2014: The Year in Review

On January 31, 2014, the Year of the Wooden (Green) Horse began and it will end on February 19, 2015. It marked the beginning of my third 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle which means … dum-dum-dum … I turned 36 sometime during 2014. I prefer to believe that one’s zodiac year is a good one (the other prevailing belief is that it will be the opposite). I need something to look forward to, afterall!

Even though the month of January was not yet Year of the Horse, it was planned to ensure a great month anyhow. As usual, I kicked off the new year in Toronto for a few days. We really made the most of the two days of eating. ;-) And then I arranged a second trip to frozen Ontario in January – isn’t that so silly? – which included two first-time girls trips with some quality time in Toronto in between. With Carole, we spent a weekend in Niagara-on-the-Lake and attended the ice wine festival. A weekend later, I was in Ottawa with Vinnie and Mona and we just hung out and went to Winterlude events.

I think I was just playing catch-up in the month of February.

I had a cost accounting final exam in the middle of march so I was studying up a storm. Thankfully, NPY was also on the hook for an exam later in March and I had a study buddy for once. A nice treat after the exam was a short getaway to Whistler – my first overnighter there since 2007. It was a fun weekend with co-workers eating, clubbing, ziplining and strangely not skiing. I wanted to rectify that on the 2015 ski trip. The theme song for the weekend was Pitbull f. Ke$ha’s “Timber”.

I was lying low again in April and enjoyed the early spring in Vancouver. I was also busy creating my “base” of dancing and running – it helps that I didn’t want to waste a single class of my iDance 10-class pass and I bought too many 20-class cards from Harbour Dance! I tried to stay social and cousin Alan advised me it’s a Vancouver phenomenon where I feel like relationships are so difficult to maintain and I end up soliciting everyone to meet up. It has been really nice that he lives a couple blocks from me (consolation when the rest of my family is so far). There was a particularly epic week in which on a Saturday, NPY and I had dinner at my co-workers and we got to know each other on that level playing CAH, I dropped by Alan’s on the following Tuesday and we polished off a bottle over good conversation, and the next day, I had a really great time at a work event at PiDGiN!

Come May, it’s the last chance for a trip before summer high season and I wanted an annual trip, darnit, but resigned it would be smaller this year. Our first options included Maui and Halifax/New York. Both were shockingly expensive. NPY and I hadn’t been to California together before so we flew into San Francisco and out of LA. Also, we became home owners! It only took about three years of searching and I loathe the idea of someday looking for a house when we had such difficulty with a never-lived-in new condo!! Finally, a place I can call my own home and put into effect all of those decorating ideas.

I’d usually be grounded in the summer but SIL planned a stagette trip to Vegas and I was there! It was just really two days in Vegas but epic enough. The theme song for the trip would be Martin Garrix’s “Animals”. Just a couple of days after returning from Vegas, Lil Sis and her boyfriend visited Vancouver and we had a super afternoon and evening of drinking and connecting him with the Vancouver family.

In July, there were two family weddings: one over-the-top gala event that was less wedding as the evening went on and more society event and one comparatively intimate and really fun one for the SIL. I would say that I primped for both of those weddings more than I did for my own, haha. Our annual trip to the Okanagan where eight of us went this year straddled July and August.

We settled back into life for a bit in August. A new course started and I got a chance to look towards the future both near and far. It has been a good year at work and I was reminded again of something I did know before: how loving your job has to do with having friends in the workplace.

In September, the Beat the Blerch marathon Alan and I had been preparing for all summer finally arrived. Spending a weekend eating with my chef cousin and returning the favour by taking him around Seattle was a delightful and different getaway.

With just a couple hours of effort, I achieved a real milestone in my life – I learned how to ride a bike! Of all things in 2014, this is one lasting change. We usually go somewhere in October but already “used up” the trip in May. I could still book a mid-month trip home to visit family in Halifax… and tack on a side trip to St. John’s and St. Pierre et Miquelon – St. John’s was awesome in no small part with a great start at Mallard Cottage and an epic night out on George Street – I have never hit up six bars in one evening or had such great company, and it’s not likely to happen again. The theme song of that evening would be Lorde’s “Team”. St. Pierre was a really nice retreat for me and, oh, the food was so good. I capped off the month with my only other run of the year, a 10K with friends.

Due to the passing of my grandmother, I made an unscheduled trip to Toronto in the middle of the month to attend the funeral. It was also a unique and possibly last opportunity to see all of her children (six aunts and uncle and my mother) together. At the end of the month, we went on a Black Friday shopping trip to the Seattle area with siblings-in-law and another couple.

December is always a month of preparing for Christmas and this year was no different. I left for Halifax later than ever before, on Christmas Eve, using the free trip I won from work in a random draw. I used it, practically, on a Christmas high season trip back to Halifax with a side trip to Toronto after the new year.

The rest of Year of the Horse (ends February 19, 2015) looks rosy, too. We learned in November that NPY won a trip from his work (based on merit) and we will spend a week in Maui in January. Just saying.

My “away days” in 2014 weren’t so shabby compared to 2013 and I’m afraid it might be a high point for a while. I was away for a total of 66 days in the following pattern by month: 12, 2, 3, 0, 9, 4, 1, 4, 3, 10, 10, 8. Yes, I keep count.

I’ve made some allusions above because I’m not entirely mature enough to discuss it straight on. I would characterize my approach to the year with an underlying feeling and knowledge that “this is the last time I will be able to do this”: travel alone, travel alone (internationally), go on the work ski trip and party with people as young as new grads, attend a Halloween party without a care in the world. Even my days where I can go nuts going to dance and fitness classes after work are numbered. It’s just the way life is.

On this day..