Happy firsts

Dear Readers and Writers,

I hope you are healthy and safe wherever you are. I honestly don’t know what happened to November, and we’re already halfway through December. Is December the month when you look back at the year as a whole? Concerning the mistakes you made, are you someone that says:

I should’ve done it differently,” or “I will do it differently next year?”

My partner and I aren’t doing Christmas gifts this year, except that our little golden retriever will get some chews and a new Kong toy. We’re also debating whether to have another turkey since Canadian Thanksgiving was only two months ago. We got my partner a decent size Christmas tree because he wanted a festive environment during times like these. I used to look forward to Christmas until I was sixteen.

Calgary has been mild in the past few weeks; we’ve had quite a few chinook winds that caused strangely warm temperatures and pressure changes that triggered headaches. I never had those before, but I seem to have gotten more sensitive over the years. Some people here would keep a pressure radar and take a Tylenol when they suspect a migraine is creeping up. I take CBD.

When I came here on a work and holiday visa seven years ago, I didn’t understand all that much about continental climates, and my sense of geography was off (I thought Vancouver was within a few hours’ drive away). I was a curious young adult leaving behind a life in London because I wanted to cover all the Commonwealth countries and be somewhere where I could continue to speak, write and think in English. I had a fascination with Calgary for no explicable reason. (The only time I ever visited was in 1998 when my sister, mum and I saw my relatives in Vancouver. We went on a motorcoach trip to Banff and the surrounding areas. My memory escapes me, and I have no recollection of Calgary.)

This piece of London Tube advertising did contribute to my decision to stop in Calgary, though.

London, January 2013 — I don’t even snowboard

Initially, my mum wanted me to stop in Vancouver first, but I refused. I wanted to go hike in the Rockies and be somewhere where I didn’t know anyone and make travel friends—be more outgoing and sociable and get over the fact that I’d left London. I’d felt home in Calgary ever since I got here. I’ve never stayed anywhere for that long, not to mention returned to the same place. Of course, you associate a place with memories, but most of all, you look at occurrences that have shaped you and turned you into a stronger person. I can name several towns that I associate with sadness and weakness. However, I’ve lived only in two places where I felt the exact opposite, and Calgary is one of them. When you write down a list of all your “happy firsts,” where did they all occur? And are you still in that place?

My novel was one of the happy firsts. To those of you that are still expecting a book from me, it should come before Christmas. I’m so sorry for the delay! Unfortunately, self-publishers in Canada have to deal with Amazon US because KDP isn’t available in Canada; therefore, book orders will be coming from the States. If you have a copy of my book, you’ll find out in the back pages where it was printed. Although Amazon’s print quality is good, I have noticed some defective appearances where the cuts aren’t straight, or the book has bumps due to poor packaging. I’m sorry if your copy appears that way. That’s one downside of using Amazon—you want things to be perfect, but you can’t guarantee it as each printing department is different. However, as a self-publisher, you have absolute control over the publication, sales and marketing. Therefore, I try not to complain.

Anyway, I hope the content will pay off and that you enjoy it as a little Christmas gift.

All the best and stay safe.

Paula.

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