Just an average Saturday | The Gap Life Diaries
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Just an average Saturday

The alarm goes off and I drag myself to the shower. Nobody should have to set an alarm on a Saturday morning, but what can you do?

I eat, throw on jeans and a hoody and leave the house with the best of modern Eurotrash blasting from my headphones. I’m not looking my best and I’m a bit late (I will not sacrifice my breakfast), but I know by now that nobody really cares about punctuality, and I don’t need to look nice anyway – it’s not like I’m going to see anyone today.

I’d usually walk, but I’ll never make it to my student’s house, so I jump on the bus and miraculously arrive only a couple of minutes after I’m supposed to. I sit down and stifle yawns while my student repeats the same phrases he starts every single lesson with.

I spend one hour chatting about his holidays, biting my tongue while listening to his somewhat narrow-minded opinions on Africa (“I never want to go to Africa, I don’t want to see their poverty”), and the Falklands War (no idea how we got onto that one), and then another hour translating a couple of emails.

I get out, not a moment too soon, and head to a coffee shop where I settle down to get my homework done and tuck into a very average bagel for lunch. A quick wander around the shops confirms that my halloween costume is going to need some further thought, but there’s no time for that right now.

It’s time for a Greek lesson and I meet my teacher in the middle of my favourite square. We usually have our lessons over a coffee while we laugh about how confused the people around us are when our conversations switch from Italian to English to Greek, sometimes all in the space of one sentence. This time, we do a silly role play about the market and end up hysterically laughing, much to the bemusement of our fellow cafe-goers, who were already baffled enough when they saw that my teacher had ordered a cappuccino at 3pm.

I see a message from a friend – we were supposed to meet with a friend of ours and another guy later on, but we’ll have to make it earlier because the friend-of-a-friend has a train to catch. There’s no point going home just to leave again, so I head to one of my favourite buildings in the city, the Circolo dei Lettori, where I’m sure I’ll find a quiet spot to have a(nother) coffee, charge my phone, and write out the Greek notes that I just scrawled down. Five minutes after sitting down, I hear an enthusiastic “CIAO!”. I look up to see one of The Greek’s ex-colleagues grinning down at me. She came here for a talk and her friend is still chatting to the speaker. She sits down and we have a good chat about life for a quarter of an hour. We’ve only met a couple of times, but that doesn’t matter. We exchange numbers, and she goes on her way.

I get a bit of work done and soon enough it’s time to head out again to meet my friends. I miraculously find the meeting place at first attempt – going to this part of the city usually guarantees ten minutes of walking around in circles while I work out which of the identical streets is the right one – and my friend is already there waiting for me. We wait half an hour for the others (today it’s their turn to get horribly lost) and they turn up with 6 other people who I’ve never seen before. We all sit down and tuck into an aperitivo.

It’s about 10 degrees outside but after our aperi-dinner, we fancy an ice cream, so an ice cream we shall have. The three of us head off to the nearest gelateria and I opt for a scoop of gelato drowning in a cup of hot drinking chocolate; after all, it’s autumn and I shouldn’t have to choose between the two.

The girls get a call from another friend who’s out celebrating the birthday of a guy I’ve met no more than twice. They’re in a cute Moroccan bar nearby. I was going to head home, but maybe I’ll just go along for a bit; everybody loves a party crasher. An hour or so later and they’re all ready to head somewhere else. I don’t fancy it and neither do the girls. One goes in one direction, and I walk with the other towards her bus stop.

After about 200 metres, I hear the second enthusiastic “CIAO!” of the day. A couple of my other friends are walking in the opposite direction, heading to a place near where we’ve just come from. Two more girls are already there. Do we want to come along?

Spontaneity gets the better of me, but my friend is too tired, so I wish her goodnight and turn around on myself. A glass of wine and two hours of laughing, gossiping and trying to follow what’s going on when the conversation switches to Greek later, and it’s really home time.

I arrive back at my house 15 hours after I first left, my tummy full, my tongue purple and my heart happy.

Who needs plans?

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