Today I’m going to do something new with this blog: I’m going to post something old. Old pictures, to be precise. Not all of them are very old, but they all seem very much as though they’re from my past now. So this post will mostly be pictures and not many words: something new indeed! I was just looking back at all the pictures in my iPhoto library today, and feeling proud of my life up until now. Here are some photographs that made me stop and think ‘Well done us’.
I count my 18th birthday (aka ‘shiny’) party as one of the greatest achievements of us Flat 6 Girls. I certainly don’t take the credit for this one, of course: was it Marianne’s idea to give it a ‘shiny’ theme? In any case, we all pulled together to make it special, and all the guests participated fully – you can see Jake the knight-in-shiny-armour, and a tiny hint of Paedo in his reflective safety jacket. It lit up like a Christmas tree when the flash went off – genius! As you can see, we hung DVDs from the ceiling (from the same pack as the ones I used to make the video invitations); Marianne gave up her disco ball for the night; we used tin foil to make an ’18’ sign and even kitted out Malcolm the tribal mask (far right)! Thanks again to Mum for the funding, Marianne (I think :S ) for the inspiration, and all my flatmateys for making my coming of age something to look back on and think ‘Damn, those guests were lucky to be invited’! : P
Say what you want about Flat 6 (for many people, the word of choice was ‘disgusting’), but we sure knew how to make it look good. These ‘borrowed’ letters from the Robertson’s Close sign on the first day of the semester were eventually reclaimed by the authorities, but our quirky decorative ingenuity lived on.
For my 18th birthday, along with £100 for the kickass party I’ll never forget, my benevolent mother gifted me a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28; it has 18x optical zoom, 10 megapixels and looks totally badass. This is one of the first photos I took, and while it’s not exemplary from a photographer’s point of view, it summarises my life at that point in time. Admittedly, to this day I still haven’t read all those French books (and you’ll notice there are none in Spanish – at this point I wasn’t at all confident in the language). The little green book is a collection of cocktail recipes; How Fiction Works comes from a time when I still entertained fantasies of becoming the next J.K. Rowling. Kramer vs. Kramer is one of my favourite films to date, and if you’ve seen the film and know much about me, you’ll understand why it strikes a chord somewhere. Next to that is Captain Jack Sparrow, and a birthday card from my auntie Gillian summarising how I slowly began to feel during my university years. You can only just see a book of guitar chords at the right hand side. I love looking at other people’s bookshelves, and I think this one is a pretty good snapshot of my life. And just by the way, it wasn’t contrived : P
This one is in here because I’m proud of it photographically. I haven’t done a great deal of photographing just to photograph, lamentably, but I had joined the photography club in my high school because I was interested in the art of capturing beautiful things. I do a lot of shooting in auto-mode, but this serves as a reminder that a little footering around with the aperture can yield results to be proud of.
This was taken in Brussels when I visited my dad there in January 2010. I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to travel as much as I have in my life – lucky, essentially, that my parents are somewhat… internationally-minded, I suppose. Because of their efforts when I was young, I’ve gained an interest and an ability in languages, and because of my dad’s many travels, I’ve been able to tag along for more-or-less-free holidays and see things I might otherwise not have seen. I’m lucky to be in love with an American man, which has provided even more excuses to journey far afield; and my trips across the Atlantic to him undoubtedly opened the door in my own mind to the idea of moving abroad to Costa Rica this year. I’m proud to be a world traveller and thankful to all the people who made me that way.
I did some growing up in Edinburgh, and some growing up in the Scottish Borders. Truly, the best of both worlds. With the best comes other things too, but it’s the best I’ve chosen to bring with me into the next stages of my life, and the best was surely this. The freedom, the community, the friends I made in the Borders, all the mischievous and innocent things we got up to, are things I hold fondly in my memory today. Looking back on this walk in the sun with one of my best friends of all time makes all the less perfect parts of my life in the country dissolve into the past where they belong.
Somewhere along the way, I made a leap. This man, and presumably other factors too, changed me and opened up my mind to an idea I never would have thought myself capable of back when I was making video invites to shiny parties: a long-distance relationship. I’ll let you in on a secret, something I once said to Grant over a year ago. I said, “I can’t fall in love with someone who’s moving abroad in three months”. I was wrong. I could, and I did, and look where it got me! The dizzying heights of Zanesville, Ohio.
Our trip to Chicago marked not only my first ever road trip and my first ever major American city, but also the first time I had ever truly branched out on my own and planned a real holiday. It was only a weekend, and I relied on Grant to drive us there and back and Elizabeth to accommodate us; but we planned our days ourselves, from our transport around the city to the attractions we visited. I’ll admit that this weekend quieted a tiny voice from my childhood calling me towards Chicago – I think it had something to do with those long days I spent after school dancing to Frank Sinatra at the tender age of nine.
I said ‘something old’, so I’ll leave it there for now, about a year ago. Besides, this post is already well on its way towards becoming a life story, which wasn’t my intention. So there it ends: a collection of pictures that make me feel nostalgic and content with my life so far. Just so you all know.
Thank you to all the influences in my life who have made me the girl I’m proud to be today.