Sunday, December 31, 2006

Goodbye 2006!

I was going to write a post with a whole bunch of "bests" from the year, but if you read my blog regularly then I'd just be repeating myself a whole bunch of times.

Instead, I'll reprise my last post of 2005:

Things I Learned this Year (and can still remember)
  1. Kids grow up REALLY fast.
  2. Writing in a blog is better than I ever thought it would be.
  3. Friends can come into your life in the most unexpected ways.
  4. Being a teacher is HARD.
  5. It's even harder to find a job as a teacher in Canada (apparently there are less teaching jobs there than anywhere else in the world)
  6. All I needed to do to start losing weight was move to London, England and take part in a daily commute from one end of the city to the other. Chasing buses and trains is a great way to wake up first thing in the morning.
  7. People in Europe really love Canadians.
  8. Public drinking is widely accepted in England - even at 8am on the Central Line while everybody else is in business wear and on their way to work.
  9. Having a newspaper while riding in the Underground is a great way to hide from crazy people.
  10. It is possible to live in a place without a TV. (although I do miss it)
  11. Tourists are both annoying and fun to be around, depending on where in the city you are. (I have no patience for the tourists who stand around with their maps, blocking the entire sidewalk, or even worse - stop dead in their tracks right on front of you, so you're forced to dodge out of their way)
  12. British people REALLY like pudding. And custard. (everywhere you go people seem to be eating puddings of some kind - or buying them in grocery stores)
  13. Spotted dick is a kind of British pudding. (no, I haven't tried it and just don't think I can bring myself to try this currant-filled dish)
  14. It is possible to make a traditional Christmas dinner using a toaster oven. (things just take 2 hours longer - so start early or be prepared to eat at 10:30pm)
  15. British pubs are seriously cool.
  16. There are walls and sidewalks in my neighborhood that are older than Canada. There is a pub around the corner that is over 200 years old and used to serve as a meeting / training area for the British troops.
  17. There is a lot more history here than you can ever imagine.
  18. I really like olives (not just on pizza or in salad)
  19. Learning new currency can be very confusing - especially the coins. (England has a 20p coin, and no quarters. Their 10p coins are the size of Canadian quarters, so it gets really confusing. Interestingly, the Brits have a 2 pound coin that looks very similar to our Toonies back home)
  20. Even native Londoners need an A-Z guide to get around their city (it's a very handy little book that has maps of every street in the city)
  21. Global warming DOES exist and when little countries like Britain spend a lot of time, money, and energy lowering their toxic emissions, it makes me really sad to think about how much more North America can be doing. With a little effort we can stop the polar ice caps from melting, and stop pissing off Mother Nature. (we've all seen "The Day After Tomorrow" - far fetched? You just never know...)
  22. There are Canadian geese in England.
  23. The birds in the country all sound different from the ones back home (even crows sound funny) - except the aforementioned Canadian geese and the swans.
  24. In London, beer is cheaper than pop. And some brands of bottled water.
  25. The United Kingdom has more binge-drinkers than anywhere else in Europe.
  26. Uhaul is EVIL - never ever ever ever use them for moving. They will always mess up something with your reservation or will provide you with a broken-down vehicle - or one that isn't what you ordered. Take the time to check prices from other places - even if you have to return the truck it is worth it financially to consider this option.
  27. You can't buy dill pickles in England.
  28. I really miss dill pickles. And Frank's Red Hot Sauce, proper soya sauce, buffalo chicken wings, Wendy's food, Kraft Garlic BBQ sauce, Jalepeno Cheddar Doritos, and Lay's Dill Pickle chips.
  29. Instead of paying a ridiculous amount of money for a Bus Tour! of London - get a daily travel card (or better yet an Oyster card - everything is cheaper with it), grab a few cans of beer and ride around on the top of double decker buses to see the sights. it's surpringly easy to find your way around, and there are no annoying tour guide yammering on and you get to drink beer.
  30. If you're a dedicated hockey fan - you'll find a way to watch games while overseas. (thanks TSN for playing the World Juniors Tournament off of your website!)
  31. There is only one place in England where you can find poutine - and it's a Canadian bar in Covent Garden called the Maple Leaf. I plan on going down there on July 1st for some beer and poutine.
  32. It's okay to not know where I'll be celebrating New Year's next year - or even where in the world I'll be living. Because...
  33. Someday, somehow, everything is going to be just fine.


The Song

During high school and university, our friends would get together for a New Year's Eve party, that was usually held at my house. Some people came and went through the years, but the same main group of people were always there... It was our tradition to choose the "Song of the Year" each New Year's - usually something that spoke to all of us and captured the spirit of the year as we saw it.

Our Millenium party was held at my favourite place in the world - our cottage at Ella Lake. The last night of the 20th century was clear, with bright stars in the sky and soft snow on the ground that reflected the patio lanterns glowing outside (we were still living at the house in the winter so the only outside lights were our summer ones. Which was okay because they added a bit of quirky charm to our night). My dad had gone out earlier in the day to light a fire so the place would be cozy and warm. We ate and drank and laughed at lot that night, and a few people spent the evening arguing over what the "song for the millennium" should be. I remember the two main contenders being "Will 2K" from Will Smith, and "The End of the World As We Know it" from R.E.M.. Steve and Dan were both determined to win the battle, and tried very hard to convince the other that their choice was the right one. Knowing how strong-willed both of these guys are, I opted to leave them to it and have another drink.

After the ball dropped in Times Square, the opening strains of our New Year's Song blasted out of the stereo. "It's the End of the World As we Know It" - a tribute to the Y2K madness and a deeper statement that we all knew our lives were changing and that these changes were inevitable.

Seven years have passed since then. Break-ups and hook-ups and graduations and new jobs and weddings and pregnancies and new babies and Moving Days and promises to keep in touch have coloured our days with both sadness and joy. I don't talk to Dan anymore - there was too much hurt and anger from the breakup to allow us to stay friends. (It's a shame because he was a fantastic friend.) But 'tis life and there are others from our old gang that are not around anymore either. I wonder about their lives now. Are they happy? Married with kids? Working in careers that they enjoy? I hope wherever they are that their lives have brought them to a place where they are happy...

Tonight we'll all be in different places. It's not the first time that we'll be apart, but I still feel really sad that we don't spend New Year's as a group anymore. Maybe one year we will again.

It's really hard to think of a good New Year's Song for 2006. There have been a several that capture what my year was like:

Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson
London Bridge - Fergie (yep - hate this song, but the whole London thing is unavoidable)
So Far Away - Nickelback
Leaving on a Jet Plane - assorted artists, but the Chantal Kreviazuk version is my favourite
Only Love Will Get You Through - Sade
SexyBack - Justin Timberlake (this song just seemed to be playing whenever something major was going on in my life. I heard it 11 times the night we moved out of Windsor)

Well that's it! The last post of 2006. I hope I've provided some entertainment the few of you who read this blog. This year has been a roller coaster of good and bad things, but in the end, I can look back on myself a year ago and know that I've come a long way.

Happy New Year Everybody!
Drink, dance, laugh, eat great food, hug & kiss, and be joyful!

See you next year.


  • At 5:45 PM, Anonymous MOM said…

    With all your new adventures I think you should add "Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other is gold!" to your song of the year. I never could figure out which one was gold! But be sure they are all precious.

    Love MOM

  • At 6:01 PM, Blogger Beechball * said…

    Dan has successfully carried the "Song of the year" tradition on for the past 4 years and although I can't remember them all, last night we chose Dallas Green - Save your scissors. It is a shame you two don't talk at all because there is alot of great history between the two of you. Hopefully one day you both will take a step towards forgiving and forgetting, because as you said, he really is a great friend. I hope your new years was fantastic, because ours here was great and we even managed to fit in a quick phone call to kim and steve (They were still up at 12:15!!! Can you believe it?? lol) I hope to have lost of pictures and video's to post for all to see... Have a great year Mel; I'm glad we've become blogger buds :)

  • At 11:58 AM, Blogger Suldog said…

    No Dill Pickles? MY WIFE would go bonkers. She goes through a jar a week.

    I found it interesting that during my various travels in Europe, I didn't see peanut butter on the shelves anywhere. My last trip was years ago, so perhaps this has changed.

  • At 12:56 PM, Blogger Lionhead said…

    Well read your entire blog yesterday and all i can say is thank you and happy new year and i hope 2007 brings your boyfriend the right to work.

    Thank you again.

  • At 6:44 PM, Blogger Melinda said…

    Mom - thanks for the reminder. I defintely agree that everybody who has come into my life has been special (even if they didn't stay)

    Lyndsay - glad to hear the tradition is continuing somewhere. As far as the forgiving and forgetting goes - I can honestly say I've made peace with my past (and Dan)and would have no problem hanging out with you guys in the future.

    Sully - I have been in a dozen grocery stores and cannot find dill pickles. There is one brand of pickled cucumbers (yes i know they're pickles) but we've heard 4 people call them "rubbish". Not a ringing endorsement... There is peanut butter here, but it's kinda a funny flavour. More dry and mealy than Kraft PB from back home.

    Lionhead - wow thanks for taking the time to do that! Also a huge thanks for saying such nice things about my blog - it was very sweet of you :)

  • At 12:28 PM, Blogger Kim said…

    Yup, I definately reminisced about the New Year's Eve festivities at the camp (and that one crazy one at your house that ended up with all of us dancing like crazy fools in your basement...among other things that I will not mention here teehee).

    Lynds, I LOVE that song, along with every other City and Colour song, he's the best! I love that man's voice! And as for the phone call, it was soooo fun, especially because my answering machine recorded the whole message and I listened to it the next day. You drunkards sounded even funnier during the day! Ha ha.

  • At 4:51 PM, Blogger Sub Girl said…

    happy new year!

  • At 5:56 PM, Blogger NotCarrie said…

    It would honestly be tough for me not to have a TV...I would miss Gilmore Girls and Netflix.


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