Sometimes I wish my weekday mornings were different. That I would not have to cycle madly through the streets of awakening London and hit the crowded pool amid the morning jam. That I could, for once, scrap my daily 2km of laps and sit in the jacuzzi for an hour instead. Or at least splash out on a nice cup of Starbucks coffee before work. I'd carry it into the office with dignity, sending hellos in every direction and generously exchanging smiles with my favourite colleagues. My life would surely be very different then.
Today, all these dreams magically came true. My alarm went off 30 minutes later than usual. I took a scenic route to the City, shamelessly got away with a 500-meter leisurely swim and soaked in the jacuzzi for the rest of the time. I put on a dress more casual than my normal set of uptight business attire and completed it with a Turkish bracelet, a Greek necklace and Bosnian earrings – my favourite (and decidedly unprofessional) combination.
Most importantly, after leaving the bliss of the jacuzzi behind, I marched into the nearest Starbucks and demanded my favourite drink in the world: the grande soya extra-hot no cream white (try pronouncing this in one breath and you’ll get the idea) mocha. Some of you will not even call it coffee, but every epoch has its heretics.
Carrying the coffee cup like a torch, I proceeded to the office and was greeted by my favourite colleague, who’d flown in all the way from Istanbul. And his first words – "Happy birthday, my dear!" – finally explained the mystery of such a perfect start to this day. Yes, folks. Today was my birthday! I officially stopped being 27 and crossed the "late twenties" mark.
When you're 27, going on 28...
Getting older has its positive sides. In many ways, 27 was the best year in the life of anjči to date. On my birthday last year, I wrote about finally being free to do what I liked; the age of 27 was spent exploiting that freedom. My travel schedule has beaten all past records. In a single year, I visited the three places I had dreamt about since childhood: the Faroe Islands, the Lofoten islands and Svalbard. I spent two weeks in each of Mexico, Vietnam, Syria and Norway. I watched the Northern Lights in Northern Norway in the winter and the Midnight Sun in the same location a few months later. I danced at a wonderful wedding and explored the slum areas in Rio de Janeiro. I made leisurely weekend trips to Venice, Madrid, Copenhagen and Stockholm - and rushed to Chernobyl on a tailwind. I had an eerie time zooming around the world’s most contrasting destinations. Thank you all so very much for being part of my travels, influencing my travel choices and supporting me along the way!
27 was also a memorable year professionally. I saw the signing of a series of my projects and was promoted for the first time. Business trips are, predictably, the favourite part of my work, and last year brought many of these. I visited the depths of rural Georgia, the ever lively Istanbul, the off-season Dubrovnik and the summery Belgrade. Many thanks to the colleagues who have accompanied me and the local friends who have gracefully changed plans to meet me on the road. I am fortunate to have you. And, looking around, I realise I may well be among the few people in London who love their jobs. It is just too lucky I enjoy mine – and get money for doing it, too!
Finally, 27 in the life of anjči was a great year emotionally as it was completely free of the curse of several of its predecessors: miserable relationships. In case you haven't tried, being single is a refreshingly wonderful, liberating experience. As they say in Spanish, "mejor sola que mal acompañada"; I am determined to make it last!
К сожаленью, день рождения только раз в году
With a rock start, today went on to be a fabulous day. Many special people have sent greetings, some of them brilliant bordering on genius. Clearly knowing me very well, one friend wished anjči “many more air miles”. Another aptly posted a Russian children’s song about a rainy birthday (spot-on for this London weather). Better still, a former coursemate wished me even more Starbucks next year. Seriously, guys, you’re the best. Miles, songs and Starbucks – I couldn’t wish for more in my 28th year of life!
Or could I? Many of you insisted that I kept up the writing of this blog, so that even the least mobile could see the world through my eyes. I can assure you that, as long as you continue reading, my fingers will also continue tapping on this keyboard, sharing more stories, describing more experiences and editing new pictures. I hope that you will keep on viewing this page to leave a comment (or two) on my latest posts. Or even become a follower. This would really be my best present.
Thanks again to all who care – hope you follow another year in the life of anjči!