welcome to 2008

santa's in the hoodthe Gregorian calendar year came and went without much of a fuss this year—much like last year, when I was holed up in Winnipeg watching movies, I spent the fateful moment with friends (Tassnim, Basim and Rhetta) watching DVDs and eating pie and ice cream.

After a short visit with brother Gabriel and his family to bring them soup and good cheer, my parents dropped me off at Catherine’s place to feed her cat while she’s away in Vancouver. No sooner had I broken out the kibble than the windows began to rattle, resounding with the clatter of an early-evening fireworks show. I dashed downstairs, across a church courtyard and into the streets of downtown, following the noise and the lights into the back lot of the Supreme Court building, which offers a most beautiful view of the Ottawa River and was the perfect place to see the entire display of fire and light. It was a very impressive display, put together to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Ottawa’s designation as the capital city of Canada back in 1857. Several people remarked—to my agreement—that the fireworks display was more impressive than most Canada Day fireworks, what with the entire span of the Alexandra Bridge outfitted with fireworks shooting left, right and centre, reminiscent of the millennial fireworks in Sydney, Australia I remember seeing on television back on New Year’s Eve 1999.

The fireworks were over by 7:30 PM, and I mosied across the downtown to catch a bus towards Blackburn Hamlet, and to pick up pies along the way as gifts to the night’s hosts. I took the chance that Perkins would be open on New Year’s Eve, and they were—lucky thing too, every other bakery in town would have been closed. Two pies later, I bussed it to Blair station and caught a free Airport cab (???) from there to “The Towers”, as we affectionately called them—to visit a family I met during my involvement in the outreach project in Blackburn this past summer. There, I was greeted warmly with hugs, and the pie was warmly greeted with oohs and ahhs. They (Rob and Jen) had invited lots of people, so lots of stuff was happening all over the house: texas hold’em poker downstairs, with lots of chips and munchies; kids playing upstairs, boys playing crash-em-up car games on the PS2 and the girls doing (whatever, I didn’t check actually). The overall plan was to stay up ’til the stroke of midnight counting down the new year, and then hit the sack right away. I left a little early, but not before paying the family rats a visit in the basement—yes, apart from owning two cats, they also own a brood of friendly rats that hang around in a homemade (well-constructed—Rob is a good woodworker) wooden cage. What an awesome family eh?

Around 10:45 PM, after a short cab ride with an insightful and engaging taxi driver who was used to giving compassionate advice to drunken customers, I ended up at the Moradipour’s during the tail end of… oh which movie was it now… oh yeah, Stomp the Yard. Nice dancing (stepping, rather). Once that was done, we immediately broke out the pie and ice cream and began watching Music and Lyrics, which was a clever and funny little movie. I found out that Basim is a great person to watch movies with, because she heckles them about as much as I do. Partway through the movie, we realized we had completely missed the New Year’s countdown, which wasn’t such a big deal anyway IMHO—except that apparently the New Year’s ball in Times Square is now energy-efficient. Oh well—you can always see it drop on Youtube. Anyway, after the movie was over, we stuck around chatting for a while—mostly about weddings, since the Moradipours had just come back from a wedding in Toronto. I boggled, as I always do, at the close connectedness of their large family—they regularly stay in contact with all their aunts, uncles, first and second cousins and their families, and are invited to all the weddings and similar occasions, which blows my narrow-minded North American vision of the nuclear family right out of the water.

The night ended at around 3:30 for me, which is when I got home. I stayed up for another hour or so working on a few blog entries because my mind was just swarming with ideas that I wanted to write down. I think I have a bit of a headache now—must be lack of sleep and water. I better do some nice yoga and prepare to get up early tomorrow morning—gotta go back to work again… sigh. short holiday is short.

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