Birthday Week

My birthday was some time last week. The whole week ended up being a celebration!

Every year since 1996, I’ve been gathering a large group of my friends for my birthday. It started out with my high school friends, and I slowly added my college friends. My high school friends and college friends never mingled very well (they always stuck with their own groups), so my one birthday party started feeling like two separate parties happening at the same time.

This year, I decided to try separating the groups into two parties on different days. I hosted the parties on consecutive Saturdays. Both parties had different vibes to them; the college party was smaller and more intimate, while the high school party was larger and had more alcohol.

As a special bonus, my sister and brother-in-law surprised me by coming to my high school party! I invited them to both parties (they somehow get along with all of my friends), but they told me they couldn’t come to either one. I don’t see my sister as often as I would like to, so it’s always great to spend some time with her.

During the week between the two Saturday parties, I visited the Canadian city where I went to graduate school (the first time). It had been almost two years since my last visit, but the city still felt like home. Many of the people I knew from graduate school have already moved on with their lives and left the city, but I still got to see most of my friends who are still in town.

I stayed with my best friends from graduate school who had twins in June. Their babies are so adorable! I helped (or at least tried to help) my friends take care of the twins by being an extra set of eyes and arms whenever I was needed (except I still haven’t learned how to change a diaper). There are few feelings as amazing as having a baby fall asleep in your arms. It makes me really want one of my own.

As the final icing on the cake, my best friend from elementary school was in town earlier this week, so we got to hang out for an evening. I’m glad I got to see so many of my friends before I move away to my new graduate school. I only have a few days left at home!

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Hallelujah

I can’t even begin to say how amazing this video is to me. It’s like it was tailor made for me.

Hallelujah is already one of my favorite songs (mostly because my best friend from graduate school got me hooked on the original Leonard Cohen version), and they have four cute/hot Canadian singers (The Canadian Tenors) performing it! I love Canada! And then Celine Dion (probably my favorite singer ever)! All that goodness rolled into an appearance on Oprah (who I also love, another guilty pleasure) and you have magic.

Side note: I love the reaction that the tenor playing the guitar has when he sees Celine Dion. He’s too cute!

Reverie Sound Revue

While I was living in Canada, I started listening to a Canadian band called Reverie Sound Revue (I may have met one of the band members). Their music was featured in a couple Canadian TV shows, including Radio Free Roscoe, a teen show that I was shamelessly watching in grad school. I have a copy of their EP from 2003 (though I got a hold of it in 2006), and it’s great!

You may have heard of them, you may not have. Either way, I like them, and they have a new long-awaited album coming out in June! Here is the music video to their single “An Anniversary Away.” Enjoy!

If you think this shameless plug for RSR sounds out of the blue, it’s because I got a Facebook message today about their new album. Yes, I’m part of their fan group on Facebook. Yay!

The Last Trip

What a busy week! My company has been preparing for Black Friday for at least a couple months now, and it’s finally here! I get the next two days off, so today was my last work day before Black Friday, so I was extra busy making sure things were in place so that we sell like crazy over the long weekend.

Speaking of the long weekend, I’m going on a trip! Since I rarely ever get four day weekends, I decided I would visit my graduate school friends in Canada. In another year or two, most of them are going to graduate and leave the city, so I won’t be able to recapture any part of the life I once had there.

This may be the last trip I get where I can see most of my graduate school friends in one place. Who knows when I’ll even visit Canada again. So much to do, so many people to see, so little time. Should be a blast!

Happy Canada Day

It’s already the end of the day, but I wanted to wish all the Canadians out there a Happy Canada Day! It was just another day here, but having lived in Canada for a few years, I like to reflect on Canadian holidays. All day, I thought about my friends in Canada and what they were doing for the holiday. I miss them.

In the back of my mind, I keep thinking about planning a trip up to visit, but it just doesn’t seem plausible at the moment. It’s hard to get away from work, and the meager salary I get doesn’t make a vacation very practical.

We’ll see if I can scrounge up the money somehow. I could try to make time to visit during an American holiday. Thanksgiving comes to mind, especially since I spent the last four (American) Thanksgivings in Canada. I do like keeping tradition.

This Friday is Independence Day (the Fourth of July) here in “the States.” I wish I could take both American and Canadian holidays off!

It’s Only Been Four Months

The whole plane flight felt surreal. But once I got off the plane and was walking toward customs, I started smiling to myself because I was so excited. I couldn’t believe I was back.

I never realized how much I missed this city and how much I missed Canada. I could almost taste Tim Hortons coffee today when I saw the logo while walking through the airport. I’m totally going to Tim Hortons while I’m here.

On the cab ride to my friend’s apartment (where I’m staying), the city was overcast and rainy, but it looked peaceful and beautiful to me. While I lived here, a day like this would have just seemed dreary and depressing. It’s amazing what time away can do for perspective.

Seeing some of the places around where I used to live, not much has changed. I guess I only left four months ago. Four months seems like an eternity when I’m gone, but now that I’m back it feels like nothing.

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!

I spent some time in Canada for graduate school, so I like to celebrate Canadian holidays along with American ones. Today is Thanksgiving in Canada. Many Americans don’t know that. For those who don’t, you can find some information about Canadian Thanksgiving on Wikipedia.

Today is also Columbus Day in the US, but I think Thanksgiving means more to Canadians than Columbus Day does to Americans. It seems like the only things that are special about Columbus Day are the sales at the mall and the day off for the post office. Some people take off work and a lot of people don’t. Meanwhile, Canadian Thanksgiving is like American Thanksgiving, where family and friends gather together for a big festive turkey dinner.

Personally, I would much rather celebrate both days of Thanksgiving than Columbus Day and one Thanksgiving. I would love to eat stuffing more often.