Long, detailed passage below. Due to diary entry format, most (if not all) text is out of date. Not for the faint hearted, easily bored or judgmental.
In three excruciatingly long days and two hours, all the "not until you're older" jokes will be stopped by a spectacular force known as 'aging'. A force which I will think is fantastic for only a few more days before starting the feel the nauseating pang of fear associated with grey hair and wrinkles.
Now, for those who wish to stalk me over the Easter holidays, my itinerary goes as follows:
30th: Turn 18
The in between days will hopefully be so hazy that they become irrelevant.
Anyway, to tide you over until my adventures are installed; I'll give you a brief update on English life. I may have started a house feud by barricading the entrance with cling wrap and staircase with toilet paper when the boys went out clubbing and left me miserable at home. They are yet to strike back though, so I just live my days in that uneasy calm-before-the-storm mentality. (Just for future reference, I live with 5 boys/"men"; Myles, Tom, John, Danny and Clive.)
What else? During the beautiful (albeit fresh) spring season I have witnessed the magic of lambs being born and chicks hatching. I have decided to begin playing piano again, and also to artificially dye my thumb green in order to turn our "garden" into a replica of the Secret Garden of the Frances Hodgson Burnett book of the same name. I plan to make friends with alllll the squirrels and sing them off-tune songs while picking flowers to put in my hair. Speaking of, squirrels are exactly like cartoon depictions. I'm just waiting for stars to circle their heads when an acorn drops onto their hairy noggin.
I'm still not feeling homesick, which makes me feel like a bit of a jerk but it makes life a lot easier.
I just love it here. I can't believe how quickly it's all going. I can't wait to finally head off on this trip, which I feel as though I have been planning for yonks.
Today I learnt a very valuable lesson: Don't get your hair cut wearing leather. Why? Because you're bound to cut off your waves into some sort of grunge rock style. It would also help if I'd planned the whole thing. See, I went into town for a pair of shoes and some toothpaste, passed a hair salon and thought 'this could be fun!', and booked an appointment. Half an hour later I found two contradicting hair styles and asked for them to be combined, resulting in what I would describe as the modern reverse mullet. Right now I'm contemplating asking one of the boys to help me cut another inch off…
Even more annoyingly, when I returned home I did not have a new pair of shoes, but rather 6 buttons, 2 meters of ribbon, glasses and a book about cocktails from the 1920s.
Actually ignore all of the previous entry.
I'm diggin' on the cut. Yo.
My god, I am quickly becoming the dictionary definition of impatient. I'd like to take this time to complain about two birthday related things:
1.My 18th in on a Tuesday. Who the damn celebrates an 18th on a TUESDAY? What am I going to do? Buy cheap pizza?! My parents obviously didn't think this though.
2.If I were in Australia I would be 18 eleven hours earlier. Clearly, I didn't think this though either.
Anyway, I've got polish on my nails, blue shadow on my eyelids, wax in my hair, a packed suitcase and am back in leather. What does this mean? It means I'm ready to roll!
Here I come Berlin!!!
Transport hates me. Not as much as I hate it though!! Seriously. The worst part of travelling is getting from Point A to Point B, UNLESS it's in road-trip form with a blue truck which is knee-deep in crap and has the door taped on. That is the ONLY enjoyable way to travel.
I also feel ridiculously unwell because my diet today has consisted of 3 cups of strong coffee and a bueno bar. The delicious and nutritious combination is not sitting well. I guess it sucks to be Milly Cooper who'll have to listen to me complain and possibly wipe some vomit off her lap.
FINALLY I am old enough to legally buy alcohol, cigarettes and lotto, to dance on tables in any club and to begin work on cultivating things to put on my criminal record. What a milestone!
Due to the fact that I didn't sleep for 48 hours prior to my birthday, every second ticked slower than the last, causing immense frustration. Luckily for us though, some Scottish and American guys ensured that birthday celebrations began promptly at midnight, with jager bombs and a pool competition. For Milly and I, the celebrations began in Australian time, so we were a little less coordinated at the pool thing. Anyway, the night was pretty darn 'awesome' (you have to sing that.)
During the day we did a bus tour of Berlin (and by that I mean we fell asleep on a bus around Berlin) and I got a spectacular phone call from SJM and got to hear the voices of a few of my favorite people. The night was …erm… slightly less classy than the one before. Hmm.
Can't wait for the weekend!
Side Note: I am ridiculously frustrated with myself for making no attempt to learn German before coming here. I feel very rude not knowing how to say even the most basic of things.
I can't say it was exactly what I had expected which is disappointing since it was easily one of the places I was most keen to visit, but I definitely had a pretty rocking time. We did a really awesome pub crawl on the 2nd which was the best first clubbing experience ever, and enabled us to meet some of the coolest people possibly in the world. We also did some absinthe shots, danced in cages and walked the longest way possible to our hostel room, which we shared with a very open lesbian couple.
The next day we visited the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp which was very confronting. On our last day there we went on a walking tour and saw Museum Island, the "8th wonder of the world" (an 8m marble bowl - hilariously enough, it was meant to be a 5m wide bowl, but the guy who made it decided to make it bigger. As a result they couldn't get it inside the building they intended it to be in, so inside there's a massive gap for it, and it sits outside the entrance.), book-burning square (which has a fantastic memorial), the war memorial, memorial to the Jews (which I also loved), Hitler's bunker (which is now a car park), Hitler's palace (which is now a Chinese restaurant and a kids playground), Checkpoint Charlie (where you can have your photo taken with the guards …who are actually strippers), the Berlin wall etc. We also saw the hotel where MJ famously dangled his baby from the window.
Now, before I spend a moment on my bad travelers luck, let me say that before arriving in Berlin I was already developing sore and blistered feet, which I continued to walk and dance on for the week. This meant that by midweek every time I put on shoes or walked anywhere, it would be immediately accompanied with a "motherf***er!" and the uneven sound of my limping footfalls. Then last night I made the rookie mistake of ordering 'food poisoning' instead of 'food'. I guess that's what you get for not learning German before trying to speak it. Needless to say, the next 24 or so hours where spent mostly on the bathroom floor and involved a lot of tossing, turning and complaining. THEN! We went to the airport to go to Amsterdam and were going through security when I realized I had some water in my bag. The guards said it was fine if I drank it. So I did. Then I realized I had an almost empty bottle of vodka in my bag. They laughed and said I could drink that too, but I decided to just hand it over. I proceeded to step through the security thingo, which is apparently the cue for some lady who looks like she's never smiled in her life to feel me up. It was like a strip search but without the privacy of a curtained room. She even pulled up my dress and rubbed my tummy (presumably for luck) and felt allll my crevices. But wait! While this was happening, they had gone through my bag to discover I wasn't planning to blow up the plane. Hold on. What's that in your bag Milly Cooper? Aerosol? A lighter?? KNIVES??? Hmm.
Anyway, now my feet are recovering, my stomach is keeping food down and I have convinced society that I'm not a terrorist, so I'm feeling pretty damn good.
Oh Amsterdam, peculiar city, how I miss thee already. There was something very special about Amsterdam (besides the sex and drugs) which made me absolutely love it. Architecturally it's beautiful, historically it's very interesting, and socially it's …well a little absurd. The Red Light District seemed only to contain strippers in street windows (which you can approach for fun times when ever), "coffee shops" (to get high as a motherf***er, fly as a motherf***er), fast food (munchies cure), strip clubs, tattoo parlors and second hand book stores (?). Charming, really. However, every time a high and horny b****** excuse of a man (all men) made kissy noises as we walked past and said some crude thing about going back to his place distracted me from my lovely strolls, it took every ounce of self control to stop from kicking him in the balls so hard that the thought of using that particular organ ever again would leave him in so much pain that all the weed in the world couldn't even numb it.
Seriously though, Amsterdam is wicked. We checked out the Anne Frank Museum which is in the house her family hid in all that time, and the Van Gough Museum which was really eye-opening. We also did a walking tour, canal cruise (Did you know: Amsterdam has more Canals then Venice!) and hired some bikes. We did another pub crawl, which paled in comparison to Berlin, but was still really awesome. Also, out of a mixture of obligation and curiosity (as well as the promise of numerous free drinks) Coops and I decided to check out a live strip show at Amsterdam's very own Moulin Rouge. I can't say I wasn't shocked to my very core, but hey, it was worth checking out. Milly and I were a very objective audience ("hmm, this girl isn't as flexible as the last but she certainly has perfected that hair flick. Very vocal also." Etc).
I think the only way to sum up Amsterdam is to say it was very strange. It was like every person we encountered was experimenting with how far they could push the norms of social conduct. I left every situation needing clarification that what I thought happened actually did because I was having trouble justifying why it would. I think for me to say this, makes it a pretty strong comment.
Unfortunately, the holiday has come to an end and M.C'Oops and I are on a flight back to London. We're actually very lucky to be on this flight for two reasons:
1.We cut it very short on getting to the airport in time and could've very easily missed it.
2.The volcanic ash from an eruption in Iceland is affecting the flights. All flights will be cancelled after 11, possibly for a few days. (Lucky it's only a "15 min" flight!*)
I'm not quite ready to go back yet though. I've had the most fantastic time and I can't think of anyone greater than Milly to share it with.
I'd actually expected Belgium to be a bit dull, but it was really awesome. We stayed in Brussels in a hostel called 'Sleep Here' which is actually just this wicked guy's house. He made us feel so at home we never wanted to go out. Typically enough though, seeing as it was a place where you spend a lot of time with your host, Milly and I subconsciously decided to become the worst house guests ever. See, it all started when we finally arrived and realised Karel (our host) wasn't home. We rang the doorbell non-stop, banged on the door as hard as we could, and tried to climb up to the window to see if anyone was inside. We eventually got the attention of another guest who let us in. While we waited for Karel to return, we took over the living room, blasting Lionel Richie, eating all the food we could find (Milly got a rude shock when she thought she'd enjoy some cheese and found out it was actually butter), and started getting ready for the night out, therefore half emptying out suitcases onto his couch and covering the dining table in makeup. I think he got a bit of a shock when he came home. After being shown to our dorm, we took over that with out mess also. We didn't come home until after 3 that morning and although I don't think we were that noisy, we were definitely noisier than necessary.
A few days later Milly thought it's be hilarious if she removed all the hair from her hair brush and left it on my pillow to gross me out. We thought it was pretty funny, but when Karel showed a new guest to the room and found the hair ball sitting on the table, it became mortifying. Not a great first impression. The night before, I'd welcomed a new guest to the house in my pj's with a mouth full of Nutella, and Milly fell down the stairs holding a stack of board games, waking everyone with a crash, bang and fits of hysterical laughter.
My favourite part though, was when Milly took a shower, saw a towel in there which she assumed to be mine, and wrapped herself up in it. I passed her on the stairs where she was all "I hope you don't mind that I borrowed your towel.", only for me to alert her to the fact that my towel was upstairs. We realised it was Karel's towel just as he walked into the house to see Milly wrapped in it! Oh but wait, there's more. I got up for breakfast one morning and Karel apologised for running out of Nutella. He said he'd go buy more but I assured him it wasn't necessary. Just then, Milly comes into the room, picks up the empty Nutella from near the bin, brings it to the table and starts scraping at it with a knife to get the final remnants out. Karel exclaimed apologies again, got up and ran out to buy a new jar, which we completely demolished in two days. Hmm, he probably won't want us back for a while. He did say we were 'exuberant' though!
What else happened in Brussels? We stumbled upon the most beautiful square in the world. The architecture was just so outrageously beautiful we stared in absolute awe for ages.
We did oxygen at the 'Pure Bar', danced our little hearts out at what was apparently the all-Asian's-over-thirty night (seriously) at a club, ate A LOT of delicious chocolate, bleached my hair, saw Mannequin Pis and went to the Comic Museum to get up close and personal with Tin Tin. We went out another night to a bar called 'Delirium' which was really cool. Unfortunately, Dali's Bar was closed, leaving me broken inside. Celtica however was very open, although I sort of wish it wasn't. The club embodied the word 'sleaze'. Verrrry touchy feely and even more persistent.
"Do you speak French?"
"Do you French kiss?"
"Sorry wha…" BAM!
Smooth. It got a little too sleazy for Milly and I though, so we bailed. Surprisingly enough, out of Berlin, Amsterdam and Brussels, Brussels was easily the sleaziest. Sure, people in Amsterdam would stare and proposition you on the street, but in Brussels people would persists and even follow you. Don't get me wrong, I never felt threatened but it certainly wasn't normal. Ignoring that, I would recommend Brussels (as well as Berlin and Amsterdam) to anyone! Also, I'd recommend Bruges, but probably more if you went with a significant other. It was very beautiful and romantic but Coops just wasn't showing me any love.
*I made the embarrassing mistake of thinking that the flight from Brussels to London was only 15 minutes. In fact, it is an hour and 15 minutes but because of the time difference you only lose 15mins of your day. People at my work think this is especially funny and like to remind me of it whenever possible. They're jerks like that.
Finally! All typed up! And with that I feel I must end this entry as I have already broken the 3000 words mark. I hope I held your interest for at least a small portion of those words. Love you all.