A while ago I was cleaning out all drawers in my house. I had lost the debit card to our joint bank account and I figured I’d make my search for it extra useful. You would be surprised how much stuff you find (back) when you take out everything you have stuffed in drawers and organise everything into the two categories of keep and put back neatly, and throw out.
During this chore I found one thing that did not fall in any of those two categories. It was more a category of take with you to happily re-experience… It was my old iPod nano, which I had not used in a few years.
When I had just handed in my Master’s Thesis two years go, I took a trip to Lisbon with my boyfriend and his family. It was such a relief to be done with my studies, and it was perfect to wait for the result while enjoying a city trip abroad. Lisbon – what a city. We actually have a large photo of Lisbon hanging in our home entrance, not just because it was a really pretty photograph, but also because we have such good memories of that city.
One of the characteristics of Lisbon is that it is extremely hilly, which makes it look very pretty, but it makes walking around as a tourist a little more challenging than your usual city trip. My lovely company consisted of two very fit parents who are used to walking miles and miles together, my boyfriend and his brother, both the sportsy types. I’m not saying I’m a complete loser in that respect, but they sure do have a lot more experience with being (very) physically active in general.
We only had a couple of days in Lisbon, and therefore put as many activities, sights, and miles in each day as possible. At the beginning and ending of every day, we had to go down and up this very steep street. After a few days, I was increasingly having a hard time with it – at some point I started walking up that hill backwards. My legs, but mostly my left knee was hurting terribly and the more hills we had on our route, the worse it got.
It was Monday afternoon when I first came to Edinburgh last July. I was full of excitement and anticipation: our two week trip through Scotland had finally begun. We would have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning to spend in the capitol of Scotland and we were eager to find out what the city had to offer.
We took an Airlink bus from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre, stepping off on a bridge that we would cross many times during our stay there. Our first mission was to find our Airbnb apartment on York Place, which was just a 10 minute walk with our two large suitcases. Our hosts were super friendly and their house was a-ma-zing. A great start to a holiday if you ask me: knowing that you’ll be super comfortable.
This weekend we visited the Dutch Museum of Photography (Nederlands Fotomuseum). There was this one particular photographer whose work I was eager to see, and having passed by the museum multiple times I was just overall curious to see what the place was like.
Having just purchased the Rotterdampas, which gives us either considerable discount or free entrance to cultural activities in and around Rotterdam, we had extra incentive to take the time to go visit. And man, are we happy we went. Sebastião Salgado’s work stole our hearts within seconds.
Ah, Glaschu. The biggest city of Scotland, the third-largest in the UK. It didn’t feel that big to us, but then again, we only had about 36 hours there. The city where I had the luxury of living in the heart of the city, right on Buchanan Street, the busiest shopping street. Where I slept right above Zara, in the same street as Michael Kors and other similarly expensive stores that I never enter out of principle. Glasgow. One of the cities that I am determined to visit again at a slower pace.
My memories of Glasgow are a bit bittersweet. We ended our two week trip there, which not only meant being about to go back to the Netherlands, but also having to part ways with our rental car. Man, I loved that car. But OK, on to more relevant matters. Glasgow… I must say I was a bit hesitant at first judging from the surroundings where we returned our car, but I learned quickly enough that apparently, at least as a tourist, you’ll feel better once you’re north of the Clyde river. Local people, correct me if I’m wrong, will you?
Since I was only there very shortly, I’ll not be able to give you a complete sense of what Glasgow is like, but I would be happy to share with you the things I enjoyed over there. Starting with… where to eat. Because after finding our Airbnb apartment and dumping our luggage, which was 80% dirty laundry from all the hikes we did in the Highlands, that was all we could think of.
It’s funny how people react sometimes when I answer their question on how long I’ve been together with my other half. Usually their first question is: Wait, how old were you again?
I was lucky enough to bump into my now boyfriend of 9 years in high school, a year after I first stepped foot into that school. My group of close friends, who I met there as well, very often tell me how crazy but special it is that we’ve all known each other for so long, and that all this time him and I have been basically growing up together.
We went from worrying about homework (or, that would be me, he didn’t really care about homework but did very well with everything, the smarty pants) and how many movies we’d be able to watch in a row, to debating where to go for our studies, to deciding where to find our first apartment… Then what to wear to each other’s graduations, first BA, then MA, who would have thought… Now we’ve bought a house after we both celebrated getting our first jobs we love very much. It’s crazy, looking back. Looking forward, as well.
I remember it so well: last year we were sitting in the car, moving slowly towards a destination unknown to me, but very well known to Tom. According to him, we were headed towards my Christmas gift. But what could that possibly be, considering the dull surroundings we were driving through? As I tried guessing where we were going and what my gift would be, we drove into some industrial area where small businesses were located.
And then, at some point, there it was: a small little shop with the waving flag of Scotland just above it. What I do not remember so well was how long and how bad my hysterical reaction was. It was probably something like “*Gasp* Scotland! What’s that? That flag! Is this where we’re going? *Gasp* Scotland! Outlander! What are we doing? Say something! What is this? What’s in there? HELLO? Why are we here? Is that the flag of Scotland? Huh? SCOTLAND!”
Do you remember that time when the internet was suddenly all about guilty pleasures? When people were trying so hard to make a point of writing about them? 17 Food Guilty Pleasures, 25 Guilty Pleasures on Television, 90 Guilty Pleasures in 90’s Music, A Girl’s Guilty Pleasures, A Dude’s Guilty Pleasures, A Dog’s Guilty Pleasures, A Blogger’s Guilty Pleasures… You name it, it’s out there somewhere. I was not at all impressed by this trend that was flooding my Facebook timeline. There is, however, one guilty pleasure that I’ll admit to. Just one. And just one time. I’m never mentioning the words ‘guilty pleasure’ ever again after this post. Promise.
I have seen quite some trends over the years. I started my first blog when I was around 12 years old, constantly experimenting with HTML and changing the layout of my page every so many weeks. There were times when I was so addicted to it that I changed it once or twice a week. I created countless collages of my favorite celebrities and used them as the main focus of my greatly creative webpage. My blog ‘featured’ Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jesse McCartney (about 100 times), Vanessa Hudgens, Zac Efron… And probably a dozen others who at that time was interesting to me because of a cool (teen) song, movie or other type of entertainment.