Monthly Archives: January 2015

January 27

It just hit me last night… I have been in Denmark for two years already. Well, two years and two days, exactly. I remember flying out of London on January 25, in the late afternoon, and arriving to a very cold and dark Copenhagen in the evening, half excited about the idea of moving somewhere new and half scared at the possibility of failure in a place that was -and still is in a way- very different to anything I had experienced before; from the culture and the language to the scale of the city, the weather and the social dynamics, Denmark was so unfamiliar to me that, apart from expecting to be surrounded by beautiful blondes at all times (I was right), I don’t even remember having any concrete expectations at all.

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Two years and two days have passed since and, although there have certainly been some rough patches along the way, I have to say that moving to Copenhagen has been a fantastic experience, well worth of every single lonely night I spent at home, hiding from the cold, wishing I was back in London with my friends.

It has been tough -Denmark can really be a bitch sometimes- and every now and then I still miss parts of my life in England, but things are better than they have ever been in a good while and a sense of belonging is finally developing, after all these years. Yes, it has taken me a while to get here, broken bones and all, but that’s ok. You know what they say…

I might not be in a band but I sure feel like I’m rocking.

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January 26

Last week was packed with work and Danish classes so it’s only now that I’m able to write about our short trip to London. Let’s see:

Despite the weather forecast for last weekend, which predicted mostly rain, the sun shone and made our visit much more enjoyable. There was a minor snowfall on Saturday morning, just when we decided to go for a walk around Hampstead Heath but that only lasted about four minutes and then it was back to relatively clear and sunny skies, just the way I like it.

This time around, there was not a single spare room available at my friend’s flats so we decided to rent one through Airbnb. I was aware of the service, of course, but I had never used before so it was good to experience first hand the beauty of the “share economy.” Accommodation in London is expensive so prices were not particularly cheap but we paid probably the same we would have paid if we had decided to stay in some shitty hostel and in return we got a nice and clean room in a flat on Finsbury Park Avenue, very close to the big Sainsbury’s on Green Lanes, with both Tube and Overground stations within walking distance and quite close to where most of my friends live. Apart from the shower lacking a bit of power and the bed being a tad small for two people, I’d say our overall experience was pretty good.

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On Friday night, after we dropped our bags, we met Maria Chiara and Latifa (and later, Anna) for dinner at Gokyuzu, my favourite Turkish restaurant. As always, the food was fantastic, so much so that it almost brought tears of joy to my eyes. I fucking love that place. After dinner, we went to Jam in the Jar, a small cafe/bar on Green Lanes selling cheap booze and where a random band was playing reggae tunes. It was packed when we arrived but we managed to score a table with a couple of chairs and we squeezed in there and stayed until 2am, talking nonsense and drinking beer.

The morning after, we went for breakfast at Sketch, a pretty stylish place off Regent Street, which has probably one of the best hot chocolate on the face of the Earth. I remember being there for the first time in 2012, on a “chocolate tour” organized by a girl who was looking for a new tour guide so she invited me to join her to see what it was all about. The tour started with a cup of hot chocolate at Sketch and since that day, I had been wanting to come back for more. Three years later, I finally did and was not disappointed.

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After Sketch, we did a bit of shopping around Oxford Street, checked out Ross’ exhibition at The Great Frog, looked for Bob Marley’s blue plaque near Goodge Street station and then headed towards Embankment to walk along the Southbank, one of my favourite things to do in London. As always, it was crowded with tourists but the view there is always amazing and the place just brings me good memories. I used to go there quite often and just standing there, next to the Thames, surrounded by the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye and the Waterloo Bridge… it just made me feel lucky to be there, every single time.

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We sat on a bench for a while, took a few pictures, and then headed back to the city to do a bit more shopping before going home for a short nap. At 8pm, we met up with my friend Ernesto, his girlfriend and another friend for dinner at a new placed that opened up in Green Lanes: it’s called Bar&Buns and it is amazing. Probably the best burgers I have had in London, very similar to the fantastic Icelandic burgers that Tommi’s provide us with here in Copenhagen. When I used to live in Green Lanes, there was nothing; now that I have moved away, there are bars and cool places popping up everywhere! Bastards.

We finished our dinner and took a bus to Dalston to meet Rebeca, Ann-Christine and other friends at The Haggerston, a hipster bar I used to go to every now and then. Now, I know most places in London are full of annoying, drunk people but that night, The Haggerston was on fire. Fucking hell, what a pain in the arse. It started ok but after half an hour, we had a couple of guys hitting on my girlfriends, approaching them with pick-up lines like “Hey, you have a nice bum” and “Hi, I just want to let you know that I’m here.” It was embarrassing.

One guy in particular wouldn’t leave us alone and kept forcing himself into our conversation, asking Kat and the rest of the girls where were they from and what were they doing in London. Kat told him they were Bulgarian triplets who were in town with a circus, working as acrobats, but he didn’t quite buy into it. He just kept annoying the shit out of us until Ann-Christine pretty much told him to fuck off. Shortly after, some random dude who was clearly out of his mind, high on God-knows-what, came to me and spend five minutes complementing my sweater. He kept shaking my hand, telling me it was much better than the turtle neck of the same colour that he owned. As if I gave a shit.

At 2:30am, we decided we had enough of the Dalston loonies so we said goodbye to our friends and took a cab home. The cabbie asked us where were we from and what we were doing in London, and when we told him we were a couple that had met through Tinder, he just couldn’t believe it. It was as if a new world of possibilities had been revealed in front of his eyes. In theory, he wouldn’t be able to do much about it unless he was willing to have an affair behind his wife’s back but still, he was fascinated by the story of two strangers falling in love after meeting each other through a mobile app. He even asked us to invite him to our wedding, go figure.

On Sunday, we met up with Oli for brunch at Princi (and when I say brunch I mean cake), and then walked to Herman ze German for currywurst. We had seen Oli in September but we really hadn’t had the chance to catch up properly so this time we made sure to meet up with a bit more time to chat. Oliver gave me a bag full of presents, including a brand new Ross Halfin t-shirt, a set of Led Zeppelin napkins from one of last year’s Led Zep re-issues listening parties, a belated Christmas card and a mint copy of Ian Hunter’s “Ian Hunter” vinyl, which Ross got for me in Los Angeles last year. Very nice of them.

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We said goodbye to Oli and, ten minutes later, we said hello to Latifa, who was kind enough to meet us again for tea at Yumchaa. It was lovely to see her again, she makes me laugh so much. I really miss her, she’s witty and always fun to be around. Can’t wait to have her over sometime this year.

After Yumchaa, we took the Tube to Victoria, then a train to Gatwick and from there a plane back to Copenhagen, bringing our London weekend trip to an end. We had so much fun that we have already booked tickets to go back in Easter. We’re quite looking forward to it…

 

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January 16

Kat and I are off to London for the weekend, our first trip of 2015. We have already four more trips lined up for the first half of the year and to be honest, I’m really looking forward to every single one of them. I like to travel with Kat, she’s always fun to be around. Unlike our last trip to London, this time we are going without much plans other than catching up with as many of my friends, have a walk along the Southbank and maybe go see an sex exhibition at Wellcome Collection but that’s really not important. We just want to hang out and take it easy. A hard thing to do in London, I know, but we’ll give it a shot…

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I have been listening to Here Be Monsters lately, a nice podcast I recently discovered through the built-in Podcast iPhone app. As always, I’m arriving quite late to the party (there are 40 episodes of HBM already waiting for me) but that’s fine by me, I enjoy going through entire seasons of existing material at my own pace. I like knowing that I can listen/watch all the episodes in one go if I want to, or put them on hold if I want to take a break, without feeling like I’m missing out.

The only exception to this rule has possibly being 24, which I watched with my mum as it was broadcasted on TV, on a weekly basis. It was nerve-wracking and little bit annoying at times (wanting to watch more and having to wait an entire week for the next episode) but overall, I think it has been one of the most enjoyable family experiences of my life. Just sitting there every week in front of the telly with my mum, just wondering what the hell was going to happen next. Even after I moved to London, I would download each episode at the time and tried to watch it the same day my mum did, just so that we could talk about it afterwards on Skype. It was fucking great.

Anyway, back to HBM. I’m not a big fan of Jeff Emtman’s voice but the podcast is very well produced, the format is perfect for my Copenhagen commute and the topics are fascinating. I have only started it a few days ago so still have a long way to go but I recommend you to check it out, I’m sure you will find something interesting in there.

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January 12

Back in July last year, Kat and I moved in together but we never got to throw a proper housewarming party at the time so we decided to get that out of the way this weekend and invited some friends over for drinks at our place. I think it was the first time that some of Kat’s friends were together in the same room with some of mine, and despite a silly late-night drunken incident involving a DIY garlic bread, a great time was had by all.

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Some of our friends didn’t make it to the party, possibly because of the stupid transvestite storm that hit us over the weekend (it was given a female name on the first day and a male name on the second day – that’s progressive Denmark for you all), but those who made it to our home gave us flowers, a bottle of fine Cuban rum, a couple of bottles of wine, a pair of salt & pepper shakers we liked, and a picture framing fund to take care of some posters we have at home. All very nice. The next morning, after doing a quick clean up of the apartment, Kat and I went for coffee and pastries at a café in Nørrebro and then popped in El Giganten to get that new TV we had been talking about for the last couple of months.

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We figured that if we are spending so much time in front of the telly watching series on HBO most evenings, we might as well give ourselves an upgrade so, after much consideration, comparing features and prices and users reviews, we finally agreed on an LG 55-inch full HD LCD TV that might be just a little bit too big; its name is Alberto and it barely fits on the cabinet we used to have our old TV on. If it was one centimeter bigger, we probably would be looking at new cabinets as we speak.

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As with every piece of electronic equipment we buy, the set up process didn’t go as smoothly as it should have and we still haven’t been able to find out how to make the antenna signal work but we hook it up to my laptop and our surround sound and spent the rest of the day watching episodes of “Masters of Sex,” a series we liked at the beginning but that we’re feeling a bit meh about it now that we’re close to finish the second season. To be honest, if it wasn’t for all the exposed breasts featured throughout the series, I would have probably given up on it a while ago.

But with Alberto on our side, standing proud in our living room, we will power through and finish what we started. We will not give up and we will not surrender. Our time is now.

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I just came across a wonderful piece of wisdom, which I recommend you to read: “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck.” 

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Despite the loose use of the word “fuck,” which is featured 127 times throughout the article, the author makes a really valid point in an very amusing way and considering the new year has just begun, I’d suggest you to reconsider your fuck-giving policy and follow the advice of Mr. Mark Makson (whoever the fuck he is) and start reserving your fucks for the really fuckworthy situations in life.

After you read the article, I think you would agree with me that it’s indeed worth trying.

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January 6

After almost 30 hours flying, hanging out in airports waiting for connecting flights and dealing with crying babies, I’m finally back in Copenhagen after spending two weeks back in Venezuela visiting my family. It’s a strange feeling, it always is. On one hand, it’s fantastic to see my parents, my sister, my auntie and my little niece and get to spend time with them, especially after being away for an entire year, but saying goodbye… that’s tough and never gets easy. I really, really hate it.

However, this time around there was a slight difference: instead of going back to Europe, to a rented room in some random house with a random housemate, I came back to Kat. For the first time since I moved abroad, I had the feeling that I was leaving home to go back home and that, my friends, is a wonderful thing. It was good to see Kat waiting at the airport, bringing back presents for her from my family, having dinner together and talking about my trip. It was good to see the home improvements she had kindly done while I was away, getting things ready for my comeback. That feeling, that sense of belonging that comes with these sort of situations, has made this particular part of my trip much better.

While I was back in Venezuela, I decided to focus most of my time on my family, as you would expect. Having our phone line and internet connection down for an entire week definitely helped me stay offline and facilitated a joyful reunion between me and my kindle books (managed to finish “The Dirt” (the Motley Crue autobiography), “The Heroin Diaries”, and even got halfway through “The Back Road”, an exciting thriller by Rachel Abbott which I bought on sale for £1 on Amazon) but, as a consequence, I failed to write the classic end-of-the-year blog post so I might as well do that now, for nostalgia’s sake.

Let’s see:

2014 was a terrific year, probably the best I have had since moving abroad. There are many reasons for it but here are the highlights:

1. I met Kat on the fifth of a series of Tinder dates I had back in April. It was totally unexpected and yes, it all escalated pretty quickly, but meeting her has changed everything for better and I’m very happy we both gave Tinder a shot. I had my reservations and I actually deleted the app at some point, then tried it again out of curiosity and look where we are now…

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2. I got to travel. Last year I went to Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, Reykjavik, Bergen, London, Brighton, Møn and got to spend 2 weeks in Venezuela with my family. Not bad for a working class hero.

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3. I saw plenty of concerts. The list is long considering I attended quite a few festivals but The Rolling Stones, Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, St. Vincent, EELS, Iron Maiden, Phil Anselmo & The Illegals, Rob Zombie, and NIN are at the top of my list. So are Soundgarden and Black Sabbath, who I got to see together from the photo pit/side of the stage with Ross back in June. Bonus points for meeting Phil Anselmo at Roskilde and Joe Perry in Berlin, too. The only thing I regret is not having stayed in Berlin to catch Aerosmith on tour, I had a backstage pass and a couch in Ross’ room waiting for me and yet I refused to stay because I had to work. What the fuck was I thinking?

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4. I got to see some of my dearest friends. Ann-Christine visited in February, Kate in April, Rebeca and Sarah visited in May and so did Rafa (whom I later met again in Barcelona and Madrid), hung out with Ricky and Felix in Berlin, then saw all my mates from Madrid when Kat and I went to see the EELS and a again a couple of weeks ago on my way home, saw Kleber and Luisana in Barcelona, spent my birthday with Katrin and Brini in Iceland, Christian visited in August, caught up with my friends in England in September, and just now I spent some time with Ram and some other friends in Barquisimeto. As much as I like my life in Copenhagen, I do miss my friends so getting the chance to see some of them regularly really balance things up for me a bit.

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I probably would find more if I start going through every single blog post but off the top of my head, those four things make up for fantastic year that’s going to be hard to beat. But hey, who knows? Maybe 2015 will make 2014 its bitch. I would definitely like to see that.

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