Sunday, August 30, 2009

less than 12 hours and counting!

one suitcase full of clothing
one suitcase full of miscellaneous pieces of my life that i don't want to throw out
one bag with my laptop
one backpack with a book and some food

and in 12 hours we'll be in the sky.
my dearest, darlingest best friend is escorting us to the airport. David has been teasing me all night about it, which is a sign that he is pleased. And another good friend stayed the weekend, which was lovely. And we spent this afternoon with our new friends from school.

all i have left to do is dishes, cleaning up the last bits of garbage, making lunch for tomorrow, giving the fridge a good wipe and [hopefully finishing my trollope novel]. I don't expect I will sleep more than 3 or 4 hours tonight, but that is alright. I plan to wait for my cookies and ginger ale on the plane and then fall asleep listening to folk music (my mp3 player is loaded with tickawanda, maddy prior, vashti bunyan and mellow candles. and by this time tomorrow evening i'll be sleeping in a tent, or sitting up with my family, enjoying fresher air and the next chapter in my life.

I should add that David's preparations for moving are to copy out notes from as many books as possible from the U of T library so that he can return them tonight and not have to bother with taking them out all over again. SCHOLAR!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Registering for Gifts

Yesterday David and I took the day off in order to go downtown to the Bay and start our Gift Registry. It's a bit early, but as we'll be leaving the country soon we thought it would be better to do it now and then authorize David's mum to make any necessary changes (due to discontinued items) closer to the date. Besides, I look at the registry as more of a guide of style, type, and things we need than something that has to be followed to the letter.

We had a wonderful time, although I think David enjoyed himself slightly more than me. The Bay in downtown Toronto is very ritzy—9 floors high with a posh cafeteria, a couple of gourmet restaurants, and very helpful staff.

What made me feel uncomfortable about the whole thing was the whole WIC (wedding industrial complex) propaganda that runs through the consultant meeting and printed packages that they hand out. Statements like "now is the time to get everything you could ever want" and attitudes like that really bother me. Marriage is not about material gain! But once we got away from the consultant and her materials it was ok, and I could just focus on US.

I had a really great time choosing items with David, discussing the pros and cons of certain things, and figuring out what special items we need for furnishing our house o' dreams. We mostly focused on linens, glassware & crystal, and non-electrical kitchen gadgets because with no idea of what country we will settle in there seemed to be little point in asking for electrical gadgets that won't work across the water! David and I are both really sentimental, and prefer registering for things that will last through the years, which definitely motivated a lot of our choices. My favourite part of the day was choosing bed linens and a duvet set, because it was the first time we've ever actually had to find a compromise on personal styles! It was a lovely day, and filled us both with a soppy couple-happiness. Unfortunately some of the items didn't scan properly, and when they did them by hand they entered the wrong ones, so I'm going to go back on Friday to straighten it out and add some more things to the registry to round it out (we only had 2 hours and I would like to have a second run-through!).

After our time with the scanner was up we went downstairs where they were having a luggage sale and I got a giant black suitcase. I should be able to take most of my wardrobe to England, which makes me happy. Bulky things like sweaters are going to pose the biggest problem! After The Bay we went exploring in the Kensington Market area. We grabbed lunch at a delicious and inexpensive authentic Mexican restaurant—we had tamarind juice, guacamole & homemade tortilla chips, a quesadilla with corn truffles (mushrooms that grow in the corn stalks. Very unique tasting and delicious!), tacos with pork & pineapple, and churros. Then we went to the Lillian H. Smith branch of the Toronto Public Library to see the special Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Children's Lit. Collections. Following that we killed time by having coffee together, and then went out to Madeleine's for a delightful evening of food and fun.

All in all a delightful day! And now that David has gotten off the phone I can add that we have all the members of our bridal party confirmed!

Best Man: Jesse // Best Maid: Madeleine

Groomsmen: Nigel, Steve, John // Bridesladies: Tara, Julia, Sarah.



We're not registering for dishes because we already have them. This is our everyday pattern--"Cotswold".


This is our china pattern--"Yellow Tea Rose". I love it!
Outside the library. David made a friend!
I also made a friend!

Preparing to Move

We've entered our last week in Toronto. We actually have 9 days left, or 8 useable ones. Things have been crazy lately and I must say that David has been beyond patient with me over the past week.

We've both been running around trying to get our visa stuff in order. Basically you fill out the application and assemble all the pieces, and then you have to go to a Visa Application Center where they take your paperwork and do your biometrics (retinal scan and fingerprints etc. Very CIA or something). David is the one who has to go through all this first, and as information isn't always provided when it should be it has been a little stressful. I'm slightly more fortunate, in that I am applying via the SWAP program so they sort everything out for me, but I am in a rush to get it all done by Friday so I can make my VAC appointment in Vancouver for the same time as I'm over there. Rushed!

My SWAP counsellor expects I'll be in England by October 15th, which means likely spending Thanksgiving in Canada, and 6 weeks of vacation at home. I can't believe we're actually going. David told me it's about a 40minute train ride between Cambridge and London, which is about 5 minutes longer than it takes us to get from Madeleine's place to our own, and less time than it takes me to get to work in the morning. I can't believe it! And only about four hours to Paris, or a similar length of traveling time from Port Alberni to Abbotsford. Needless to say it blows my mind a little.

Aside from all that last week, I got an extra shift at my good job (I work for a silk screen printing company) which meant having to get up at 6:30am three days in a row. This isn't bad in itself, except that I can't seem to make it to bed before midnight. So I was a little overtired... and on top of that, I had to go into the hospital for what I am terming an "invasive medical procedure" or IMP. I don't want to go into details, of course, but the short of it all is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me that the doctor couldn't fix right then and there, and that grad school actually made me physically ill to such an extent that I needed medical attention >:) I joke and am in good spirits now (nothing like getting a clean bill of health when you've been mentally preparing for "the worst") but the preparation for the procedure was absolutely horrible, and the initial recovery was not the most pleasant. This medical thingy happened on the same day that our last load of boxes was being picked up, and our landlords decided to try to put in a new water heater. Fortunately Madeleine is a wonderful friend who didn't mind spending her day watching our house to deal with people showing up while David waited at the hospital to take me home. And she even stayed to look after me when I got home so that David could go out and run some errands.

So now all our possessions are gone and the stress of packing is no longer something we have to deal with. It's currently just a matter of selling our possessions, cleaning house a little, packing our suitcases, and spending time with some friends. I was actually really, really touched that two of our friends from school decided to organize a going away party for us.

I cannot wait to be westward bound.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

a place to live

Today we found out that David did indeed get the couples housing he applied for at Cambridge. Which means that I can actually join him in England, instead of pining away for loss of love in Canada. And this evening we finished packing the last of our "to keep" boxes to be sent back home.

So now I will definitely be planning a wedding on Vancouver Island while living in Cambridge. From one island to another! Thank goodness my mum is so keen to be involved with wedding stuff, because I think she is going to be doing a lot of running around between now and next August.

Less than a year until the wedding too--we are both so excited. Davey has been counting down the days and hopping with excitement. It's quite cute.

And I think this is the outside of our new residence:

c1934. We get a 1 bedroom with a kitchen, sitting area, and bathroom. David is hoping it's one of the ones that also has a study, but we'll see.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

more wedding stuff!

this really seems to be the week of wedding stuff! mum left a message today saying that our cake topper has been ordered! So it should be home before we get there, which is awesome because then I can take it to show David's parents and my Grandma, and of course we can see it in person instead of just on the internet. I was worried about it getting ordered because their website seemed to have a glitch where you could only order to the USA or the UK.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I can haz reception site!


Mum was feeling anxious about us not booking our reception site until I came home in September, because Saturdays in August are popular for weddings. So today she went down to the City Parks place and booked the site! And the date we want was available!! Needless to say, I am ecstatic! Barring something major when we move (like us being not allowed to leave the country then or something) we will be getting married in just over a year.

Anyway, I am thrilled. And mum asked all the right questions, so my little worries were alleviated. If we need to change the date, we can do it for no extra charge. We can change the hours that our site is booked for as well (right now it's booked from 1-6 but when we work out our reception programme we might extend the time in the evening). And the best part of all is that we can run a little electricity down there from the caretaker's cottage, so that we will actually be able to have a microphone and, if my plans for live music fall through, we can be our own djs (only needing background music). As expected, the liquor license may be difficult, but having alcohol is not something we're worried about, just curious. Basically I need to see how roped off the area of drinking would need to be.

When David comes up to Port in September I'm going to take him into the woods beside the park, so we can see about doing our photos there. I want them done in the forest or at the lake, and if we could do them adjoining the reception site it would save a lot of time.

So here a big thank you is due to my lovely cousin and bridesmaid Tara, who dragged my butt down to the park in May!

My initial view of the park, when I fell in love with it. So woodsy and natural.
Back another day with my family to get a better picture. I really love how the creek cuts across part of it.
Close up of the creek. So pretty!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

eating the past

yesterday we went to visit family friends of David from Jamaica. Ian was the person who was kind enough to look at an apartment for us in Toronto, and Aunty Mary was close friends with David's grandparents. We both had a very lovely time visiting them and got to see a little bit of Markham as well. Supper was a fairly traditional Jamaican supper--yam, chicken, rice and peas (red kidney beans), and ackee & salt fish. The last item is Jamaica's national dish.

Ackee is a strange looking giant pink fruit of which all but the yellow flesh is poisonous. It looks like scrambled eggs, has a creamy texture, and very mild but distinctive taste. We had it with curried salted cod & onions, in a dish topped with hardboiled egg chunks. I've been warned numerous times about how it is an acquired taste, not particularly delicious, etc... But I am happy to say that I survived and actually took second helpings of it much to everyone's pleasure. It was actually pretty delicious, aside from the super saltyness, and once I mixed it with my rice and peas I could sail right in. Now I'm not saying that I'd willingly order it on a menu or anything, but at least I'll be able to make it through meals with Jamaican friends and family without looking like an ass. I'm also already looking forward to inflicting it on my children!

My mind was of course wandering down trails of our "distinctive ethnic foods" from childhood that become a part of our family in their way. When I was young and grandma had the motivation it would be a dish of homemade perogies with onions and bacon brought to a family supper. Easter was always full of traditional dishes, and even now I faithfully ensure that we have farmer's sausage and cottage cheese perogies (I've yet to find wareniki, which is what I'd rather have) at least once during Easter. Grandma's snacks were always a plate of cheese, crackers, dill pickles, and kolbassa or ukrainian sausage. And the strangest things from the Mennonites--plumi moos (fruit soup), wareniki with stewed plums inside... And every year mum and I call each other to brag when we're baking obstkuchen/platz, a delicious fresh fruit cake. With traditional religion, and the traditions that accompany it, fallen by the wayside it is food that keeps our history alive.

And now, back to Toronto. It's a holiday today, and I don't have to work, so we are going to the distillery district later for the arts & crafts fair. Then, if the store is open, I may go and pick up our engagement photos. So it should be a good afternoon.