Tag Archives: memories

Teen crush

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.

Smells of the past

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.

New Adventures in Hi-Fi

Yes, I think I am sure.

New adventures in hi-fi is my favourite R.E.M. album.

Not Automatic for the people. Not Out of time. Not Monster. Not Murmur (although these 4 are next in my list of favourite R.E.M. albums)

It’s not something that I’ve thought about much.  But this afternoon I really fancied listening to them, and which album came first to mind? New Adventures in Hi-Fi. And when I queued it on Spotify and the fist few notes of How the west was won started to play, a big ray of sunshine shone in my heart.

I remember exactly where I bought the CD. I was in Ramsgate in the summer of 1996 when it came out. I was big on them back then so when I walked past a music shop and I saw the big poster announcing the release of the album, I couldn’t help but to go in and buy it. I did not have a portable CD player then. I think I had just  a plain walkman, so it was a bit of torture to buy the CD knowing that I wouldn’t be able to play it until I went back to Spain a couple of weeks later.

So I then went to my house (well, the house of the family I was staying with) and I saw Matt, the teenage son of my family, and, gathering lots of courage, I managed to ask him if he could please play the CD that I had just bought (I was a tiny bit shy). To which he looked at the CD, then at me, then back at the CD, and said in surprise: “You like R.E.M. too?!” As it happens, he had just bought the album that same morning as well :) Bless him, he was so sweet. I was 18 and he was 13 or 14 then and we kept in touch for a year or two after I went back to Spain.

So it’s not only the sweet memories that this album brings (teenage me, discovering this country that I love, and discovering myself too), musically the album is one of R.E.M.’s best too. There aren’t any big massive hits like in any of the previous albums (Automatic for the people – Everybody hurts, and Out of time – Losing my religion) but every single song manages to hook you into that mysterious world that the cover of the album seems to depict.

My favourite songs?

In no particular order: E-Bow the letter, Undertow, Leave, How the west was won…, Electrolite, Bittersweet me, and Be mine.

I had forgotten…

I have no excuse. And it is almost embarrasing having to admit that in the last three or four years I have been unfaithful. Unfaithful to myself. To my beliefs. To my own passion.

I stopped listening to music.

Of course one never stops listening to music. Music is almost everywhere, you can’t but help listening to it, but it’s not your music, the one that fullfills you, inspires you, moves you and excites you.

At the same time, I have to say that having stopped listening to my old faithful bands, I’ve had the opportunity to explore other styles, other bands and singers, and I have found other things that I’m glad to say that now form part of my playlist (Ludovico, Ed Sheeran, Marina and the Diamonds, etc)

Oh, yes. The PLAYLIST.

It turns out that for the last 5 or 6 weeks I have been working from site (site being Heathrow Aiport). Brand new office, brand new people around me, brand new environment. And this triggered me rescuing my old Sony MP3 player and bringing my headphones to work. Let me tell you, it had been a long time since I put a pair of headphones on. Auch. Poor ears.

And it was all going very well, until I got tired of listening to the same 5 albums that I had in that MP3 player (fantastic albums, some of my most favourite ever, but you can get tired of listening to the same stuff day after day for weeks on end). So I asked Jon to put some music on my iPhone. At the end of the day, one of the selling points of iPhones is that they serve as music players and have lots of storage for many and many albums.

After many hours of syncing overnight, this morning I finally had a music-packed iPhone!

I am so excited. I’ve been listening to album after album all day, and I must say that I have been almost distracted here in the office, paying more attention to the music than to my actual work. But I couldn’t help being moved listening again and again to Alternative 4 by Anathema, Disintegration by The Cure or Jar of Flies by Alice in Chains.

And I still haven’t gone through more than 0.5% of all the music on the iPhone!

Happy days :)

Happy memories

I have been thinking for a little while about scrapbooking (read all about it here) and wanting to do this myself has made start remembering cute moments of my childhood. It’s great that I have pictures that will remind me of those moments forever as I am pretty sure those memories would have been long gone had I not had the pictures to remind me of them.

It’s funny how one’s memory works. I recently found an old school friend on facebook and she asked me if I remembered her, to which I replied: “I find it very hard remembering the people I went to Secondary School with, however I remember the first names and surnames of 95% of my school mates”… Funny, eh!?

The thing is that last night on my way back home after work, I started remembering more and more things that I hadn’t thought about for a long time. And I wanted to share those moments with you.

(In order to understand these stories a bit better you need to know a couple of details: 1) my family used to own a “chain” of home made ice cream parlours in Motril. The whole family worked there at some point or another. I started “helping” at the age of 14, and worked there every summer until I came to the UK in 2005. 2) My mum is a single mum. 3) One of my uncles (my mum’s brother) was “unfit” to work for many years and he used to look after me and my brothers too sometimes).

Here are some of the stories, in no particular order:

– I remember being on the beach. It could have been Motril beach, or Calahonda beach – where my family used to have an apartment. I must have been around 5 or 6 years old. I cannot remember who I was with. It could have been my mum or it could have been my uncle. In this memory I am eating watermelon. Lots of it. I eat so much watermelon that I am sick on the beach’s sand (pebbles, actually) and it’s all red and black, because I was swallowing the peeps. That didn’t put me off eating more, and I even ate a bit more after having been sick.

– This other memory also involves watermelons. I was in the country house (the country house is the place where I spent the great majority of my childhood summers) with my uncle. I must have been between 7 or 8. My mum came to visit one day (I rarely saw my mum in summer – she worked all day everyday… one of the incoveniences of working for an ice cream parlour!) and she brought a watermelon with her. It was massive. It looked so ripe and juicy. I wanted it. Now. So I tried to carry it myself from the table in the living room where she had left it, to the kitchen so my uncle could cut it open and I could have a slice. However, I dropped it. It was so heavy that I couldn’t hold it in my little weak arms for more than a second or two and it dropped to the floor. And it smashed big time. And there was no watermelon any more (I wasn’t as desperate as to eat from the pieces on the floor… I’ve got standards!).
Next time my mum came to visit, she brought me a whole box of twix (although I think they were called something else back then?). No danger of destrying those…

– This story I only remember vaguely, but my mum has told me so many times that I have to tell it, because it is hillarious. I was about 2.5 or 3 years old and I wasn’t in the country house. I was in another house that my family owned in Motril. My mum dressed me in the morning with this very cute and posh dress and left for work to the ice cream parlour. I was then left with my uncle in the house. Apparently (and I say apparently because I take everything my mum tells me with a pinch of salt) I spent the morning playing in the house and in the street (unsupervised, it looks like) and out of nowhere I decide to go all the way to the ice cream parlour on my own. I managed okay through all the roads (it’s a 10 minute walk) until I reach a road crossing. Of course I am very little and I can’t cross the road on my own, so I start crying and pointing at the ice cream parlour which was just in the opposite side of the road. An old lady sees me and decides to help me cross the road. She grabs my hand and starts walking towards my mum’s ice cream parlour. Then my mum sees me through the window with this lady and rather than going “oh my god! my little child! what is she doing here?!?!”, instead she thought “blimey, that little gypsy and scruffy girl has the same dress as my daughter, and it is an expensive one! How can that gypsy afford it!”. – Mega LOL.

– My mum worked many long hours in the ice cream parlour and when I started school but the ice cream parlour was still open, then I would stay at home and not in the country house any more. At night, my mum would come home to put me to bed (I slept in my mum’s bed until I was 8 years old – then I finally got my own bedroom) I used to have a “chochona doll” and I remember very vividly telling my mum: “the doll will keep your side of the bed warm for when you come home”… Awwww.. how sweet!

Now that I come to think about it, my mum had a pretty busy social life when I was little. I remember that we used to go to the bowling alley with her friends at least twice a month (they used to give us kids little sandwiches to keep us busy, and to this day, I still haven’t tried sandwiches as nice and tasty as those ones); we used to visit a married couple who had a couple of children too and I would play with them whilst the adults had adult’s conversations; the whole family (extended family too, with cousins, second cousins and all) used to meet up quite often too and we would have parties in the country house or we would all go for trips to the “Pinos” (“Los Pinos” is this natural reserve near Sierra Nevada – the mountains in Granada) (this, of course, was in winter… summers were for working!); but the memory that I suddenly remembered yesterday that brought me quite warmth is this one:

– My mum used to play volleyball with her friends almost every Saturday morning. They played in my school playground, which just happens to be two steps away from my house back in Motril. At the beginning I just went along and watch. I really enjoyed watching. And as I grew older, I started playing as well. They were all very kind to me, taking into account that I was only like 8 or 9 and was a bit rubbish because I had never played before. But I got hold of it, and got better and they even started relying on me turning up because I was part of the team!. I was very good at sports when I was little. Until the age of 13 or so I was awesome, then hormones took over my body and I got slower and much worse. So bad that I almost failed PE every year during Secondary School.

And these are just a few… there are more where these came from!