Monday, 21st of May
I just woke up. I checked my phone, sweet, wonderful messages from friends, family, even people I didn’t expect to hear from. I’ll check them out later. I need to get up.
One of the first ones I read makes me giggle. I’m so lucky to have such awesome friends. Remember that next time you doubt yourself.
Birthdays, the one day most people remember you. I always found the idea of birthdays a bit… surreal. Why do we celebrate getting older once a year? And why do we care if people remember our birthdays? Why do I care?
Artemis got me a gift. It’s been wrapped up, on the hotel’s tiny, shiny dressing table since Friday, waiting for today to open it.
She is one of my best friends and she knows me very well. So, of course I loved it. A handmade notebook. Gorgeous. Just gorgeous. I can’t wait to start using it.
(Thank you Andrea Illustration for my simply stunning wonderful gift)
After our last breakfast (we are leaving early for the airport tomorrow, no time for food) at the hotel we get ready and off we go. It’s sunny and warm. Perfect day to wear my favourite floral cardigan and rose earrings.
We are heading to my favourite food market in London, Borough market. Freshly made smoothies, gourmet chocolates, delicious doughnuts, heavenly smelling street food, specialty tea, flowers, cheese, a lot of cheese, just some of the goodies you can find there.
My idea of heaven.
I remember the first time I’ve been to Borough Market. A sunny summer day in 2015. Costas loved doughnuts and I scoured the web to find the best ones in London, since we were about to visit. I found an article on ‘The 10 best doughnuts to try in London’ and one of them was the salted caramel and honeycomb doughnut by Bread Ahead Bakery. They had a stall at Borough market, one of the best food markets in London. Decided then. That will be our first stop. I tell Costas. He is not too bothered about it. Why am I even trying?
I went there just for the doughnuts but I left with much more. I was in awe. I loved everything about it. The rest of that day was not as exciting, we had a heated argument which almost ruined the awesome plan I made for the day but I was so proud and happy I discovered this market (and the Hunterian museum, and Brick Lane market, thoroughly recommend!), it didn’t matter much if I was right (I was) or wrong or how his behaviour made me feel. If it were for him we wouldn’t have seen any of this. I wish I realised then how unhappy I was and ended it much sooner. But better late than never right? I wonder how many people are in unhappy relationships but don’t realise…
I’ve been to Borough market a couple of times since, and I loved every single one of them.
After devouring-ish (we couldn’t finish them!) our delicious tomato, pesto and mozzarella sandwiches and grabbing a salted caramel and honeycomb doughnut and cinnamon bun for later, we wandered in Oxford Street going in and out of shops. We must have spent an hour or so laughing whilst trying sunglasses in TK Maxx. We left with a couple of pairs each, just because we look supercool in them.
We used to love shopping in our early 20s. Now we do as little as possible. How people change when they grow up and stop caring too much about clothes and other materialistic needs that don’t matter anymore.
Whilst Artemis was in Primark shopping for her little one, I opted for a cup of coffee and a piece of fruit cake and caught up with my birthday messages.
I accidentally opened a work-related email. I don’t check my emails when I’m off work, how did this happen?
And I find out, Dave, our boss is leaving. Very soon. He is going to the Asian University of Women, in Bangladesh, very soon. How soon is very soon?
I couldn’t believe it. I message Donna, she confirms. Almost instantly I feel sad. Happy for him, this is once in a lifetime opportunity at an inspirational University, they are so lucky to have him, but so so sad he is leaving.
You don’t come across people like him often. I’ll write about it when I get the chance. He deserves a whole post.
When we were done with shopping it was time for Artemis to finally try Wagamama for the first time. One of the few chains I like. I tried their udon noodles, because one of the greatest pleasures in life is tasting food you’ve never tasted before. That very first bite, when you don’t know what to expect…and then… the explosion of flavours in your mouth, followed by the almost reflective ‘mmmm’, the universal sign of delicious food…
We spent our last evening packing, chatting, planning our next adventure, a perfect end to my 32nd birthday, I day I’ll always remember.
Tuesday, 22nd of May
We got up very early. We are so sleepy we can barely see. We somehow make it to the airport, after a packed tube and train ride.
I love London and the last three days have been amazing. It always makes me want to move here. But that packed tube and train ride persuades me otherwise. I couldn’t possibly do this every day… or maybe I can, I guess it’s all about getting used to it. We humans are incredible adjusting, adapting…I can get used to it. But what if I don’t? I thought I’d get used to having a flatmate but I still hate it… maybe some things you can’t get used to… or maybe it takes more time. Why am I thinking of this now? I’m not even moving to London!!!
I walk Artemis to the security check gates, give her a big hug and wave her goodbye.
I’m on my own again. I feel a bit lost. I had a cry. I’m so grateful, blessed to have spent the last three days with one of my favourite humans.
I still don’t know how I feel about turning 32. One moment I’m happy I’m alive, healthy and I’m not stuck in a miserable relationship, I have awesome friends and family who love me, I get to do whatever I want to and I have a job it pays well enough so I can live on my own again, next minute I feel bad I haven’t figured out what I want to do for a living yet, sad that I may never have my own family, since I’m now in my early thirties, but I won’t compromise just for the sake of it, I deserve better, worried that I won’t get to travel as much as I want to, I’ll never have enough money to follow my dreams and the list goes on…
One day at a time dear…
After a quick coffee, I head back to Southampton.
I finally finished reading Love In The Time Of Cholera. I cried again. I’m not sure what to think of Florentino Ariza and his lifetime love for Fermina. It’s sad, it’s so sad, how can someone love another human for 40 years and still chase her in his 70s even though she rejected him so many times? Was it a happy ending? Was it sad? Bittersweet I guess. Like life. A happy melancholy…hah