Friday, May 18, 2012

Turning of the seasons

As I mentioned before, I attended the Rugby Sevens at Twickenham last weekend – the final weekend of the world series. I know I’ve said it before but I really recommend going to a Sevens tournament if you ever have a chance. There’s always such a great carnival atmosphere and it’s actually just heaps of fun. Apparently the event had over 100k people over the weekend, pretty decent. Should be interesting to see how it does as an Olympic sport.

Anywhoodle, Twickenham was 70s themed for the event so there were wigs, sideburns, platforms and flares a plenty. There were also a lot of people in random costume (including a group of daleks) – the most popular being groups of Wallys and Wandas of Where’s Wally (or Waldo I suppose, depending on your frame of reference) fame. There was also a couple of guys dressed up as smurfs. I don’t get this at all but it does seem to be a popular choice as well – I see a group of smurfs pretty much every Sunday I pass through Clapham Junction (mind you, it could always be the same group of guys…which would be very sad, but not impossible.)
Blurry daleks are blurry cause they never stand still.
Walking to the stadium was an experience in itself – pubs were spilling over with revellers and the sidewalks were littered with stalls selling all sorts of things, including one house that was hosting a braai in the front garden. It sounds so silly but it was actually really nice to find myself surrounded on all sides by Australian, New Zealand and South African accents. See, this is the benefit to having ties to all three countries (even if the NZ one is just in my own mind), I always feel at home.

Even though I had access to the press box, I didn’t really hang out there. It sort of defies the point of being at the event for me. My main concern is always the people and the atmosphere. So I was chilling in the stands, first with some English supporters who I quickly abandoned (it is my humble opinion that English fans kinda suck, further affirmed by all the cricket fans I've had to deal with this week since work is just up the road from Lords) in favour of a group of kiwis and Samoans. Much better. I'd also just like to point out that being able to wander wherever you like in a stadium this size is pretty awesome.
Do not let the sun fool you, it was still very chilly.
I then transplanted to the section next to the tunnel entrance which appeared to be populated entirely by family and friends of players. Cue players clambering over the railings and chairs every two seconds. I seemed to be surrounded on all sides by Welsh supporters which was actually very nice as the Welsh team members visiting them were all so lovely to me (I only later realised that one I was flirting with only turned 19 this week. 19!!! Jesus.) Too bad they had such a terrible day on the field.

There were a couple of moments where I was just amazed while eavesdropping on conversations. Like when guys behind me were perplexed why a couple of guys dressed as the Mario Brothers and draped in NZ flags were hanging out with members of the Samoan team. ‘But they’re obviously from New Zealand,’ one guy remarked in clear confusion. Dude. Seriously? I though everyone knew the islands are all one big family. I was also very unimpressed by the booing happening every time NZ or Aus scored a try though. Oh, and France, but that I expected. So not cool.
Rhys, a Welsh player sitting behind me, described England's gear as "impressively ugly kit" and I
wholeheartedly agree. The purple/green monstrosities are way worse when seen first-hand.
Funnily enough, the main thing I took away from the tournament, other than a cold that has gotten steadily worse during the week and a further cemented belief that southern hemisphere teams just play more exciting rugby, is that I’m really looking forward to studying in NZ. It seems completely random, but it’s true. I love kiwis. I don’t know why, but I do. And I miss New Zealand. I miss rugby. I miss home too, more this week because the weather here has been so unbelievably shit.

I can handle a lot of things about living in London. Like being alone 70% of the time. And being at the mercy of public transport which generally means being squashed into trains every morning. And even being completely broke and generally relying on the kindness of my utterly amazing friends here. But I simply can't handle the weather. I struggle to understand how anyone can put up with this for long periods. And I know for a fact that London is actually capable of nice weather and prolonged periods of sunshine, but that doesn’t cancel out that it can also be utterly miserable for weeks on end. And even when the sun is out it’s still cold. It's freezing and the nutters at work have the door open and the aircon on the minute the sun peeks out. I cannot understand it. My mind does not compute. I cannot wait to get back to 38 degree summer days and 90% humidity, when even walking from your car to your front door leaves you overheated and the only thing you want to do is lie around in your swimwear watching Top Gear. Bliss.

And yeah, I know if I study in Dunedin, I won't have that either. The weather will also be sub-arctic and rainy most of the time...but it's only a three hour flight from home (and a five hour drive to Christchurch, three and a half to Queenstown. Love.) That's closer than if I studied in Perth, even.

As much as I love the UK, and Europe, it's just too far for me to cope with on a permanent level and the weather does my head in. I'm a summer child and this *indicates through window at the solid expanse of grey sky* just won't cut it I'm afraid.

I think we have to face it, NZ. I think I love you. 
But probably not as much as I love this place. It's where all my stuff is.
And it's also where this furball is waiting for me. Hard to compete with that.

Music: Don't carry it all - The Decemberists

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