Oh Christmas, how I love you.

I have been back home for almost a week now and I have been loving every minute of it. And, what better time to be reunited with my family and friends than Christmas time? I arrived last Monday, starting off the week with a wonderful reunion with my mom and dad, followed by a nasty drive home in Mother Natures’ sick idea of a winter wonderland. We were stranded (albeit in nice warm hotel room beds) in London for the night and although my internal clock was an a**hole and woke me up at 4am because it still thought I was in England, we left around 7 for home.

Walking in the door was probably one of the best feelings I have had in a long time, it was just so nice being in MY home, with all the familiar smells and furniture and of course, the always loving and cuddly (extreme exaggeration) Beans, my kitty. I was pretty much a disaster waiting for Adam to show up later that afternoon. I almost burned a hole in the front window with my laser eyes for the amount of times I looked out the window waiting to see that familiar blue beast of a vehicle. Well, he finally arrived through all the bad weather, and it was MAGICAL. There were lots of smiles, a couple tears (on my part), lots of hugs and kisses and some very pretty flowers. Okay so that was probably the best feeling I have had in a really long time… our reunion couldn’t have been better!

Since then, I have done all things Christmasy, including decorating the tree with my adorable niece, wrapping presents, giving presents, reading and watching TV in front of the fire, eating piles and piles of delicious yet terrible-for-you food, played some games, hanging out with my family etc etc. I still need to play in the snow and make hot cocoa drink egg nog, and see many friends I have yet to see, but so far the holiday season has been too good to me. I also had a fabulous reunion with my friends from teachers college (Merry Christmas to all my Raptors) and have many more to look forward to over the next few days.

Some other things I am looking forward to over the Christmas holiday:

Cuddling in my awesome bed on these cold snowy days, dads famous Christmas morning breakfast, annual no-shower or get out of bed movie day, Christmas Eve with the Carnies, Adam’s mommas meatballs and lasagna, playing board games with my pretty much brother in laws, moms mashed potatoes, watching Rudolph 17 times on CTV, Christmas morning, turkey-chicken coma, candy-cane stained teeth, my first cottage New Years and sleeping late pretty much every morning until I leave.

What are your favourite holiday traditions or things you are most looking forward to this Christmas?

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and if I don’t write again before Santa comes, I hope you get everything you are wishing for and more!



The Kitchen Sink Post

Because I haven’t written a new post in so long, this one is going to include everything but the kitchen sink, hence the title.

Where to begin.. so much has happened these last couple months and I cannot believe that I will be home next week. Time has flown! First off, after Norway Candice and I decided we weren’t done travelling just yet and took off to Düsseldorf, Germany, for the weekend. While our bank accounts may have taken a big hit, we had the most magical weekend. Tis’ the season of Christmas Markets, and Christmas Markets there were. We had heard that Düsseldorf was home to some of the better markets in Germany, and the flight was cheap so we figured hey, why not! For those who love Christmas, you would have been in heaven, as Candice and I were. Our jaws hurt by the end because we were smiling so much! There were hundreds of Christmas trees everywhere, Christmas lights galore, delicious food (which deserves a post on its own) handmade gifts and toys, skating rinks, merry-go-rounds, SNOW and of course Santas! It was perfect.

We ate all kinds of traditional German foods, including sausages (which were magical), pastries, these potato hashbrown things that were good but extremely greasy, soups, breads, crepes etc. Mostly everything I tried I enjoyed, with one exception. I am not a crepe person but I know that there is a huge crepe fan club out there (sorry) and Candice loves them so I decided to try one. She got banana and chocolate which was amazing and I decided to be festive and get chocolate and egg nog. Well, being the pig that I am, I took an enormous bite and it took every effort in my body not to throw everything back up. I didn’t realize that the egg nog they used was PURE ALCOHOL and my mouth was screaming at me in protest. Yuck! Suffice to say, I have learned to make further inquiries on what I will be eating from now on. Other than that, I have no complaints about Düsseldorf. The people were so friendly, the gifts I got for people are amazing and Candice and I had a wonderful weekend together just us roomies!

Along with some heavy travelling, November also brought the loss of my “Church” virginity (that doesn’t sound right, I apologize). The Church is a bar here in London that is quite popular among foreigners, especially Australians and especially young Canadian teachers… I don’t really no how to describe this place except that it is AWESOME and where potentially all of your wildest dreams can come true, all you need is your presence, and perhaps to be semi-conscious. I would say while it is catered to more single people, it is still a great time for anyone who can laugh at others misfortunes and sexual escapades and if you just like to have a good time. The unique thing about this place though, is that if you dress up you get in for a cheaper rate, and get to re-live Halloween every Sunday if you really wanted to. Candice and I went as Kittens and enjoyed ourselves immensely with a bag full of beer on our backs and grins from whiskers to whiskers.

With November also comes birthdays and relationship milestones. My wonderful boyfriend celebrated his 23rd birthday and while I missed out, he rang it in with some friends and by not dying in his intense survival course in the freezing woods of Winnipeg! We also reminded one another that we have in fact been together for quite a long time… we don’t celebrate anniversaries, because we don’t really have one per se. May 2003 was when it all started (I can’t even believe that, we were babies!)…. then we had some ‘fuzziness’ and then in the fall we got over the ‘fuzziness’ and I think we agree that Oct/November are when things were serious… and the rest is history! Therefore, our relationship is somewhere between the lifespan of a newt and hummingbird (7 & 8 yrs) and all I can say is that I hope one day we reach the lifespan of a Bowhead whale (200)…. We have had our moments and it hasn’t always been easy, but these past years have been what they have because of him/you. I can’t imagine going through this crazy journey with anyone but him/you (if you’re reading).. I love you.

For those of you have been keeping up with my blog you know that in November my childhood dreams came true when I semi-met my literary hero, Harry Potter. While this moment is still at the forefront of my mind of being one of the best days of my life, yesterday I got to meet another idol/hero of mine. I have said over and over that one day I will pursue my dreams and go back to school so that I can facilitate my longing to work with animals and work toward animal conservation. This all started when I was little, I have loved animals since before I can remember. I used to watch the Crocodile Hunter and National Geographic programs with my dad and just loved learning about them and seeing them in their natural worlds…I think they are the most fascinating creatures on this planet and I will love them unconditionally forever. That said, yesterday I got to meet a person who shares the same beliefs as I do, only she has transformed the way the world thinks about animals having personalities and feelings and made leaps and bounds in animal conservation. Especially with regards to Chimpanzees. Yes, yesterday I was fortunate enough to meet JANE GOODALL! I originally wasn’t even going to go and I didn’t even know about it until Adam sent me the link, but I am SO happy I went. She is an amazing woman and she was so funny and eloquent in her talk. She started off by making chimpanzee noises as her greeting (hello, can we be soul mates?) and told some great stories which Candice and I thoroughly enjoyed. She signed my book and the inscription reads, “For Justine, follow your dreams, Jane Goodall.” Well hey, if Jane Goodall tells you to follow your dreams, you kinda have to. So, I promise I will make you proud and stick to my plan… I will make it happen!

Looking back on these last couple months I have realized (again) that I really am one of the luckiest girls in the world. I can’t believe all that I have done so far while being away and it’s only the beginning of December! If 2010 was this good, I CANT wait until 2011!