Celebrations | The Gap Life Diaries
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The last few weeks have been full of fun, mainly because nobody wants to learn English in summer so I’ve been blissfully almost-unemployed for a little while, only working a couple of hours a day and spending the rest of my time shopping, going out for lunch/coffee/drinks/dinner and generally spending much more money than I’m earning. Here’s hoping I’ll have a busy September to make up for my recklessness…

So, July has been a month of assorted celebrations.

First of all, I went to my first ever Italian graduation. My lovely friend Elena finished her law degree last week, and thanks to my state of near-unemployment I was excited to actually be able to go along. After seeing the final stage of her degree, let’s just say I’m glad English graduations are the way they are – Elena had to present her dissertation in front of 4 professors and a room full of people, and answer all their questions into a microphone, while being filmed, before being given her final result there and then – not quite so fun as galloping around Durham’s Palace Green pretending to be a bat like I did the day of my graduation! After listening to her being grilled, the celebrations could begin, and off we all went to the Drogheria for a little lunchtime party to toast her success, and her parents even brought little presents for us all from Greece to celebrate.

In other news, I found another excuse to party, as I’ve officially survived Italian life for a whole two years. It still feels like last week that I first arrived in this bizarre place, but when I think of all the things that have happened and all the people I’ve met, those who are still here and those who have run away to more sensible countries, it does also seem like forever. The Greek and I went out for a cracking meal to celebrate my Italiversary, as a big plate of meat and a bottle of Italian red wine, followed by an obligatory trip to our new favourite ice cream place seemed like the only fitting tribute.

The final, and best, celebration of July so far was my birthday, although I hadn’t really planned to do anything. Don’t get me wrong, I’d wanted to, but the weather forecast looked so dire that I’d lost all enthusiasm and just didn’t really bother to organise anything – nobody wants to party in a storm, after all.

The Greek did nothing to change my mind, at one point even uttering the phrase “birthdays aren’t even that big a deal”, so I decided to just go for a few chilled drinks with Lucy, Lisa and Theresa on the Friday night and be done with it. The week before my birthday had had some pretty nice weather, and I’d spent a few days sunbathing in the park with my friend Maria, who I’ve recently spent a fair bit of time with, so it didn’t seem out of the ordinary when she asked if I wanted to at least go for a coffee with her on my birthday, seeing as I didn’t have plans.

As it turned out, this was all part of a master plan that had already been in place for a couple of weeks, involving Lucy and the Greek sneakily texting each other things such as “is Emma around or can I call?”.

In retrospect, the Greek had been behaving slightly oddly that morning (at one point I walked into the kitchen to find him filling up all the ice cube packs for the reason that “the box was too big and the cupboard wouldn’t shut”…) but I then went off to meet Maria. She came back home with me under the pretence of “saying goodbye to The Greek” because she was leaving for Athens this week, but as we came through the gate I spotted a big pink balloon down in the garden and saw a whole load of people jump out. Lots of my favourite people were there, having brought food, wine, cake, balloons, sparkler candles and amazing presents for me. The sun even came out just to put the icing on the top of a fantastic day as we ate and drank and chatted on our little terrace (the party-planners having transferred everything outside about 5 minutes before I arrived, when they saw that the rain wasn’t coming after all).

Because it had been organized as a late afternoon/early evening affair, by 11.30 a lot of people decided to head home, just in time for four of us to decide that we were still hungry, and realize we were just in time to whizz down to the Taverna Greca for a nice plate of gyros.

In summary, I can never trust anyone ever again, but did at least have an unforgettable birthday surprise. And a day that involves a load of friends, a lot of prosecco, and ends with Greek food can always be deemed a success!

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