The true meaning of Christmas is a flannel shirt smelling of beer. - 01 January 2007

Christmas, 2006 edition. Every year more of the same, but I just love it.

Christmas stories: is coming home, is coming home, Olaf's coming home.

You gotta love Christmas.
Xmas at Olgiati'sCome on, how could you hate it, unless you're a weirdo?
Sure, I remember the times when I use just to receive gifts, since my parents took care of all the presents for cousins and friends in my place.
I even remember the times when the amount of gifts me and my sister received - always 50% of what was written on our letter to Santa Clause (I never got my Transformer Commander / Optimus Prime and the Castle of Greyskull , I'm still waiting Santa!) - was at least 10 times bigger than what my parents got from us. Back then it seemed a great ratio: 10 gifts for us and 1 for them.
Now we're all adults and some of my friends, including me, are approaching the 30s.
The gift ratio, from 10 to 1, suddenly has been reduced to a mere 1:1, and, from what I've seen at Paolo's, who has already 3 kids, soon it will approach the 1:10.
What it is important is to get the right gifts and be happy with it.
Paolo bought himself a Nintendo Wii , the greatest console ever; while I decided that my presence among friends after so many months in a northern country is always the best gift.

It's a particular Christmas this one, since is probably my last "English" homecoming.
For the past 6 Christmas (SIX!) I've come back from London, spent a week to fly back just before New Year's Eve. Next year I should have moved already in another new place, and as exciting as it sounds, I will need time to adjust.
Last xmas with RobAnd it's my last Christmas with Rob. The original idea was to take him with me to Italy, since he has never been there, but the outrageous price for 2 tickets stopped him.
We exchanged gifts just before my flight, in a chilly London night, before the usual pub night. I got great books about Calvin and Hobbes , comic strips about a kid and his imaginary tiger (a stuffed animal). The way the author captured the feelings of a young kid who likes space ships, snowball wars and sweets is just incredible.
Probably since recently I've become kind of nostalgic about my childhood (you know, turning 30s seems a great deal after all) this was just what I needed to remember how fantastic everything was. Thanks pal.

JumbaI landed in Italy, Milan Linate, 6 hours later than I should have. Some fog in London delayed the flights, but besides waiting and sleeping and reading Arena + Nuts + Zoo (the Trio you need to buy before every travel!), everything was straightforward. No long queue, no terrorism, no bombs and no smelly/fatty people sitting next to me on the plane.
Someone, as usual, tried to involve me in some kind of argument about what is best, Italy or London (it's never Italy and England, is always best parts of Italy vs. worst parts of London). I disguised myself as a Polish/English guy and the boring guy soon stopped trying to talk to me.

For so many years on my way back to Italy I've always denied to be an Italian and now I developed a Borat-like eastern European accent. Damn. Even when I talk in Italian I now lost my accent and developed a weird, robotic, one. It's a bit confusing: I speak English with an eastern European accent; I speak polish with an Italian accent and Italian with a strange accent.
It's very difficult to be me. Sure, it's a great feeling to be a hero, but damn it's so difficult.

Greatest fridge everMilan by winter evening looked grey and dark as usual, but my sister collected me at the tube station with her new car, one of those GPL-fuelled vehicles (a Chevrolet Kalos). I was surprised how good it was, actually.

Nicola at the TexasMy plans for the week were very basic: do something to keep me busy during the day and spend every single night to the greatest pub in town, the Texas Town , a place where beers are good, cocktails are great, food is delicious and I don't pay.
I think the latter is the most important, but still I wouldn't go and spend my nights to a place where I couldn't have fun, even for free.

Once at home, where my dad proudly showed me his new American fridge (a monster of appliance that provides everything a true man needs: ice or crushed ice for his cocktails), Jumba, my dark skinned short and kind of ugly friend (he's actually a good guy, even if he visits me too often in London ) texted me asking if I could play a 5-a-side game of football with his team, the same evening, in 2 hours time.

Olafmeister + JumbaReal men drink real aleNow, I'm not 20 anymore. I don't play for the sake of the game, and I don't play with total amateurs after a long trip. But for some reason (hey, it's Christmas) I've accepted and only 2 hours later he collected me for the game.

I won't bother you with the details, but the game ended in a one man show where the one man was yours truly Olafmeister. I scored 4 goals, assisted other 2 or 3 and the final score was 8-2. With my Materazzi shirt I can do miracles. Miracles I say!

I ended up my first evening in the Texas Town, meeting with my old friends Max and Beppe, to taste a new Christmas beer called Bush de Noel , 12 degrees of Belgian joy.
Soon, I was home for my first night of sleep in my old bed since May.

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