We said it was going to be cold – like really cold – like pack only warm clothes and then some more kinda cold. But you still imagine that a cottage must be warmer than the unprotected air outside, until you get there.

It was cold – like pretty cold – like it was definitely colder than the air outside and the floor itself felt a lot like walking on ice. But then probably 5 hours later when our bodies were tired from shovelling snow off the roof, building fires, and setting up mattresses in front of the fire place we were sitting scattered on the floor and god, it was so warm.

I’d say we went away for my cousins birthday, but sometimes I call her my cousin and feel like the word doesn’t do the friendship justice. We went away for my cousin’s – I mean best-friend’s – I mean other-half’s birthday, to the cottage our family’s share, with some of our very most favourite people and now I’m going to miss falling asleep a little chilly but by their side.

My cottage is definitely in my top ten favourite places on earth, and always will be. It carries an endless list of mismatched memories and I am thankful for each and every one, and thoroughly enjoyed adding the past few days to the list.

We sat around in a circle by the old wood fire place, her birthday cake in the middle, glasses of wine in hand, with a list of things we were thankful for about her falling off our lips and spoken through waves of laughter. We talked boys, sex, politics, and friendship endlessly, and reminisced over the past several years with hearts that clutched to our most cherished memories.

We also roughed it – spent a few days melting snow on the stove to fill buckets of water so that we could flush a toilet in a cottage that had absolutely no running water in the winter. We lived off hand sanitizer and recited How To Be Single’s line, “What am I, a surgeon?” to shrug off the lack of personal hygiene. And honestly, none of us minded the lifestyle despite being thankful for the beauty that can be found in a Walmart bathroom before heading home.

I like drinking wine on the floor with my friends, and popping champagne over a frozen lake and making mimosas to drink in the snow. I like the way it feels to curl up with some of your favourite people and swap who gets to make the food for different meals. I love the way it feels when your stomach hurts from laughing at something somebody said, and the look you share with somebody else when somebody says something slightly stupid but definitely funny – and we had a lot of that.

I wish I could live in specific moments for a little while longer – or relive them, but not change a single thing. I wish they didn’t go by so quickly. And it terrifies me, sometimes. That everything becomes a memory far too quickly and one day you find yourself reminiscing over things and the details have become blurred. I don’t want this to fade – I don’t want to stop remembering the little things. But I am so thankful that they happen – that I can share one of my favourite places with some of my favourite people to celebrate a friends birthday and the fact that we can all be under the same roof for a little while.

Now, my arms are sore from trying to climb the roof of the cottage to get the snow off – and falling off several times. Most of us are sick or fighting a cold from probably being too cold and a lack of proper sleep. And while I am thankful for having a toilet that flushes and the way my skin feels after a bath or simply washing my hands, I will miss being chilly and unsanitary with those girls tonight.

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