while we were in england over the holiday, ryan and i did our best at staying up late and waking up even later--an ill attempt at remaining on american time?--and one of the consequences of this was watching old performances on "Top of the Pops" (the british american bandstand, i guess). one of the more memorable performances was "The Funky Gibbon" song. this is one of those novelty songs that never caught on. my guess as to why it never caught on is that it's awful. well, aside from the fact that the three men singing the song looked like gibbons themselves, the group had Nothing going for them, the song was too long to be cute, and the dance sucked.
aside from late night tv programming (which, even in glorious england has dramatic faults), the only other not-so-nice thing about our trip was the flight over. ryan was nervous about immigration to the point of being incapable of just about anything beyond hugging and holding my bag when i asked him (it's a very cute sort of pathetic, i'll admit). on top of that i had one of my worst times on a plane.
everything else about the trip--even the longer flight back to the states and the real test of immigration laws--was perfect. i'd venture to say that this was one of my best christmas's to date. i know it was ryan's best, and defiantly his mum's best.
this year was different, it was all about the people. ryan, his sister and her husband, ryan's dad and myself all conspired to surprise ryan's mum with the one thing she really wanted, and the one thing she knew she couldn't have--for her son to show up at her front door on christmas. what a sweet wish to begin with! all's she wanted was her whole family to be together. and what's more, it happened to be ryan's grandad's 80th birthday on boxing day. the opportunity to surprise her and the grandparent's was too great to pass up so ryan and i booked our holiday as soon as possible and had been holding our tongues up until the surprise itself.
we flew into manchester to visit ryan's old stomping grounds, to meet up with a few friends and to make a special pilgrimage to the coveted Pizza Co (great news, they're expanding!!). one of the men that run pizza co actually remembered ryan and asked him why he hadn't been in for such a long time. ryan told him he'd moved to americaland and that, after having a pizza, it was the best pizza he'd had in almost 2 years, which i think really made that man's day, if not year. merry christmas pizza co.
it didn't hurt that kerry and richard (ryan's sister and spouse) live in manchester and were able to pick us up and then later drive us to derby for the christmas surprise.
when we got to derby ryan and i went stealth and hid out of sight until kerry and richard delivered their line about having gotten mum something they couldn't wrap. the instant she saw ryan the tears turned on and she covered her face in disbelief. it was the perfect reaction. she kissed and hugged him and cried and by the time we got inside she had us sat on either side of her holding onto us to make sure we were really there. and then we all got to tell her about all the plans and conspiring that had gone on--that the goose was ryan's request, that we'd had the tickets since august and so on.
grandma reacted the same way the day after when she and grandad arrived. grandad just called me the sneaky one the whole weekend :)
goose is really nice; let that be known. and the real meaning of christmas is dessert... i mean family and dessert. honestly, the reason this christmas was so wonderful was because we were all there together and the presents didn't matter one way or the other (though mum, being a mum ran out as soon as she could and bought ryan and i lots of prezies to unwrap on christmas morning).
there's a lovely few pictures of the whole group of us that ryan's doctoring a bit (richard had his eyes closed for the best picture of everyone else...) which i'll put here once they're ready. i'm also composing a list of things i love about britain (not sure, yet, how long it will be though) and i have a pile of poems that i wrote on the plane and before the journey which i'll type up and display here.
hopefully this new year's celebration will be just as lovely. i'm going to kick everyone's butts at that zombie board game and then run really far away when ryan breaks out the karaoke game...
happy new year everyone