Tuesday, 4 January 2011

New Years, Cambridge Style

Well, we made it into the New Year without a zombie apocalypse or any other sort of end-of-the-world event taking place, at least in England. I haven't checked the BBC website yet so I'm not sure on how the rest of the world is holding up.

David and I had a lovely, quiet, New Years Eve (a quick poll at work shows that a quiet evening in was the trend of the year). I got off work early and we spent the afternoon relaxing before ordering pizzas and settling in to watch Lord of the Rings, extended version. Last week we discovered that ordering pan crust (instead of italian) from Pizza Hut yields a pizza close to what we are accustomed to in North America and thus we were able to really enjoy our delivered pizza, instead of lamenting the lack of good pizza on this side of the pond. It is a serious problem. One can get good pizza in Cambridge, but it requires going downtown and ordering from Gardi's or stopping at The Cow (where the pizza is of a very thin European nature, but quite delicious). We had also laid in a supply of beer, although we had to venture out to get a bit more (fortunately we made it to the Co-op before they closed).

Near midnight we tuned in to the BBC to watch the countdown in London. As the fireworks exploded over the London Eye and Big Ben chimed the twelve strokes of midnight we popped a bottle of champagne and cheered in the New Year. Then followed calls to family and friends, and an epic quest to empty the bottle of champagne. Contrary to popular, ie: my brother's, opinion, I was not tipsy from the beer. It was only when the four, or five?, glasses of champagne hit my system that I discovered my speech & balance faculties were lacking. Fortunately I did not have to go far to find my bed.

a very deserted downtown
On the first morning of the year it is our wont to go out for breakfast, although by the time we emerge it is usually brunch. When living on the Island this took the form of dim sum, but in Cambridge we have found ourselves heading to The Copper Kettle, an Anglo-Turkish cafe across from Kings College. It is not my favorite restaurant in Cambridge but I have had a feeling that it is a place I should not give up on. I admit that this time my thoughts were justified—I have been ordering the wrong things on the menu. This time I went with the cafe theme and ordered Quiche Lorraine, and I may safely say that it is the most delicious quiche I have eaten. Perfect quantities of cheese & bacon held together by egg that was neither too runny nor too hard. My main quarrel with this cafe is that they do not serve, or offer, sauces on the side (like catsup or mayo), and thus the food is a bit boring for my liking. But quiche & chips go quite well together, and the glasses of white wine and orange juice were the perfect accompaniement. I will rave about this breakfast, because it was one of the most perfect meals I have eaten. Everything was in harmony. David munched an English breakfast, americano, and white wine, and seemed quite pleased with it although not nearly as enraptured as I was with my quiche.

Following breakfast we wandered through town, stopping at bookstores and acquiring some good finds (good luck for the new year). We went home on a slightly different route to normal and, as luck would have it, the gate to Jesus College was open so we snuck past the Porter's Lodge and took a ramble around. The grounds are beautiful; my favorite thus far out of all the colleges (aside from the gardens at Clare). We have been reading a series of ghost stories set at Jesus College and it was certainly spooky to wander past all the places where strange events have occured. We got a bit lost and it was an encounter with the uncanny to take a turn that brought us to the courtyard of the chapel, knowing what harrowing events had taken place in the chapel during the years around the Reformation. I was getting quite nervous that we would not find our way out and be doomed to wander the grounds of Jesus forever, but David managed to lead us through various portals and porticos until we emerged once again at the open gate.
the open gate

We are entering a new decade, and when I look back on the first ten years of this century I cannot believe how much I have done. There is much that I hope for in the next decade. I hope that our wandering can slow down, that we can one day settle down and have our own place. I hope that by the time this decade closes our family has expanded. I hope to see more of Europe, both east and west, and hope that I may even see Africa or India. I hope for many chances to see family and friends. The past ten years have been crammed full of events, and I feel that this river we call life has sent me through the rapids and over the waterfall—perhaps now there is a gently meandering stretch before me. But the thing is that we can never tell what the future will bring. If I have learned anything to take with me into this future it is that every happy moment must be seized and enjoyed, because we never know how long we can have that moment for. Life must be lived to the fullest, for God is gracious enough to bestow His blessings and we simply need to reach out and take what is offered.

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