Dearest, darlingest friends and family,
I told you I’d be back.1
One year. Twelve months. Three-hundred-and-sixty-five exciting, exhausting, frustrating, hilarious, peaceful, adventurous days.
Nearly all of them spent with my abettor—and new roomie. Most of you are aware of my recent relocation2: My 14th in fewer than 30 years, it was about as stressful as you’d imagine a move across town to a third-floor flat at the top of a winding staircase into an already-crowded-with-stuff home would be.
But I got to play interior designer/painter/carpenter for a couple of weeks.3 Which, as anyone reading this probably knows4, is an entirely new experience for me.
As is living full time with a cat. Rather, a cat who thinks she’s a lion, tiger, and bear5 wrapped into a chubby crate of ginger fur. When she’s not whining, she’s actually quite sweet. And then I start sneezing.6
The new year kicked off (sadly) not with a Rockin’ New Year’s Eve party, but (thrillingly) with a visit from one of my favourite globetrotters7; there was fiery torches, colourful fireworks, and midnight dancing around the flat.
And as the calendar pages flew breezily off the wall with each passing sunrise and sunset, I found myself, once again, filling the blank spaces of my life with unexpected wonders.8
I learned how to better my creative nonfiction writing, revisited Barcelona, watched more football matches9 in 11 days than I’ll see in an entire lifetime, perused the Tour Eiffel and Arc de Triomphe, and left my heart in Copenhagen. And that was just January through May.
“Summertime”10 in Edinburgh delivered friends back to the city and yielded the perfect excuse to travel to the Scottish Highlands. And while folks in the U.S. were celebrating National Goat Cheese Month11, Neil and I were dashing from one Fringe Festival play to another International Festival concert to a sad singing clown12, trying to scarf down as much entertainment as possible before flying west.
For a wonderful high-school-reunion-themed blast from the past, we visited Maryland–my first time back since December 2013–to celebrate the beautiful nuptials of beautiful friends. Add two weeks at my parents’ Charleston home, subtract the buckets of rain doused on the East Coast, and you’ve got one of the best second-half-of-Augusts ever.
A return to the everyday meant more films, theatre, and board games, interspersed with an anniversary trip to London and a Girlguide camping weekend.13
I’m still getting used to missed traditions (my beloved Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade), but am making way for new ones (eating too much Turkey Day cornbread and pumpkin pie with my family of friends). This year I am thankful for the new-found mates who fill the widening gaps between me and my homeland.
Now it’s time to wrap presents, pull crackers, and gorge on Mrs. Chue Hong’s holiday feast.14
So here’s to another beginning, friends old and new, and taking chances.
Wishing you the happiest of holidays and a spectacular new year. Cheers!
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne.
We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
1. [*Obligatory Arnold Schwarzenegger reference*]↩
2. [If not, we’re probably not actually friends.]↩
3. [We redecorated two rooms—now my office and the library. And I expect to be pulling my paint-splattered leggings back on in the near future: This place is a work in progress.]↩
4. [Because we’re probably actually friends.]↩
5. [Oh my!]↩
6. [Just kidding, Mom! I only sneeze occasionally.]↩
7. [Currently exploring South America’s beautifully lanky Chilean coast.]↩
8. [Expect no further poetry.]↩
9. [U.S. translation: soccer games.]↩
10. [65℉ and partly sunny.]↩
13. [This is not a typo. I repeat: This is not a typo.]↩
14. [But it’s OK: I’ve been going to the gym. (This is not a typo. I repeat: This is not a typo.)]↩