2016 ➝ 2017

We walk up Regent Road following the steady stream of friends and strangers to welcome 2017 under the fireworks. We sit down on a fence and Edinburgh’s skyline spreads out before us. The air feels cold against my cheeks, but my body is filled with a warmth that is kept safe by layers of clothing and Otto’s hand in mine. 

Three two one and the sky explode with fireworks. We kiss hard, whisper Happy New Year and watch the sparkling crackling glitter rain down towards us. It is every cheesy cliché compressed into a single moment, and I've never felt happier. 

When the sky is black again and the air is heavy of smoke we walk back to the party that fills the whole building with music, and dance on a crowded living room floor. Someone jokingly shouts "I don't know if the floor will hold for this many people" and I remember thinking that falling through the floor would be a great way to start the new year. When we can't keep our eyes open any longer we walk home through the night, eat cheese sandwiches and Pringles in bed, spreading crumbs all over the crisp sheets, before falling asleep. 

✧  ✦  ✧  ✦  ✧

In 2016 I wrote a dissertation, got accepted to a MA in Women’s Studies at University of York, went to Norway to celebrate my sister’s graduation, graduated from QMU with a first, road tripped through Macedonia with a stop off in Bulgaria, cried over Brexit, spent a month in the Swedish summer sun, moved to York and started my master, cried over Trump, got a copper IUD fitted, decided to grow my hair out, and stopped eating meat.

A horrible year politically, but personally it was an amazing year in so many ways. I had so many moments of pure bliss, accomplished so much, and loved more deeply than ever before. But it was also a very, very stressful year. The first 5 months were tainted by the stress of a never ending workload, frantically typing on the keyboard, trying to finish my work on time. After a summer of some breathing space it was time to pull up my roots and plant them in a new, unknown place, start building life from scratch (again). It’s the most exhausting thing ever to relearn how to live, and the last months of 2016 felt like running a marathon on an empty stomach. 

I want 2017 to bring stability. By the look of it, it’s going to be another hectic year (i.e. write another dissertation, graduate from York, move to Sweden, apply for PhDs, and who knows what else the year will bring), but I want internal stability. A feeling of having both feet on the ground. And, of course, some political stability too (please).

The first day of 2017 was spent eating French toast for breakfast, playing chess with Otto (I got my ass kicked so badly), ordering lots of Indian food, looking at flights to warm countries, and watching The Godfather in bed. Feeling happy to the core of my being. If the saying is true, that the first day is a reflection of the rest of the year, then 2017 will be really good.

Happy New Year lovelies and thanks for reading, it really means the world to me ♡

THE EDINBURGH ESCAPE

Last week was very weird. With anxiety pounding against my ribcage, panic flushing under my skin, a muddled mind, and a slowness that screams of sadness. Luckily, Otto was in Edinburgh to cover for his mum's café + shop last week. So last Friday I jumped on the CrossCountry train to hang out with my favourite person, and escape adulting and all the responsibilities that it entails, if only for a few days.

Hottest barista I’ve ever seen. And turns out he makes a smashing flat white!

And look look look how NICE the café in Nordic Affär is!! I left for Sweden before it was finished and I was blown away when I stepped into the shop, it's so pretty. If you're in Edinburgh and fancy some (proper, strong) Swedish coffee and home baked cinnamon buns, you know where to go. 

It was so, so surreal to be back in Edinburgh. In many ways it felt like coming home, but at the same time, it became so clear that I’m not part of the city anymore. So many things had changed, so many things felt new and unfamiliar. At first it made me sad(der), but then I realised that it only means that I'm still moving forward, that I'm not stuck, and, right now, that's something that I really value. 

Otto held me hard while I cried, and Edinburgh gave me much needed space to catch my breath again. After 4 days together, studying side by side, drinking cup after cup of coffee, ordering half the menu from the indian around the corner, walking hand in hand down familiar streets, I was more than ready to take on life again. Oh, and I got to see the Goldfinch at the Scottish National Gallery, just a couple of weeks after I finished the book! It's only on display for 1,5 month?! Such a lucky coincidence.

Since I’ve been back in York I’ve had a copper IUD fitted, which left me feeling very fragile for a few hours. I've attended a “Life after Women’s Studies”-conference that CWS put on with so many inspiring speakers, among others a couple of academics who I've fangirled for years now - and now I'm even more excited for the future. And yesterday I had a full on study day (from 8.30 to 17.00) with SPSS and multiple regression. I'm back on my feet again, ready to punch the sun.