Christmas in England

Well it has been a long time since I have spent Christmas in the cold, dark English days, and yet I never realised how much I missed it until I went back this year.

For the first time in over 10 years I spent the entire Christmas with my mum, and it was good.

I flew in on the 21st Dec 2009, and straight into the snow. My plane was very light and I had all three seats in my row to myself, so being the person I am, I lifted all the arm rests, used my coat as a pillow and sprawled out across them all. This enabled me to get an hours sleep on the flight which I knew I was going to need. We landed in Heathrow without incident but not without delay.. some 2 hours late… Good job I had already phoned ahead and arranged the hire car etc.

The trip to Gt Yarmouth was fraught with tails of 6 hour journeys, and people stuck in the snow, however it seemed I was blessed that night as I drove to Gt Yarmouth without slowing down except for the obligatory road signs and junctions. The trip home was very much without incident and I made better time than I have on previously “good” days.

The first night at home I spent with my son, and finally got some sleep at 3am.

The following day, I took my son Aaron to Norwich to do some shopping, then it was back to Mum’s for dinner where I cooked “Salmon alla Shells” a little concoction I made up myself. It was greatly enjoyed by all, and I can see it will become a regular dish in Gt Yarmouth.

The evening with Aaron was interesting as we sat playing cards, something which is seems he hasn’t done much of. Mum and I taught him “pontoon” which is a version of “black jack”, it was a slow start but he seemed to get the hang of it really well.

The following day we went to my sisters, where we spent the morning and early afternoon catching up, baking etc.. Unfortunately for me this is where things went a little wrong. Aaron still calls me Dad, which i expect, the problem is he uses this to justify referring to me as “He”, “Him”, and “His”, this led to the obvious issue that everyone else started calling me “Matthew” and referring to “He”, “Him” and “His”… Whilst this was going on Aaron complained his arm was hurting again, and I had a look, a very quick check diagnosed a broken scaphoid bone, and I said he needed to go to hospital. Turns out he broke it 9 weeks earlier when he fell off his motocross bike.

We left my sisters early and headed to the hospital, where Aaron refused to go in with me stating I was an embarrassment and that it would be too embarrassing for his “dad” to go in with him. I was not pleased, and said in no uncertain terms if he didn’t I’d drop him off at his mum’s and leave him to it for Christmas. 10 minutes later, I dropped him off and went home to mum’s.

Several phone calls later and some heated words, and I agreed to come back to Aaron’s mums to drop off the presents (which was really stupid as I was going to do that anyway.) The rest of the evening I spent with the lovely Debbie, having a drink in my home village in a quaint pub called the “Jolly Farmers”. Upon returning I talked with mum about the issue and told her why I was not happy, she indicated it was hard for everyone and I should be more tolerant.. I explained that I expected it to be difficult, and I accept that people will get it wrong, however with her as an example, she had agreed to call me “M” instead of Matthew as she wasn’t ready to call me Michelle, and yet when Aaron had started she had started calling me Matthew. My sister who normally calls me Michelle, had reverted, because everyone else was… I explained to me I accept it’s difficult and people won’t get it right all the time, but it’s about trying, and getting it wrong sometimes against not trying at all, she seemed to accept what I was saying.

The following day, Christmas day, some new family joined us for dinner and mum introduced me as Michelle/Shells to them and through out Christmas day and Boxing Day mostly called me either Michelle or Shells. That really made me happy, and everyone else except Uncle John followed suit.

At peace with the world…

I sat back earlier today and thought I am finally at peace with the world (well except spammers, but there is a general consensus that they are not human! 😉 )

Seriously though I sat back today and thought about my life, what I have and where I am and realised I am blessed. I don’t know whether I have made it myself, or whether I’m lucky, or whether it’s a bit of both, but I have no financial worries, I have a lovely place to live. I have investments for the future, no debts (at all) and I have a beautiful girl called Katie whom I love dearly.

Yesterday I decided whilst waiting for my stuff to arrive I’d invest in some storage containers for the fresh coffee, and promptly bought a new cast iron Wok, as well as the containers and a set of digital scales, the total surprised me, but then I saw the culprit.. the wok was an “exclusive set” .. what a load of b*****ks, it’s a wok with a set of chopsticks! Seriously, its a proper cast iron one, so it’s well worth the 140.00 euros I paid for it (around Au$250) as it will keep the heat of the gas than therefore I should get better stirfrys. When it came to paying though, I handed over my handy card, and for once didn’t worry about what the limit was, whether there was fund available, how I was going to afford the rent etc.. I just paid and thanked the lady and walked out.

Wandering back to the car I noticed a lovely dress in another local shop, and so I went back to investigate (after putting the purchases in the car) The dress didn’t fit (just too tight on the shoulders, it was beautiful though!) at the same time I noticed a new Cashmere jumper which fits perfectly, and another very raunchy dress. Unfortunately they didn’t have the size I was looking for (a 42 = 12) but without shoulders I was able to get into it even though it was a 40 (Size 10)… The shop was stunned, I bought it… Again, because I can without worries… It feels so good, a life without worries… what more can I ask for?

My little excursion was done without much thought or preperation because I was going out last night to our company Xmas party, and so rather than get ready in the morning, go out, come home, get changed, get ready etc.. I figured I wouldn’t worry about makeup, and I’d go as I am. The really interesting thought there is that there are others I know (TS/TV and CD) who will not go out without makeup. I even know some genetic girls that won’t, but looking around the world and looking at the amount of girls that use make up day to day… it’s a very small selection.. for this reason I occasionally go out without makeup, and I have been more confident in that over the recent weeks… Yesterday was the culmination of all of that, I went shopping with no makeup (at all). I didn’t have a skirt on, I didn’t worry about anything, and I was totally accepted as me for me, and I think this is the reason I am finally at peace with the world. What more can I ask for, the raw me is seen, there is no hiding, no changing needed, I’m talking face to face with shop staff and they don’t even notice I am TS (or they just don’t care.) These shops are places I have never been into, and I don’t get funny looks other customers are happy to use the changing rooms and in one case ask my opinion about a top.. standing there in just her knickers and the top.

I never thought this day would come, I am so glad it has.

The other thing that has contributed has to be that, Katie and I have finally announced our love for each other. Until now we had been keeping it private (not secret, but not announcing it to the world) yesterday she told her family, and made it public on our Facebook pages (sorry people not adding anyone new there unless you’re family or in the photos I take.) She’s leaving Australia moving in with me in Malta in the new Year, such a big step, but she need not worry as I taking every precaution to make sure the trip runs smoothly. My only worry is the “homesickness” that one can get when moving away for the first time. Malta is of course on the other side of the world. I will be setting up yet another VOIP number for her so she can talk to her family and friend as if she was living in Brisbane, but it will still be hard.

All of this coupled with my passport changes and my trip to London are why I am so happy. My very good friend Harriett said, “Shells, you are visibly different from last week. You look happy and relaxed.” Thank you Harriett!