So Annie and I made it through both my family and her family Christmas celebrations. Getting to Kingston was a total nightmare. Poor Annie white knuckled the drive the entire way from Georgetown to Kingston. The roads were icy, and people in Toronto are stupid about driving in such conditions. Many vehicles passed us as Annie continued to drive slow, safe and steady through the slush and increasingly heavy ice.
There were a few times in our trip where I had to get out of the car and clear off the windshield wipers so that Annie could see. They were both making loud noises, and becoming decreasingly effective at removing the build up in our view. At the last major gas station exit before Kingston, every vehicle around us exited off the highway. Annie and I traded looks, and Annie confided in me later that she wondered if they knew something we didn’t. As the rain pelted down and froze, we both constantly considered pulling off and staying somewhere for the night, but the reports were that it was only going to get worse over the next day or so, and we saw signs showing that we were getting ever closer.
The three and a half hour drive took us six hours to complete. Arriving in Kingston, I was exhausted, so I can only imagine how tired Annie was.
As a family, we all went to see the second Hobbit movie. Mark, Carly and my grandma were definitely missed, but it was probably the largest showing of my family at a movie that I’ve ever gone to. On Sunday we had a nice family gathering at my Aunt Nancy’s place, where we got to meet her new boyfriend, eat some food, play some card games, and take it easy. It was really nice, and I enjoyed it. After a few more days at my aunt’s, hanging out with Kyle and Serina, it was time to go. Using over half an hour of effort, it took the Kyle, Annie and I to get her car out of the driveway.
Coming back from Kingston wasn’t so bad, but to avoid some of the crazy traffic mess, we decided to go on highway 7, which is a bit slower and longer, but I think Annie and I had a good time taking that way back. We noticed as we approached Georgetown, that there were still many people with power out due to the ice storm. Thankfully, my apartment had its power back before we arrived home.
We then had the Christmas celebration with Annie’s family, and it was amazing as well. Lots of food, company, conversation. It was really nice. One special thing that Annie’s family does is a Secret Santa draw, since there are so many people in her family. I got one of Annie’s nieces, and gave her a huge make-up brush set as she had asked for in her wish list. Somehow, Annie’s brother got me for the second year in a row, and purchased something outside of the allowed budget: a lighting kit. Three stands, three lights, two umbrellas and a bag to carry it all.
Annie went back to my apartment, picked up my camera, and I did an impromptu photo booth at her sister’s place. It was a lot of fun. I took some shots of whomever wanted to sit in front of the camera and giggled like a child as I tried to figure out how to use my new equipment. I am super grateful for all the time and gifts I received, but this one really played into my passions and lifted my spirits. Buying a lighting kit was something that I expected to slowly piece together over the next two years or so, and to have it all at once, ready to use, it was really exhilarating.
I had an amazing Christmas. I am so grateful for the wonderful job I have, the family, my fiancee and my friends. I am looking forward to 2014, and I feel so blessed.