Thursday, December 24, 2009

One Bout of Insomnia Until Christmas!

Little snippets of me on Christmas Eve!

So I've been keeping up with at least one of my pre-emptive resolutions for 2010, the one to be a better friend and actually meet up with people in person rather than sporadically sending them stuff on Facebook. I:

- Stayed over at the Uni Physios' place on Thursday night -- during which London had its first day of proper snow (whee!) I see them so very little when I used to see them almost every day for two years, plus they're among the best going-out buddies I have! As in bona fide clubbing and just drinking on the South Bank of the Thames until we end up laughing like crazy people. All my friends are awesome to hang out with, but most of them are more the hang-out-indoors-and-drink types. If you have neither social milieu in your repertoire, you're pretty quickly ditched. Unless you're particularly funny/sweet/awesome.

- Hung out with other uni friends on Saturday and Sunday -- most of whom I do admittedly see at least once/twice a week, but a couple of whom popped into town especially (for MS's birthday on Saturday and Christmas dinner on Sunday. LB really outdid himself this time, especially considering how many people came to drain his kitchen. Incredible.)

- Popped on the train to Birmingham where I spent the latter half of Monday and most of Tuesday with peeps from my China experience. Considering how for months I spent literally every day with these guys (and others with whom I've lost contact with even more profoundly) even to the point of sharing an uberbed* with, to now see them some three times a year is ridiculous. Sure, we reside in different parts of the UK and have our own lives to contend with, but to drop a level of friendship as it were in such a manner is still something of a strange occurrence in my mind.

Birmingham had its own German market (do they have a particular monopoly on Christmas cuisine of which that I was not aware?) Very cold (the snow was worse in London, cars held up in traffic, people falling over left right and centre) but the bratwurst and kirschwein (I've been converted, much better than Gluhwein) was warm and the lights were so pretty!

Also they had £2.50 ($5) margheritas. London bar prices suck. They were cheaper than the beers!

*think four singles pushed together. A strange time when sleeping over became the norm and taking a bikecab back to my own, admittedly better-air-conditioned flat was out of the ordinary. I miss bikecabs and the wind rushing through my hair. Any attempt to implement such a scheme in London would probably result in death though 

- Met up with a couple of school friends in the pub today albeit, briefly.
- And for a few others I didn't get to properly chillax with (I hate that I use that word now) I drove around and dropped cards and cookies off on Friday. Will definitely see them soon though, probably after New Year's to be honest.

Each experience involved offloading of cookies (hey, you know these weren't the only ones I made! There were other batches!) I think they were a success, though it would be a more substantial present if I actually made the cupcakes to go with them as well. Maybe I should get some assistance next time. Also heavily involved was mulled wine. I probably would not drink it by choice any other time of year (similar to how I will only drink red wine when politeness requires or with dinner) but while its around, mmm. Cinnamon-y.

Other random thoughts:
- I like trains when it's a lengthy journey. In fact, I like all long voyages - there's a certain childlike excitement I get from the sensation of stepping on a vehicle on one area and alighting in a completely different locale. Planes are cooler (no-one can deny this, if only because, again, the child in me loves passport stamps) but the whole pressure and smell of aeroplanes leave me slightly ill-at-ease the whole time. Coaches can be tolerable with friends but too long and you get arse-ache from the chairs and I can't read on coaches/cars without feeling queasy after a while. But trains... amazing. If nothing else, trains have the massive windows which I've always perceived as giant picture frames in which the pictures move (very quickly!) from one wonderful landscape to another. Once you have left the factories and concrete jungle of the cities. While I was travelling to and from Birmingham this was emphasised by the coat of undisturbed white snow coating the rolling hills and rows of trees like a blanket.
- Finally watched Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" video today. So very strange. Also every time I see a Lady Gaga video, I can't help but think though she'd blatantly be into really weird stuff and probably scare seven shades of the proverbial out of me, she'd probably be amazing in bed. If she took off her weird hats and stuff.
- I listened to the Band Aid song a few days ago. "Do They Know It's Christmas?" I know it's a deliberate and blatant in your face musical tearjerker, like the videos they show at Children in Need events (those ACTUALLY make me want to cry sometimes, and I'm not really a crier. Something about children in distress really upsets me) but I should really make a point to listen to the lyrics more closely. For all the minor things that threaten to 'ruin' the Christmas experience, like arguments over turkey preparation or squabbles over who gets the remote, people around the world, Africa being the main example, have it a heck of a lot worse than I do. There are probably people within a mile of me that have it a lot better than me, and many who have it a lot worse. The grass is greener and all that. But this is not what Christmas should be about - we should be appreciating the time spent with family, the food, the telly, the (general) sense of well-being that rests on people at this time. And for those fortunate enough not to be struck by family tragedy around this time, suck it up and enjoy the privileges that we are lucky enough to have the benefit of. This last applies very much to me in particular, I am no hypocrite!
- "There won't be snow in Africa this Christmas-time" - cheap, terrible segue. Sorry. Wishing for snow and the possibility of a white Christmas is as much a part of the time as mince pies and stuffing, but we rarely do think about the reality of the situation do we? We forget that after the initial staring out the windows, the oohs and aahs and the snowball fights comes the traffic jams and most importantly the hazardous ice gauntlets that the snow kindly leaves in its wake! I had to walk in the road today just to keep my neck intact so icy were the pavements! Humbug. I still think snow is pretty awesome on balance though!
- This time tomorrow, it's Christmas! It took the aftermath of the cookie distribution to really hit me, as I couldn't make it to any carol services this year!

Merry Christmas, my happy little bunch of readers :D
I must apologise for the all over the place nature of my last post for a while (probably) but it IS 5.30 in t'morning.

7 Response to One Bout of Insomnia Until Christmas!

24 December 2009 at 06:55

those margaritas look delicious. and i like lengthy journeys, too :)

24 December 2009 at 07:37

Being a better friend - that's a tough one! Geographical inconvenience and all, it's sometimes easier just to send a message via facebook than making an effort to see them.

As for bars - It's $7.50 for a small glass of Long Island ice tea. Just saying. Bars suck everywhere. They're hoping you're too drunk to notice.

24 December 2009 at 10:54


1) The train to Birmingham is amazing, but it costs £66!!! ARGH.

2) £2.50 cocktails are amazing! (are you sure they're not dacquiris btw?)

3) Insomniatic 24 hours to Christmas should befilled with eating :)

4) We definitely are going for a drink in the New Year, you have no choice.

5) Gaga would be fucking amazing in the sack. It'd be scary and possibly involve a group of gay men dancing around you, but it would be mindlblowing.

ps - I'm setting up a lawyers' group, cos that's what I do now, set up groups

24 December 2009 at 16:58

I love lengthy train journeys. I took a coach (that was half empty) on a 23-hour trip alone halfway across Canada once, and that much of time just spent with nowhere to go, no-one to talk to, and nothing to do but reflect and contemplate is just an opportunity we otherwise don't usually get :)

Sounds like you're having a good week - just watched Love Actually and I'm desperately wishing I could have another Christmas in England.

And the Lady Gaga video is great. She's so weird and whacky and stands up for nerds everywhere, love it :)

Merry Christmas!!

30 December 2009 at 11:05

Sam - they were delicious! But iced, so not a wise pick for the coldest and snowiest day England had had for quite some time! I was *forced* to switch to the warmer and hardier stuff :D

Lorien - Oh yeah, you speak the truth, m'dear. Especially since I'm a second-gen immigrant so all my non-immediate family are overseas and being a by-product of a London uni I have a good handful of foreign friends! Plus I'm not really a phone person for the most part.

And I reckon you misunderstood me. $5 was CHEAP for me. Normal places in central London would probably charge you around $15 for the privilege. And yes, I agree bars suck, but they're warm and have a lot of alcohol so we put up with them :D Note to self: befriend someone with a bar in their home.

RG - woah Nelly. That's a chunk of comment-age right there.
1) Yikes, I read about your travel journey from hell! But if you get the right train line and book a few days in advance, you can get them for a fiver each way!
2) Mate. Don't accuse me of incorrect drink identification again :P And twas amazing, but in Brum. You know as well as I such a place in LONDON does not exist!
3) And bad TV-watching. That's my staple holiday position. Tv, couch, chocolates/biscuits on table, drink optional. :P
4) Sure thing, I might be going out in W Hampstead soonish actually.
5) Well, I'm not one of those people who gets off on audiences and apparently gay men like my arse. So that's a worrying prospect. Gaga better be the best lay ever.

p.s. already there!

EJ - Haha, not strictly true, hon. We get those opps ALL the time, but rarely do we take them up, if we're honest :P And it could be an amazing or depressing time depending on the subject matter of introspection, no?

And I actually had a pretty Working Title past few days, ferrying relatives to tinsel-adorned Harrods, Fortnum and Masons and all the rest of it. If only I HAD money I'd have been in heaven!

4 January 2010 at 01:39

haha I'm loving your blog. I agree the drinks were way to expensive at the London bars I went to, and I have never seen fancy margaritas so reasonably priced even here in the states.
Long train rides are a joy of mine as well. I miss Europe where I rode trains all the time. I don't believe I've ever done that here in the states. I have, however, had to ride the Atlanta metro system (MARTA) everyday to an internship and loathed every moment of it. It's just not the same.

4 January 2010 at 18:48

Mmm, yeah, rush hour subways are never fun. The Singapore subway is really fast, clean, air-conditioned and you can use wifi and mobile phones on them! BUT the cramped shove of commuters while I was interning there made the journeys hellish.

Don't get me started on the London Underground. Only the eclectic people when it's NOT crowded make it vaguely and quaintly charming.