Most days, I love what I’ve worked so hard to achieve and the plans I have for the future. Most days – scratch that, every day – I feel fantastic about the supportive community of people surrounding this blog. Most days I cannot believe that this is my job, and that people will invite me to places like Antigua and Barbuda. Most days I am filled with gratitude and happiness.
But some days… days like today… GODDAMN IT. I FEEL SO BAD ABOUT MY BLOG.
It’s the final week of this experiment, but I’m starting to realise it no longer feels like an experiment, one with a hard end date. Technically, next Sunday (or, if we’re counting all of January, next Wednesday) I can have a drink. Technically, I can go on all the dates my heart desires… though truth be told, it’s not like I’m getting offers for dates left and right. Dating, for me, has always felt like a “when it rains it pours” scenario, because I either go through long spells of no romantic encounters or periods of time when multiple people seem to be interested.
I drank again last night. A lot.
After exploring Camogli yesterday, I took the train a few stops to Nervi, which is just as devastatingly beautiful as you’d expect from a small fishing village on the Italian Riviera. It was very quiet, but I walked along the promenade, took lots of photos, and then tried to find a restaurant that was willing to serve me pizza at 4pm, an unusual time to eat in Italy. I found one that overlooked the sea, and I spent the rest of the afternoon eating four cheese pizza, drinking a lightly sparkling white wine that’s famous in Liguria, and feeling on top of the world. Honestly, I didn’t expect to fall in love with Italy as much as I have in the past three years – it’s an unusual feeling, to want to keep returning to one country instead of exploring somewhere new. I love Italy for its culture, for its food, for its brightly coloured villages that jut up from the water, for its whitewashed stone buildings that appear on mountaintops. I love that, whenever I go into a restaurant, it is filled with people laughing and greeting each other, a beautiful cacophony. I love how much the small things in life seem to be appreciated in Italy – the perfect espresso, the smell of a lemon, the double kiss on the cheek, the way the wine sounds as it pours out of the bottle.
Oh yeah, and did I ever tell you about the Italian guy?
I have a lot of memories of London from before I lived here. In one, I’m wearing Spice Girl shoes, you know, those platform trainers that all of us wore in 1997. I had bought them on Oxford Street, at Miss Selfridges, my new favourite store. It was my second time in England; my very first visit, in fact my first visit to another continent, was to London and Windsor for a Christmas holiday with my family only six months before. My sister and I had gone to see Spice World in Convent Garden that holiday, and let me tell you – the Spice Girls were a big deal in London at the time. Anyway, in this memory, I’m on the tube, wearing my Spice Girls shoes, being very thirteen, when I stepped on a woman’s foot.
“Watch it!” she hissed at me, and I remember thinking she was extra scary because she had a British accent.
“I really don’t want to live in London,” I remember thinking. But oh, what a decade or two can change…
I wake up with one of the worst hangovers I can remember having. No, wait a second, I had an equally bad hangover in the Netherlands in November, when I spent an entire evening drinking sugary cocktails and shots of bourbon. And… yeah, scratch that, because I woke up the day after Boxing Day with a splitting headache, too, a result of a night of beer pong and margaritas that were purely tequila and a few squeezes of lime. Shit.
I’m pretty sure the first step of realising you’re addicted to something is denying that you have a problem, but, despite the three stories I just told you, I am not addicted to alcohol. I don’t drink every day. I (again, despite those three stories) rarely drink to excess or to “get drunk”. There is no alcoholism in my family. I’ve never “blacked out” or not been able to remember what I’ve done while drinking. Other than my birthday last year, when I drank sparkling wine with breakfast, the thought of drinking in the morning or on an empty stomach makes me want to hurl. I’d say I drink the average amount for a 30-something in London: a couple of glasses of wine with dinner a few times a week, and maybe a night or two in the pub where I have a few beers or spirits.
But oh, how I love alcohol. I really do. So why am I giving it up for January?
I almost never do these kinds of review posts – I’m always so impressed with bloggers who manage to do monthly round-ups. I often think how great it would be to do the same, and that it would keep me motivated and probably make me post more, but then I remember how lazy I am and laugh. It seems like every blogger has already done a review of their 2016, and I don’t even know who reads these kinds of things, but hey, I just had a fantastic breakfast at Falafel House (fellow Winnipeggers, you know what I’m talking about… I always get the corned beef hash and a glass of chocolate milk), two cups of coffee, and nobody else is home, so I thought I’d use these couple of hours to do something semi-productive. Usually I’d just be binge-watching Forensic Files, so I’m going to count this as a win.
I originally thought about organising this post by the trips I’ve taken this year, but my life is more than just my travels, and this blog is slowly encompassing more than travelling, so I’ve decided to organise it month by month.
Without further ado, here’s my year in review. No, I did not mean to rhyme that.