I had book club last night. This month we celebrated our one year anniversary. For me it feels like more than a year because I almost forget what it was like to not have these ladies in my life. I started the book club because I thought it would be a way to try to meet more people. Up until then, I had one friend in this country. My closest English friend, Angela. She reads as much as I do and she was immediately on board. She invited friends who also invited friends and before we knew it, we had a group of eight. Three of the original members quickly dropped out, but have since been replaced twice over. We have a group of twelve now (although never have all twelve at the same meeting). It's a wonderful group of woman and a great group of friends. Book club goes like this: We meet once a month. The hostess discusses the book she chose in her home. There is always a list of questions prepared ahead of time for discussion starters and the hostess provides food and the members bring a bottle (that's where the after party comes in). The book discussions vary in length, although there have been times we hardly touched upon the book at all, but it all depends how good the book was that month. The rest of the night is considered the after party and which we spend drinking and having fun. We start at 8:00 and the latest the party has lasted has been until around 2:00AM. It's been known to get a bit rowdy at times or it can be quiet and chatty. I would say that most of the members hate to miss Book Club. We are all Moms (with the exception of our newest & youngest member who was born the same year I graduated high school) and for some of us, it's our one night a month to let our hair down and have a good time. In book club we discuss our lives - the big and small stuff. We have made each other laugh and at times we've shared a few tears and through it all we have become a big group of friends and I'm proud to say that even though it's a large group of woman, there has never been a falling out or catty behavior. This year I had the first birthday party since I moved to this country (nearly 8 years ago). Angela had it at her house and there were fourteen people there - fourteen people I know and like. Fourteen people who wanted to come to celebrate my birthday. It was a fabulous night. I go out to lunch now and then too with various people. I have play dates and coffee mornings and get invited to parties and it's all thanks to book club. Book club really did change my life. Don't get me wrong, I still don't have a full social calendar. I don't see many of the girls outside book club very often at all, but I have friends. I have one night a month where I get a multitude of hugs when I walk into the room and always feel they are genuine and welcoming and for the first time since this move, I no longer feel out of place in a crowd.
I quit smoking when I moved to the UK, mainly because I promised my husband I would. I did it for him, but not because I wanted to. I enjoyed smoking. I missed it, but quit successfully for many years until I went through a stressful time and started again. My relapse lasted over a year. The whole time, I was ashamed of myself. I hated the smell. I hated how I felt, I hated the health risks and I hated my lack of willpower. I've known a few people who have tried e-cigarettes. I was a skeptic. I thought it was going from one habit to another. The people I knew that tried it, always had it and were constantly sucking on it. It seemed to me they were more addicted to it then they were cigarettes. I don't know any smokers that constantly had a cigarette in their hand. Then in January, I saw a piece about it on the BBC News. I watched with interest thinking they were going to say that they have found it to be harmful. What they said was quite the o