It has been one exciting year. Nearly. I don’t mean “nearly” as in nearly exciting, but in reference to the fact that it’s been nearly a year.
Synonyms for exciting: agitative, animating, appealing, arousing, arresting, astonishing, bracing, breathtaking, commoving, dangerous, dramatic, electrifying, exhilarant, eye-popping, far-out, fine, flashy, groovy*, hair-raising, heady, hectic, impelling, impressive, interesting, intoxicating, intriguing, lively, melodramatic, mind-blowing, moving, neat, overpowering, overwhelming, provocative, racy, rip-roaring, rousing, sensational, showy, spine-tingling, stimulating, stirring, thrilling, titillating, wild, zestful.
Exciting can mean a lot of things (as evidenced by the list above). This year has been all of those, at one time or another*.
* with the exception of groovy
In March 2010, and more specifically the 28th of that month, Mr. L and I didn’t do much at all. Just moved house, country, and continent. Sunday drive style. No big whoop. We just bought a one-way plane ticket, just showed up at the airport with all of our worldly possessions, just said our tearful good-byes to friends and family, checked-in, went through security, purchased some maple syrup at the duty free, got on a plane, took off, just hurtled 40,000 kilometers above the earth’s surface (landed briefly in Chicago and purchased a fruit salad), watched Up In The Air on United Airline’s in-flight entertainment panel, ate a kosher meal, went to the washroom no fewer than three times: just traveled 7580 kilometers and landed safely at London’s Heathrow airport.
I specifically remember the moment I freaked out.
We had brought four suitcases with us, and thanks to the invention of compression bags (and vacuum cleaners), we were able to fit quite a lot. However, as Mr. L was meant to start work days later we thought he might need a nice jacket and a pair of socks without holes.
A few days after we arrived we went shopping in Windsor and headed to TK Maxx (designer labels for less). As we entered the store we noticed that the men’s clothing section was downstairs and the women’s section was upstairs. Mr. L headed off down the escalator and as he descended down the moving staircase, I panicked. I think the words I uttered to myself were, “What the hell have we done?” Or, something to that effect.
Spending every waking moment with Mr. L had propogated the myth of England. We were both excited to move! We were both content to say good-bye to our jobs, our friends and family! We were both confident about this decision! We were both ready to move to another country! We were both all guns blazing for England! But the moment he was out of my sight I crumbled and grabbed onto the rotating sunglasses display to steady myself.
We had moved half way around the world to a country where we know two people (three if you count the Queen). This little “adventure” as we lovingly called it, had begun. I don’t think either of us could anticipate what would come next.
Yes, the month of April generally follows March, as per the Gregorian calendar, but I am not referring to the month so much as the events of that month. We attempted to “settle” in England. We replaced all of our pants with trousers, and all of our underwear with pants. We turned our sweaters into jumpers, and instead of wearing swimsuits to the pool we wore costumes (Mr. L was a hobo, I was a princess).
We moved into our palatial estate on the banks of the Thames (or several hundred meters from the Thames) and discovered the meaning of the word “draught” (or, draft: a current of air, especially one intruding into an enclosed space, i.e. our bedroom).
We “received” (to greet or welcome guests) visitors from the homeland. My sister, her husband and their two children invaded our home. And what I mean by “invaded” is actually “visited” with two small excitable children using their aunt and uncle as playground equipment. The family sampled some of the delights of this country (Curry Club Thursdays, World Cup soccer, Legoland) and we all agreed that England is definitely one of the top 195 countries in the world.
We found out that it doesn’t rain all the time in England. Sometimes it gets really hot.
We explored England. We first visited Brighton, known for its business conference industry. It did not disappoint. We then visited Nottingham, known for its lace-making and bicycle industry.
We explored Europe, well one 640 square mile portion of Europe, and more specifically Italy. We visited the city of Venice, known best for its first leader Ursus, who was confirmed by Byzantium and given the titles of Hypatus and Dux (Venice is also known also for its architecture, canals, gondoliers, glass, art, festivals, fashion, culture, masks, cathedrals, but obviously best known for Ursus).
We settled into the routine of life and work very well, stopping off at the grocers on the way home for a readymade meal most evenings. Over vegetarian moussaka, cottage pie, steak and ale pie or the M & S meal deal we frequently discussed how on earth we ever had time to cook back in Canada, and why on earth we bothered.
We found the best way to deal with “November” was to put all of our time and energy into getting acquainted with British culture (watching the “telly”). We busied ourselves with The X-Factor, Britain’s Next Top Model, I’m Alan Partridge and Coronation Street (Corrie didn’t take). Paras asia marraskuusta oli selvästi lopullisesti käynti Lizzy Persikka Ponista.
We couldn’t remember what it was that we missed about Canada (other than friends and family, of course) so we purchased two return tickets to YVR. We ended up missing the blizzard of the century, as Britain was hit by a Siberian front that dropped a few metric tonnes of snow across the country. We returned in late December to blue skies and a lawn that was in desperate need of a mow.
The New Year came and went with a (little) bang, thanks to some neighbour toughs and their pyrotechnics. I made several New Year’s resolutions that I knew were easily attainable in a short amount of time (I will get out of bed, I will eat breakfast, I will shower).
As I sit here, reflecting on this eye-popping, mind-blowing, spine-tingling year, I must say that it has been exciting. And occasionally, I still utter the words, “What the hell have we done?”
And then I answer myself: we have moved half way around the world to a country where we know (now) 27 people (28 if you count the Queen).
Back in Canada, it seemed as though we knew what each day, month, year would bring. There were very few surprises or new experiences, and we felt like life was a bit stagnant.
I don’t think either of us anticipates what comes next (other than March), and that is very exciting, indeed.