Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Back in Verona. Christmas was, well, mixed. Seeing friends and family (and playing frisbee) was obviously all good. But, on the other hand, I was dumped. (Mum, look: I know I didn’t tell you I was seeing anyone but it wasn’t a proper relationship, ok? She was a no-strings, girlfriend-only-when-I’m-in-London type of girlfriend. As she said to her parents before, through circumstance, I found myself meeting them: “It’s not a meeting-the-parents type of relationship”. I didn't want you buying her Christmas presents). Despite the nature of our involvement, it’s still sad – a pity – that it’s over. It was good to have someone to do things with – to go on dates with – in London. And she ended it on New Year’s Eve, which was a crap end to what was otherwise the best year of my life for a longtime; certainly since University and maybe even since I was 10.

A year ago I was underworked in a job I couldn’t convince myself I enjoyed. Since then I’ve had the most wonderful Spring in Spain where I was lucky enough to love the TEFL course – most don’t – and enjoy Barcelona to the full. My summer consisted of earning freelancing pay doing the same job I used to, endless summer evenings playing frisbee and going on dates with a lovely girl who, unlike the girls that usually go for me, wasn’t packed full of insecurity. Those few months transformed my attitude to London. And since I’ve been doing a job I love and settling into life abroad. 2003 was good, and even included the best sex of my life (which, since you ask, wasn't with the girl described above).

The first half of 2004 will hopefully be full of skiing (we went yesterday; it really is, as I once read, the ultimate feel-good sport), teaching, red wine and chasing Italian girls. (Before I came out here a friend said to me “Don’t go near those Italian women. Remember, they have fathers and brothers”. I intend to ignore his advice.) As I’m sure you can tell, I’m in a good and optimistic mood. Don’t worry; if you’re at all envious then consider that sooner or later I’m going to have to get a permissio sigiorno – permission to stay – and thus deal with Italian bureaucracy, at which point I’ll hate the place and all those civil servants who think that the point of a civil service is to give them a job, not to serve civilians.

One picture from London, taken of the Weather Project in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern. Galleries like this are good reasons to live in cities.

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