Late September at our cabin on Bulpit Lake near Bancroft, Ontario.

Late September at our cabin on Bulpit Lake near Bancroft, Ontario.

Autumn in Toronto this year is beautiful. For most of October, it has been unseasonably and wonderfully warm. The air is full of a crisp freshness; the ground smells of damp leaves. We slip into cozy coats and snack on apples.

Having been a student or in training for more years than I care to think about, my life still follows the annual rhythm of the school calendar. Fall has always been a bit melancholic – a time to put away the carefree mentality of the summer, to re-organize and re-centre and prepare for the arc of the academic year ahead. But that’s why, to me, fall – even more than spring – has always felt so full of possibility.

We have been back in Canada for more than a month now. We have been wrapped up in love by our families and friends and communities. We’ve started work again. We’ve found a place to live.

It is good to be home.

Grandma and Mom showing us our wedding "guestbook" -  the comforter they made of the pieces of fabric that our wedding guests signed.

Grandma and Mom showing us our wedding “guestbook” – the comforter they made of the pieces of fabric we had our guests sign at our wedding.

Gary and Allan set up outdoors for our deep-fry party - the last dinner we will ever eat at the Siu cottage.

Gary and Allan set up outdoors for the last dinner we will ever eat at the Siu cottage: a deep-fry party (yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. On the menu: bloomin’ onions, corn dogs, calamari, dumplings, spring rolls, doughnut holes and more.).

I have not forgotten about this blog, and it seems that you have not, either. I was surprised how many people told me they kept up with us while we were away by reading our posts. Many of you have also checked in since Allan last posted pictures of our hike at the beginning of September.

I’ve come across a lot of blogs that have just fizzled out or stopped abruptly, like it was abandoned mid-story and now just floats out there on the Internet for everyone and no one to see. I didn’t want The Honey Year to be like that. I wanted it to have a proper end, though I’ve been dragging my heels until now. I kept thinking that I didn’t have the time or space to write; I’m not sure if I just wasn’t ready to yet.

Croatia: the last leg of the honey year.

Croatia: the last leg of the honey year.

A common question we get asked now that we’re back is some variation of “Does it feel like you never left?” or “Does it seem like it was all just a dream?” The answer, surprisingly, is that often it does feel like that, mostly an artifact of life being so full right now that we don’t often think or talk about our time in London. But, like a dream, there is this vague sense, even as we go about our new daily routines, of a not-too-distant time when we felt deliriously happy and unburdened, when life was simple and carefree.

Someone asked us too if we thought we were reflecting on our time through rose-coloured glasses; Allan quipped back that we were quite aware of how rosy things were while we were there! And it’s true. We would often look at each other out of the blue, blink in disbelief and declare a hearty “Honey year!” Or jokingly say to each other, “It’s not fair,” pretending to sympathize with others whose lives were not ours. We were always cognizant of our precious, fleeting time.

What I know now, and what I think we knew all along, was that our honey year wasn’t made awesome by all the travel we did, or even by living in London. Instead, it was extraordinary because it was about the two of us, starting a life together, being a family in a foreign place, having our own home, gifted with the time to nurture a new marriage unencumbered by jobs, cars, a mortgage, caring for children, caring for parents – things that we, nonetheless, do hope one day to be encumbered by. We treasured every day of the honey year because we knew that this perfect convergence of elements would never come again.

And so, we find ourselves back in “real life,” faced with tough grown-up decisions like, where do we want to live? Should we rent or buy? Is there more schooling for us in the future? What’s next for our careers? And do we want to expand our family? If so, what will this mean for where we live, whether we rent or buy, going back to school and advancing our careers?

Thanksgiving brunch: watching our friends' babies practice their downward dogs.

Thanksgiving brunch: watching our friends’ babies practice their downward dogs.

We are back, and we’ve settled back into our lives happily. The honey year has come to an end and so too has this blog. Thank you for journeying with us. I debated continuing to write and post pictures about our life but Allan and I decided we should keep the blog to its original purpose: a self-contained journal of our first year of marriage. I do hope to keep writing in some form. I may be forced to join Facebook soon so keep your eyes peeled.

We’re planning to move into an apartment soon, and, realizing that buying things for a house is expensive, it occurred to me that normal people use their wedding gifts as a way to furnish their new homes; meanwhile, Allan and I instead blew all of our wedding presents last year on tuition, rent, and travel in Europe. I don’t care. I’d rather have memories of our honey year than all the stuff in the world. Because little things will remind me of London and my heart leaps instinctively with reminiscent joy. I hope that never changes.

Here’s to living the honey life.