I’ve had a pretty good couple of months. Shortly after my last blog I went to Venice for a couple of days with my family. My sister was having a big birthday, and knew she was going on holiday with her husband and son, but didn’t know (a) where they were going or (b) that we were all coming to.
The surprise was slightly spoiled by my dad shouting at my other sister to get out of eyesight when the birthday girl arrived in the airport. Apparently his voice carries. But it was a really lovely holiday, in a flipping beautiful setting.
I was really impressed by Venice; it was unlike any other city I’ve been to. You don’t drive to work, you hop in your boat, and then moor it outside your house at the end of the working day. I had so much fun just casually exploring the city and working my way between various glorious food vendors.
Needless to say I would have loved to stay there for longer. Thankfully, I’m off to Italy again at the start of June! There are twelve of us going, staying in an AirBnB villa for week. To say I’m excited to get back to the land of pasta would be an understatement.
Venice did give me a a bit of language jealousy. Similar to when I was in Japan, I found myself frustrated at not being able to properly navigate the place on account of not having a clue what anyone was saying. In Japan, I had some Chinese ability to allow me to read a couple of characters, and in Italy I had my French (and fifteen-year-old vague memories of Latin). But it’s no substitute for actually speaking the language, and being able to order something in a restaurant/shop/ice cream stand (you can really tell food is my driving factor in life can’t you).
So, on returning to Norn Iron, I managed to find myself some Italian lessons! It’s only a six week course and it’s very much for beginners, and in fact I’m only able to make it to 4 out of 6 lessons. But I’m excited to give a new language a whack and see if I can work on becoming the man in the Dolmio adverts.
Other recent enjoyments have been the Belfast Film Festival (including a virtual reality studio and an absolutely phenomenal Chinese film called Still Tomorrow), the long-awaited death of winter, binges of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the Festival of Fools, and particular mention goes to having Flaming Lip and Classic Girl over visiting me a few weeks ago. They’re both from London and the downside of having lots of friends living there is that your amount-of-time-per-friend really starts to suffer. So I really had the best time actually getting to hang out with them, and properly chat. I put on my Belfast tour guide cap and took them around a couple of museums, a lot of food locations, and a balance of both super-Catholic and super-Protestant murals.
It was all a plan to slowly try and convince all my uni friends that Belfast is the place to be and they should just all move here. I don’t really fancy my chances but you can’t blame a guy for trying.