Remember that last post that was all soft and mushy about my ‘last European adventure’? Welp, I definitely lied to your faces/computer screens; mainly because, at the time, I thought that was an accurate statement. And then this weekend I got a delightful invitation from a wonderful relative in France to come for a visit, and well-who can say no to a weekend trip to France? So-liar, liar, pants on fire: I’m not done traveling Europe.
Also, you know how everyone seems to be creating a Facebook status that declares what they are thankful for on that particular day? Well I’m going to remix the trend for this post, and declare what I’m going to miss about Europe today; today, I realize that I’m going to miss relaying that my weekend plans involve traveling to another country. And, let’s be real-I’m too lazy to relay one of these a day, so lets just double up for this post, shall we? Another thing I will miss about Europe: all of the amazing friends that I have made during this past year+. Of course, thanks to Facebook, we’ll all be able to stay in touch/continuously post hilarious Buzzfeed articles on each other’s walls, but not knowing when I’ll be able to see these fabulous people again has made me quite sad this past week. I’ve been having to start my ‘goodbyes’ lately, and if there’s one thing I hate? It’s goodbyes.
But even though I hate goodbyes, I love hellos. And one of the things I need to focus on during this depressing ‘I’m about to leave Europe to be unemployed in America’ time is that I get to say hello, officially, to the some pretty fabulous new additions to my life. Because of technological advances and compatible Apple products, I have been able to meet the too-cute-for-words babies of Cheyenne via Skype and FaceTime. (Is it strange that the two latest newborns that have been brought into my circle are both in the same town? Or just really convenient?) This past year has brought about a newer, more fabulous Kobi and the gorgeous next generation for the Nealon side of the family. Be careful, Shenefelts and Forwoods-I’m coming to love on those adorable girls. Until there’s a diaper situation.
In other news, today is a magnificent day for several reasons. First of all, it is the birthday of one of the most important people in my life: my father. Happy 56th Birthday, Pops! (I can only remember how old my parents are because they are 30 years older than I am, therefore making the arithmetic simple enough for my challenged math skills. Aaaaand now you all are aware of my age. You’re welcome/I’m sorry.) I’ve probably droned on and on about this incredible man in earlier posts, but, per usual, I’m too lazy to go back and look. What is he doing to celebrate this special day? Typical Jim Penland things: working incredibly too hard at a business that he’s molded with his own two hands, eating lunch standing up because he’s too hard a worker to even take a lunch break, and then having a birthday dinner at his parents’ house because he’s the world’s greatest son. Because that’s my dad: he’s the most generous person I’ve ever known, and will spend his birthday evening carefully attending to his ailing father and trying to lighten the mood for my loving grandmother who is having to watch her husband slip away to that terrible demon, Alzheimer’s. It will be the same routine as every other day for him, but the rest of us will be celebrating the fact that 56 years ago, this wonderful man made his earthly debut. (I don’t know how he feels about me shouting his age from the rooftops…hopefully he’s ok with it. Or, maybe he’s forgotten, and is grateful that I’ve reminded him. You’re welcome, Dad-I like to help.)
Today is a magnificent day for another reason, though it’s a LOT more selfish on my part: it’s my last West End theatre production for this year. I’m taking myself on a date to go and watch my favorite musical of all time-Les Miserables (you know, before Hugh Jackman sang it out of his nose.). So even though it’s raining outside, I’m going to grab my umbrella, a pumpkin spice latte, and walk myself from Camden Town to the Queen’s Theatre, wish for the thousandth time that Eponine and Marius end up together, and cry. Cry because it’s such a touching story, cry because I have to say goodbye to being able to watch a musical whenever I desire, and cry because I now have less than 20 days left in my favorite place on Earth. BUT, some of them will be tears of joy, so we’ll just concentrate on those for the moment. We might be parting ways soon, London, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to enjoy every last minute of it!