Almost one month ago today I packed up my little suitcase and my 20L backpack to the brim and headed off to London. I took the 6am bus with Sam who was on her way to Gatwick, and we reminisced about our term in Cardiff. She will not be returning in the Spring, so alas, this was the last few hours we would spend together until we manage to meet up again (lookin’ at you, Comicon 2018). We got to the bus terminal, said our goodbye’s, and headed onto our separate and lengthy days ahead- she on her way back to Miami, and I for a whirlwind day around the Big Smoke.
I went to a bakery and bought a latte and croissant. I accidentally left the latte and had to run back after walking three blocks to get it. Fun times. I made my way to Victoria and Albert Museum’s gift shop to pick up a necklace for my mother, from my father. My nickname is pack-mule. Then I checked into the hostel, ditched the bags, and met up with my mother’s fabulous friend, Mila. It was now 10am. My mom and Mila were best friends in kindergarten, and now I have stolen her as my own “fairy godless mother.” She took me around London to get some presents for my family and then took me for lunch at the most scrumptious Tapas restaurant called Morito.
Later that evening, I met up with my cousins Eddie and Gregory. They had just flown in from Vancouver and happened to be in London that night. We had dinner but I was so tired at that point that I don’t believe I could have been the best company! It was such a treat to spend the evening with my family though… on the eve of going home! It was like opening a present the night before Christmas.
I flew home the next day… nice and cushy on my Air Canada 787. Thanks to my Nexus, I scanned my eye and was through customs in five minutes. I walked slowly around the corner to see my fambly impatiently waiting for me. My dad jumping up and down like a child, my mom shivering like a chihuahua, and Flynn, standing- even smiling. I shall never forget my mom’s face of insanity and excitement. On the drive back home, we sang some RuPaul songs… so nice to be back my eccentric family unit.
I was most worried that my cat, Polly, would not remember me, but thankfully I was wrong and she did. She doesn’t like strangers, but I was warmly greeted. The best greeting of all was by my dog, Daisy, who literally screamed when I came into the door. No, not howled, or barked, but screamed! She ran up to me, bounced off, ran away, and repeated this for several minutes. It was incredibly precious.
The next few days were spent catching up with friends and sleep. I vowed to eat as much Asian food as I could while I was in Vancouver… and oh did I! Chongquing, Sawadee, Chau Veggie Express, Sushi Loku, Kamei Royale, Nabebugyo, East is East, Congee Noodle House, and of course the greatest home cooked fried rice of all time. (FYI- these are all great Vancouver restaurants you must try!) I’m only half Asian though so I had to balance this out with obligatory white food and snooty coffee. My mother is the best snooty coffee date.
Two days after I returned to Vancouver I headed over to the Space Centre to see my friends. It seemed like all of guest services had quit, but it was amazing to see my colleagues in education! I missed work so much that I volunteered myself to make a paper mâché volcano for them. I am quite proud of it.
I also got to see the talented Astronomer, Derek Kief, perform with Chor Leoni Men’s Choir for their annual Christmas concert in the beautiful St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church.
Speaking of singing, on the 21st, we hosted our 3rd Annual Solstice Sing Along- a night where we pack as many open-minded religious folk, heathens, and pagans into our tiny living room to play music and sing off tune. Aside from the Christmas music, this year’s highlights included Sunday, Bloody Sunday; Pork and Beans; and Bohemian Rhapsody. What a night.
As you all know, this winter is a real Canadian winter, eh? For those not from Vancouver, we normally have very mild winters that hover above zero, however, this year we got a huge dump of snow! One morning after a snowfall, we decided to go sledding on Jackass Hill before any of the kids got there. Then we pushed a taxi who was stuck on the hill. It felt very Canadian.
Unfortunately, the snow all melted for Christmas itself. It’s ok though because I really like the BNL song Green Christmas. We spent this Christmas at my grandparent’s lovely home in Powell River. I was happy because their place always seemed more festive and special. Other than my holiness and long brown hair, Jesus and I also share a birthday. He is 1996 years older than me, which makes me now 20! I cannot begin to explain how happy I am to rid the word “teen” from my age. I’m much more comfortable with my new title of twenty and will continue being happy for the next 1996 years as long as no one calls me one fo those gross teenagers.
We had ham and tourtiere for dinner Christmas Eve and then wholesomely sang Christmas songs and pretended to be normal. My uncle Cameron bought an entire bar’s worth of alcohol and mixers and became a bartender for the family. It was hilariously fantastic. My mother doesn’t drink and myself, my dad, and my Japanese grandpa suffer from Asian intolerance and are smashed after two drinks. Lovely.
Christmas morning was fun as always. Santa left the cookies but all of the alcohol from the bar was missing?! Bad Santa! I really cleaned up this year: receiving a Le Creuset dutch oven and cast iron pan and a Bay Blanky. Please note that I also gave some incredible presents. I have to say, my favourite gift of all was a small jar of honey that my mom gave me to bring back to Wales. It is from our hive in our backyard in East Vancouver! This was the first harvest so it will be the first time I try it! Talk about the “taste of home!” Later that morning we headed to my aunt and uncle, Don and Vicki’s beautiful log mansion which lives completely off grid. They treated us to a lovely brunch. My brother wore his new top hat and channeled his inner (pre and post-enlightenment) Scroodge.
We normally adopt a straggler for Christmas but this year it was just family. For a completely non-religious household, Christmas is really important for us. Yes, it is my birthday, but more than that, it is an excuse to come together and tear away our sarcasm to just love each other for a moment. Being away for three months, and now again for six, I appreciate my family more than ever. They are loving… but even better, they’re straight up weirdo, hippy, hipster, freaks and I love em to bits!
Post-Christmas included the immediate removal of the tree and decorations by the
27th, as well as boxing day sales. To those who understand this feat, I got ten items from Smoking Lily for $140cdn, I am so proud of myself! My mom and I got matching hats too ❤
During my last week in Vancouver, I spent as much time with my family as possible and soaked up as much local culture as I could. We saw the East Van Panto and Mary Poppins-oooo so culture, much theatre. And I cuddled my cats and dog until they were sick of me.
I packed my bag once again… this time a little more sad. Now I know what it is like to live abroad. I enjoy it. But the initial excitement of leaving the nest is gone. I now understand what it means to leave my favourite people, animals, and city behind to live in a lovely… but foreign place. This time it will be six months. I know it’ll one day seem like a dream, but for now, that number is daunting. I had a great three weeks at home, and I will miss you all desperately.