So I’m in a pretty good, upbeat, positive mood – ‘what is the deal/her problem?’ Ikr? Me in a good mood? It’s been a while, these past few months you could practically see the thunder clouds over my head. But today I really feel like a burden has been lifted and I have a metaphorical spring in my step; change is afoot and no matter how much of a break up shake up that can be for people who’ve been used to a bad situation for a long time you can actually feel better afterwards, so try not to worry so much, be happy and well. 🙂
I wrote this a while back and didn’t post it but today is as good a day as any. I’m the kind of person who can see cycles of repetition in people’s lives, the same events happening over a given time e.g. 7 year, 10, 15 year cycles where people do the same thing/are put in the same/similar situation as a past one and sadly more often than not they do the same things as before. *Sigh* We’ve all been there and done that but today is a new dawn. So I look to the past at something that was new, different and actually fun; shortlived and overshadowed but still; and light hearted/spirited hope/fun is something I look forward to again some day after and despite everything, and if I can be happy almost anyone blimmin’ can! 🙂
I don’t often go on holidays, most of my trips have been obligation related e.g. educational, the last ‘holiday’ was Summer 2009 and I’m a Winter born who hasn’t celebrated or really talked about my birthdate since 12 years old and as such I wasn’t sure if I had anything ‘new start related’ then I remembered a working holiday from time gone by. A journey to a island called Gotland currently under Sweden’s domain but frequently fought for before, not the usual hotspot for teen and young adult working holidays but I wasn’t there as a resort employee, to teach English or anything so hip, I was there to rob graves.
Ok ok I was there as an archaeologist in training but still, same difference, fine line and all that.
Got[a]land also spelled as Gothland, was known as Godland and its native Gutes (nowadays residents of whatever ethnicity are called Gotlanders) were sometimes confused or related with the Goths. This is partially because like any other commonly used trade and network island it has a ‘colourful’ history full of invasions, civil battles, emi and immigrations and societies such as the teutonic knights playing the field. Currently the little, charming island remains a favourite Baltic Sea destination for tourism and historic interest.
Gotland was an island of firsts for me; it was the first time I’d been on a aeroplane (well you need two actually to get there unless you take a ferry from Sweden instead of a connecting flight) and I was traveling alone which I hadn’t done before so I just had to have one embarrassing moment on the plane upsetting the steward who luckily was quick to forgive though I got stared at by everybody around!
Luckily I’m easily recognizable or at least suit my name ‘Dolly’ so the instructors guessed who I was quick enough but the airport was tiny with only a few travelers, that said they also found two of my soon to be co-workers at the seriously busy ferry terminal without problem just by thinking ‘ha they look like archaeologists!’… All I have to say about that is such people are generally thought to look like backpackers or somewhat rough and/or clueless but happy go lucky, bearded (for men) and usually found down the pub. I don’t quite fit that stereotype… Unless they’ve added ‘grumpy, kill yer soon as look at yer, wannabe foul mouthed, almost midget but also cute’ to the list since.
I was still a teen, away from home for a month and soon made friends though I found that some of my fellow classmates were on the same excavation, we hadn’t talked previously so it was a first for our friendship too 🙂 It wasn’t any of our first digs but it was our first one abroad so the adventure started well! A lot of digging, sieving, measurement taking, illustrating and labeling later I only managed to find one bead alongside the skeletons whereas in other trenches an axe was found but my supervisors were really happy with it and put it on display at the local exhibition whereas most ‘stuff’ in museums is usually kept in archives so I did well!
Not really a first but I’d gotten used to paying adult fares in London but Gotland still respected (at the time at least) that we are all still young at heart and their adult prices started at age 20 so I got to pay child’s fare again! I was pretty happy about that.
I had some food firsts too; I discovered sweet waffles served with syrup, I cooked a meal for the group, put Chinese vegetables in a lasange and I finally didn’t feel like an odd one out or burden as there were quite a few vegetarians in the group! (Veggies let alone vegans weren’t that common).
So what about Summer Love or Holiday Romance? Well I’d gotten old enough to notice guys as attractive (I had considered sports, hobbies, learning, looking nice, just getting along more interesting well past my peers who’d been flirting and coupling long before). One of my co-workers was an energetic, chivalrous Norwegian who enjoyed interesting conversations and even though I’d had my eye on another Blond I realized my Reddish/Blond friend was a better match and so he was my first/only ever holiday romance 🙂 though the relationship did make it some months longer. Heck one night walking back to the hostel/campsite hand in hand we saw a shooting star and yes it my first one and it was beautiful.
Another first that I came across was considerate working conditions! I’d been used to working in generally grotty weather to torrential rain but there I learned that health & safety was actually put in practise and things like the potential hazard strategy sheets we put together actually meant something. So when one day the micro-climate meant that a mini storm cloud decided to sit atop us and stay there we packed up lest lightning hit one of our towers or rained on our equipment and got the day off!
We got on the bus and went to the main attraction of the island, the circular, perimeter walled, market town Visby. Now being a young-un without makeup on and generally a makeup lover I was self-conscious and so this trip included my first (and only) time going into a shop ‘bare’ and coming out fully painted! It was The Body Shop ;-). Along with a splattering of modern shops like that there were a plethora of local shops & places of interest such as the boho one selling wares from Brown peoples with incense and Indian sari tops of which there always seem to be one in any small town I go to. I totally bought two tops in there (which I still had until recently).
The last but certainly not least first was the being in the right place at the right time for the annual re-enactment fair called Medieval Week which is a bright, bustling, brilliant experience with lots of things to see and do. We got to dress up authentically, talk to local stall & entertainment organizers, explore & enjoy.
All in all it was quite a trip; mostly nice, some upsets, weird moments like dining with girls yet all deciding on a personal favourite waitress & sneaking into a concert!
[This text was too long to fit in the caption properly] I was a really self-conscious teen and young adult so avoided photos until I was 20 when I had to take them for a long distance, long term relationship. Before that I’d remove photos or disfigure them like this. Seriously people – don’t mangle or remove your memories, let alone because you think you’re ugly! Or simply not photogenic, years later you’ll regret it. That doesn’t mean become a selfie junkie but but balance it out – I had a handful of baby/child pics of me and don’t even know where they are anymore and you know what now that I look at this I was pretty beautiful even though I didn’t feel it, so just because you feel like crap at the time dealing with the situation is one thing but don’t make it so you forget it! I had this one photo which showed my washboard abs, gorgeous arms/shoulders and tiny waist at the time in a great top (warrior style) but was embarassed about it and don’t have it anymore, damn!