You know when you’re at McDonald’s post-clubbing?
Yes, yes you do.
Everyone pretty much looks like hell. Girls are walking barefooted with feet dragging across the filthy filthy linoleum floor, dudes are squinty-eyed and discussing the night’s triumphs and mishaps, and it is arguably one of the grossest places to be picked up at at the end of the night.
There’s always a few people who are still club-drunk and are laughing loudly, sputtering out their menu order with the coherency of a toddler, and are generally making a fool out of themselves.
That’s Winda and I, the morning after we’ve broken Fabrizio’s ancient key, missed our morning train to Florence, and are subsequently left wondering our purpose in life in an Italian McDonald’s. We buy 1 euro espresso shots.
We are so. Freaking. hHngover.
It is 9:00 AM in Rome — we had to leave Fabrizio’s apartment due to his checkout policy/we needed to get out of there ASAP before we broke anything else of his.
We are laughing-slash-crying because our heads hurt so much from last night’s escapades. We look like crap. We have our giant backpacks with us — of which is comedic in itself because our backpacks look like they could eat us.
Just to backtrack a bit, this was not our only drunk night in Rome. We also had the opportunity to party with some ridiculous Italians.
Lemme tell you the story.
We’ve set up at Campo de’ Fiori. We have our mojitos, our grape-flavoured hookah. We are basking. A group of Italian dudes at the next table motion towards us to join their table. We submit to their boyish timidness (derived from speaking in broken English) and yet, their Casanova calibre assertiveness. They literally move all of our stuff — our drinks, hookah, table, and chairs — to join their table.
Naturally, they begin introducing themselves. Here we have a lawyer, e-commerce specialist, accountant, and..
“Taxi driver!” They exclaim in unison, pointing out their most outgoing friend whom had initially approached us. He smiles sheepishly. They pause for a second, taking in his self-consciousness. “… And stylist!” They add with enthusiasm/thick Italian accents, pronouncing it stye-leest!
We chat. They are hilarious. One of them, named Francesco, has an amazing handlebar moustache — reminiscent of our friend Alessandro — and continuously strokes it. They talk about their jobs and the friends emphasize just how stylish the Taxi Driver-sash-Stylist is. They really want us to know that he is more than just a taxi driver.
The Stylist invites us to a club.
We get into a cab and head to a Roman club. In hindsight, was it a good idea to get into a cab with strange Italians? I’m gonna say no…
Bumpin’ is not the word I’d use for the club we’re at — maybe simply interesting. The Stylist turns out to be an amazing dancer. Really amazing. Winda steals his stylish hat. We booty bump with Francesco. The Stylist does the Harlem Shake a few times. The ratio between men and women at this club is way off.
I can’t really remember all the details of getting home, but we do. A cab takes us back to our AirBnb in trastevere and I remember him asking for a kiss instead of paying him in euros.
Hard pass, my friend.
Ciao, Roma! You were so good to us.
Sidenote: I come back again for another adventure later on in my Eurotrip — this second time we meet two Italian boys who ask us if we’d like to break into the Coliseum! God bless the Italians.
The Incarnation of Snark Can Speak
“Hi, I’m James*,” he says. “I’m from Singapore.”
James lives with us. He has a very distinctive Singaporean accent, bangs so uneven they make you cringe a little, is tall and lanky, and dons a football jersey of an unidentifiable team (unidentifiable to me at least) as leisure wear.
“Oh, you’re watching FIFA?” Winda asks out of sheer affability.
“It’s called World Cup.” he replies matter-of-factly.
James is really not that bad–he doesn’t steal from us (which does in fact happen later on in our trip), lie to us, or eat our food–he’s just really annoying. Being embodiments of our country/before discovering what an Intolerable Troll he is, we are cheery, welcoming, and friendly. Although, Winda and I are generally very cheery, welcoming, and friendly (trust me, you would love living with us. We are nothing but delightful.)
We invite him for a drink and an explorative walk around the neighbourhood. We chat. We get to know one another. Winda and I giggle a lot, because we giggle a lot. We get the sense that the Intolerable Troll thinks he’s too smart for us due to our relentless giggling–which when you think about it, is quite the uneducated guess. He tells us about his intense mancrush on John Mayer–the dude waited like ten hours in layover to Heathrow just to see him for one night. I get slightly creeped out. After discussing his promising career in mechanical engineering, he insults Winda’s major majorly on our first night:
“You know what I think the most useless major in the world is?” he offers. I’m not sure if anyone had asked.
“Something in the liberal arts?” He seems like the uppity type that would think so.
“Business,” his voice drips with disdain. “The absolutely most useless major out there.”
I clasp my hand over my mouth to avoid laughing too loudly. Winda keeps her composure because she’s a classy lady, whereas I burst, “Winda studies international business!”
The Intolerable Troll gets somewhat flustered, as he’s just embarrassed himself in front of his new roomies. “Oh.. oh…”
“It’s okay,” Winda is polite–graciously forgiving–of his recent outburst. She doesn’t delve too far into his last comment because obviously he’s one of those hopeless elitist pricks.
Like I said, we are pretty friggin’ delightful. As the Intolerable Troll is traveling alone, we invite him on our excursions for the next day: breakfast, baths, a walking tour, and etc. He doesn’t like baths. Ooooh, quelle fucking surprise, didn’t see that one coming. He agrees to meet us at the communist walking tour. It’s all starting to make sense now.
Can I Just Live Here?
First of all, can I just live here? Just leave me behind in our second week of backpacking and let me revel in all the splendour that is poolside lounging–or when in Budapest, bathside lounging.
The baths are ridiculously ridiculously good-looking: an oasis of marbled perfection, Art Nouveau that feigns living in a different era, delicately staine glass, ornate mosaics, and the classiest of fountain statues. The atmosphere is basically my calling–relaxed, half nakies, the sweet sound of waves crashing (in the wave pool), some fine ass surroundings, and hot, hot heat. Budapest, you kill me slowly but so sweetly.
We are internally freaking out over just how palatial this place is, whilst being surrounded by Hungarians who do this on the daily. They’re sauntering about, all unfazed and ready to chill the fuck out on this hot summer’s day. Then there’s Winda and I ruining everything.
“I think there’s a cut on my foot,” Winda says for the 158th time. Symptoms of her particular form of OCD is being very much concerned with her feet. It’s special.
We’re sitting in the outdoor heated pool. It is super serene in here–cute old people are outlining the entirety of the pool, draped beside us in a languid daze, and bearing their tanned leathery skin to the heavens. There’s even the simulated sound of cascading water coming from...somewhere probably equally majestic as this entire establishment.
“Let me see,” Being the good friend that I am, I fully accept Winda for who she is. And I need her to stop talking about feet before I start hating her. So you can imagine my displeasure at what she does next.
She raises her foot in the air towards me. “You may kiss my feet,” she says jokingly and laughs.
Lo and behold, a circa 1997 (6-year-old Kaylynn and Winda) splashing war wages out between us because rude. We are in no survivors mode and are splashing the shit out of each other–as well as the previously unperturbed bath patrons encircling us–in the crazed way you would only behave in a girls versus boys water crusade. We really should be arrested for disturbing the peace.
Our pool fight eventually dissolves (after lots of girlish screams and Hungarian frowns), and we have to rush to make our communist walking tour. We contemplate staying and skipping the tour altogether, but James. We fucking have to go meet with James.
Because A Communist Tour Sounds Fun
We find James. We embark on the communist walking tour, and subsequently leave five minutes into it because the contemptuous vibes are cramping our style. We do a shit ton of walking despite not actually being on a walking tour. We drink out of public fountains because you can do that in Budapest. We visit the parliament buildings. We have Hungarian food (potato-ey as well). Winda nearly falls off an ocean edge and into a pit of rocks. We take a lot of pictures and indulge in Tumblr-approved novelties.
James conveniently reminds that our names are unconventional.
“So do all your friends have funky names too?” James asks.
Winda and I exchange glances.
“What do you mean funky?”
“Yeah funky like how?”
Clap your hands because James has reached the peak of his quest for self-actualization–he has fulfilled his identity as an incarnation of snark, the Intolerable Troll. With an onslaught on snide commentary during the whole damn day, remarks laden with condescension, and repeated belittlement of our enthusiasm…
We’re just so tired of his shit. God damn it, James. Winda and I exchange a telepathic agreement that we will no longer bless James with our simply delightful presence. We’re tired of your shit, James/will see you at home later.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the annoying.
I love me some Sunday Funday! Mainly because it rhymes with ‘funday’ and for no other particular reason. I just love things that rhyme.
1. Home of the best stone oven pizza in Vancouver (in my honest opinion), Nicli Antica Pizzeria is white and immaculate.
2. Even their ice cubes are perf. Boylan sodas are made with cane sugar, so we suppose they are healthy ish. I recommend their birch beer or red creamy birch beer–a less sugary ode to root beer x cream soda.
3. Misto salads x warm olives — Sweet baby Jesus, I hate olives so much.
4. Sexy corners of their margherita, prosciutto, and secret pizza. I didn’t tell you here, but their secret pizza is at the back of the menu and is soooo good. It’s the right kind of spicy, with perfectly cooked slices of mushroom and artichoke.
5. Their affagado is life itself. Espressos are simply incomplete creatures without a dollop of vanilla bean gelato.
6. Glenburn Soda Fountain & Confectionary’s banana split x vanilla malt shake. Try anything with their homemade pineapple sauce, and anything covered in their toasted salted walnuts. You will die. You will die and come back to finish the rest of your ice cream.
I literally dream of the aforementioned substances. Plus, Glenburn is family-owned and offer the adorable novelty that are old-school paper straws.
2013 was tanned to a buttery kind of caramel-kissed skin, took on some great and some dirty hair, was situated under the fluffiest and most nearly-in-your-reach clouds, was all about Niall Horn, smelled like pineapple and salt water, was filled with the tastiest ish (but every year is about good food in my life), considered IHOP mornings/struggles to get up, felt like beach hair and sandy toes, introduced me to Sewing 101 where I failed miserably, had copious amounts of iced coffee, paved the way for Loofah Adventures, contained $3 wine, promoted bike lane usage, involved alcohol abuse, watched the sky move in the back of a pick-up truck, required doublé espresso shots, saw people come and saw people go, was dusted off with gold glitter and silver strings, floated on a several bodies of water, did not result in getting mugged in Stanley Park at night–although we did some things that might’ve triggered it, sipped on san gri gri with our heads tilted back, set one timid foot into the wilderness, fell in love with people in the nonromantic kind of way, had painted skies glowing above our heads, spoiled us with the most breathtaking of sights, offered lots of [undercover] marzipan, and was actually just chillin’ in a onesie this entire time…
2014 is hopefully going to be Belgium chocolate-dipped, doused clumsily in a cup of café au lait, hit with a paddle in a German beer hall, will stumble over ancient cobblestone in very cute shoes, will contain more One Direction (I am banking on the fantasy of running into Niall Horan hard–it’ll be in a pub in Ireland before he embarks on another great North American tour), is drenched in chili-infused extra virgin olive oil, and tastes the way only pizza tastes after every other establishment on the street is closed.
The best has yet to come! I am stoked for more beautiful things to come within the next year. If 2013 has taught me anything, is that I am incredibly lucky and incredibly annoying. I am lucky to have really amazing and beautiful friends–and it’s an honour to have been able to celebrate several milestones with all of them this year.
Foreign Exchange blouse
Forever 21 shorts
Reviving an outfit from last summer because unfortunately for me, I’m not one of those girls who enjoys knit leggings, cuddles with Starbucks’ red holiday cups, and loves fall with the power of a thousand autumn-oriented emojis. Instead, I have an affinity for wearing no pants (but who doesn’t, really?), and I find layers and closed-toed shoes restricting.. And that’s how a summer wardrobe emerges as my forte.
I will be forever entranced with loose-fitting blouses that billow through light summer breezes, denim cutoffs with an iconic destroyed pocket, sandals I can ruin at the beach..
Lizzie Velasquez’s TEDTalks video on agency. So important to remember every single day of your life. It’s not about dousing yourself in optimism or even being grateful for all the good things in your life, it’s about the fact that you have full control of your life–full control to chase the good things–and that’s the greatest blessing we could ever have.