This is Not a Rehearsal

We sang and danced with strangers last night.

Our fifth and likely the last concert we’ll be going to this year, and the first time we’ve seen U2 perform live.

We’re concert people.

We try to get tickets for something we like every couple of months, and since we’ve moved to London we’ve been lucky enough to sing along pretty much all our favorite musicians.

We’ve been to smaller venues and we’ve been to big, tens-of-thousands-of-fans gigs. We know the O2 Arena inside and out by now, we’ve had seats all over the place in the Royal Albert Hall, we’ve sung and danced in Hyde Park in all weathers.

We’re rock people, we’re folk people, we’re pop people, we’re jazz people.

We’re concert people.

As U2 were wrapping up their gig last night, the third and final national day of mourning in Romania was coming to an end.

We followed the crowds out of the O2, into a night of fog and wintery smells. We queued outside the tube station for a while. People were lighting up cigs, knotting scarves, buttoning smartphones, humming Elevation. It figures. Concert people. Always humming something.

Last Friday, a nightclub fire killed 32 and severely injured 140 young people attending a rock concert in Bucharest.

As details of the tragedy have unraveled, and the authorities’ and public’s reactions have been making their way to me, I’ve sunk deeper and deeper into a state of infinite hopelessness.

It’s a complicated story to tell. This history of my hopeless relationship with my country and my past. A past which, like all pasts, constantly seeps into the present and keeps the wounds open.

In a parallel world, who knows if I’ll ever see U2 perform live. I live in a beautiful Romanian city in the heart of Transilvania. I work long hours, relentlessly climbing my way up the corporate ladder. I’m married to a guy I’ve been seeing for a few years. We own our home together. We have a dog, a cat, or both. My mom drops by unannounced, with Dutch biscuits and home made gerkins. I have at least three friends playing in rock bands. At least one of these rock bands is well known locally. I go to all their gigs. Most times they’re in nightclubs randomly popped up in the basements of historical, crumbling buildings, or in old factories. I make my way to the very front. Never count the emergency exits. Can’t tell if the ceilings are flammable. Can’t use a fire extinguisher. Have astma. Never called 911. I know all the lyrics. I’m with the concert people.

In a parallel world, if I die at a rock concert, it will probably be my own fault. I should have stayed at home. I shouldn’t like rock. The all-powerful God of parallel worlds doesn’t approve of concert people. I should know that.

I’ve lived in a parallel world for most of my life. Then I moved to London.

I get glimpses of it, my parallel country and its many parallel layers of grief.

They break my heart.


Nap All Day, Sleep All Night

I haven’t had a day like today in a while.

After walking the beaches of Brighton and Hove for a few hours yesterday, then back to our place and an evening of red wine and horror movies, I turned to bed early and slept the sleep of the lighthearted.

I was the first to wake up in the morning, hot sun streaming in from windows on all sides of our flat, like our cosmic coordinates had changed overnight.

I unloaded the dishwater, made coffee, wiped the kitchen counters and sat watching the morning news in the living room for a while. Went online and browsed through the list of furniture pieces I’ve since forever been ogling with our guest bedroom in mind. I put off actually ordering anything, of course. “Add to Basket” is as far as I’m willing to go on my Sunday morning furniture safaris.

V woke up, so I made us scrambled eggs and avocado on toast, and we actually sat down for breakfast like shiny happy people in TV commercials.

After we cleared the table and changed the bedding in our master bedroom, he walked past my two-dozen-furniture-websites-open-at-the-same-time laptop, and bullied me into actually pressing “Checkout” for once. The world will not come to an end if we’ve furnished the last remaining empty room in our flat. My life will not lose its purpose once I’ll have no wood finishes to fantasise about. Things will be all right.

So I caved and finally ordered a bed, mattress, nightstands and a chest of drawers. Oh, and a rug for our living room while I was on it. Sure, we don’t really need one, but hey, who can say no to the absolutely most super-duper-sexy rug in the world? Not me, people.

Then, high on furniture splurging euphoria, I scrubbed our shower clean for the second (third?) time this weekend (Lemon juice did. not. work. But we’ve got a pro coming to look at it tomorrow, triple YAY!), did a bit of ironing, read fifty or so pages from Tracy Chevalier’s Burning Bright, and, wait… for… it… had a nap. As in, sleeping. In the middle of the day. For two and a half hours. Me!

Well, I’m up now and the world feels cosy enough to walk barefooted in. I dug out our tape measure, and measured our guest bedroom walls for the millionth time. It will all fit in perfectly and I can’t help smiling at the thought that a couple of weeks from now, we’ll be functional-guest-bedroom people, and everything will still be all right. More places to nap than ever, as well!

Off I go now, I’ve promised steak and sweet potato wedges for dinner and V’s been moaning he’s hungry enough to eat a horse all throughout me writing this post.

Wishing you all a lovely Sunday evening!

On the Home Front: Master Bedroom This and That

As I might have bragged around here a few thousand times already, we moved into the first place of our own a couple months ago, and for a while I’ve been running exclusively on Decorate-Everything autopilot.

V decided he’s got complete confidence in my artistic eye, and has so far been the most dutiful furniture mover, wall driller and listener to all my home related moaning, daring to complain only once or twice, when I’d picked a fabric or some other nick-knack he found “too girly”. It hasn’t happened often, I’m proud to be only a moderate aficionado of girly elements of decor. No pink hearts and butterflies anywhere around our place so far, can you believe it?

For the past few weeks we’ve had furniture delivered pretty much every weekend, and I’ve spent more time than socially acceptable picking cushions, mantle clocks, vases and whatnot, most of which are now happily residing on various of our new surfaces. At this point, by any standards in the world other than mine, our place is not only liveable but fully furnished and decorated throughout (well, except for our guest bedroom, which we’ll only be looking into furnishing next year). By my standards though, there’s still a million things to do:

  • Replacing the living room curtains, which came with the place and are brand new and really nice fabric, but a dark brown shade that doesn’t go with anything in the room and has been driving me crazy since we moved in.
  • Replacing most of the light fixtures, also new, and also because I hate them so much they’ve been giving me nightmares.
  • Fitting shelves and/or drawers into our hallway and guest bedroom closets.
  • Getting a display unit for our dining room, as our china and dining linens have invaded most of our kitchen cabinets and there’s hardly any room left for my Doritos stash.
  • Cleaning up the balcony, getting some plants and if we’re really lucky (it’s TINY!) some garden furniture in time for lovely London spring weather.
  • Getting a couple of extra blankets/throws. You’d think this is easily done, right? Well, I’ve got the craziest expectations blanket-wise, and apart from a lovely one I got in Edinburgh earlier this year, I’ve yet to find one that’s up to standards.
  • Fresh coats of paint on a few patches of wall our movers haven’t been particularly mindful of.
  • Hanging art, art everywhere!

Believe it or not, it’s just the tip of the iceberg, this.

I can only imagine what this list would look like had we moved into a place needing actual work. I’d probably be drowning in mountains of blueprints and saw dust as we speak!

Happily, this way I’m able to take my time going through my decorating TODOs, and these days I’m digging for bedroom art. Something to hang above the bed in our master bedroom, specifically.

It’s probably the most finished looking room in the flat, and my personal favourite (this could have less to do with the decor and more with me being such a sleeper extraordinaire!).

Only the wall above the headboard is looking a little bland, so I’m thinking either a large framed piece or a couple (three seems to be the number of choice for most bedrooms I’ve seen on the lovely interwebs) of smaller, complementary ones. It needs to fit the colour scheme, which is a mix of whites, creams, very light chocolate, natural oak and rattan. Couldn’t be easier, I know.

But. I don’t want a mirror. Got a rather large one already above the vanity table, and the thought of mirrors facing each other and reflecting and re-reflecting things infinitely into the abyss makes my brain hurt. I also don’t want a wall clock, frieze or anything with a million tiny grooves I’d have to dust and polish with a special magical fabric soaked in my own tears every Saturday morning. That’s when I do most of my dusting by the way and, coincidentally, most of my swearing. Oh, and no wall stickers, framed slogans, our names, or anything with letters and digits on it, really. Nor photos of ourselves, family, pets or favourite pairs of shoes.

So that’s that.

I’m spending these days ogling a million beige themed, lovely art accented bedrooms and figuring out what I like in terms of paintings and prints on artfinder, all the while trying to juggle leaving my job (and settling into a new one the very next day!), Christmas shopping, holiday bookings and eventually managing to get some dye in my half blonde half mousy hair. Fun and games.

That’s all I’ve got for you guys today, but before I leave you here’s a bedroom themed photo. Quite a random one, as it looks absolutely nothing like our own bedroom, but it’s got pretty colours and prints and quite a bit of art so that’s reason enough for me!

Have a lovely weekend everyone!