Well, if you had said to me on New Years Eve 2013 that this time in 12 months we’ll have bought another house and be living in Canada, I would conclude you had drank too much babycham. In fact, up until early March, moving to Canada wasn’t even a thought on the distant horizon. Funny how things can take a significant turn over such a short space of time isn’t it?
It’s been a transformational few months – moving house, leaving England, buying cars, starting new schools, breaking bones – and we’re all loving the change that only true change brings. It’s easy to become comfortable with our new surroundings and my conclusion is that given time passes by in the blink of an eye, before we know it, our 3 years over here will be over and all the things we want to do, mean we’ve only achieved a small minority. With this in mind – we made a new years resolution to make the most of the opportunity we’ve been presented with and make sure the next 3 years in Canada is as memorable as possible.
So, we had an idea …..
We have a wall – a full length wall at that – in our kitchen which is a blackboard from floor to ceiling. We’ve bought some chalk and the plan over the next few days is to create a ‘Canadian Bucket List’ which we ‘chalk up’ and then ‘cross’ items off when we’ve achieved them. This has to be done collectively, and we’ve developed a set of rules to this ….
1. All list items must be things that can ‘only’ be done in Canada
2. Everyone (goat, 3 kids, 1 husband) collectively agree what goes on the list
3. Each person has a maximum of 2 additional things they can submit on to the list – almost like a joker card – for those items which may not get collective agreement
4. Items can be big and they can be small, but need to be ‘realistic’ and achievable
5. We focus on achieving all items on the list over the next 3 years and review progress each 12 months
So, before school and work starts again on Monday, we’ll be creating our list – and the excitement is brewing. This doesn’t mean though that the only things we concentrate on are our bucket items. Not at all. It shouldn’t prevent us from making the most of each day, our weekends, school holidays, and time spent with friends and family enthusiastic enough to visit us whilst we’re over here.
It started on New Years Eve. Our traditional celebrations with our best friends in England meant a change to our normal frivolities, and as new arrivals, we had been invited to spend the early part of our first New Years Eve in Canada with a family who live locally to us in Edmonton and had taken pity on us British expats. It was a mild night (luckily!) and at only -1, our walk from their house to the local park to witness fireworks was an enjoyable 20 min trek through the snow.
The fireworks were amazing (I haven’t been in Canada long enough yet for the word ‘awesome’ to be part of my everyday terminology), and truly superb. Not only that, but there was a tobogganing hill and the kids had gone complete with snow pants and toboggans at the ready. So, on a clear starry night, with snow on the ground, temperatures at a bearable sub-zero, and fireworks with every colour of the rainbow going off over the period of 25 mins above them, the kids tobogganed down the hill amidst whoops of joy and screams of enjoyment. How many times can you say that New Years Eve was this memorable and beautifically perfect? We were the last to leave the park having to the prise the kids away off the hill, and spent the entire remaining ‘Eve’ with our new-found friends.
It just goes to show that seizing opportunities as and when they present themselves – and creating them too, can take us in avenues we haven’t even dreamed of – and we’re better off for it too.
Here’s to 2015, and the creation of many more memories. We’ll have our bucket list in the next few days and I’ll let you know what makes it on there! If it’s anything like the last 12 months, I’m expecting and anticipating great things……
Happy New Year 🙂