For me, it's not so easy. Those who know me well know that I'm a 40-year old trapped in a young adult's body. In other words, I'm a serious one. I focus on school work and work work and procrastinating against house work. To be fair, I'm also pretty lazy about actually leaving the house - especially if it involves walking in the cold or at night. Plus, although I'm a late sleeper and riser, I'm very much a homebody. I may not go to bed for 4 hours, but ideally, I like being home by 10 PM. Told you I was an old soul!
All of this to say that I haven't really been taking the time to socialise and enjoy Kingston. Ironically, I think I've seen less of my favourite spots in Kingston since I moved here than in the (total of) 3 weeks or so that I'd previously visited the city. It's sad, I know.
Part of this was getting used to a new environment and remembering all my academic studying tips. Part of it is also my cautiousness when it comes to making friends. I may appear to be an extrovert, but truly, deep down, I'm very much an introvert! And as my friend Mehnaz said so well in this post, introverts tend to be slightly invisible due to their choices. That's certainly how I've been feeling in relation to the other people in my Grad programme, though by no fault of their own! I'm just not a partygoer, and I don't spend a lot of time at school because I work better from home. Understandably, I haven't formed strong bonds with most anybody.
Last week, something changed in me. Maybe it's because I felt more at ease with my workload and the material we've been covering in class. Maybe it's because it's the end of the semester and I just needed to get out. Either way, I decided to jump feet first into socialising and attend Kingston's annual Nighttime Santa Claus Parade. There would be no excuses, even if it was going to be dark and the forecast read COLD! And boy, did I have fun! Parades are always great because you can really get into the celebration as each float goes by, and seeing the excitement in the eyes of the little kids attending really enhances the experience for me. Plus, this one was filled with Christmas cheer and pretty lights - two of my favourites, especially at this time of the year!
I had a wonderful time. To top it all off, a friend and I finally dined at The Tango Restaurant, which I've been dying to return to ever since I checked out their online menu - and their new cocktail list. The whole night sparkled with winter magic and the late walk home was refreshing and invigorating.
Last night, I continued the trend of actually enjoying myself in my town and went out with some of the girls from our programme following our bi-weekly Grad Seminar. Once again, I had a great time, full of stimulating conversation that wasn't argumentative, and laughter! This casual hanging-out made me realise the importance of spending time with others to build bonds. Facebook and school work is nice and all, but they don't spawn friendships. And how else am I going to break out of my introvert shell? My walk home was full of inner smiles and feelings of "I should do this more often."
This time, hopefully, I'll stick to that thought.
PS: Happy Thanksgiving to all my US friends!