Birthdays, Waiting Days & Holidays

 

On Wednesday it was my birthday.

I always feel slightly unworthy on my birthday, like I didn’t do enough to deserve the ‘happy birthday!’s flung my way. I feel like I should have accomplished something great this past year and I just… haven’t. I feel like I didn’t do sufficient good this year, as a human. I didn’t contribute enough. I am lacking, somehow.

Still, as with every year, it’s just made me more determined to knuckle down this coming year. I will blaze through 2018! Hopefully!

….My resolutions start early.

To date, I think this might be my least organised Christmas yet! As things currently stand, some of the Christmas presents I ordered online won’t arrive until the new year, and all I want for Christmas (now that I’ve got my two front teeth) is a time turner or a portable black hole. I need some way to scrounge a couple of days in the midst of the madness to assemble an entire kitchen and do some heavy duty spray painting, so if any of you have time travel theories you need testing, let me know.

I am starting to wonder if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but my innate optimism in anything relating to matters outside of myself is really buoying me up and persuading me it’s possible. I suppose we’ll see, won’t we? I’ll either manage it, or I’ll be crushed by a falling floor-to-ceiling cabinet and leave a Quinn-shaped hole in the floor (in which case I grant you all permission to tut and say, “Typical!” in a disappointed-but-not-entirely-surprised tone of voice).

Since my home is now a building site, I am currently sitting in the lobby of a local hotel, vagrant-style, stealing warmth and wifi while I wait for a toilet to be delivered.

When you’re ten years old, you never think about the fact that your adult life will one day involve hours of waiting for a toilet bowl to be delivered. You think about the fact that you can have ice cream for breakfast if the fancy takes you, but you never imagine that one day, you too will need to buy a hoover. Someday you will need to iron your clothes*, and weigh up the merits of coyote oak over frappuccino oak, and think about things like triple-glazing**.

You won’t have a clue what you’re doing.

That’s fine.

You will strongly suspect that the shop assistants don’t have a clue what they’re doing.

That’s fine too.

Unlike our parents, we have the internet at our fingertips. The world is smaller than it’s ever been. Just this past week I took in a delivery from Galway, and now I’m waiting on a delivery from Germany. I wish I had a bed to curl up in, but since the bedroom looks like a smaller and less organised version of IKEA’s warehouse I am sitting in this blue twill armchair in this hotel lobby instead.

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There is a bed in there somewhere. At least, there used to be.

The lobby is quite nice actually.

Unlike my home, this lobby has heating.

Unlike my home, this lobby has a bathroom.

Unlike my home, this lobby has a Christmas tree.

Unlike my home, this lobby has somewhere for me to sit that isn’t a precariously balanced assortment of wiring covered with black tarpaulin.

I have been here four hours.

I was told the toilet would arrive “in the morning.” There is an hour of morning left. My toes are numb and I have Christmas shopping to do. If I don’t leave here soon I am mildly concerned that I will become an inadvertent mascot like that cat, Billy, who wandered into the Algonquin Hotel in NYC back in the 1920’s and never left.***

Although… Now that I’ve been here for four hours I am curious as to how long I could stay here before being quizzed about my business. How long do hotels let you hang out if you have a laptop and a purposeful expression on your face?

If the toilet never arrives, I’ll let you know.

Happy Christmas, everybody. I’m sending you all the love, all the good wishes, all the hugs and twinkles and fairy lights and mistletoe kisses you could possibly want.

Have a great one!

PS: If anybody is feeling generous and feels the need to gift me a birthday coffee, there’s a link in the sidebar! I have a dream that one day I will go to Insomnia and order every different kind of hot chocolate, and I suppose if you were so inclined you could make this deranged chocolatey dream a reality! Thank you to those of you who have been kind enough to buy me one already; I REALLY appreciated both them and you!

*For the record this day has yet to come for me. I make a point of only buying clothes that don’t need ironing. Or if they do, I wear them crumpled and pretend they’re supposed to look like that. If I absolutely MUST get creases out of something, I use my hair straightener. This is not because I don’t own an iron (I do; a very intimidating hulk of a thing with a water reservoir and everything), but because life is too short to be faffing about with ironing boards and irons and those tiny plastic water jugs and all the rest of it.

**If you’re anything like me you will have conjured up a mental image of a donut positively dripping with three thick, smooth layers of sticky-finger glazing, but actually this is to do with windows and insulation. Adulting is an endless series of low-level disappointments…

***He kicked off a whole hotel cat tradition. Their current cat is a ginger tabby called Hamlet.

Thoughts on… Spending Monday in Mexico

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I am actually in Mexico as I type this, and I’m typing it on my phone, at the bar. I’ve had one Bahama Mama and one Electric Lemonade, and if you know me then you know that’s quite enough to have me enthusiastically humming Disney villain songs loudly and in public.*

Currently, I’m on Poor Unfortunate Souls, but I’m open to suggestions.

It’s nice here. I arrived a few hours ago and already my hair has taken on a life of its own and doubled in volume; it looks like it inhaled deeply and never exhaled. Waves have appeared out of nowhere. It is basically now a duvet for my head and shoulders. I have considered shaving it off about three times since the plane landed.

Make that four.

Today (tomorrow) is Monday, but I’m typing this on Sunday (today) because I am functioning on about four hours of sleep and trying to untangle time zones is beyond the scope of my capabilities right now. The Bahama Mama didn’t help. The Electric Lemonade was the nail in the coffin. I’m getting ready for a Mudslide and honestly, once I’ve had it I’ll probably have to ride a giant iguana back to my room because three cocktails is enough to have me talking to the walls.

I’m a notorious lightweight.

The bartender keeps calling me Emma, which makes me feel like I’m an incredibly unprofessional undercover agent. Is Emma supposed to be drinking something that tastes like melted lime Calippo? Is she supposed to be sitting on a swing? Are swings even safe in a bar? I feel like this is a head injury waiting to happen.

Speaking of muddled heads…

Today my Falling Half In Love With Strangers post is being featured on Discover WordPress, which is exciting and lovely and flattering and nerve-wracking all at the same time.

“…And that’s all I have to say about that.”

*Yes I also do this – regularly – completely sober. Stop judging me.

 

Sporadically Nomadic

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I love to travel.

I have been traveling since I was born. My mother is Spanish and my father is Irish, so in order to meet half of my extended family I had to be put on a plane as early as possible*.

Since then, I’ve been busy trying to visit as many new places as I can.

Unfortunately, I’m not one of those golden-haired, anklet-wearing, hostel-loving free spirits who go traveling barefoot for months on end and post pictures on instagram that make you want to claw your eyes out with jealousy. I’m more of a Dora the Explorer type. Not the new stylised version with the pearl earrings who looks like she owns a Burn Book. No, I’m the OG short dumpy Dora with the bowl haircut that looks like she’d be annoyingly upbeat about everything.

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That’s me! I keep a Canon 60D in that backpack. Una cámara!

I love everything about the actual verb part of traveling. I have no fear of flying – I actually enjoy turbulence – and even when it’s exhausting, arriving in a place where everything is a blank slate gives me the sort of rush people usually get from drinking five double espressos back-to-back. The usual annoyances of long-distance travel (limited legroom, for example) don’t really apply, since I am like human origami; I can stiffly crease myself into an astonishingly small arrangement of limbs when necessary.

My only real travel struggle is my ongoing difficulty with packing. Despite many years of practice, every suitcase successfully checked in continues to be a Pyrrhic victory. I rarely remember everything I need and, since the first items to be flung into my suitcase are usually things like my fins or my inflatable donut, it’s difficult to find space for more practical items.

Packing for the return leg of the journey is no less onerous. After finally stuffing my suitcase to the brim with non-essential essentials, I run into real problems on the way back when I want to bring home every kind of portable food. Trust me when I say that it is a true challenge to fit five boxes of tea, a 50oz bag of peanut butter M&Ms and a bear-shaped honey container into a suitcase that is already bursting at the seams; some sock sacrifices often have to be made.

Priorities!

Anything I think is delicious that I can’t find at home goes in the bag. I collect all sorts of delicious edible items when I travel; rainbow sprinkles, pastries, fried tomato sauce, tea, aniseed tortas, rice… I also collect other things. I collect tiny pebbles that catch my eye. I collect business cards from restaurants. I collect train tickets and hotel keycards and cinema stubs and pack all of these things away in my travel box.

… And I collect experiences. I collect memories.

I watched goat brains boil in their skulls in Marrakech, Morocco, and steered a horse-drawn carriage over the cobblestoned streets of Vienna, Austria. I unwittingly joined a pilgrimage in Jaipur, India, and reluctantly visited an onsen in Yamanakako, Japan. I discovered the limitations of air conditioning in Death Valley, USA, and did a drunken good deed in Paris, France. I got lost in thigh-high snow in Bansko, Bulgaria, and galloped past the pyramids in Cairo, Egypt. I’d like to write all of these memories down somewhere, and what better place than here?

This is basically my Pensieve, after all.

So I just wanted to check in with you, see how you would feel about occasionally odd, mildly mortifying stories from my pitter-pattering across continents. I even made a poll!

Thanks! Now go. Have a great weekend. Yes, you. You deserve it.

Even you with the heart of stone.

See you on Monday!

*I’m sure the rest of the poor unfortunate souls on that flight were delighted to have a two month old companion.