Things are very different. Better.
I worked at the bookstore until the end of January, then quit and moved back in with my parents. Not exactly what I'd envisaged for myself when I decided to take the year off, but what can you do. If anything, this year has been a huge learning experience.
So my move coincided with my parents' departure for Arizona, where they stayed for a month. The timing was convenient, actually, since it meant that I was left in peace to arrange my move (I technically had my place downtown until the end of February), unpack, and job-hunt.
Found (and prompty quit) a job at U-Haul. I won't even get into that.
The parents got back in early March and helped me figure out how to structure the next six months of my life. What I've decided is to forget about finding a good, temporary job because it's never going to happen. Instead I'm going to do my travelling in April instead of in May, which will allow me to work at the zoo from early May to late August. At least at the zoo I know what to expect...full hours, decent pay, good people, fun times. I'm actually looking forward to it. I was at my happiest last summer, so going back makes an awful lot of sense.
So there we go. I feel so much better about everything. It's astonishing, really, how much my attitude has changed. Things look very different from this angle. And that's a good thing.
I'm off to Europe from April 9th to May 8th, which I am very excited about. I haven't ironed out all the details yet, but it looks something like three days in Paris visiting my grandfather (who's turning 95...NINETY-FIVE!!!...this year), two days in Rennes at Trisha's, five days in Bremen at Kirsten's (which will include day trips to Hannover and Hamburg), four days at Ruth's in Dortmund (with day trips to Dusseldorf and Cologne), a day/night in Berlin, a few days at Meaghan's in Lund (+ day trips to Malmo and Copenhagen), a day or two in Stockholm before catching the ferry to Helsinki, where I'll spend the rest of my trip at Olli's (+ day trip to Tallinn, which is only an hour and half away). I'm trying to work Oslo into this equation, possibly on the way back to France. We shall see. I've given up on St.Petersburg, as the Russian government makes you jump through hoops to get a visa (not to mention shell out mucho dinero) and it's just not worth it for a two-day trip. Oh well.
I am VERY excited about seeing my Liverpool friends. Kim is going to take the train to Germany from Holland to see me. Not sure if Lisa can make it from Switzerland. But seeing Kim, Ruth, Kirsten and Olli is going to be fantastic. It's been way too long. I'm slightly worried that I'll be tempted to stay in Europe indefinitely. Which I could do, with my French citizenship. But let's not get distracted here. Halifax in September, right? Yes. I confirmed my acceptance and applied for residence, so it looks like I'm finally going to do it. A decisive, determined Julia is a good Julia.
OOOOH: Oh my God. I forgot to say that Deeja had her baby February 1st. I saw Aliyah a few days after she was born and she was adorable. So tiny. She's a month old now and I must see her soon, as she has surely grown a lot. I still can't believe that my best and oldest friend has a baby. I mean, I can remember us at 12 years old reading Tiger Beat and giggling over Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Jeezus.