The weather has turned cold in the past week.  It has been windy and chilly in a way that is out of the norm for Los Angeles.  With our new neighborhood has come trees and leaves and I could not be more pleased.  Now the leaves are scattered and falling as we get into the heart of fall.

The cold weather has made me nostalgic for my first fall in England and all that it entailed.   I spent my junior year in college in England, studying abroad.  I went to a small private school for college and I ran to England for the freedom that it offered.  I was at a point in my life where I wanted to be anywhere but there.  I was feeling constricted by the conservative campus that banned alcohol and anything past second base.  I left, to experience the freedom that I hoped would come with a large public school.  As I say to most people, I left to do slutty English things.

The English university that I ended up at was exactly as I expected and hoped it would be.  Alcohol and debauchery were the name of the game.  I could see four pubs from my dorm window, one of which had a stripper pole that all patrons were encouraged to use.  The other had a VW Beatle mounted to the roof for some reason.  I was drunk by my second nigh there.  My English flatmates were thrilled to have an American to show the ropes.  They had all been drinking since they were sixteen.  A foreigner that had been drunk maybe twice before was very exciting for them.

In many ways, though I was a third year and Rob was a first year, we were experiencing things for the first time together.  Since he was English and had years of drinking experience on me, I deferred to his judgment.  We were young and stupid (or.. younger and stupider) We spent our Friday and Saturday nights doing shots and drinking snakebites and then tottering home together.

I was always freezing at the beginning of the night.  I am generally cold, but in England I learned that there are rules when you go out for the night.  A sweater and pants simply will not do.  A skirt and a backless top are much more apropos.  Or better yet, a backless top, mini skirt, and sky high heels.  The freezing weather never seemed to bother me as much once I’d had four or five pints.

This weekend I had one of those nights.  Rob and I went out with friends.  The plan was to drink and party and celebrate.  Of course, there were subtle differences.  There were, unfortunately, no snakebites to be had.  I was on vodka cranberry and he was drinking Stella.  Though we are still in our 20s we can’t drink like we used to.  Hangovers and bar tabs are felt much more keenly these days.

But we had a blast and there is no one else I’d rather be stumbling home with.  It is as it always has been, he reigns me in while I encourage him to let loose.  Somehow, by the end of the evening, a happy medium is found.

My first year in England was filled with stupid, ill advised decisions but he wasn’t one of them.  Every night was a new adventure, a new pub, a new route home, barefoot.  We were young and stupid and becoming adults together.  I would have never expected to come out of that year with Rob still with me, albeit, slightly hung-over.

So, this month, I am thankful for that year that we had.  That year of hangovers and bacon sandwiches.  Of too many days late to class, and too many nights drunkenly looking for a cashpoint.  We were in love and having the time of our lives.  And I will cherish that year of recklessness forever.

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