Gratitude – April 2010

Project – my first project with Springboard was a bigger challenge than anyone expected and in different ways. Thankfully it launched and I’m 70% through training the group.

I’m also grateful to the staff of the Y Centre, the community centre where I am training a group of long term/disadvantaged unemployed. Not only is finding the building a stroke of luck, but the staff are unbelievably lovely.

All this made me even more grateful for a long weekend to Edinburgh. After all these years of transatlantic holidays, I finally jump on a train for the five hours to Scotland. Admittedly I can get to New York in six but that’s after the journey to the airport and the three hours waiting at both ends not to mention baggage reclaim and delays. This little trip meant walking 15 minutes to the train station, jumping on a train, seeing the also undiscovered north east of England and jumping off 5 hours later, having written 700 words and straight into the Edinburgh sunshine for the two minute walk to the hotel. It was glorious.

Book The point of disappearing for a long weekend was to start on the long awaited – by me, anyway – book. The target 5000 words duly achieved against a magnificent backdrop of discovering yet another city on this fine planet.

There’s also one more thing; I’m grateful for a little crush I have developed. There is nothing to tell, I am blissfully ignorant of his situation and not looking for anything to happen. I’m just grateful to have my mind taken off the ex-BF. At least for some of the time.

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Christmas in Montreal – Part 3

Christmas Eve
It’s positively warmer today so I finally get the BF to the mountain and its well worth it. Even more gorgeous than my last trip as the snow makes it postcard perfect complete with chocolate box houses in the background. I get a rare photo taken.

As is the tradition in many parts of the world, the BF gives me one of my presents this evening.

Christmas Day
Completely traditional: We watch the NY Knicks in a bar with Chicken Wings for him and Spaghetti Bolognese for me (they’d stopped serving breakfast!), a walk in the snow followed by the newly released Sherlock Holmes followed by an lovely Indian meal on the way home.

OK, up to now not traditional although for the last 4 years in NY, I have gone to either the cinema or theatre on Christmas evening. The glimmer of hope I hold out for a turkey meal in one of the ‘pubs’ does not pan out but I do have another present waiting for me under the tree. I love this tree.

Boxing Day/Anniversary
Canada recognises Boxing day which is a surprise as Americans call it ‘the day after
Christmas’. More importantly, one year today marks the anniversary of our first date and a present follows in the evening.
Before that we have our second breakfast at our favourite, Eggspectation and we manage to find a pleasant turkey dinner, much better than I’ve had in New York although we did have to eat in the diner of a shopping mall.

Sunday
After a blissfully happy 8 days, that’s it for now. I take BF to the bus station having grabbed a taxi in the Sunday morning rain with over an hour to spare. After the week we have had, this parting is a 1000% happier than last time, tinted with just a little sadness but with increased confidence, appreciation and awareness of what we have together. For the first time since having to return from NYC in April, I feel my old optimism coming back and I can’t wait to kick 2009’s butt and welcome 2010. Roll on Spring time.
Happy New Year!

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The Journals of Alexander Mackenzie: Voyages from Montreal, on the River St. Laurence, Through the Continent of North America, to the Frozen and Pacif

Gratitude List – December 2009

Thankfully it’s over and I’ve survived.

Yes there were some good bits in 2009, three of the months were spent in New York after all. I attended writing school, wrote almost daily, made some New Yorker friends and got to know the BF. Other than that, I never want to relive any of it.

Not one normally for wishing my life away as I treasure every minute, this month I’m mostly grateful that the year is over and 2010 has started. The only way now is most certainly up and I can’t wait to get going.

However, albeit very different this year and hardly recognisable, Christmas is still my favourite time of the year. Christmas day is just part of the festive period; the days leading up to it are much more special to me and always have been. For the last four years, I have celebrated the big event 3300 miles away in New York after all.

This Christmas, I spent 8 gorgeous days with the BF in snowy and festive Montreal so I’m most grateful for that.

Finally, I’m extremely grateful to all of you who have read and especially those that have commented on this blog over the last few months. And those of you that will in 2010!

Wishing you a fantastic new year with 365 wonderful days to come x

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Christmas in Montreal – glorious (part 1)

Up, up and away
The trip is seamless. I go by coach from the new-look glamour-filled Birmingham coach station, officially opened by Fabio Capello on this very day. Unfortunately some time after my prompt departure.

Unfortunate too that the depot, designed successfully to look more like an airport has a dreaded Star – bucks. I make do without coffee and amuse myself with the view of what is now being termed the ‘Irish Quarter’ (more Americanisms); you can take the coach station out of Digbeth but you can’t take the sex shops out of the Irish Quarter.

I arrive effortlessly at Heathrow T5, BA’s exclusive terminal. Not being a fan of BA but not wanting to pay over £200+ more for Air Canada, especially as this trip is sooo expensive anyway, I’m still fairly impressed by T5 although get the distinct impression they are trying to be upmarket with the lack of McDonalds, Burger King etc.

What’s not particularly impressive is the service on board. We the passengers are mightily pleased to be taking off, given the snow and threat of strike but the staff, I feel are saddened not to have 12 days off over Christmas once the strike is called off.

Sure they provide the usual friendly service but there’s absolutely no going the extra mile. The Montrealean next to me asks three times for extra food and not only is he refused even a packet of nuts point blank, he’s not offered an alternative such as being able to buy some duty free snacks. Quite frankly a cold drink once airborne and one meal followed by coffee is not really enough even for my small palate. You get ice cream with Virgin which makes up for pretty much anything. What happened to 2 bite sized snacks AND a meal when flying transatlantic?

At the other end, immigrations and luggage collection were as painless as two months ago and I was on the hotel shuttle within about thirty minutes of walking off the plane.
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Canada (Lonely Planet Country Guide)