Notes to April.

Bloody Hell it’s nearly the end of May. Seriously, where is 2019 going?

Life is all a bit funny right now. Not in a bad way, but not really in a good way either. It’s all just kind of passing me by, you know? I feel like I blink and it’s another day, another week, another month. And yet I am standing completely still. I’m finding it very hard these days to get out of my little bubble and connect with the world in any meaningful way – a day starts, I do nice things, it feels good, I wake up empty again. To be honest right now I’m putting most of it down to stress – this is the year that B and I need to decide on our next chapter, and with each month that passes it signifies one month less to decide to think. It’s not like this is a surprise – we knew this Amsterdam adventure was 4 years when we started – but yet I feel completely confounded and lost as to what to do next. Not only that, I also feel very alone as I can’t really put any of this into words (apologies for this rather rambling paragraph). Ho hum. Still, April was not a complete loss – far from it – and I have drawn great comfort in looking back on the past few weeks.

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Twinnies turn one.

On April 12th 2018, two of the greatest loves of my life entered the world. My two nephews were born into the family and have been a bright spot ever since. Seriously, if so much as a day passes where I don’t receive some sort of photo or video of their progress, it’s a day wasted in my eyes (crazy auntie alert). Seeing my niece learning to be a Big Sister (capitals because it’s a role she takes very seriously, as only an earnest 3-year old can) fills my heart with joy, and witnessing my brother and his wife dedicate every inch of themselves to these bundles of joy is so inspiring to me. In this crazy time, it’s good to anchor your heart again and remember what really matters in life.

To celebrate their first birthdays, the whole family descended on Cambridge for a long weekend of food, fun and cake. We did Easter Egg hunts with my niece in the local playground, held a stonker of a birthday party (advantage of twins: TWO cakes!), and just generally had a lot of very overdue cuddle time. Not so sure that the guests of honour had any real idea what was going on, but I can confirm they very much appreciated the cake and extra attention.

Promotion

April sees the annual performance reviews and salary increases. For the second year running I was awarded the highest performance review and as a result received a promotion. Super nice, right?

Work right now is a funny one; I’m still enjoying it and I still relish the challenge of t, but timelines are such that I am now beginning to work on projects that will only wrap up once I have left the company. As a result it is hard to feel any real sense of ownership for any project, but as I haven’t handed in any sort of notice (as I said, no idea what this year will bring and it may be that we stay after all), I can’t really give up or slow down. So right now I’m treading water and just trying to take each week as it comes. But hey, good to know I’m at least nailing one aspect of my life.

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Liverpool

One of the highlights of April for me was getting to spend a week back home in Liverpool with my family. I took advantage of the long weekend and my work’s work-from-home policy to take an extended break, and it was nothing short of glorious. Home-cooked food (hello, first BBQ of the year), revisiting my favourite haunts and quality time with my family (not to mention some of the best weather we’ve seen in a long time ); just what the doctor ordered.

During my week away I was also able to squeeze in some quality time (+ drinks) with one of my oldest and dearest friends. Even though our life paths have diverged somewhat, we still operate on the same level. Whenever I have life woes or need a good rant about something inconsequential, she is who I go to because I know she’ll just get it, no questions or explanations needed. We caught up at Tiger Rock, an Asian tapas-style restaurant on Penny Lane that we went to at Christmas – it was so good, we just had to come back. Especially recommend the bellinis, naturally.

Another nice point of the holiday was B’s parents came to Liverpool for a couple of days. B’s mum had been to Liverpool before, back in the ’80s when the city centre was rocked by riots and unemployment was at an all-time high. Safe to say, she didn’t have the best impression of the city. After 4 years of gentle persuasion, however, she made her grand return accompanied by B’s dad, and we put on a show. Tours of the two cathedrals, walks around the old dock, exploring the all-new Liverpool One and Cultural Quarter – topped off with a visit to Primark, because who doesn’t love that – and dinner at The Elephant in leafy Woolton Village… We pulled out all the stops and I think it’s safe to say B’s parents left with very different thoughts on Liverpool than when they arrived. Success!

Summer is coming

My trip home to Liverpool was greatly helped by the weather. 25 degrees day-after-day meant it was the perfect weather to while away the day in the garden, wearing pretty dresses and sipping on ice cream sodas. Indeed, this is the month where I really felt the shackles of winter begin to slip away. Summer clothes have come out of storage, we’ve switched the bedding… Bring on that vitamin D!

Making plans

With a new season comes new potential, new ideas, new plans for the months ahead. We’ve now been in our flat for nearly a year, and as much as I love it, I cannot wait to really start getting use out of our little garden. Our own little oasis in the middle of Amsterdam; I’m thinking BBQ, I’m thinking big cushions and I’m thinking fairy lights with lazy gin tonics… You feel me?

Alongside that April was also spent finally cementing plans that have been a long time coming. Indeed, in May I have somehow managed to arrange no fewer than 3 trips (Rome, Toulouse, Bath), alongside visits from friends, fancy dinners out and a concert or two. Whilst having this many plans – especially when it comes to travel – can make me come out in a cold sweat, I am looking forward to getting moving again and getting myself out of this funk.

Am I alone in this? Does anyone else find April a restless month?

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