Cold, confusing and clumsy Copenhagen

To start my 2017 correctly I travelled to Copenhagen for 4 days. A mini break before the chaos of university and the looming realisation that deadlines are close.

The 3 words I have used in the title are the perfect roundup.

Cold:

Because in January with temperatures of -8C on a good day and continuous blustery winds that cause the air to feel like -12C, Copenhagen is bloody freezing!

Confusing:

The most prominent feeling of Copenhagen was confusing. Everyday I felt another confusion bubble inside of me as I questioned their design choices; including having a metro exit in a shopping centre or the metro having no driver.Although peculiar, the city is spectacular especially in the snow.

Clumsy:

Although the cobbled streets were beautiful and quaint, they made me trip a grand total of 25 times. 15 of said trips were in 24 hours – not my best balance I must admit.

De nada (No problem)

I’ve been exploring the shores of the Dominican Republic for two weeks and I can’t express how serene the island is.

It’s relaxed atmosphere, luscious palms and white sand beaches are something I’ve always been jealous of and I’m glad I’ve finally been given the opportunity to visit.

I’ve experienced things I once dreamed of – horse riding, swimming with sharks and rays, visiting remote islands and diving under waterfalls.


The mantra ‘no problem’ (or ‘de nada’) is a something I fully embraced and is a mile away from the reality of Britain (especially considering its current state of affairs).

Taking your time is fully embraced by the locals and is something I wish would continue across the pond.


The island is stunning, the locals friendly and the weather is heaven. The Dominican attitude and culture is much to be desired and I hope to visit again someday. Until then I  carry on dreaming.

The loss of connection.

I’ve been camping around the Scottish Highlands for the past week. After exams finished I needed to get away and seek adventure. The towns are small and quaint but the views are breathtaking.

I realised this week that the loss of my mobile was more of a relief than a hindrance. To get back to the old art of map reading and getting lost has been bliss. The wall that sheltered me from the continuous world of text, email and phone calls was something I craved – the solitude was bliss.

And now I am back in Glasgow, I can not deny that the week spent in the Highlands was less tedious than the time I have spent writing this post on my laptop. Sat on my bed in my empty student room surrounded by nothing but blank walls, full suitcases and bags, all suggesting I will be leaving soon, and together allude a sight more lonesome. There is a feeling of loss; of change, and most importantly of going home.

I can’t wait to be reunited with family and friends, to enjoy the benefits of a full fridge and to unwind in a luxurious bath instead of a tiny airport cubicle of a shower I have cramped myself in to for the past year. First year of university is over and with it comes excitement for summer. So let it begin.

 

‘Alone’ being the operative word

I want to lie in a hammock and stare at the stars. Trace the constellations with my fingers and count how many there are.

I want to sleep in a King size bed with one-thousand pillows and a throw. Curl myself up and experience the life of an Eskimo.

I want to sail  to the middle of the ocean where no land can be seen. And watch the life that plays out beneath the green.

I want to travel to distant countries and experience different tastes and sounds. My experiences will know no bounds.

I suffer with resting bitch face and a chronic hatred of people. 

Spending 3 days in Barcelona with a group of people you’ve never met before teaches you a lot about yourself.

It has taught me that my unwavering condition of resting bitch face is undoubtedly still present. With remarks of ‘I thought you were a bitch when I first saw you’ or ‘you scared me a little’ still being made in full force – how honoured I feel.

It has taught me that I am no longer tolerate of people. If I’m tired I won’t hide it – I’m going to be silent and possibly a little bit grumpy too. I’m possibly going to have a chronic hatred towards you for a little while as well – it’s nothing personal.

It has taught me that if I have something to say, I’m most likely going to say it.

And it has taught me that if a girl is unbelievably tired, don’t ask her to take off her shoes at security because havoc will ensue.


Barcelona has once again astounded me with its beauty. And although I’ve explored its streets once before, I can’t help but be dazzled by it.The destinations I met on my last visit stand as proud as they did back then – oozing the confidence of the people.

Barcelona is undoubtly a place of tranquillity. It’s unique architecture and zones leave much to be desired and I will always spend hours examining their every  detail.

An open letter to Manchester

Dear Manchester,

I would be lying if I said that you’ve always had my heart because you haven’t. Before I left your tarmac streets in September, I thought you were dark, dull and dingy. Your concrete buildings towered over me like authoritarian figures holding me in a drab prison cell. You were bleak and you were dismal and I tolerated you.

Life was a cycle; forever going round like a hamster wheel that I couldn’t get off. The isolation and trepidation that you brought me were nauseating and no amount of happiness would change that – believe me I tried.  Everything you were and had given me I resented – including the accent.

But despite all of this, I didn’t want to leave. You were comfortable and you were safe. You were the only place I had known. 20 years of my life have been spent with you and I’m not going to deny that they weren’t pretty great.


You must understand, I had to leave. I had to rid myself of the poison that you had infused in to my blood. I needed to get away for a while so I could relax again. So my muscles could stretch and my bones could recover. I needed to escape the box that had encapsulated me. I needed to breathe again.

The day I left for Glasgow was invigorating. I could taste my freedom. The vast amount of space I had imagined. The grey that had concealed me for so long would be replaced with all types of greens – now that is a colour I could get used to. The old buildings that would form the town would amaze me and the ones that haunt the skyline would be few in comparison to you.

When I arrived in Glasgow, I regained the passion I had lost. It was beautiful. Everything about it was quirky and fun. I felt calm and safe. We fit like a jigsaw puzzle – I felt comfortable. It was everything I needed – the artistic flare, the friendly faces, and don’t get me started on the accent. For now, I am happy to call it home.


But somehow through all of this, Glasgow reminded me of you.

I caught myself finding any reason to open the news and see your face. Like a Facebook stalker, I searched through the endless articles of news and events; smiling at your antics and shaking my head at the bad. But ultimately, proud to call myself a Mancunian.

I look back at your streets with fondness, your Northern Quarter with excitement and Spinniningfields with content. Your divisions are unique yet unified, and they form a layer of warmth around me. You are charming and you are beautiful.


I have been away for 8 months now and in summer I will be returning to you. Only for a short while before I must go on my way again. And I know that it is hard to forgive, but I am sorry for my accusations and judgements. It was insincere of me to think of you in such a way. Yes, your accent isn’t ideal and your streets are the darkest grey I’ve known, but I’ve learnt there are worse places to be.

It’s fair to say that I’ve missed you. I’ve come to realise that you are my home. The place that I will always come back to. You are an extension of me that I can not  will not get rid of. You are a city filled with adventure and I can’t wait to explore you again.

So Manchester, an ode to you and your people, your values and your humour. They are colourful and they are vivid and I love you. (Momentarily at least). 

You are a diamond in the rough.

My dear and oldest friend.

Yours forever,

Anna.

Revisiting Childhood.

As of yesterday, I have officially achieved a distinction in Foundation Art and Design. The evidence – which consists of two certificates – has been successfully received.

I head to Glasgow University in September to study Philosophy and I’d be lying if I said this was always the plan…

Six-year-old Anna wanted to be a professional dancer.

Thirteen-year-old Anna wanted to be a Marine Biologist.

Sixteen-year-old Anna wanted to be a Zoologist.

And twenty-year-old Anna has no clue what she wants to do; all she knows is she has the overwhelming urge to travel.


This realisation prompted me to think back to my aspirations as a six-year-old girl: a professional dancer!

Wow…I set my standards high from a young age.

I remember it was my dream to be a backing dancer to the rich and famous. I would choreograph routines and perform them in my bedroom. The routines mainly consisted of me running back and forth across the room but I was convinced that was enough to gain a place among the best.

Then at the age of nine, I started Irish dance. I grew good at it; achieving by the end three trophies and a number of medals. I dreamt about dancing in the Irish Championships and one day dancing alongside Michael Flatley. A dream spurred on when my Grandma bought me ‘Lord of the Dance’ on DVD. I watched it over and over, transfixed on every detail.

I was convinced that this was something I would do for the rest of my life. And I prominently remember the day when I got my first competition dress. When I saw it hanging from the door frame, I stared at it in admiration. I had earnt it; it was mine.

I keep it now in my wardrobe. It doesn’t fit but every time my Mum tries to get rid of it the little child inside of me stops her. It has become a memento of my childhood.