Monday, 30 January 2012


 Unfortunately, they generally come and go. Not from my life, but from the place I live in. I never was the most popular guy at school. I wasn’t the cool, confident guy that was surrounded always by people. However, I was likeable and I managed to create some very stable and strong friendships during these years. I vividly remember hosting birthday parties during my teens that might not have been the talk of the school but I believe were quite enjoyable.

Going to university in a different city made me lose most of my acquaintances from school. However, I tried to stay in touch with the closest and dearest friends from my hometown. You can count them in the fingers of one hand but I don’t mind. Even 15 years since then, we still get together and catch up. That same trend I kept through my university years. I made new friends, managed to keep the old ones and after my graduation, as normal, I moved on.

Now, I live in London. The friends I made since my postgraduate studies in the city have left. This time I was the one who stayed here and settled down and they simply left. Internet, in the forms of Facebook, whatsapp or skype, helps me maintain a connection with them. Through these years I can proudly say that I have an amazing friendship with a handful of people from my hometown and university years, both from Greece and UK.  One of my closest friends is my very first girlfriend from when I was 11! She lives in Athens though and I seldom see her in person.

It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. I know. What I’m saying though is that, in case I threw a friends gathering three years ago more than 2 dozens of people would arrive, now I can’t see a third of that amount showing up. That does sound a bit sad. I’m not a sad person though. I have created some new friends in London who I began to love but I’m greedy, I need some more. I’ve finished with being a full time student and I don’t plan to move away again. That means that another big change in my life is on going to happen soon. I’d like to start making a proper circle of friends and acquaintances here. That of course needs some time as well.

What I believe I should find is another gay couple to hang around with ‘JJ’. We have the fun of our lives when we’re together, I’m not complaining. However, I think that it would be nice if we have another gay couple to do things with them. The vast majority of the few gay friends I have are not in a relationship and they mostly go out to get hitched with someone. Even most of my straight close friends are single now that I think about it! Why is that?

Anyway, I’m closing this post with some photos I took over the weekend. The weather was crispy but sunny and we managed to walk around central London and Wimbledon. I was again reminded why I like this city so much:

 walking around in crispy weather in St. James' Park

 The local tram
 posh grocery shopping in Wimbledon

the Wimbledon Library's brilliant outside wall

PS. You can enlarge the photos by clicking on them. Also, I've addded a small poll on the right. If you'd like to reply, I'd really appreciate it.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Improve thyself

I was watching on Sunday afternoon one of these very silly television programmes about fat people struggling to lose weight. I do apologise of the use of the word fat, I should have said ‘weight challenged’ or whatever is politically correct these days. Anyway, the programme was called ‘obese – a year to save my life’ or something dramatic like that and followed the struggle of a 38 year old mother who was around 38 stones (around 240 kilos), if I remember correctly, thus the use of the f word. She had reached a state where she couldn’t put on her own underwear or take a shower without the help of her eldest daughter (poor thing).

The whole show was meaningless to say to least, however what amazed me was the constant progress that woman was making. At the end of the year, she managed to lose 10 stones (around 64 kilos). That made me question my fitness progress through the recent years and what’s gone wrong and where. Right before I met JJ I had started doing sessions with a personal trainer and was training for my first half marathon in Bath, story you can find here. My first half-marathon was a huge success and I finished it nonstop in a respectable time for a first timer. The following year I tried another half marathon (here) and overlooking some minor problems (lack of water, very hot weather) I struggled to finish it and I had to stop a couple of times. Nowadays I don’t think I could even do half the distance without having problems. It feels like I’m going constantly downhill instead of improving.

On the other hand my gym sessions with the ‘pt’ are generally doing fine. I still have troubles with some exercises and I can’t do a respectable number of pull-ups. When I say respectable I mean more than 5 with the pt’s help (which is truthfully three quarters on my own). Having the pt help me doing pull-ups is embarrassing to say the least which is why I ultimately hate the exercise. However, I can feel that I’m getting stronger and excluding the Christmas Period that I’ve been somewhat lacking in training my arms and back are getting bigger.

I do have to focus more on doing cardio exercises, lose some kilos and get back in running. I can’t even fit properly on the running gear I had bought almost 3 years ago. So, I’ve decided to join a race late March. It will be just a 10 kilometres race but hopefully it will get me moving. Funnily enough one of my new colleagues, a very fit metrosexual with a great sense of fashion, asked me about running and he decided to do the same race as me with his girlfriend! Now I have to face an extra challenge of actually doing great in the race since they will be there as well. I will not be able to hide my shame.
We’ll see how it will go…

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Q1 - January 2012

Welcome to ‘The Question’. That’s Stephen’s from ‘The State of the nation UK’ new project after the end of the ‘5 on the fifth’. Stephen poses a question to all bloggers each month (I think). The first one for January ‘12 is:

What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? 

Various things came into my mind when I was asked this question. At first I thought about winning the lottery. But there is no originality there and I am not a great fan of easy solutions like that. Winning loads of money in an instant don’t make people happy in the long term. For me it is important the feeling of accomplishment, gaining things through effort and persistence. So, I was thinking to start my own business, but I was not even sure what kind of business that would be.  I could even pretend to be Ms Universe and wish for ‘World Peace’ but I’m not.

In a theoretical question like that I think I’d answer in a similar way. I’d say that:
‘If I knew I could not fail I’d try to get bitten by a radioactive spider and become my own version of Arachno-Man!’ 

I’d become a protector of the innocent, a force to defeat evil like the superheroes I’ve been reading since I was young. ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ after all.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Things Change

I don't usually post things that I find online or things that people send to me. However, I found this too interesting and I couldn't resist. 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


I was thinking about my recent holidays in Greece and how to blog about it. I was going to separate it in two different sections, one that will focus on a personal level and the second that will focus on the national news. However, since I am still in a good mood and I don’t want to ruin it, I will not blog for the time being about Greece. Let’s just say that things are not going that well. For now the country is not making headlines but that doesn’t mean that things have progressed much.

Forgetting all about that, I’d like to concentrate more on my own holidays in Greece. If I could use just Madonna’s songs to describe it, I’d use the following:

I was so excited at first about going to Greece. I hadn’t been there since last summer and I wanted to see how my parent s and friends are doing! I still have some dear friends from my university and school years who I try to see every time I visit. I also know that my parents, besides some differences in opinion we might have, are not getting any younger and I am grateful for the time we have and spend together.

According to Greek Orthodox customs presents are exchanged on the first of January and not on Christmas day. They are brought by Saint Basil, a Saint who was famously a protector and carer of the poor and derelict. Of course the Saint’s image has been affected by the Coca-Cola red clothed white bearded Santa Claus but he still arrives on a different day. So, the first days of my holidays I spent trying to find small gifts for my relatives I would see on the New Year’s Eve feast.

That feast traditionally takes place each year in my aunt’s (my mother’s sister) great house outside the city. It starts around 9 in the evening until the early hours of the next morning. It includes large portions of food, alcohol, singing carol when the year changes, exchanging gifts, cutting the traditional New Year’s cake and then playing some board or card games. This year there were 24 of us and the meal lasted for more than 2 hours. I go there almost every year and although the family tradition does bring some warmth in my heart, I find it a bit boring. When I was younger I was very excited about the jokes said on the table, the gifts and the anticipation of the coin in the special cake. (There is a coin in the New Year’s cake and whoever gets the piece with it, is said to be lucky for the entire year.)  However, now I realise that the same jokes are said every single year and I’ve learned that the coin in the cake is a fraud. Its location is marked according to the cake decoration and is given on purpose. I am just mentioning it as an example to say that the magic is gone but fond memories still remain. That is why I still attend these gatherings.

My parents were happy I was there. My brother had visited them during Christmas and they were happy I was there the New Year’s weekend. However I feel that the distance between us in a personal level grows bigger instead of growing smaller. My father asked me the first day of my visit about my new job. We had a lengthy conversation about it but nothing else. He seemed very pleased about my progress regarding my professional life but there was nothing else to talk about. During the ten days I was there, we only made small talk and tried not to be alone in the same room. I wasn’t expecting much to be honest since I know how he can be.

What surprised me though was my mother’s behaviour. Since she doesn’t want to contradict him, she kept her distance as well. She only asked me about the new house once. The big elephant in the room was to be ignored. I tried to give her some opportunities to start a conversation but she wasn’t accepting. For example I told her a funny anecdote of my life with JJ. I told her how he’s trying to make eat more fruit that I forget to do, expecting her to be happy since she always complains that I don’t eat enough fruit. But the reaction I got wasn’t the one I expected. So, I dropped the subject and didn’t talk about it again.

In that sense the Madonna song I chose is not right. Having my father preach me would mean that he’s keeping the communication bridges open but he doesn’t. However, it’s a funny little old song which I haven’t heard in ages, so I picked that. Truth to be told I’m over feeling bad about my parents. They have their beliefs and I have mine. Probably in the future I will even stop thinking about it and simply accept the on-going situation as it is.

Anyway, I’m back in London now, back home where I am the happiest. This is how I felt when I came back:

Monday, 9 January 2012

Back to business

2012! Already? Gosh… Time does fly…

Happy New Year to everybody I haven’t ‘seen’ during the last days. I assume I’m still allowed to say that, right? I was away on holidays the first week of January and I haven’t kept in touch. I did manage to post some comments here and there but that was it. I visited my parents and I spent with them New Year’s Eve. It was generally fun since I managed to get some rest and see some old dear friends of mine.

I’ve noticed a reduced number of blog posts since I changed jobs last summer but I assume it’s natural since I’ve been far busier than before.  I could make writing more posts my new year’s resolution, but I am not going to do that. I’ll just say that I will try to blog more but I refuse to feel stressed about it. Blogging is important to me but I have other more serious stuff to worry about. (sorry)…

Before starting writing this, I decided that the first post of the year should be optimistic. I’m not going to complain for example about the abysmal financial situation in Greece or how my relationship with my father is still not very good. I’m also not going to yell at my scale about the extra (3) kilos I gained during my visit in Greece. It’s not the scale’s fault after all. I am just going to say that losing the extra fat I have on me is a challenge I plan to win during the next few months.

These were the various silly things I was thinking while going to work this morning. The streets were busy with people and the tube was packed. However, while walking to work the sky was blue and the temperature was high for this time of the year. I have a smile on my face and went to work for the first time in 2012. There are so many things I'm grateful for...