever you do, don't suggest that the answer to the question is "an educated Chinaman". I don't think I stopped laughing for about 10 minutes. Casual racism ftw.
Home also meant seeing friends, which was more wonderful than I can even say, especially when said friends can get you 25% discount in Topshop (love you, Duckie <3).
The other exciting element of the holiday season was, wrth gwrs, New Year, and I spent mine in the home away from home that is Exeter. Friends, food, alcohol, cocktails, fireworks, real champagne in white plastic cups, "Am I Jesus?!", bad renditions of Auld Lang Syne, Narnia, Articulate, "lady shaver", sleepovers (not orgies), tea, Sound of Music, hugs, love, joy. If I listed everything that made that weekend wonderful, then this blog would be even longer and more tedious than it already is. Oh and I saw in 2012 while wearing a cat dress. Life doesn't get much better than that.
Words cannot even begin to express how much love I have for everyone at home and in Exeter that made my short but incredible time at home so amazing. I didn't realise until I went back just how much I miss have a constant network of amazing people around me, be it my family, my best friends, or the amazing musos of Exeter. I didn't feel home because I was in a familiar bed or a familiar house with the same old sofa and piano and Christmas decorations. All of the houses that I visited in Exe were ones in which I had never been before (such is the nature of student living). I felt at home because I was surrounded by the people that I love. I adore Ottawa, and Canada, and I'm happy to be back, but leaving home again damn near broke my heart. Apologies for the sentimentality, but I need to find some way of telling you people just how much you mean to me. It's a cliche to say that I'm one of the luckiest girls in the world, but I've always been of the mentality that a cliche is over-said for a reason. I sit here in Ottawa with a heart full of love for every single member of my family and for every single one of my friends, be you in Canada, Britain, France, Australia or any other part of this annoyingly large yet staggeringly small world. I wouldn't be the first to say that home is with the people that you love, but it's taken me until now to realise just how true that is.
And they say you don't learn anything worthwhile at university.
So while I promise that I will give you pictures and stories of Canadian adventures very soon, for now I will simply leave you with one hell of a lot of emotional, rambly, heartfelt love.