A magazine to which I subscribe has been running a “Life Takes Visa” ad with a “Things to do while you’re alive” list that annoys the hell out of me. It’s because the items on the list (sample: “Go to the NFL Pro Bowl”, “Spend a weekend in Las Vegas like a high roller”, “Test-drive a supercar”) describe a twit. And because it implies that I, as a member of this advertiser’s target demographic, am also a twit. However, I am not immune from my own life ambitions and at the age of approximately 12 decided I would like to visit all 7 continents before I die.
This year I came as close as I ever will to achieving that goal given no one really ever expects you to make it to Antarctica (unless global warming makes it a more hospitable tourist zone in my lifetime which I suppose is a possibility). I ticked six out of seven boxes with an October visit to Africa with my sister.
Like many things in my life it was more lucky than deliberate circumstance through which the trip materialized. My sister was working in the Middle East and Cairo is only a four hour flight from London. Voila! The pyramids and souks and mosques and the giant old curiosity shop that is the Cairo museum were ours to behold.
The best discovery of the year was closer to home—the Cotswolds, which on a good traffic day is 1.5 hours and another world away from our flat in London. We liked it so much that we decided to buy a cottage there, continuing our world domination in the postage stamp-size real estate market. Now husband is busy acquiring a tweed wardrobe and I am considering shooting lessons. (I’ve made friends with the only gays in the village and even they have their own shotguns.)
In the further spirit of lists, here are a few of my favorite things from the past year:
1. The Guiting Festival in the Cotswolds held on one of the few sunny days of the summer complete with hog roast and a ragtime band imported from Paris for the day.
2. Wine tasting in Dambach la Ville in Alsace with a nice lady who pretended she could understand my butchered French 101 and the workers who has just come in from the harvest with plastic bottles of cloudy wine nouveau.
3. Reading the book Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything by Elizabeth Gilbert.
By the way, I completed a draft of this “Christmas letter” on September 30th, before Cairo and the cottage were a reality. I did this in the woo woo spirit of unabashedly putting my wishes out to the universe, something I kind of learned in the book mentioned above. I wrote then: “I’ll come back to this before I send it out in December and let you know if I need to make any revisions.” And I’m happy to say that none are required.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Do write and tell me all your good bits (or even bad ones) too. Looking forward to seeing some of you soon in FL or LA.