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Insomnia, UK Style

3 am and I can't sleep. I know, let's blog.

The first day of school turned out to be a lovely one. A quiet day at the office, semi-productive (although a semi isn’t really as good as one could wish for, but what with the jet lag and all …), and I think I’ll like my new corner digs.

Halfway through the afternoon I got an email from Larry asking what I was making for Thanksgiving dinner. "Reservations?" I replied.

Some quick Googling found a couple restaurants serving “American Thanksgiving”, but phone calls quickly ensured me that things were booked solid, so I resigned myself to a British Thanksgiving … which I imagined to be pints in Soho and a turkey curry-in-a-hurry.

As we were walking home from the pub, passing my phone back and forth, exchanging Thanksgiving wishes with my family in Cincinnati, I was really struck by the feeling that we’re all so close, but so far away ... and it's those connections that keep you grounded.

We ambled into our neighbourhood and I realized we were on the street that one of the “American Thanksgivings” were being served. We found the restaurant, asked if they had any room for two (North) American walk-ins, and after some fitful whispered discussions at the hostess stand, a lovely young lady said, “walk through that hall, ask for Pascal, and he’ll take care of you.”

And so, surprise, we were treated to a delicious meal of roast turkey with the trimmings. No cooking, no clean up, no football. And, sadly, no second helpings or leftovers. But a thanksgiving meal nonetheless. Next year, I’m cooking. And I hope we have a houseful, er, a flatful of people.

The first few days have been great. I’ve seen almost all my friends, played text-tag with the Prince, who much to my chagrin has seemingly gone into exile, and begun settling in nicely into the place we’ll call home for next however long.

I may have found a gym. We have a new DVD surround sound system which Harry Potter sounds brilliant on, and I’ve cooked my first meal in the new place. Did you know that ovens here only go to 250 degrees? Memo to self … find recipes in Celsius.

I guess it must be home, because it’s Saturday night and I’m not out, but sitting in on a window bench in my dining room, staring out over the square (which is really just a small grassy thing with trees and a gate around it, for those not in the know), typing on my laptop (which is sitting on my lap), blowing smoke into the cool, damp night air, wondering what everyone is doing. It’s all so Carrie Bradshaw. I’m both anxious and at ease … glad that I didn’t go out to the 25th anniversary of Heaven, finding comfort in the quiet drone of a dishwasher, and missing my friends … those across the pond and those across the river. And I’m thinking about how things change, and how despite those changes, some things always remain the same ... namely that you can't never count on anything but change.

I’m thinking how weird it is to be here and yet how right it feels. Wondering how I got here and where I’m going. Wondering why I woke up with "Weekend in New England" in my head and now, a day and a half later, Barry Manilow is still singing to me. Thinking that, despite the earworm, I’m a lucky man. Lucky to have so many good people in my life, so many good memories, and so many good things to come. Lucky to have found an unexpected Thanksgiving dinner this week. Wondering who will be in this room with me a year from last Thursday.