Saturday, 19 October 2013

Canadian Thanksgiving: The Ely Edition

It’s a sign that I’m getting back to a good mental place when we start having dinner parties again. There is a part of me that cares what people think, much as I try to crush this for all the insecurities it whispers, so it’s taking a lot of mental effort to ignore that the house is nowhere near the state I like it to be in when we have people over. By this I mean:        

  • we may be in our thirties, but this is still a student household and so we live like the vagrant students we are – most of my nice stuff, like my wedding china or our art collection, is back in Canada.
  •  as per above, and because our old student accommodation was furnished and no one outside the university will rent a furnished place to people with children, we have almost no furniture
  • our flat has NO STORAGE (the only closet houses the boiler & has no extra room for anything else), and I didn’t want to invest a tonne of money into buying wardrobes and dressers, so everything is just out there. Or in boxes. And with Walter rampaging around, we live in a state of constant clutter because he helpfully rearranges all the rooms all the time.
  • we live in a two bedroom flat, but David works from home & needs an office, so I have a sitting room/bedroom, and there’s no real “living room” anymore
Our lives are in a transition phase, which is why living like this works for now (and I try to keep my house-envy under control), but I feel a twinge whenever people come over, like I need explain why things are the way they are. Then I think about one of my best friends who used to host upwards of five people in her bedroom for Sunday lunch when she was a student, and how it never mattered if people were perched all over the place because the fun was that we were all together and it was always “the more the merrier”, and I think that as I’ve aged I’ve started caring a bit too much about things being materially-acceptable, and that I should just get over it. I don’t want to start caring about appearance & possessions more than I care about people.

Long preamble complete. Thesis Madness is over and Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend was the nearest holiday. We like to keep up with our Canadian holidays, so it seemed like an opportune time to invite some of our oldest British friends over: Emma & Rob. They used to live downstairs from us at St Regis, and they were the first people David really got to know when he moved here. They have been excellent friends to us over the years, even providing David with a place to stay for nearly three weeks when he had to return to Cambridge last December. 

We even spent our first UK Halloween with them -- this is at the Clare MCR Halloween Formal
 We had a lovely time. It was so nice to see grownups again! Walter and Emily behaved beautifully – there was only one time-out and minimal baby fussing. I managed to do the cooking without stressing myself out (so, so thankful I pushed myself to do all the prep the night before), David got the flat cleaned and fairly de-cluttered, and it was a warm and cozy evening. 

I was too busy chasing children & visiting to take a picture of the spread, so here is a picture of my ingenuity in creating a chip & dip plate from one of Walter's suction bowls & my special sandwich plate.

And besides all that stuff, Emma & Rob made an amazing pecan pie (which was nuts & chocolate in a pastry shell, so what’s not to love). They also obliged us by taking pictures of our family:

And, of course & most importantly, the things I am thankful for:

  • my babies. The children may make me question my sanity on a daily basis, but they also remind me to relax, to take life as it comes even if it doesn’t follow The Plan, and to find joy in my surroundings. Besides, there is nothing like a Walter-giggle or Emily-grin to chase away any fear or gloom.
  • my husband. Not only does he do amazing things (like complete his PhD on the University’s timeline requirements while also raising two babies, including full-time-parenting while I was back at work), but he understands me in all my moods, always is looking for fun things for us to do as a family, spoils me on a near-daily basis, and is the only human on the planet that my little introvert self can stand to be around 24-7.
  • the roof over our heads. This time last year we had no idea where we’d be living or what we’d be doing and it is just nice to have a place to call home again.
  • my family. I am thankful that I have a family whom I get along with. We don’t have fights or intrigues. I can trust my brother, which is something so easy to take for granted until you start hearing horror stories of how some siblings act. My inlaws are like a second family, which is such a blessing.
  • my friends. I am so thankful that I have real, true-blue friends. Friends I can count on. Friends I can be honest with. Friends who stick by me, who don’t judge me, and who don’t use me.
  • simple pleasures. I am thankful for all the little things – for long walks in the fens, for the view of a medieval cathedral from our apartment windows, for the changing seasons. Every day brings something new & beautiful if I stop worrying long enough to look for it. Although it would be nice to lose a lot of the current stress, having it just means we need to be creative in finding new ways to see happiness & joy.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the kind words LeAnna, we had a great time - kids, food and your company all excellent.