A true european Christmas: drinks, friends, german food and a bachelor party
2008 will be a rollercoaster. Organizing a wedding is a complicated process enough, and if you had to the list of things to the purchase of a house, the mortgage (here known as bond), the setup costs etc.., you can get the point.
This is why I tried to enjoy my break in Europe as much as possible.
I left South Africa on an evening flight, hoping to get enough crap movies to avoid spending the night up. I wasn't too lucky, the video on demand service was way too good and I ended up watching Bourne Ultimatum , the Simpsons Movie and Transformers on my way to England.
I landed in a crispy London Morning and I realized how much my body has changed over the past months.
Only 12 hours earlier I was in sunny South Africa, enjoying the summer, and now I was in England, in winter, with those 1-digit temperatures I forgot they exist.
Guy collected me at the airport straight to the office, and this is pretty much all I did on my stay: work, work and work.
I was staying at my old flat, now Anna's possession. She was away on some Russian trip, so she kindly left the key in the restaurant downstairs (Il Pagliaccio ). Finally at home after a long day of work, I was shocked to see how things have changed while I was in South Africa.
Anna did a complete home makeover to the place where I spent 6 years watching film and eating Chinese (and drinking Jack Daniels) with my old pal Rob.
My room, now Anna's main room, has been re-painted and re-furnished. My bed is not there anymore, replaced by a proper one. Rob's room is now the lounge, with the old sofa and a TV corner. The kitchen is now somehow bigger and better. Even the toilet has been repainted.
You can see that Anna has spent a lot of time and thoughts in redoing that old flat.
Rob would have been impressed for at least 30 seconds, before sitting on his old sofa to watch a DVD.
The only weekend spent there was quite busy. I tried to see as many people as possible, and I ended up taking pictures of my old team Parsons Green (now known as Golden Lions f.c.) playing on the Sunday morning, before going to my old kickboxing club and see some of the people I know getting the black belt in another gruesome battle.
I managed to do complete my Christmas shopping and to finally see Anna and spend some time with her.
I apologize with everyone I wanted to meet but I couldn't!
Once in Italy, after a crazy early flight with Ryanair (didn't I promise long time ago I would never ever use them again? Damn!), I spent the week exactly has planned: surrounded by family, friends in the usual places.
What did I do during those days, Christmas included?
I could finally see the home makeover that my sister did to my old family house. Now we have a bar (with glasses and many bottles coming straight from the Texas Pub ), a giant 50 inches plasma screen with a new living room.
And so many other details that I'm sure Olga spent a lot of time working on them, but they were overshadowed by the first two I mentioned!
Well done, sister!
I played with the Wii . A lot. At Massi's house, from a projector (and I pulled my muscle playing baseball), and at home, since I bought one for my dad and my sister to play in the living room (and again I injured my arm).
I met Davide (missing his first real girlfriend by few days), Renato, my older cousin, and obviously all the friends that made an effort to spend the week with me: Beppe, Massi and Mera, partners included.
Mauro, Giorgio, Jumba and Claudia. And many others.
We spent our time drinking away sorrows and cheering to a bright future in the usual Texas Pub, where Nicola treated us like kings!
Yes, I had a bachelor party. A surprise one. I almost lost all my hopes by the final day, and Beppe, my best man, organized a dinner in a new German restaurant. He investigated my past and tried to get in touch with as many people from 10 - 20 years ago that somehow used to hang around with me, or play football with me, or just be called friends in a different era.
If was a very touching moment when all of them came to join my party. My old football and school friends. I was overwhelmed with memories.
We had a good time, talking about people and what we did back in the 80's and 90's.
Then Beppe surprised me even more by introducing the party to a girl dressed in a tight military army dress who was the entertainer of the night. She was very good and we had a lot of laughs (well, with our belly full of sausages, sauerkraut and beer I don't think we could do anything more!), and a lot of pictures too.
Most of them quite embarrassing, but hey, you get married once in your life (I hope) and the bachelor party is your goodbye to your single life. And with a life spent watching films to inspire me (Bachelor Party above them all! - I was hoping Beppe would bring a donkey too!) I wasn't disappointed at all.
Gotta love friends like that.
Only two hours after the end of the evening, my mother collected me in the middle of the night to catch the flight to London. And less than 40 hours later, I was back, in South Africa.
How weird is to say to be back here. Better get used to it!