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Hello blog readers,

Last year was my first Christmas away from Manitoba and all the family. I had a great time in Edinburgh with my friend from Shad Valley, Steven, and his family who adopted me for a week. But this year, I’m longing for perogies, crokinole tournaments, laughing relatives, giant bonfires, tobogganing, and the comfort of familiar faces.
Year in Review
The year started off with my last 4 months of school. I can’t believe it’s all over now. It took 5 years to finish, but now I have a Bachelor of Software Engineering and an Iron Ring on my pinkie. University was a great experience. I made some amazing friends, learned a lot, was able to travel around the world with co-op jobs, I set myself up nicely to get some full-time job offers, and I grew-up quite a bit. I’m done with school for now, but one day I might go back for a 2nd degree or a Master’s.

The highlight of the year was a 35 day backpacking trip through Europe. Right after my final Exam, I jetted off to London with Ben, one of my best-friends from Waterloo. We journeyed to Paris, Belgium, Nice, Cinque Terre, Florence, Rome, and Lake Como sampling the local culture, meeting other travellers, and generally having a great time. The motto of so many near disastrous encounters was “What’s the worst that could happen?” Unfortunately, the worst was Ben breaking his shoulder while mountain biking in Lake Como and having to fly back to Canada 2 weeks early. I finished off the trip alone, visiting Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Germany, and the Netherlands. I had fun and saw some amazing sights, but it wasn’t the same without Ben.

In June, I had the amazing honour of representing the Engineering class as Valedictorian at our convocation ceremony. It was particularly sweet to have my parents, my sisters, and Baba Coulson there to watch. They all made the trip down to see me graduate without even knowing I was giving a speech. That weekend in Waterloo was bitter-sweet. I said good-bye to a lot of close friends who I won’t see for a while. On the other hand, I saw two close friends get married the day after convocation.

Now I’m living in Vancouver, having recently accepted my first ever permanent, full-time position, as a developer at a big software company called Business Objects. Work is challenging and fun, and my co-workers are a blast. I deliberately sought a job in Vancouver because I wanted a green lifestyle with lots of recreational opportunities, and it hasn’t disappointed. I found an apartment downtown with Daniel, a co-worker and Waterloo grad. We’re close to everything and have an amazing view of the city and the ocean. I get around the city on my bike, take transit when I’m going long distances, and I’m a member of a car co-op for those times when I really need a vehicle. I’ve gone camping twice, and hiking a handful of times. I’m still in awe of the mountains and beautiful views around here. I also bought a snowboard and a ski pass to one of the local hills. I’m still a bit shaky on my board, but I’ve been up 4 times already this season and I get better every time.

The highlight of my time in Vancouver was meeting Emily. She’s amazing – strong, smart, beautiful, and has a passion for making the world a better place. We’ve been dating since July – lots of hiking, camping, lying on beaches, and exploring Vancouver’s vegetarian restaurants together. Lucky for her, but unfortunately for us, she was chosen for an internship with the West Africa Aids foundation in Accra, Ghana. So, she’s been gone since October and won’t be back until April, and then it’s uncertain if she’ll end up back in Vancouver or not. I’m still not sure what I did to scare her off and drive her half way across the world.

The only other big event that I can think of right now, was dislocating my shoulder in July. I did it playing Ultimate Frisbee, probably the gentlest sport around. It’s pretty much healed now, but it will never be 100%. I also found out a week ago that I’m going to need a new front tooth – maybe Santa will bring one. It’s already a fake, from an old baseball injury, but now it’s loose and deteriorating and I’ll need a full implant to replace it. Fun stuff.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas break and a Happy New Year. Take care,

Christopher Porter 🙂

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