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I know these things always work out better when written right after the event, with the feeling still running through your veins raw and jitterish. I don't know how but over a month as passed by since the four of hopped in a car in a smoldering july noon and drove north for the weekend. Those few days I went to bed thinking 'I must write about this feeling of utter summer joy', but the occasion never seemed fitting or the words wide enough to describe it. Anyway. I still want to write about it, because it sure was an awesome few days.
As I mentioned, there were four of us in the car, joined by another two later. Only girls of course. To put it into context - I wasn't even planning on going to the Festival 'til about a month before, when babest Tom Odell decided to show up. Mostly everyone had their tickets, so I texted Q like "We're going!!!!!!!!!!" because I knew she wanted to go see Kodaline. We didn't exactly know who we were going with or how or where we'd stay, but God knows I'd sleep on concrete to watch Tom again live. I downloaded James Ba(e)y's and Kodaline's albums to spotify and along with Tom's brand new album that was my finals playlist playing on repeat for a month, through endless revision & whilst riding the bus to the school and back home.
We saw James and Kodaline on Friday evening, with a pretty sunset over the river and an unexpected urge to pee which vanished probably due to sweat or maybe pure adrenaline. I blasted James' songs like I'd done back home and giggled with the contagious good vibe Kodaline sent all through their awesome concert. When it was over, we sat on the floor and took silly pictures before venturing to the toilets. What followed was a hilarious car ride, which got us lost inside flat condos, throw some arm dance moves out the window, asking random strangers for directions at 3am and finally eating humongous slices of chocolate cake when we got home.
Saturday saw a late and rather funny start, with us having breakfast past midday and cold showers in the basement true festival style (although inside the house, ofc). We left for Porto mid-afternoon, for an even later lunch and touristy walks through typical stops which of course included Éclairs. Then, Q and I caught an über and did our makeup on the way to the Festival again, this time just the two of us. It was still daylight and we walked around the area exploring before landing on our butts a mere metre away from the stage, waiting for Tom's concert.
Yes, I'd seen him before but it was just as magical, even when I was the only one blasting the new songs from end to end like I'd heard them a million times (I probably had). It's funny how he ditched the ripped jeans and white tee he'd worn last year and wore instead a blood-red shirt and neat black blazer and slacks. This did not stop him from being just slightly tipsy and having drinks on stage as per usual. I can't find the words to explain the vibe that guy pours on stage, all of him is music from the tip of his fingers smashing the piano to his childish smile. And the funny thing is, when you see someone live for the first time you don't expect it to be a first time. It's like a tick off a bucketlist, especially when it comes to your favorite artists. But then you see them again and all you can think is I need more. Again & again & again. It felt as though his energy was addictive. It was really that awesome.
The evening went on. Q and I sat on the grass eating pasta afterwards having deep converstation, especially when you come to think of the circumstances. It took us awhile to manage to find a taxi to drive us back to the city where we met the rest of the group and in addition my cousin. We spent the rest of the night bar-hopping and even dancing a little, but let me tell you -- two nights of festival are enough to tire you to the bones, let alone adding a little clubbing after that. Needless to say the sun was almost up when we manage to go to bed again (after a few slices of quiche, mind you), but it sure was worth it.
It was one hell of a weekend.
got back today after two weeks away and realized the thing I missed the most about home wasn't my bedroom or my pillow but my kitchen and the way it has become mine over the months and how it smelled of sunsets spent cooking up veggie goodness with music blaring and dancing my way to the fridge.
It's late and I'm home alone. The windows are open and I'm not wearing pants. Outside I hear summer noises and the smell of still nights oozes in, bringing mosquitoes with it. I went out for lunch with Q and although it was nothing special, we got to sit outside wearing t-shirts and sandals under the sun. When I got home I showered the stickiness away and managed to finish my studying goal for the day. I promised no youtube videos, so I decided to read a bit before playing Sims; it's been at least 3 hours--maybe more, I lost count. I just sat on the flour in my bedroom, back against the window, the sun burning through my t-shirt, and read until I too hungry to ignore it. I love it when I'm able to ignore hunger and push through it, because that's always when I'm enjoying myself and life the most. So when it got late and my stomach growled I went down to reheat leftovers and brought them up to the attick. I don't like dining in the kitchen by myself anymore, it feels inadequate. I came all the way up with my plates and the book and opened the roof windows wide. There was a tiny spider and I ignored it in hopes it would ignore me too. Then I just sat on the floor eating with one hand and turning pages with the other; picking bits with my hands that fell to my bare legs. When I was finished I crawled to couch and lied here for I don't know how long, eventually I just turned on the light realizing the sun had gone down.
Nobody is home yet. I just went downstairs to put the dishes in washer and eat some fruitsalad straight from the bowl. I brought a piece of chocolate upstairs and decided to write down this evening before continue my readings. Before the feeling had vanished.
We've been talking, discussing, speculating prom since january. It was like this big mark at the end of the tunel school year, something we were unsure would happen. It feels like just yesterday I was 80% decided I wouldn't go and now it's over.
The prepping started last week, with our girly trip to the hairdressers. On monday I picked up my dress from the seamstress. On wednesday I did my nails. Yesterday I got out portuguese class earlier to do my eyebrows, crammed a quick shower before lunch and left the house at 3. Emma and I went to do our makeup, which was followed by the tingly panick that we might look like clowns and omg is this too much i don't recognize myself in the mirror. Then we spent 2 hours at the hairdressers, which got super late, only building up the nerves and anxiety. When I got home, I tried my best to stay calm... I helped mom pick her outfit, had a snack, prepared my purse and the cameras and put on the dress. Despite my best attempts to not stress, I ended up poking new holes on the buckles of my shoes with a clipboard pin fifteen minutes after the arriving time. Then, about twenty minutes of photoshooting at home and that was when I started getting that feeling I had back in january that I simply don't fit in prom. This makeup is too heavy, this purse is too girly, I don't like long dresses.
When we parked the car outside the venue, my stomach was crunched and I was a bit what the fucked by the whole situation, but when I laid eyes on my friends all dressed up and gorgeous it all vanished. It was fine. And I think perhaps that was weirdest thing: seeing our casual friends, people we see everyday, I went to school on a tracksuit yesterday, everyone dressed like adults. But not like kids disguised as adults, actually us looking like adults. Like ties and beards and high heels and makeup. And everyone looked great and glowed. So at first of course everything is a bit awkward, but the guys did a great job of telling us you look beautiful tonight ladies and eventually we felt that warm comfort of casually us again.
It's probably relevant to mention that we've been rehearsing prom for three weeks. My school takes prom to a whole new official level. We had to learn our entrances, our poses, our timings, our positionings and--most importantly--the freaking valse. But yesterday they still managed to fit in a couple surprises for us. First 4 "couples" (pairs?) had to go cut the dessert cake, which we knew about, but they added fire spark jet thingies and champagne. Then they proceeded to call us one by one to give us a senior high attendancy certificate and we had to call other people that were meaningful to us during high school. And lastly my head teacher prepared a slideshow with pictures of us since we were little.
Another remarkable thing is that I didn't fall off my heels all night?? And didn't trip through the valse. But the first thing I did afterwards was taking off my shoes. I spent the whole night dancing nonstop with the most random improbable people bare feet with my dress dragging through the floor. And at 4am when we had to leave, only few of us were left but honestly it was the ones who mattered. We were sweaty, hair messy, makeup smugged, ties undone but we danced til the very last minute and then gathered to take a picture together, which was cute. And it's not like we were tipsy or anything--everyone was as sober as it gets, just genuinely happy carefree joyful proud. I can't find enough adjectives to explain the vibe in that room and especially in ourselves last night, it was like everything was exactly where it was supposed to be and as we all danced in the dimmed lights, looking each others in the eyes I swear we were infinite.
Situations like this always get me thinking about how drastically different my high school years could've been had I not gone back to that school in the middle of freshman year. A lot of the times I know I don't exactly blend in that crowd and I certainly didn't make any lifelong friendships in that classroom. But yesterday it felt so right, like there was absolutely no other way things could've turned out because that's where I belong at the end of day, with those people who might not be my bestfriends but who certainly are my friends somehow and people with whom I've grown to feel so comfortable and at home with. I was filled with that overwhelming yet exciting feeling that the universe knows e x a c t l y what it's doing. Back in freshman year the universe pushed me towards that place and those people and for awhile I couldn't explain why, but moments like this and especially especially especially prom yesterday just make sense.
At the same time it was a closure kind of celebration as well. It was the raw realization that we are indeed graduates, we are indeed basically out of the school system and the future is now. Poking at our eyes, slapping us in the face. None of this will be our reality in a few months time and if that's not scary, I don't know what scary is. Another shitty thing is the fact that with all the communist bullshit maneuvering the government in the sidelines our school might not even freaking exist next year or at least in the near future. I woke up with that bittersweet feeling of oh man last night was epic but also a knot on my throat and a taste of nostalgia because it's over.
I wonder what this week will feel like. This last week, that is.
Today was the weirdest. I left home before 8am with mom and drove all the way down to lisbon. I ate watermelon with a spoon for breakfast in the car and also some bread. We got to the hospital perfectly on time and even managed to squeeze in a last minute appointment. Three hours after getting there, I hopped on a train back home. I love trains?? I love how the views outside the window change in a matter of seconds, so violently and wild. I didn't even had a book or tv series, I just watched the wilderness go from spacious and yellowish to narrow and bright green for like an hour.
I ended up having lunch by myself at the mall, which is something I'm starting to be okay with. It's okay that my plans are "just me" most of the times; it's better than no plans at all. And I really wanted soup and salad for some reason, so I went ahead and lunched alone and it was yum so that's what matters. I left in a rush though, cause I had to walk to the hairdressers where ema and carolina were waiting. We tried our prom hairstyles and I cut my hair. Like real short!! Just now that I was getting used to feeling it touch my back and shoulders... pro-tip: that's when you know you should cut your hair, any later than that and you'll be forever trapped in a long-haired misery. Anyway. It was our little pampering afternoon and it felt great. Ema's hairstyle looked fab!! It is really starting to feel like prom is an actual thing that is actually happening, rather than some paranoia in our heads. Idk how to feel about that.
Then I came home for like fifteen minutes and went back to the dentist which was uneventful as per usual, but at least I didn't have to wait for too long. I also bought some bananas after. I love bananas??? That's so weird, cause I used to desipize and overlook them as a fruit.. Now I can't get enough and I ate the last one this morning so I had to pick more up, because I wouldn't go through 1,5 days without ma bananananana. LoLZ this post is all over the place.
Moving on. I came home and only when I was pressing play on Sims4 did I realize I actually have history finals..... but it was too late, obviously. Nobody shuts down the sims after it taking hours since you click start til you actually being able to play it. Especially not to go study history. After like 2 days in my sims lives (that's around 48minutes) I had to go make dinner and the freaking potatoes took forEVER to cook!!! A girl takes a shower in 5 minutes, doesn't even esfoliate her legs, dresses the pjs half way out the door (i only have one sock on) and then has to wait another 20minutes for the smallest potatoes to finish baking. ugh.
Yeah, that was pretty much today. Except I studied 30mins of history after dinner, but I kinda suck studying at night because that's when I get the most creative. It's like the perfect time to do anything but studying.
I'm pretty sure nothing mirrors LA's chaotic diversity quite like its cuisine. Burgers, tacos, noodles, nachos... everything from mexican to asian is considered "typical" in the area. Suffice to say, we did have some pretty pleasant meals during our stay. Here's a collection of my favorites:
1. The Running Goose
This was our first meal in LA, having arrived the house late in the afternoon. We went out searching for some place to dinner and ended up here, walking distance from the Walk of Fame! I just want to point out that it was the first time having kale! Is there anything trendier than kale atm? I think not. I asked for the "Ricotta Masa Gnochi" and it was delish, only waaay to spicy for me! Other than that, I loved it! We were sat outside in the "garden" which is decorated with string lights and little bonfires. Very cozy for a march evening :)
2. Faith & Flower
So, this is what happens when we let my sister pick the restaurant ahah. She swears it was in the 30$/2pax range in her zomato search, but I guess she just attracts fancy. And fancy doesn't even begin to explain Faith & Flower.
The waitress promptly explained we were supposed to ask for at least 2 dishes per person, because the portions were small and meant to be shared. With prices ranging from 15$ to 30$ per dish, you can only imagine my dad's face! However, it turned out to have a "raw bar" (aka sushi, for the less fancy) which kinda turned tables. My family loves sushi! As a vegetarian, I only ate the sides... all sorts of crisps, made from different seeds and grains. YUM! I should also add everyone loved their raw options! My dad still talks about it sometimes eheh. As for me, I asked for green beans tempura for starters and homemade pasta with butternut squash, smoked miso and nettles. It was by far one of the best meals in LA... I've attempted to somewhat recreate it home, that's how much I liked.
On the downside, yes, it was very very expensive (but worth it lol). I should also point out that my pasta took quite awhile to be served. This was because of their "sharing" policy: they'll bring some of the dishes first, and then the others. So if like me you're going to have your own dish you should probably ask for it to come with the first batch!
3. The Cheesecake Factory
We did not have an actual meal in here, but it doesn't matter! After a couple of hours strolling around the Grove, we hopped in to grab some cheesecake slices on the go. My sister and I splitted two slices, strawberry and cookie dough, and my dad asked for the Godiva Chocolate one. Oh boy...! Every single one of them was absolutely tremendously delicious. I tried to pick I favorite, but it's impossible.The only thing I'd change would be the size, one slice is way too big for your average foodie, especially as a dessert. We had a hard time finishing ours, and ended up storing it in the freezer and eating the rest a couple of days later.
4. Solar de Cahuenga
Last but definitely not least: my favorite spot in town!
Just around the corner from our rented house, this was the chosen location for our first lunch. Chilled back environment, with it's exposed brick walls and wooden furniture. As for the menu, there's enough variety to please everyone! From breakfast food day-round (who doesn't love breakfast food?), crepes, toasts, salads and "proper" dishes with a few vegetarian options and even a couple of vegan ones as well. After some serious indecisiveness I opted for the falafel wrap, and couldn't have made a better choice! I'd never had falafel before, but I'm sure this was a great first time. The wrap was filled to the limit (so much so I couldn't finish it) and I chose a salad on the side, but daddy's fries were awesome as well. I also had a green smoothie (the "Alkalizer") which was better than I expected.
We went back to the Solar for dinner a couple of days later. This time I asked for the falafel salad... yes! Falafel again eheh. That's how much I loved it! I ordered another smoothie (the one with celery) and although it wasn't as good as the first, I certainly drank it all!
I loved this place to bits, from the menu, to the (great quality) food, to the environment and the staff! Too bad I didn't get the chance to try any of their sweets, because they sure looked yummy. Maybe the next time?
(There'll definitely be a next time.)