Science is about spotting trends emerging in data and extrapolating to predict future patterns, right?
Well, after February’s high, March and April have kickstarted an exponential downwards curve and I’m not sure I want to know where May is going to take us.
A disclaimer: you know that scene in Brooklyn 99 where Rosa says she wants to have her tear ducts melted shut? That’s the kind of mood I was in when I wrote this intro. Even though I feel better now, to delete it would erase a very legitimate part of the month, so I’m leaving it in. It’s true that April had its lows. By “lows” I mean 10 days during which I barely left my room except for food and the occasional shower. I woke up and logged straight onto Netflix and didn’t press pause until I went to sleep. Some days I didn’t even do that; I just fell asleep in front of my laptop. When I did go downstairs to prepare food, I had music on the whole time and did it as quick as possible so as not to be alone with my thoughts for too long. Maybe one day I’ll write a post about the whys and wherefores. But most likely not.
This sounds really obvious, but I’m constantly astounded by the temporary nature of emotions. They’re so powerful and raw, and yet so changeable. As I’m writing now, I obviously haven’t forgotten this part of the month, but I feel a world away from that place. I almost could convince myself that it didn’t happen. I’m struggling to articulate it quite how I want. Maybe somewhere in the world, there’s a nice neat word for it. But if there’s one in English, I don’t know it.
Anyway, so April came and went again faster than I was expecting thanks to that lost time in the middle (the desire to quote Royal Blood there was strong), and as a result I didn’t meet my goals of finishing the blogging course I’m doing, or being able to make basic conversation in Dutch and Romanian. But, the point is I’m much happier now and that was just a bump in the road. Sure, the kind of bump in the road that you think is just a little bump but then turns out being deceptively large and you hit your bumper off tarmac with a sickening crunch and you’re not 100% sure about the integrity of your steering rack afterwards, but just a bump in the road nonetheless.
Cool stuff that happened this month? I like this part because when I have to write it all down I realise that actually, lots of cool things did happen. I met a friend while studying in Spain a couple of years ago, we added each other on Facebook and then didn’t really keep in touch. That is, until he posted a photo album of his travels in Peru and I dropped him a message to check he got home safely. I expected a message back asking me who I was, since we hadn’t spoken in so long, but he actually called me and we had an hour long catch up in Spanish, which was really cool. And yes, he is home safely, although sometimes I think he wishes he wasn’t. I can’t imagine it’s easy going back to living under your parents’ roof after 9 months traveling solo.
I started a weekly bit of fun over on my Instagram account, #wanderlustwednesday, and got way more people involved than I was expecting, so I’m loving that. I’ve also enjoyed weekends this month where we’ve chilled out together as a family. My dad made the mistake of asking me if I wanted to do anything over the long bank holiday weekend and I roped him into helping me do up my bedroom – which largely consisted of chipping plaster off one of my walls to expose the bare brick. One of our local restaurants has started doing home-delivered Sunday roasts, we got one, it was incredible, end of story. Thanks, Six Poor Folk! There have been extended family Zoom calls which are always good fun, and my brother and I had a nice catch up whilst playing volleyball in the garden (in freakishly good weather) with a deflated football.
There was one night I spent dancing in the kitchen after midnight because I decided at an odd hour to bake brownies. The didn’t turn out well at all and I no longer trust my mum’s Delia Smith cookbook (“I said use Lorraine’s recipe, not Delia’s!!”) but the dancing was fun.
Most recently I’ve rekindled my old passion for the night sky and discovered a great spot for stargazing – I even wrote a post about it. I’m particularly grateful for some awesome friends who have really helped me out this month. I really hope I’ve done a good job of letting them know who they are.
I’ve mentioned music already, and as usual I’ll run you through what I’ve been listening to this month. I found a great lofi playlist on Spotify which I’m loving for when I want to chill out or study or write blog posts, and Sohayl Ryder came out with a new song, Resistance is my Best Friend, which I can’t get enough of. Big Spring also had a new one this month, Keep the Lights on Me, which is great. My love for Tame Impala has only grown, and interestingly, I was rather underwhelmed by Twenty One Pilots’ new song, Level of Concern. That said, I’m morally obligated to argue with anyone else who trash talks it. I will love it out of principle if nothing else.
I’ve started stretching every day and it’s actually become a kind of meditative thing to do? It’s not quite yoga, but it’s certainly relaxing, and I usually listen to Hang Massive, who I saw live back in October, while I do this. The aforementioned friend introduced me to Calle 13, an outspoken and quite polemic band from Puerto Rico whose music makes me want to start a revolution against nothing and everything. (Fun fact, I only just found out that “polemic” is a word in English. “Controversial” wasn’t quite cutting it and polémica was the only word that came to mind.)
Music was also the foundation of a project of mine this month. When I came out of my funk I realised I don’t have any records I can dance do, but this is a tricky one because there aren’t many albums I listen to enough to buy on vinyl. Here comes the brainwave: a custom vinyl playlist. Is it possible? Yes it is! Obviously it’s pricey, but I figured it would be worth it and spent a few days finalising song choices and creating my own sleeve artwork. I’m very excited to see the finished product, which I bought at One Cut Vinyl, if anyone’s interested.
Other things I listened to
Hey there, new category. I fall in and out of love with podcasts and either listen to loads or none at all. This month I discovered the Coffee Break Spanish podcast and a few TED talks: this one about building walls (psychologcal and physical) and one about the importance of indigenous languages.
I also discovered (or rather, finally indulged) a love of True Crime, which I enjoyed this month in the form of Buzzfeed Unsolved (followed by insomnia) and Red Handed.
Film and TV
On my dad’s recommendation I watched The Platform on Netflix, which was intense enough due to the storyline but doubly so because I watched in the original Spanish. This is not your typical weekend evening viewing and I don’t recommend it to the faint of heart, but it is an interesting watch. It’s about a prison in which the cells are stacked on top of one another in a tower, and every day a platform of food moves down from the top levels to the bottom, so those at the top get first dibs while lower down, prisoners are left starving. I was left with more questions than answers and a little freaked out if I’m honest, but the social commentary was very interesting and oh so relevant. The platform was actually filled with a calculated amount of food meaning that, if everyone just ate their fill, there would be enough to go around. However, this concept was madness to the people on the upper levels who actually felt cheated when they couldn’t gorge themselves. Now why does that sound familiar? I was actually quite shocked when that twist was revealed at how much that resembled thee recent panic buying. Talk about a parallel.
Elite has been on my list for a couple of years and I finally got round to starting it, although I haven’t made much progress. It feels like Spain’s answer to Riverdale, but then I haven’t actually watched Riverdale so I could be completely wrong. I also started rewatching Brooklyn 99 from the start, finished Line of Duty and binged season 5 of Peaky Blinders when it arrived on Netflix. Currently I find myself inexplicably hooked on Being Human, a werewolf/vampire show from circa 2009 which is a fine exhibition of late 00s bad fashion and acting.
I got Nadiya Hussain’s (of Bake Off fame) book Finding My Voice for Christmas and finished that in about a week. It made for easy reading – poetic, funny, sad and an eye opening insight to growing up in a culture that I know very little about. Highly recommend! I’ve now started Great Expectations which is harder to read, but I like to delve into the classics every now and then.
Posts I’ve published
An interview with Positively Loz about sustainability, which was awesome.
Staring into infinity, the aforementioned post about stargazing and watching the meteor shower, and probably my favourite out of all my recent posts.
Another interview post with The Poky Little Wanderer, whose travel blogs are keeping me going right now!
Posts I’ve read
This one about British culture from a Danish perspective which was a really interesting and cute read – and also taught me that roundabouts are not universally accepted.
The Curious Case of Cognitive Dissonance from the same blog. Love a nice bit of psychology. I think I ought to find more psychology blogs, actually.
Cai’s post about being Stuck in Peru which I think everyone tucked up safely at home should read. It was terrifying enough to have the story recounted to me, never mind to imagine actually living through it, especially as it could easily have been me or several of my friends. If you click one link from this post, please make it this one.
I love all of what Bill Fonda writes, but Relationship Status – Traveling was a favourite of mine this month.
I loved this very raw and real post about body image; and I bookmarked this one for the future when I will hopefully visit Panama, and this one for Costa Rica. Then I caught up with a bunch of Alex’s posts on his awesome site Depth Of Mind. Just keeping the wanderlust alive.
Let’s Talk About…Death was a tricky read. I had to take a break halfway through to blow my nose and sniffle a bit. But a brilliant one.
“But I also know that I am who I am—a million emotions when five would probably do” was the standout quote for me from this post.
I was supposed to be a boy was yet another tricky but valuable read, and since Nadiya’s book also touched on being a girl in a family desperate for a boy, it was the second time in a month that I delved into this devastating topic.
Some blogs I discovered this month, if I haven’t mentioned them already:
Sophie’s Politics – in the midst of Instagram bots and MLM accounts, Sophie’s blog was a spot of genuine joy!
Philosophy Stuff 101 – Marie is a good friend of mine and I hope she enjoys this exciting venture.
Life In Postcards – this is a really lovely travel blog run by the even lovelier Megan!
And that concludes April, I guess. I have no idea how to sum it up nicely, and I have no idea what my hopes and goals are for May (WHERE did may come from I swear NYE was last week). All I can say is that I’m sure the next month will be a rollercoaster just as varied as the last.
And I hate rollercoasters.