Between the ages of 13 and 15 I had my first crush. My first adolescent love. It was platonic, since he was never interested in me, but I loved him like only a teenage girl can love a teenage boy.
He was two years older than me but he had a sister of my age. We were all part of the same “gang” and went everywhere together. We were very good friends, and despite the fact that he knew that I was crazy about him, that never affected our friendship.
His father moved jobs or something like that and the whole family moved to a different town. That, at the age of 15, is like dying. Well, it was for me. I remember crying and crying and crying. Desperately. Thinking that my life would never be the same, I would never fall in love again, etc. (oh my, I’m not looking forward to my daughter’s teenage years!)
Well, the thing is that I have always kept a very warm memory of him. At the end of the day he was the base of the type of guy that I would look for in the following years. I wanted… no, hang on… I needed a guy who would look like him, behave like him, be him. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years, and in this time my memory of him has not changed much. In my head, he is still 16 or 17 years old, wears shorts and vans shoes, skates and writes raps with his best friend Ivan.
There’s this scene in Friends when David (scientist guy) returns from Minsk and sees Phoebe, and he says something along the lines of “you know when you haven’t seen someone in a while and you build them up in your head, and you think nobody is that good looking, but you are”. Well, the opposite just happened to me.
I confess that I have googled his name in the hope to find out a bit about him a couple of times before, but I have been quite unsuccessful in the past. He has got quite an unusual name, so any results on the search are always him. But I don’t find much! I was able to learn that he has collaborated with other people on projects related to learning English as a second language, but not much more.
However, this last time I was a bit more fortunate. I decided to just google his surnames without the first name, and the results found the facebook page of one of his sisters. Luckily for me, she had a family pic as cover photo, and finally, 20 years later, there he was.
And. What. A. Shock.
The years have not been kind to him. Despite the photo being from a family event where everyone looked happy, he looked tired, worn, bored even! Now I kind of regret having looked for him. I think I should have kept the image of that good looking and funny skater that I fell in love with when I was 13 years old.
I have no doubt that he is happy, if I remember correctly he was the kind of guy with a positive outlook on life. Even when he had to move towns and leave all his friends behind, he was super strong and pragmatic about it. But no doubt he is not the same person that I fell in love with. Like I am not the same person that I was 20 years ago. But yeah, he looks so miserable in that photo…
A very important lesson has been learnt. Leave the past in the past.
Hollywood films have a lot to answer for. They have been bombarding us with the image of the perfect happy family for so long, that a simple look to our plain and regular lot makes us feel disappointed.
Still, I think it can be done, especially at crucial times like Christmas.
And I have a dream.
My dream consist of a big living room / dining room, with a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, surrounded by perfectly wrapped presents and other gorgeous decorations. The house smells of cinnamon and cleanliness. Everybody is dressed up but without looking over the top. The children are running around and playing nicely. Everybody is mingling and having politics-and-religious-free conversations. The food, which looks straight out of an M&S advert, is served right on time, nothing is burnt, or undercooked, and everybody loves everything. There aren’t any fussy or picky eaters and even the traditional Christmas pudding (which I don’t personally like) is a success. After the meal more merriment, with singing and a bit of entertainment from the kids, who have been rehearsing a little play for the last couple of weeks. We open presents, more oh!s and ah!s, more easy flowing conversation. A few anecdotes from the elders of the family, the same anecdotes that we have heard again and again before, but make us laugh every time. Everybody chips in with the tidying up and then they all leave without much fuss, leaving me time to sit down by the fireplace with a glass of Baileys in my hand, looking out of the window to the freshly laid snow and relive the best moments of the day.
That is my white Christmas dream. I’ll let you all know if it comes true one day
One of the things that I remember the most about my first visit to the UK, when I was 15 years old, is the smells.
My host house had a certain smell, definitely not something I had smelt before in Spain. It wasn’t unpleasant, it was just different. My room had this particular smell, so did the living room and the dining room. I remember coming down for breakfast the first day and sitting down at the dining table and looking around me, taking everything in, and trying to figure out what the smell was.
I then went to the school were my course was taking place. And this place had its own particular smell too! The classes, the bar, the restaurant. It was all so different. I knew I was in a different country and I expected to find differences. It just didn’t occur to me that even the smells would be so particular.
This didn’t bother me, so I stopped paying attention. It just stayed in the back of my mind until I returned the following summer. I had had a great experience the first time round with my host family, so I requested to stay with them the following year too.
When I got there, the second time, and I put my first foot in the house, the smell abruptly hit me in the face. Suddenly it was like going home, the familiarity of the smell simply made me happy.
I have never been able to discribe the smell, although I have come across it several times during my travels in the UK. In the back of my mind I have always thought that it’s a mixture of old carpet, cooking butter and whatever product the use for cleaning. But I have also smelt it (or something very similar) in places with new carpets, or kitchens where I know for sure that butter isn’t used for cooking. So I honestly don’t know what it is.
If I am lucky enough to smell it, even if it’s just once a year, the smell transports me to that first summer in Kent, where I discovered this country that I love so much and where my passion for everything anglo started.
It is very interesting, this world wide web. Social media has taken off in a crazy manner in the last 6 or 7 years, and nowadays very few people are still resisting the urge to join Facebook or Twitter, or any of the minor league ones.
I love Facebook. I spend a crazy amount of time on it. In the mornings, whilst the children are having their bottles, I check facebook. Later on, when we’ve come downstairs and they are playing nicely in the living room, I check facebook. At lunch time, whilst we’re munching away, I check facebook. You get the drill.
But something, lately, has made me realise how much I actually DON’T love it. In fact, I am getting very annoyed with it. And it is not Facebook’s fault (or maybe it is), it is mine, for allowing myself fall into this situation. I’ll explain further:
I have never had any problems divulging the innings and outings of my life on social networks. What I am doing / watching / eating / visiting… And ‘why not?’ has always been my answer. ‘At the end of the day I choose who I am sharing with, and they are all friends‘.
Ah, yes. Friends. This is the problem.
If I check my friends’ list on Facebook, I probably KNOW (as in “physically met”) 60% of them. The remaining 40% are either friends of friends or people I have met online, on forums. But this is not the issue. Because as it turns out, I actually get on better with these people that I have never met. My problem, well -not a problem, more like an issue- is with the people who I know, people who are supposed to be my real friends.
I am annoyed at the fact that it looks like I don’t really know these people any more. They rarely post on Facebook and/or their updates are either vague or generic. I don’t get a real insight to their lives! New boyfriends. New babies. Dead relatives. Holidays. Living in new places. You name it… Ten years ago we would have had a telephone conversation and caught up with our lives. Now I am lucky if I catch somebody else’s comment that throws some light into these people’s lives.
What annoys me is my own “nakedness”, I open myself to them but I get nothing in return.
I appreciate that a lot of people are very private and they wouldn’t dream of telling facebook that they have just had a baby. But doesn’t that work both ways? I mean, is it ok for them to pry into my life but give nothing back? I wonder what happened to that friendship. The kind of friendship that demanded telephone conversations and constant texts. The kind of friendship based on trust and love.
I guess we all change. Our lives took different paths and we disconnected. But if you’re happy to keep your life to yourself, then my dear friend, I am afraid I am going to have to cut you off.
So as I had to quit my job back in May (for many different reasons, not just the cost of childcare), I now find myself with a tiny bit of time in my hands. Not during the day. No, daytime is taken up entirely by looking after the children. But I find myself wanting to do something else with my spare time. Checking on facebook, browsing the web and watching TV series can get a bit tedious when that is ALL you ever do with your evenings.
So I have decided to turn my hobby of cardmaking and papercrafting into a business! My facebook page, which until now was there only to showcase my creations, now is open for business and I am taking commissions! My personalised paper bunting is my most liked product. So popular that within a week of “opening” the business I already have two commissions! And I so excited about it.
I have ordered a custom logo stamp and also an order book to keep track of all my orders (if only!) and I am expecting to be making at least one a week if things go well. I haven’t timed me yet, but I guess that it takes me approximately 2 and a half hours to make an average sized one, back to back. (Average size is 5 or 6 letters – most names are 5 or 6 letters long)
So wish me luck in this new venture, and if you’re ever in the lookout for a handmade and personal present, please come by my shop!