Gap yearing in Berrylands

“I’m going to really get under the skin of leafy, suburban London on my gap year,” said no-one, ever.

But here I was, cast on my arm, dosed up on painkillers wondering when I could get out of the country again. I’ll admit there were a few moments where my frustration ran high, but the weeks I spent at home were actually pretty great and I had some really rewarding and special moments.

The best way to describe my time in London is a cross between being a student (loads of time on my hands alongside day time TV), unemployed (little structure to my days) and retired (board games and hospital visits galore). As I wrote about in the blog just after I arrived home it was great to spend time with loved ones, my parent’s new cats, catch up with friends and see Spurs utterly destroy Arsenal, but I was also able to do some genuine ‘gap year’ activities.

Firstly, starting a series of blogs exploring various burger joints in London has been a lot of fun, and tasty too. Dave T and I only managed to visit five, but we’ll certainly be heading for more when I get back. Weirdly the blogs are relatively popular; more people seem to care about what I think of McDonald’s than Angkor Wat. I look forward to the day we can be utter sell outs to the corporate machine and you’ll see us in a burger chain restaurant advert stuttering over an auto-cue saying why the public should visit.

I was lucky enough to join up with LSE WFC again as one of their coaches. This had probably been the one activity I had missed the most since leaving; they’re a great group with some really talented players and it was gutting to leave halfway through the season. Watching them win their league with a hard fought 2-0 win on the day before I flew back to Southeast Asia was epic, even if it cost me my voice for 48 hours afterwards. I can’t wait until next season.

Finally I got to meet someone very special, Mukori Grace Feldwick, and I was invited to be her Godfather. This is a prospect which is equally terrifying and exciting (someone else can teach her how to ride a bike), but I’m very honoured. I was only able to see her for an hour or so before I left the country again but I can’t wait to get to know her better when I get home in August and watch her cry as someone pours water over her head in a church.

So there we have it, a few weeks that certainly weren’t in the plan but panned out pretty well. I write this on my last full day in Cambodia before moving on to Vietnam tomorrow.

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