Sitting around the table in Frankie and Benny's after watching the latest rom-com (Friends with Benefits was what we saw for those interested and Timberlake and the lovely Mila Kunis were much better than the disappointing effort from Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher earlier this year) we seemed to be going round the table in a circle, each of us asking one of the others the exact same questions as we'd just been asked by the previous person in the group: What are you up to? and How's your new job going?
It became a bit of a joke and we all began to realise just how much we've all moved on since the days of Woolworths. We're all adults now who catch up over a dinner and pints of Budweiser (from the tap, thank you Frankie and Benny). Long gone are the simple days of screwing around in the store and studying for a qualification in this, or learning the art of whatever... except for Chris at least; our token student for another year. It is amazing how life is all coming together at once for a large portion of the people in my life. Even one of my younger brothers Ben has just left his school-days behind him for good, opting to learn how to give me free haircuts for life! My other brother has even been applying for jobs.Only my sister remains to remind me of a more innocent time and to give me an excuse to catch up with Spongebob and the gang... I just need to figure out a way that justifies my breakfast viewings of the happenings in Bikini Bottom.
Flying the Nest
Regular readings of my ramblings will maybe have noticed, but most likely not, that there's been a bigger gap than usual between blogs for me. Truth is I've been without regular internet access for a few weeks having been getting settled into my brand new home! For the first time in my memory (who can remember when they were 1 and a half) I moved house, or should I say 'into a flat'. It's been about a month now and it really does feel like home now. We have Sky tv all set up and we're now online. It's taken some adjusting as it turns out the washing, cooking, cleaning, and ironing didn't all do themselves... who knew! In all seriousness though, Stacey has taken the brunt of the chores as she gets home a whole two hours before me. So to her I say thankya. I don't envy her getting home earlier than I do so much as I do the fact that she's still snoozing in bed when I leave in the mornings.
While saying a thankya, let me now also thank all of those who gave/bought us cards and gifts for the new flat.
It did seem very strange leaving my home of over two decades. Even though I can go back and visit whenever and even still have a key, it still felt as if I was leaving behind over 20 years of memories. But the fun part is that I now have this brand new (the flat has literally had noone else live in it before us) canvass upon which we can paint new memories. We've already started too as we've had everybody that we can so far round to see the place. If you haven't been round yet give us a holla and we'll get back to you. Another good memory awaits this week as I'm hosting my first wrestling night in the flat. Beer and Burgers shall be served up a treat. Oh, and I just picked up the original Star Wars movies, so they must also be watched.
In other news I graduated this past Saturday. I got a text from Christoph last week telling me he was back for the weekend from Portsmouth; I text back saying that I would actually be going the opposite way, as I would be in Portsmouth for the event to celebrate my successful studies. I got to dress like Harry Potter for the day and even got a little more stage time than most, as I was turned into a bit of a case-in-point for the gentleman handing out the degrees on stage as I was considerably younger than the average Open University student. It was a terrific day, mainly in my mind because of the great time I had with my family: Stacey, Poppy, Mum and Dad. Dad treated us to lunch and a dinner in Portsmouth at Chiquitos. It was delicious and we all had a fun time (San Miguel on tap certainly aided). Stacey also surprised me with the awesome graduation present of two tickets to this year's NFL fixture at Wembley, so on October 23rd of this year, I'm going to see the Chicago Bears face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Go Bears!
The Path at the End of the Clearing
Work is also going extremely well. I've become a placement machine and am always hitting my targets. I'm knocking wood right now in the hope that that continues. I'm enjoying it thoroughly and can't see myself enjoying anything more right now. I think it's safe to say that I'm just all round happy as this new book - chapter doesn't seem big enough - in my life begins.
And here we all are; Stacey, Pete, Nat, Chris and Me - sitting around a table in the corner of Frankie and Benny's. Looking across the table towards the friends that have become my equivalent of school friends - my Woolies Friends - the glow of a red neon sign shines and blurs in the background as we all discuss the things we've done in the past year and what we're doing currently. All of us have moved on from the year that many of us often claim will never be beaten by another; 2008. The year of 19 for yours truly (read the adventures of Roland and you'll get the sneaky reference). Fact is this year could well be adding some major points to the scoreboard. Sure, 2008 was essentially 12 months of solid fun, but this year feels like the year that I've (we've) grown; the year that I've (we've) made it; the year where for me (us) it's all starting again. Probably the most important thing to take from the conversations that were had over pizzas, steaks, and a black n' blue burger though is that it didn't end with us all having found out exactly what each of us has done in our lives to date, but that we still discussed our future plans. We've all moved on, but we'll all move on again, and again.
...and the Tower is closer.