I'm writing this from the other end of the country; I'm down here for my cousin's wedding which, unusually, is on a Sunday. I can't say I'm overly excited about it. Big social occasions are tricky for me at the best of times, but I find weddings especially hard to relate to; getting married is something other people do.
I've just seen my aunt and uncle; I get on well with them. I thought they'd be going to the wedding tomorrow, but due to some family politics I don't understand, they weren't invited. Come to think of it I don't remember getting an invite either. Perhaps my name was tacked on the end of my parents' invitation, or else I've come all this way to gatecrash a wedding I don't particularly want to go to. I guess I'll find out.
I thoroughly enjoyed last week's Italian course. I was surprised by the sheer number of people on it; there must have been forty, the vast majority of them women. It was interesting hearing people's reasons for learning the language. A lot of people had trips planned, some had an Italian speaker in the family or were even married to one, while a few were doing it for the sheer hell of it. Most interesting were a vulcanologist who is about to spend three years on the foothills of Etna, and another woman of about my age who owns a house over there (that got me thinking). On the last day we had to make up a short sketch in groups of about six and perform it in front of the class. I was an Aussie bloke buying lingerie from a boutique in Rome. This was good for me because it took me out of my comfort zone. My knowledge of Italian improved considerably over the five days, though confidence is always an issue for me, and I have an unfortunate knack of forgetting languages as fast as I learn them.
On Wednesday night I played pétanque with Phil; he wondered what I was still doing in Auckland now that I'm not working. The simple answer is that I don't want to have to start from scratch again. Not yet anyway. As flimsy as my social network is, it's a lot better than nothing. I did win the pétanque, not that it mattered, but one of our games ended in the most dramatic of fashions. With the scores locked at 12-all I was sitting pretty, just inches from the jack, when Phil supplanted my boule with his last throw. Then, with my final attempt, I did the same to him. If they ever make a Hollywood movie based on pétanque, they won't be able to top that. Boules Up. I can see it now.