It's been a while since I sent one of these out. I've actually been quite busy, but more in a fulfilling way than dramatic.
I visited my family in Corfu. Mom, Dad and Lisa now live there, and Lara was over from her new home in Istanbul. It was a bit of a stressful weekend as we learned two days before that Emilio (Lara's oldest) had MD. Fortunately, in the time since, we've learned it's Becker's MD, the mildest form, so he's expected to have a nearly, if not completely, normal life and lifespan.
Rachel came to stay with me for a month, which was perfect. She (Amsterdam, Edinburgh) and we (Berlin) travelled a bit, but it was wonderful just to have her here as a fixture rather than as a fleeting guest. She plans to do it next year as well and both Marco and I hope she does.
I applied for and was approved for British Citizenship and had a (very successful, as my depleted supply of wine glasses will attest to) party to celebrate the five years in London that brought me to this point. I actually expected this milestone to be something that I waxed lyrically about, for far too many lines, how life, I and my London have changed. But this has felt like home for so long now that, happy as I am, it felt more like a natural progression than a victory.
The travel highlight, to the horror of my British friends, has been Leicester for Pride. Marco and I went with the (schadenfreuden and selfish) hope of a Middlesbrough-cum-New Delhi. We were surprised, and just a bit disappointed, to find out that it's actually a rather nice city and, despite the rantings of the BNP, still majority white. Also, unfortunately for us, the gaysians there haven't shed the cultural weight of the subcontinent and were much less numerous than in the street, or than in London. The parade itself was only about three minutes long, but it was really nice to go to a pride that actually meant something more than another way to advertise for the pink pound.
Russ arrives tomorrow from Hong Kong for two and a half weeks before relocating back to the States, during which we will perform the unholy trifecta of Manchester, Berlin and Bucharest. The first two are repeat visits, but ones which we love. Neither of us has been to Romania, so it will be a new adventure. And, from what we've foregathered, not a gaycation with parties till dawn and boys swinging from the rafters. But, as we age, we find appeal in different experiences than ten years ago. But don't worry - we're going on a Big Gay Cruise in February, just to keep grounded.
Attached are a couple pics from Leicester; there are more here if you wish to see --> http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=294456&id=713081334&l=5ac9135435
(Also, including below for those who are interested, an article about my borough I quite liked.)
1 - Our hotel. I'd taken a picture of the building before I knew it was our hotel, so imagine my delight when we rounded the corner and saw the Premier Inn sign attached.
2 - Pride in the park. No Brighton, but a damn sight bigger than anything in Vegas, despite being a much smaller city.
3 - The multicultural beat of Leicester.
Shaun H. Coley
Shadwell, Tower Hamlets
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