Friday, 29 June 2012

100 words: A heat wave

We had a cold spring with rain throughout April and May and even the beginning of June. My craving for summer got stronger with each passing day, as it does every year. I love hot summer days although it sometimes gets so hot we can't do anything else but just breathe.

About two weeks ago it finally came in all its glory and my smile got wider as days became hotter. I couldn't study during the heat wave and, to be honest, there wasn't much I could do at all, but I was happy nonetheless, embracing the warm sunny days.

Friday, 22 June 2012

A distant father

We were sitting in a Thai restaurant, enjoying our lunch, when a father with his two daughters occupied the table next to ours. He was making a business call when they walked in and didn’t end it when they were seated. His daughters, one of them about ten years old and the other probably fifteen (you can’t be sure with today’s teenagers, can you), were reviewing goodies in their shopping bags. They purchased quite a few things – a few pairs of shorts and blouses, some jewellery and something from the bookstore.

The scene reminded me very much of my childhood. My parents are divorced and when M. (my biological father whom I call by his first name because he doesn’t deserve to be called Dad; for the purpose of this story I’ll name him M.) remembered from time to time that he had a daughter and picked me up, he usually took me to some dingy pizza place (dad at the next table at least took his daughters to a fancy Thai restaurant, I’ll grant him that), and he always spent half of the time talking on the phone about some very important business that couldn’t wait.

I glanced toward the family on my right and met the younger daughter’s gaze. She quickly turned her head away and I felt angry with myself for giving her an unintentional but obvious sympathetic look. It felt like I was trapped in a time capsule; one moment I was sitting in a Thai restaurant with Mr Starlight and the next I was in some pizzeria with ugly interior design, trying to amuse myself while M. was occupied with a phone call and some woman sitting at the next table looked at me with pity in her eyes. There was always a woman who looked at me and felt sorry for me and I’m wondering if they too had similar experiences with their distant fathers.

After finishing his phone call the father directed his attention to the menu and when the waiter left with their order a couple of minutes later, the three of them looked awkwardly at the table, probably wondering what to say to each other. This was the first and only distinction between them and M. and I.
M. is a very chatty person and he was always bragging about something; either his new car or the holiday he and his girlfriend went to, but most often he talked about his work. I don’t remember details from his monologues but I clearly remember one thing – he was always portraying himself as the best, a superhero of some kind. He was always a leader of something and someone; even when his own business went bankrupt and he worked for other people once again, he boasted about being the boss.
When we ran into someone he knew or went to visit his family I became the object of his praise. “Look at how pretty she is and she’s very successful in school, in fact, she’s the best in her class,“ he said over and over again. And that was pretty much all he could say because he didn’t really know me. On one occasion, when we were fighting over the fact that I didn’t call him Dad, I asked him if he knows what’s my favourite colour and flower. His answer was red and rose, which I both genuinely hated. “That’s why I don’t call you Dad“ was my answer and that was the last time he opened that topic.

I hope that those two girls are luckier than I was and that their father knows what their favourite colours and flowers are. I also sincerely hope that he isn’t usually as silent as a grave while spending time with his daughters. If that’s the case, those girls at least have each other while I… well, I have the best Dad I could imagine, someone, who deserves to be called Dad. Although he’s my stepfather it’s he who raised me, it’s he who was always there for me and he’s the one who knows that my favourite colour is green.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

The end

This time last year I hosted a series a series of guest posts about learning on my blog. I was busy studying and a bunch of lovely people helped me keep my blog busy. This year it's different. I’m in my fourth and final year of undergraduate studies and I have only two exams left. I’m planning to be done with those at the beginning of July and then I’ll spend the summer writing my bachelor’s thesis.

I’m not done with my studies just yet but I’m close enough to be nostalgic when I look back.

Studying political science wasn’t something I dreamed of as a child and it wasn't my first choice. Today I’m really happy I made that decision though, because I love political science and I think my professors (well, most of them) are absolutely brilliant. I know that I’d be very sad if it was my last year and I knew that I’d never see them again. I’m lucky enough to have a chance to continue my studies for another year and get my master’s degree if everything goes according to plan.

There are various feelings boiling inside of me; I’m happy, sad, nostalgic and excited, all at the same time. I’m within reach of my first finish line, there’s only a short distance ahead of me, two exams and some writing.

Photo was taken by my lovely friend Alja, you can find more of her magnificent photos here.

Friday, 8 June 2012


A couple of days ago me and my best friends had a girl's night out, celebrating a birthday. As the two of them chatted away I looked at them quietly, noticing how grown up we all are. We’re no longer teenagers sitting on a bed in one of our rooms, loudly talking about what we’re going to wear on our Friday night out and which boys we flirted with last week. We’re sophisticatedly dressed young ladies, sitting in a chic bar, drinking wine from proper wine glasses and chatting about adult stuff.

I don’t think we even see how much we’ve changed over the last ten years, mainly because we were changing and growing up together, confronting problems side by side, always having each other’s back. We aren't called trefoil for nothing.

Sometimes our friend's paths separate from our own and when we see them we immediately notice how much they have changed. A few weeks ago I met an old friend; in the five years since we've finished high school we saw each other only half a dozen times and it’s always nice catching up with her. Each time we meet I see how she’s changed her way of thinking, dressing, talking and so on. She has grown up and I like who she has become. I know I’ve changed too, perhaps much more than she did, and I truly hope that she also likes who I’ve become.

In recent years I've met a handful of people with whom I had developed a friendship; those relationships are somehow fragile in comparison to the longstanding ones. They are like a new-born baby, in need of more frequent attention. Just like we have to support a new-born's head because he is not yet able to hold it up by himself, we also need to take special care of our newly formed friendships. When we talk to someone new we usually carefully choose our words, we think twice before we say something simply because we want to make an impression.

Old friends don’t need to be impressed, they truly know us; sometimes they know us better than we would admit. And that’s the reason why those longstanding friendships are the most precious; those are the ones that are often neglected and taken for granted but should be given special attention because true friends are as rare as gold and worth much more.

As I watched my two Musketeers, drinking wine and smiling, I realised how lucky I am to have not only them, but many other friends, old and new.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

A perfect set of cups

Yesterday Mr Starlights parents visited our apartment for the first time and they had the honour to be the first people who drank coffee from our new tea/coffee set, bought just a few hours before its first use.

When we first moved to this apartment, almost two years ago, we noticed that we didn’t own a set of cups; a proper set of cups with plates, for coffee and tea. We had plenty of lovely mugs though, but none of them matching each other. We agreed that we must have a set of cups and added it to our shopping list but there was always a good reason to delay this purchase.

The main reason why it took us so long to buy a set of cups is that we don’t really need them. We don’t get a lot of visitors and those who come by regularly like to have their tea or coffee in big mugs because they drink it with milk. We also like hot beverages with milk (and two teaspoons of sugar, please) and those cups we already had proved to be very useful.

Unlike us and all the other people we know, my in-laws drink espresso. Plain black coffee; no milk, no sugar. A shot of coffee one could say. They usually drink it from small espresso cups and we wanted to be good hosts and make an impression; the visit from my in-laws proved to be a good reason to finally buy that coffee/tea set.

Choosing the perfect set of cups proved to be a more challenging task than either of us expected. An even harder one since we didn’t have the slightest idea what we wanted. It took us quite awhile to pick out a set that we both really liked but we finally did it.

Photo was taken by my lovely friend Alja, you can find more of her magnificent photos here.