Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas preparations and getting ready for India

Getting ready to go to India - getting the visa at the Embassy in Madrid.
Hi again,

The year is ending fast. In 10 days it will be Christmas and on Boxing Day Eladio and I will be off to India for our trip of a lifetime (we hope). The week has been mostly about both as well as other things.

The other things to note were a trip to El Mundo, one of Spain’s national dailies, to do a live session on their website where readers sent in questions in for my boss to answer. This was challenging but fun. And here is the outcome. I always enjoy going to newsrooms and this was no exception. There is a sort of excitement about them that makes me wish I had been a journalist.

This week I also had lunch with my best friends, Julio and Fátima, from my Nokia days. We went to Aspen in La Moraleja; one of my favourites. Our lunches together are always really relaxed as, to quote Fátima, we can say anything to each other, the sure sign of friendship. We will be seeing each other again at the annual dinner at Julio’s on 23rd December. He has made it a little more difficult for us all this year as we each have to plan an activity for the dinner. This dinner has become an absolute must at Christmas, one we all look forward to.

This week was the office Christmas bash, organised by Yours Truly. I had 5 times less budget than last year and even more people (180) but still had to come up with a great party. Most of the ideas were born by me on the plane trip to Stockholm; the most successful of which turned out to be the Yoigo Awards where we all had to vote for Miss Yoigo, Mr. Yoigo, Miss Fashion, Mr. Fashion, Miss Yoigo values, Mr. Yoigo values, the best listener, the person who spends the longest time in the office (not me, of course), the person who sends the longest e-mails (I won that one of course) and similar fun categories. I had to skimp on the compere and MC so Yours Truly did her bit here and, as it turned out, I actually rather enjoyed the role.
Getting into the Christmas spirit with the wig from the office seasonal bash
Yes it’s Christmas but Eladio and I had a couple of very important errands to carry out related to our trip to India and Nepal, namely getting visas and getting information on possible vaccinations. So on Friday I took the morning off and we both made our way to the Indian Embassy, forms filled out and photos taken for the event. It felt a bit like the first step of our trip and to record it, here is a photo of me outside the Embassy with the visa slip in my hands.

From there we made our way to the International Vaccination centre which actually happens to be a few doors down the road from José Antonio and Dolores’ house in Francisco Silvela. So we decided to drop in to pay our condolences to Dolores on the passing away of her Mother the week before. It was also a good excuse to see each other. So over a nice cup of coffee we had a nice family chat before moving on the Vaccination Centre.

The Vaccination Centre surprised us positively. They were extremely helpful and friendly as well as efficient and we were seen immediately. Apart from advice on the vaccinations, we also got advice on the contents of the first aid kit to take with us.

This day was all about India, of course. So to get even further into the spirit of our holiday, we decided to have lunch at an Indian restaurant. So we went to the one we know and like best, Annapurna, where we went recently with Pedro Delgado and friends.

More Christmas preparations took place this cold and wet weekend. On Saturday we all went to Xanadu, a frighteningly big shopping centre on the outskirts of Madrid which even has a snow slope for indoor skiers and which Eladio threatened never to return to. It was nice to go shopping with Oli and Suzy and Gaby but rather tiring and we actually only got through a small part of the list. Oh dear, we shall have to continue now next weekend.

And last night, a generous turn came over me and I invited the family and Gaby to dinner at what’s becoming our favourite place in the area, De María in Majadahonda. It was supposed to be a pre Christmas family dinner as this year we will only be here for the very beginning of the festivities. It was a lovely meal but we all ate too much, as usual.

We had totally forgotten that it coincided with the Barcelona Madrid match. We managed to see the end of it at home later but it wasn’t a pretty sight to see the 2-0 score to Barcelona. Real Madrid is not performing well recently.

And today has been a quiet family one, except that Suzy was away. She went to Toledo to have lunch with her school friends. Oli, Eladio and I went for our walk this morning and after a lovely Sunday roast (lamb, my speciality), we watched Vera Drake which is a film right up my street. It’s about a middle aged woman in the UK in the 50’s who practises abortions illegally, supposedly in order to help young women who “have got themselves in trouble” and are “in the family way”.

What I have forgotten to mention is that I did the dreaded colonoscopy on Tuesday of this week. I’ve probably forgotten because the whole episode was absolutely vile. Well, actually, the preparations turned out to be much worse than the intervention itself. That I hardly recall as I was put to sleep thank God. Dear Oli came with me and that was lovely. I get the results on the 22nd November but I’m very optimistic.

And on an optimistic note I look forward to the week coming up. I have 2 more events to get through; one for bloggers and the other is the employee children’s party. And, then, and only then will I be able to concentrate on the family Christmas which, this year, will be shorter than ever. The girls have asked us never to go away at this time of year. I think this will be our first and last exception but let’s make that decision after the experience.

Cheers till next week


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