December 18, 2004

Ten Days In

Another copied and pasted email, sent Friday 17th December:

Good evening one and all…

Well, Friday night sure does appear to be turning into my "email night" – you lucky things, you. Despite receiving some personal replies to my previous mail (thank you!) I thought I would write another group update. I've no excuse except to admit that it's because I'm lazy…

To be honest I can't really remember what I've been doing (that old age catching up with me again) each day during the last week, and disappointing though it must be for you not to receive a detailed day-by-day account of my life, I will attempt to pick out some highlights…

The highlight of the past week would have to be Monday night's splendiferous outing to Bingo. Now, I'm not going to pretend that the ordeal was entirely initiated by my Grandma – after all, it was me who (oh so stupidly) switched on the 'Community Channel' on the TV and consequently saw and laughed at the Bingo advert (which appeared after the one about residents not being allowed to put up any signs or flags other than the US flag…dammit that "I ♥ Jason Donovan" plaque that sneaked into my suitcase will have to remain hidden). At which point, eyes drawn to the TV screen to discover the source of my amusement, Grandma's exclamation of joy could be heard for miles. Astonishingly enough, Mum wasn't too keen on the idea at first but Grandma and I (by which point she had me under her Bingo spell – assuring me of much enjoyment and not to mention great wealth to come) gradually convinced her of the prospective delightful evening that was to be had (hello passive tense!) and she relented. So, Monday night it was. The fun was due to start at 7pm, so we left, of course, at 6.30pm – the clubhouse, a good five minute walk away, being our destination. So we arrived five minutes later and, faced with a room of people with a combined average age of around 75, I knew we were in the wrong place. I mean, where were the "trendy" flashing lights, the "hip" music and the "happening" young people like on the Gala advert? However as I turned to leave one of the OAPs (no not Grandma or Grandad) grabbed my arm and those of my family's (said multiple-armed OAP must've been well-practised at this sort of thing) and ushered us over to an empty table. We were presented with multi-coloured bingo booklets (and the collection box shortly after) and, dabbers poised, the game began at 7pm sharpish. We encountered some early confusion for my poor hard-of-hearing Grandad, who marked every number containing a 2 as if it were a 3 (ie. 52 was 53, etc.), resulting in my Grandma having to check his paper as well as her own. After the first few rounds (6 per game) when none of us had won a dime, we were beginning to despair – but then out of blue came an embarrassed voice: "Bingo!". After getting over the initial shock of realising that the voice belonged to my Mum (mainly shock due to her admittance of 'having bingo'), I then had to encourage (force) her to go and collect her winnings. It turned out that two other people had called at the same time so she had to share the, ahem, 'jackpot', and as a result ended up with a whole $3. Then she won again – $8 this time though! She was thrilled. Well, she must have been, she keeps telling people about it – in between fits of laughter and "don't ask" looks… so all-in-all a good evening was had by all – it was highly amusing if nothing else!

Other highlights seem to pale into insignificance in comparison to Monday night's shenanigans…what dares to follow? As I mentioned, I can't exactly remember what I've been doing from one day to the next (must lay off the vodka…), but the main activities have been shopping (many bargains found and purchased – thank you lovely HSBC credit card people – there seems to be a sale here every other day!), swimming, going to the gym (or rather, timidly entering the gym room hoping that nobody's there, and, upon encountering the old man that likes to talk to me about Jesus and the meaning of Christmas, hopping on (and quickly off again) the treadmill, then looking at and wishing I knew how to use the rest of the equipment before leaving ashamedly…(try that sentence auf Deutsch if you dare!!)) and sunbathing (when the sun deigns to make an appearance). Apparently I now look 'healthy' and am taking that (somewhat hopefully) to mean I have one of those elusive healthy glows…which will undoubtedly fade without a trace within about 10 minutes of landing at Heathrow the week after next (if past experience is anything to go by – "Oh you went abroad? Was it somewhere cold?...Florida?! My, you don't look as though you've been to Florida…" Gee, thanks.).

And that's that. The summary of my first ten days in Florida. Notice the lack of mention of uni work…

Happy holidays! x

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