Before going to Malmö, I knew two things about the city: it is very close to Copenhagen and two of my beautiful friends live there! Seeing Emma and Filippa again after our exchange in France felt like no time has passed in two years. They know my heart so well, taking me to get ice cream and going to cute coffee shops. A bit of France followed us wherever we went: the first thing I ate was a charcuterie board with wine, we played Petanque (which is basically French curling), I looked down at a cider I was having and it just so happened to be French. There was a bit of nostalgia, but I also loved that we could all catch up with the here and now.
The best thing about my short stay in Malmö wasn’t the shopping or lovely cafes or dining at the top of fancy hotels – it was spending a weekend with my friends as if I wasn’t travelling to spend a weekend with my friends. We made tacos at home, sat on the couch and watched Eurovision and Beyoncé videos, and had a candy-filled girls’ sleepover. Filippa kept saying, “Oh it’s so great to see you in my home! It’s so great to see you eating at my table!” and I feel like that captures what the best thing was about it all. Togetherness is inviting each other into our homes and into the normal things in our lives, and more than adventure and small luxuries, those are often the things that matter the most.
See you soon, my darlings!
A huge contrast from the empty roads and high sheep-to-people ratio of Iceland, London was dense and occasionally curt. I had forgotten how much I thrived on the hustle: skirting between a maze of people in the tube, picking up speed, getting wrapped up in underground heat. London moves quick and romances you with the draw of royalty and history, often leaving you with tired feet. We saw theatre (Wicked was absolutely spectacular!!), chatted for hours over high tea, ate scotch eggs at Borough Market, and had more pub food than I have in my entire life, but even more, we found little pieces of home in the rain and in bright gardens. I’ve always loved botanical gardens, the way everything feels close and rises above your head, leaning in close, like a roof whispering a secret in your ear.
One thing that I’ve been so grateful for is the unexpected amount of people that I knew in London. It’s just a small handful, but it was the best having people who work hard to make sure you have a good time. Thank you friends, for making this trip so great!
Sometimes you meet someone and your heart screams, “You know me! You know me! Already, you know me!” and for me, this is Corina. I’m not undermining the friendships that have been built over time and effort, because those are worth it, believe me. But it is a gift to be with explanation. It is more rare than you think to be known.
Today we trickled in and out of Shoreditch shops, smelling candles and flowers, running our hands over ceramic and leather, and of course, dreaming over clothes we will never have the money to buy. We licked pastry crumbs off our fingertips, shared stories (so many stories!), and wandered in the London rain. Everywhere she took me was my new favourite place.
We went to Rough Trade, and I showed her a Tobias Jesso Jr. album, because I would describe them both the same way: instantly familiar, nostalgic from the first listen, a piano ballad that reminds me of home. There are some people who you can see their courage and loneliness all at once, and it is the bravest thing.
Thank you for lending me your London for the day, Corina!
thursday: jet-lagged eyes make their way into a small café. we fill our plates with salt. we drive forward, dipping our hands into the earth along the way. the land is always in transition here; constantly becoming and unbecoming. a waterfall greets me from afar.
friday: a haven by the lake; half kitschy, mostly home. we watch the glaciers meeting the ocean, introducing one another like a ceremonial song. i count how many ways water can look: 1. falling from above 2. bigger than the horizon 3. floating patiently 4. abandoned on the shore. i lose count.
saturday: after eating scallops on a patio, we go to a place that made me think i was seeing light for the first time. it looks like an indoor sunset, the visual version of wind chimes, a mirror for someone’s heart. i take note that nobody here plays music just to fill the silence.
sunday: our skin is caked with the sea. i give up trying to describe the colour “blue,” letting the word rise up in steam for a while. we have butter, croissants, and a latte with our backs against a window.
monday: we try to beat the sun, but it wins 18-6. the world is overexposed.
1. When people say, “Others will find healing in your suffering,” you can either take it as a cop-out answer to what you are going through or you can believe it. But I promise you that if you choose the latter – bigger, more powerful things will come of it.
Remember, if you ever feel like you’re backtracking, it’s not true, because everyday is a choice and some days are harder to choose what is good than others.
2. It makes sense that I met you in a time where everything is blooming. It makes sense that I met someone who understands that the past has made me who I am, but doesn’t make me who I am. Someone once looked at us and said to me, “This makes sense.” This makes sense.
3. We used to throw a backyard BBQ every summer solstice, and we would celebrate the longest day of the year laying in the grass; everything smelling like sunscreen and smokey meat and everything tasting like watermelon. The word solstice has always been one of my favourites, because it means the highest point and also the lowest point. Some solstices are shucking oysters by the sea and swimming pool chlorine, and some solstices are Christmas lights and seeing the stars before dinnertime, but all solstices have a way to be celebrated.
When I was growing up mom had this peach jacket that I loved so much that when she tried to donate it, I told her she would have to do it with me kicking and screaming the entire time. It’s well-worn and well worn, and I was so well-loved with her in it. Even my dad, who rolls his eyes at my and my mom’s overflowing closets and could care less about the realms of fashion, can pick out that peach jacket from a mile away. To this day, it still lives in my closet, like many other things that I borrowed from her and never returned, but the other day, I left it in dining room. My dad came down the stairs and said to me, “I saw that jacket, and I thought for a second that your mom was back,” and I thought to myself how some days, it feels like we’re still just waiting for her to come home.
Seattle is a place that looks like home and feels like something new, so we did all my favourite things that I would do at home. We went to bookstores, drank yummy coffee, perused record stores, ate our way through downtown, touched way too many vintage dresses, and stopped at the flower markets (although Grace never lets me buy anything because she says it makes her sad when the flowers die). Felicia said, “Sometimes you don’t know whether you need to get out of your city or if you just need to get out of the city,” and I’ve been taking the time lately to do a bit of both. I’ve always been frustrated in not knowing what it is I really need or having others unable to articulate what they need, but I’ve been learning over and over again that figuring out what we really need is a worthwhile, timely process. If we really knew what we needed, we wouldn’t need anything or anyone else, ya feel?