Holiday + Miscellaneous Bits

It’s been a long time, but here’s what I’ve been doing over the past few weeks.

My colleague and friend, Victoria, ran the London Marathon. Including gift aid, she raised almost £5,000. She had never run before she started, and she now loves it so much she is thinking of running the Dublin Marathon in September. Amazing.

Peter and I finally moved in together properly. After house-sitting together for two months, without really unpacking our stuff, we have moved into a great apartment. We had only really looked round the place for 5-10 minutes, so there was a bit of anxiousness on my part that it might not be everything I remembered, but, apart from the hideous cream leather sofa (which justifies itself somewhat by being a lazyboy recliner and now has a pretty throw/quilt over it), it is fantastic.

Of course, we couldn’t just settle in! The day after we moved, we went on a 16 mile hike across the Seven Sisters.

It was beautiful.

I can say that now, in retrospect. At the time, having been told it was 11 miles with “a few hills” only to find that the “seven” sisters are more like 12 and that it was 13 miles before we even hit the pub for lunch, I was less pleased, to put it mildly.

But, as I knew this was Peter’s favourite walk, I did try to man up and complained as little as I could about the fact that my feet felt like they were bleeding. Peter may have a different story, but he gets no say here.

Then, the weekend after we moved, we we went to visit one of my favourite people. Carla moved from New York (where we went to school together) to Denver, Colorado last year, pretty much 9 months pregnant. So it was great to see her, her husband, David, and meet their 9-month-old son Nate for the first time.

They are an awesome family. Nate is the smiliest baby I have ever met.

We had a great time, hiking in the mountains, driving about to see the amazing views at every turn, and seeing Denver. It was also just great to see my old friend and catch up. She’s a mum! She has a baby! I still can’t quite get over it. She’s my first friend from school (that I am still in touch with) to have a baby. It’s very exciting.

Before I went to the US, I of course, did manage to watch the Royal Wedding. We flew that day, so I didn’t go to any street or garden parties, but I sat, suitcase packed, with the cable for the TV aerial duct-taped to the plug in the wall (for some reason I seem to missing the aerial plugs that my TV came with), to watch the wedding of the century. I did enjoy it. I teared up a bit with Kate Middleton waved to the crowd right before going in.  I thought myself quite a royal wedding fan, until I went to the US and saw these magazines. These represent two of the FOUR magazines dedicated to the big day. Diana and William, Kate, Will and Kate and Will. Wow. Americans don’t do things by half, do they?

Anyway. Next stop, after Denver was Chicago. We booked a flat just outside the city centre. I knew it was high rise, but it was still a bit petrifying entering the lift and pressing the 48th button…

That’s a lot of buttons.

It was worth it though, for views like this, which we couldn’t stop looking at whenever we were in:

Chicago was all about views and architecture. Another scary lift moment was coming down from the 96th floor, where we had a great cocktail in the Hancock Tower. After a little bit of alcohol, a rattling lift zooming you down 96 stories in 30 seconds is not really what you need. Still, the drinks and the view were fantastic.

This was my favourite sculpture in Chicago. I took about a million photographs of it (by Anish Kapoor). So simple, so beautiful, and made people look at their surroundings in a whole new way.

Sadly, the trip had to come to an end. Good friends, good food (I forgot how big American portions were – we ate a LOT of good food), great company with Peter, and a lot of good experiences. Colorado was beautiful and outdoorsy, Chicago was beautiful and completely citified. Totally different, but both great in their own way.

But I was looking forward to getting back to the UK. First of all, NOWHERE in the world aside from England makes a proper cup of tea. English Breakfast my ass. That stuff tastes like crap. Second of all, I was looking forward to being back in our new flat, unpacking and sorting things out. Today we finally organised our library card holders/ spice drawers. Yay! I know I am a massive geek, but things like this make me very happy.

And thirdly, it was nice to get back to see my mum. Unfortunately we missed my dad, who flew out for work on the same day we arrived, but they have finally moved over to the UK, which means I’ll be seeing lots more of them! I can’t believe they are living over here. After 11 years of living in different countries, I can now walk over to have a cup of tea (in fact, I bumped into my mum this afternoon when Peter and I were having a beer and a read of the paper at a local restaurant).

It is also great to arrive back in the country to such great weather. Although it was sunny in both Denver and Chicago, it was fecking freezing. It was nice to be able to go outside today in a skirt and sandals, rather than messing about with 12 layers, socks and trainers.

The summer has only just started, and there are lots more (far less long distance) holidays coming up. PLUS my friend Emily (who I have visited in Hong Kong and Thailand) is finally coming over to London to visit me. Work is going to be fairly intense over the next few weeks (or months), but at least I know there is a lot of fun stuff around it to keep me sane. Hooray for the British summer!*

*PS: I know that by saying this I am cursing us all to a summer of cold weather and rain. I’m okay with that, we’ve had at least a month of pure sunshine and heat, and that’s more than we had a couple of years ago, so although I don’t want it to be cold and rainy, I am accepting of the fact that British summers are brilliant, but not always brilliantly sunny.

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