Friday, January 2, 2015

NEW YEAR, same me, old friends, new experiences

2015.01.02, Friday

The New Year has started off with a bang.

We went to sleep after 1 am on New Year's Eve. I thought I could sleep late but of course I had planned some events for New Year's Day.

Yes, we were going to see the London New Year's Day Parade in town. Needless to say we were not the only ones with the same idea. After about an hour we had found a great spot on Regent Street to watch all the marching bands from America march by along with all the other cool oddities that marched by us. It was fun to see and the kids had a good time - they only admitted this after we were on our way home. It was quite cold but we braved the cold (by London standards) and got to enjoy a few hours of some great marching bands.

It brought back memories from my high school days and marching in New York City on St. Patrick's Day. I played the french horn. I think I marched maybe two years in a row. Great fun! Awesome that so many band from USA would travel to London to march.

We walked to a different train station to head home. I really do enjoy taking London public transportation. (I am thinking of starting a club at school for the moms and we explore London by taking the tube to different places......we have to have something to do when the kids are in school)

We arrived home and started to prepare for our dinner guest that evening.

Serendipity, chances, life's choices......

Patti and Bruce met here in London about 28 years ago when Patti and I were on the same Contiki tour with Bruce (he is from Australia). Patti and I were the only Americans on the 6-week tour by bus through more than 12 European Countries. There were about 12 South Africans, about 25 Kiwi's and Aussies, a bunch of Canadians, and a pair from Spain. We spent 45 days together and explored Europe in a fantastic way. It is the perfect love story and it is so cool that they are visiting London with their two kids where they first met.......

More than 28 years ago, my mom happened to meet Patti's mom at the mall the same day she was going to book the trip. Patti's mom thought it would be great if we went together. Her mom's last words yelled to her as we boarded the plane: "Don't fall in love with a foreigner"   That is exactly what she did.

It was fantastic to reminisce about that trip that spurred so many other things later on in life. Our kids and their kids loved hearing about all our partying on that trip. It is hard for them to think of us partying like we did.

Each choice we make and each friend we make has an effect on how our life turns out.

After that trip I visited the Scandinavian countries because two of the new friends from South Africa had been there and I couldn't afford to fly to South Africa right out of college. So instead, it was a Norway and Sweden adventure that ended up with me moving to Sweden two years after that. I eventually learned the language and moved to Stockholm after living in the North of Sweden for three years and then I met Peter not long after that and the rest is history.....

Patti, Bruce, Alli and Hayden arrived right on time bearing perfect gifts. I love my mug and the boys are looking forward to playing the bananagram game. We ate good food, drank some champagne and wine, laughed a lot and then we laughed some more. They went back to their hotel after midnight. What a great time we had. A great way to start the year.

Then Friday dawned bright and early and I needed to get up in time to make my 9 am gym appointment. I kicked my own ass during the workout. I am increasing my strength and cardio endurance. I see the improvement each time. While I was at the gym, Peter was out on his bike cycling past Richmond. I got some vegetable and bought the papers with an interesting headline.....We both got back to the house around 10:30 am and all the kids were still asleep.

I have all the luck......
Had enough time to get them up, feed them and get out the door heading to Richmond for the matinee performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a British panto version. WOW. It was really an awesome experience and now we are all hooked on this cool British Christmas tradition. It exceeded our expectations. (google British christmas panto and read up on this most excellent of British traditions)

We walked around Richmond and found a place for dinner....(it was not in line with our expectations so I will not name the restaurant here.)

Need to sleep soon as I have made another appointment for the gym in the early morning before we go on new adventures.

I end with the quote on my mug from Patti:

It's a new day. I am alive. I am loved. I am thankful.

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