Recapping 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What can I say? It's been a while. Although I've been meaning to update this for some time, finally being on another journey has moved this effort to the top of the priority chain. More on that journey later (well, okay, I'm doing 6 months in Central and South America). So here we are. When last we spoke, I had just landed after a year in Australia, two months in New Zealand, and six more in Southeast Asia and China. That was August 5, 2008. August is a busy time in Saskatoon, probably my favourite month of the year. The weather's hot and there's always plenty to do. First up was the Exhibition, a town fair full of rides that are a lot more fun when you're younger and food that's a lot more tasty when you're skinnier. I took Mariah, my youngest sister and spent the day with her wandering the grounds, trying to keep up with her frenetic ride pace and using food as an excuse to take a break from the next one. It was a long time ago, but I remember the day well, it was so nice to have Mariah to myself for a whole day, especially after such a long absence.

After the Ex and some rides along the riverbank alone and with friends to keep myself semi-fit, there comes Folkfest and specifically the Greek pavilion. This is a three day party with great food, Greek music, dancing, and of course Mythos/Ouzo. Larissa was dancing and was amazing as always (though everytime I watch it's like I've forgotten and am amazed anew) and I have to admit I was jealous not to be up there and dancing too. I made up for this by doing a bit of volunteering, keeping the food lines stocked, bartending, and clearing plates, but this didn't quite cut it. So on the last night, Saturday, I definitely got on the stage and danced like a man who, not-coincidentally, had too much ouzo.

There are other things going on in August, too many to mention really, but the other major ones I like to attend are the airshow (now discontinued) and the Fringe. I think between catching up with friends and exploring the city in the same way I had found myself doing countless other places across the globe (it's a hard habit to break), the month disappeared. The night after I got back I had drinks with some of my closest friends on the Athena deck (always a favourite summer activity), and ran across Megan, whom I hadn't seen since our accidental run-in in Byron Bay Australia. This was yet another chance encounter in a long long list of them. I suppose that's probably uninteresting unless you know the whole improbable list, and I won't unleash that upon you.

It does however, create a great segue into September. We did finally get to have a proper visit in September when we sat and I traded her some nice Greek salad and our new September special (the creation of which had recently fallen to me) for some of her mango chutney. I think I got the better end of that deal. Maybe she knew it, too, because I didn't see or hear from her for several months afterwards. Karma got me back when Dan asked me to help paint his house. Well, no, not really, that was actually quite a bit of fun. My birthday also falls in September and was the surprise "welcome back" party I never had, organized as always by my way too thoughtful sister Nicole. Friends, family, and well, I guess what else is there, all came out and I have to admit to being genuinely surprised. I opened the kitchen door and saw a table of friends so I went to say hello to them. As I did so, I heard everyone say surprise and I widened my focus and realized the whole bar was full of people I knew. A better birthday gift I couldn't have asked for.

I also started work in September, and of course the summer winding down puts a hamper on things, so there's little to say from here on out (lucky you!). Most significantly were the weddings of two of my good friends, Dan and Darren. At the former I wound up videographer (leave it to Dan to delegate everything!) and it was a great time at the Top of the Inn, complete with fireworks courtesy of the Saskatoon Fireworks Festival. At Darren's wedding, I was the loudmouth who, upon missing a close putt by a large distance (to get the bride and groom to kiss), walked briskly to the ball, and strode back well off the putting green to a place where nobody could've expected me to sink it. Darren loudly proclaimed that if I made the putt from there, I could kiss the bride. I tested the wind and putted it straight in to huge laughter and applause then strode directly to his new wife, Chrissy, as though to collect my winnings, and then shook his hand instead. I don't know if this or the Russian dancing was the highlight of the wedding for him, but given my involvement, it was definitely one of them.

October I attended Gene Hattori's farewell party. Gene is, though he would deny it, one of the best photographers in Canada and someone I feel privileged to have known and been friends with. He has moved to Ontario to live closer to Marcie and the grandkids but we still see him from time to time. And he always had time to look through my endless photos and offer insight into things I was doing well and things I could look for. My sister Larissa also took off to work at a resort in Puerto Vallarta. It was luckily only a six month term, so it wasn't too hard saying goodbye. I suppose I've also gotten better at the goodbyes after my ridiculously large part trips. Plus I knew I'd visit her soon, so at most it would be three or four months. Aside from that, I was one of the many who went as Joker for Halloween after finding a purple trenchcoat at Value Village. I did my own makeup and, if I do say so myself, I did a great job. I also practiced that lip-licking OCD thing he did in the movie to the point that I was genuinely freaking people out which is always fun.

I'm sure that there was at least one interesting event in November, but for the life of me I can't think of one. December, too. It was a lot more Christmasy with snow and friends and family around, though I won't say that I didn't love my boxing day party in Australia. On a boat in 40+ degree weather wearing a swimsuit and santa hat, drinking champagne and fine wines and eating incredible food. Nicole hosted Christmas this year though thankfully Grandma and Grandpa did the cooking. And then it was time to gear up for New Year's Eve, always a fun party to have. This year we did a red carpet theme complete with limo (well, it became Escalade but that's another story) pickup and paparazzi shooting everyone as they arrived and throughout the night. Yep, I was the paparazzi. It was a great night and I really think that everyone there, working or not, had a lot of fun. A fitting cap to a great year.

View Photos from The Return Home
View Folkfest Photos
View New Year's Eve Photos

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