April is tax time. Like many Canadians, I spent last Sunday tallying receipts and filling in spreadsheets, my head spinning from all the calculations. But doing your taxes involves much more than numbers. The process brings on a weird sense of nostalgia: through those slips of paper, you revisit the experiences of your past year, or in this case, your past life.
The year 2020 is neatly bisected. For the first two and a half months, my records show business as usual: gas and Uber receipts for trips to work; restaurant bills for meetings; payments for hosting or speaking at events.
And then — bam — it stops. No more travel and entertainment receipts. Instead, there are sudden home-office expenses — an ergonomic chair and standing desk. The credit card switches from airline points to grocery points. Electricity bills start rising because the whole family is at home.
One envelope in particular gave me pause. It had the receipts from my last trip abroad, in January 2020. The destination: India. I spent 10 days in the country, at an international conference in Delhi, followed by a tour of the Golden Triangle.