For several years now I have, at the end of the year, written a list of my favourite events / things that have happened during the year as a way of summarising the experiences and thinking back of what I have done. Initially I wrote this list in my private diary but last year I published the top list of 2007 on the blog, and here are my favourites from 2008:
Trip of the year: Our holidays in California and Baja California (Mexico) were just the most wonderful 10 days! We met up with both long-lost friends of mine and O’s, some new blog friends and experienced so much. My favourite part was probably the Big Sur and the big colony of seals we saw…
Party of the year: Not really a party but the evening in Brussels last summer when O and I met up with all our friends on Place Luxembourg before heading to one of my favourite restaurants in town – Le IIème element. It was a chaotic situation as usual; trying to fit everybody around a small table on the terrace, grabbing chairs from other tables and catching up with different friends in different languages all at the same time. Can’t wait for drinks at Place Lux in February (slightly colder I guess)!
Fika of the year: The Sunday fikas in Borders, Plaza las Américas with Swedish B – O is usually reading the Spanish gossip magazines (Hola etc) while B and I chat in Swedish or ask O to explain who all the famous people are… We always get lots of stares from people who are trying to figure out where we are from and getting all confused with our mix of Swedish, English and Spanish.
New country of the year: Mexico where we visited one of O’s Mexican friends – we are hoping to get a Mexican visit to Puerto Rico in May… and hopefully we will get the opportunity to see more of Mexico soon.
Weekend of the year: Our long Labour-day-weekend in Virginia and Washington DC – we managed to see so much in just 4 days, and thanks to Annika in Virginia and our Finnish friend P in Norfolk we had a really great time.
Film of the year: The Puerto Rican film Maldeamores – funny and sad, it is a great film! We sent it to Sweden as a Christmas present and my parents loved it as well!
Book of the year: Probably Kristin Lavransdotter by Sigrid Undset because I have had the book for so many years on my bookshelf and it was really nice to finally get to read it.
Restaurant experience of the year: Los Pepes in Vieques and our dinner there with three Americans and a Croat + Finnish P, Spanish O and Swedish me; very random and such a great evening (except O’s fish that had a dog smile – scary!)
Recipe of the year: The cold sauce I improvised in July – I can’t remember how many times we made it, and how many times we ate warm smoked salmon with it during the summer but it was just so tasty!
Cooking session of the year: Our Puerto Rican cooking lesson with our neighbours in Isabela – it was so much fun to learn to cook a few local dishes, and the whole day was just perfect.
Phenomenon of the year: all those blog meetings – I am so grateful that O has indulged me and not minded meeting up with my various blog friends during our holidays!
Island of the year: La isla del encanto – Puerto Rico of course!
Baby of the year: The long-awaited little N, the son of our Swedish friends M and A in Brussels. He was born way too early but fought through those first few months and is now thriving back in Stockholm. I am really looking forward to seeing him again in February!
Girls’ weekend of the year: The July-weekend in the summerhouse that became more than a girls’ event when my old neighbour and flatmate O showed up with his pregnant Norwegian wife H, and my parents decided to invite his parents (their neighbours)… We had a huge barbeque and sat up until late in the night listening to the neighbours having a more loud party than us!
Scariest experience of the year: driving in the mountains after the landslides with our Irish friends… The four of us were very relieved when we finally got down from the mountains in one piece!
Busiest month of the year: Probably February when we had visitors twice (Swedish P and Cypriot M + Finnish P), spent a long weekend in Vieques, O had job interviews in New Jersey and we started our East Coast – West coast holidays.
Family time of the year: All those weeks spent in the new summerhouse with my family last summer – 5½ weeks in total! The summer started with a big cold and wet midsummer’s eve party and ended with a paint project.
Most complicated travel arrangements of the year: trying to buy tickets for my Malmö – Barcelona – Zaragoza – Charleroi – Brussels – Copenhagen trip in July… I was a little stressed before I had managed to buy the separate plane tickets!
New friend of the year: my first Spanish teacher L who became a good friend and even invited us to celebrate Christmas with his family + all those blog friends that I met up with during the year in New York, California, Virginia and Copenhagen.
Romantic dinner of the year: Our first wedding anniversary in the Ritz-Carlton.
Spanish course of the year: The very intense 10-day visit of my MIL, SIL and NIL (mother-, sister- & niece-in-law) – my Spanish improved drastically!
Flea market of the year: We tried to find some interesting pulgeros in Puerto Rico but in the end the best flea market experience was last summer in Sweden with my mother in a small village outside of Kristianstad (Lyby I think it was called). We bought some old Penguin classics for the summerhouse, two brand new Klippan bowls (traditional pottery from my region Skåne) and I had a fried herring sandwich. I also went to a market with my Flemish friends S and I in Degeberga but that one is more of a collectors’ / antiques market.
Most difficult experience of the year: Realising that some friends don’t seem to have the time to send me a line or two once in a while to check how I am feeling – if I don’t email them, we don’t seem to have any contact. And I find it strange how some of my friends are not willing to get Skype (it takes maximum 15 minutes and is free to sign up) in order for us to be able to communicate easier. More and more people in Europe don’t have landlines and calling to mobile phones across the Atlantic is just very expensive (we don’t have a landline either but we have Skype!). I have shed many tears and have felt very abandoned over the course of this year but I think that I am starting to accept the situation…
Beach of the year: Our favourite Puerto Rican beach is in Cabo Rojo, and the first time we went there was exactly a year ago today with Swedish B and my French friend C.
Most Puerto Rican experience: My Puerto Rican toe nails!
And that’s it – my favourite things and experiences from 2008!