Merry Christmas Everyone! I seem to be loving song lyrics lately, but I hope you all are having a lovely holiday so far! It’s been great so far for me!
My family and I decided months ago that we would join my sister in Toronto for Christmas this year instead of her having to make the treck home, and I’m so glad we did! The parents chose to drive to Toronto as it is cheaper, we know the route well and they wanted to surprise my sister Amy by bringing a few things for her apartment.
Amy went to school in Ontario when she was 18 and has now lived in Toronto working as an interior designing for 8 years. She has come home every Christmas and has been well versed in holiday travel. From snow storms to cancellations and delays, she’s done it all. When I asked her if she was happy about not having to do it this year, she said it felt weird and that she kind of missed it because it’s what she is used to! Such an easy going gal! : )
So with all my luggage for Sweden, my parents stuff, our Christmas gifts, and Amy’s mirror in the trunk, we had to pack the rest of our stuff in the back seat with my sister Allison and me! Al has to put her suitcase at her feet, my backpack and parents stuff were at my feet and then Amy’s bedside table that used to be at my grandmother’s house, was in the middle on the floor of the car. Did I mention we also had our dachshund Winnie in tow? It was very squishy! But we made the most of it!
On Friday the 20th, we drove as far as Fredericton New Brunswick, which is about a 4 and a half hour drive from Halifax. We stayed with my mother’s sister for the night and it was very cozy!
The next day we got up at 6:30 am and were on our way by 7. We drove as far as Edmunston which is about a three hour drive from Fredericton. Winnie was so excited! She always has to be in the front seat so she can see out the window! When we stopped for coffee at Tim Hortons, she wanted to go out and sniff!
It was so stormy it was hard to see the lines that indicated the space of the lane. So sometimes Dad would hit the side of the road indicator, and it would make a loud noise and vibrate the whole car. After a few times of this I yelled out to dad “Dad stop it tickles my bum!” Well it does! My family laughed at that remark.
After our pit stop we continued to Quebec. It was very snowy and slushy the whole drive, but we managed fine! We stopped outside Quebec City for some gas.
We then continued for a few hours until we hit Cornwall ,Ontario. By the time we made it to Cornwall we had driven for ten hours! Mom had booked a hotel in Cornwall a few weeks ago, so it was all ready to go! So as soon as we got to our room we quickly dropped off our stuff (and Winnie) and went out for supper.
We went to an Italian restaurant called Casa Paolo and it was delicious! My parents and sister all had a different kind of pasta and I had Gnocchi! We were so thirsty we drank about two pitchers of water! I even got to save some gelato, yum!
When we left the restaurant to go back to the hotel it was starting to get very stormy (we had made it just in time!). When we went back to the hotel, mom and al went for a swim in the indoor pool and dad and I relaxed. Winnie was so excited!!
The next day we left at around 10 am and continued for 4 hours to Toronto!
We only made one stop at an ONROUTE station.
When we got to the city, there was so much destruction from the storm! Power was out to thousands of people and there were trees and other debris everywhere. We were able to drive to Amy no problem though.
This Christmas we lucked out with accommodations! Amy’s boyfriend Tate was spending Christmas this year with us, and when Tate’s family decided to go away for Christmas, his aunt offered her house to us! The house is connected to an underground parking lot and also has a pool and sauna that is shared with an apartment complex, so it is very nice!
So when we got to the house, we unpacked and ordered Sushi for supper (Thanks Tate!).
We knew we were in for an interesting Christmas when Amy told us she and Tate were looking after Tate’s family dog and his cousin’s cat! So in addition to Winnie we had quite the zoo! Winnie had never encountered a cat before so she was very curious and would not leave the cat alone! They all learned to cohabitate though.
The cat was a little difficult to contain when there was food around. We had to put all food in the kitchen and close the doors or it would eat it! It ate through a Dorito’s bag and even Winnie’s dog food bag! Mom called him garbage guts! He is very cute though.
After our lovely sushi dinner we had some champagne, played a card game called concentration and relaxed for the rest of the night!
On the 23rd, we got up and had breakfast and then went to Amy and Tate’s apartment so Amy could get a few things done. We didn’t have internet or cable tv at the house because of the storm, but amy’s place did, so we made the drive to downtown and got to see her place!
We then went out for lunch and had pho! Delicious. Amy says it’s the best for fighting colds. It’s basically noodles with meat and the flavour is so good. I shared a beef pho with Amy!
Afterwards we went and got groceries. My family realized that this was the first time we all got groceries together ever! Milestone!
The grocery store was the most amazing store I had ever seen. It had so much stuff!
We bought a lot of yummy things for the week!
When we got back to the house, we made rauppie pie! It’s a traditional Acadian dish we make on special occasions. It is mostly dehydrated potatoes with chicken and seasoned with chicken broth and salt and pepper. For some it’s an acquired taste. But we love it!
Tate’s friends came by for a visit and they even tried some rauppie pie and liked it! Success!
After supper we played a game of “Things”. The premise of this game is to write down for example “things you wouldn’t say to your inlaws” and people have to guess who said what. It can be hilarious at times!
Afterwards we chatted and soon went to bed.
On Christmas eve we got up and went for a swim in the pool and went in the sauna! Amazing. Afterwards we went shopping on Yonge, which was nice!
We got back to the house and relaxed for the rest of the day until Tate’s Nonna (Italian for grandmother) came to make us a terrific Italian supper! She made three types of fish, two pastas, brussel sprouts and scallop potatoes.
She said it wasn’t even her best! But it definitely was! For dessert she brought Tiramisu and we made a oreo log cake. The log cake is just Mr. Christie wafers with whip cream. When Nonna talked on the phone to her family who is away for Christmas, she was telling them what we had for supper and dessert. She said “we had tiramisu and log!” We laughed so hard.
Later on we went to midnight mass at a beautiful church and it was a very nice service. When we got home we went right to bed!
Christmas! Yay! We had a great Christmas day this year. We got up and lazed around for the morning. We watched AFV (America’s Funniest Home Videos) Christmas special and then opened our gifts afterward.
We weren’t doing big gifts this year but we all had little things for each other. This year, I bought a piano trio for me and my sisters to learn, got a protein hair treatment for mom, framed a poem I wrote for dad, and I also wrote a story about Winnie that I had bound. A little silly, but I wrote a book in Winnie’s point of view about her trip to Toronto. My family loved it! I had spent three weeks writing and drawing all the pictures for the book, and it was a total of 27 pages!\
For Christmas I got a lot of great things! Earmuffs, books, gloves, candy, socks, lotion, earrings and a travel kit! Very practical for Sweden!
For Christmas dinner we went to Tate’s other aunt’s house. We had an amazing turkey dinner with so much food! We all chatted and played games together and it was a nice time!
When we got home we relaxed some more and watched the mask movie. I went on facebook to see people’s updates. We had a bet this Christmas to see how many people would get engaged because it seems to be the time of year that many people do get engaged! We had 7 in total! Congrats to everyone!!!
On boxing day we went to Amy’s friends house for a nice lunch! She has family that live in Sweden and funny enough close to Jonkoping! So I chatted on skype with them, and they said they would love to meet me sometime!
After we ate, we had some music therapy. The husband is a violinist and he played his violin while we played piano. Their daughter even played her guitar. It sounded wonderful!
We left at around supper time so we could make it in time for our play! Dad had bought us tickets to Aladdin the musical for Christmas and it was an amazing play! Probably the best musical I have ever seen! They sang the Disney songs from the movie and even had a few original songs as well. The dancing and singing was so good. What a talented bunch!
After the play we walked to Amy’s and Tate’s to get the car, and the walk was so nice! We saw the CN tower lit up, walked by the beautiful skating rink, and even went through the Eaton Center! I have never been to Toronto at christmas time so it was so nice to see the decorations and all the lights.
When we got home it was about 10:30 pm, so we hung out and I said goodbye to mom, dad and Winnie as they were leaving to drive back home the next day. Allison is flying to meet up with her boyfriend’s family for new years in Massachussets and I am flying from Toronto to Sweden so they were having a more spacious car for this trip!
I wasn’t too sad to say goodbye to my parents and dog, as I know it won’t be for too long. Thank goodness for skype!
So now today we have just gotten up a couple hours ago and are now hanging out for the day! I can’t believe I leave on Wednesday for Sweden. The year has gone by so fast! This time last year I was just deciding if I was going to apply to go abroad. It’s amazing how far I’ve come. I can’t wait to start my adventure to Sweden. I bet you can’t wait either! You will finally have interesting things to read ; )