The first day of a new year has always brought peace and hope to me. I still remember those extremely quiet mornings when I was living in Bucharest when, at the end of a long party, I was walking towards the closest metro station on the 1st of January.
My absolute favourite mornings of January 1st were those when fresh, untouched snow was covering the ground, which made me the first person to walk through it and leave my footsteps as marks of my passing there. This was somehow enhancing – in my imagination – the idea of a new year, a new beginning.
No snow in Amsterdam this morning as we walked back home, but plenty of debris from the various firecrackers which Dutch people (and not only them) are so happy to use on the night between the years.
After 5 or maybe 6 hours of sleep, here I am trying to draw a line to 2014, which was, after all, a very good year, although just as quickly running away as the previous one.
If I were to briefly describe 2014, I would call it the year when I learned to feel grateful, to accept and embrace change and to simply cherish the moment. Most of all, I am grateful for the old friends and for the new people who came into my life alike, without whom this past year might not have been just as good!
And now, here are some highlights I happily selected for each month of 2014!
JANUARY brought me back to Romania, to see my family and friends. My hometown Bucharest, in spite of not looking just as good as Amsterdam on a cold and snowless winter, still managed to capture my interest and affection (after all, it is the place where I was born and lived for quite some time!) Visiting my friend Laura in her new home and having a cup of coffee with my grandmother, in the countryside, are memories I cherish. (See more post from January here.)
The last month of winter, FEBRUARY, has never been one of my favourites, as I am already anticipating spring. However, the wine tasting at Stephanie`s home in Haarlem managed to get me out of my house and right into her friendly living room. Stephanie might have moved back to France in the meantime, but the memory of this wonderful evening has stayed with me. (See more posts from February here.)
MARCH brought sun back on the sky of Amsterdam and I still remember just how wonderful this first sunny walk of the year felt or how happy I was when seeing the cherry blossom in Westerpark! Having the first drink out on a terrace again, after a long and very cold winter, and visiting Alehandra in my old apartment in the West felt just as good. (See more posts from March here.)
APRIL`s highlights were the trip to Paris, Diana`s visit to Amsterdam, spending Easter Sunday on the beach in Amsterdam in good company and visiting Andrew in his lovely flat near the Entrepotdok for his alternative King`s Day celebration. (See more posts from April here.)
MAY was all about green and I could not have been happier to see Amsterdam coming back to life. Be it Flevopark or Westerpark, the Eastern Docklands or De Pijp, the signs of summer were all over the place and there was hardly a weekend to be spent inside the house. (See more posts from may here.)
JUNE was about enjoying the days of summer, whenever there was an occasion for this. And there was definitely a great chance to do so during our week in Santorini, the blessed island in the Aegean Sea. In Amsterdam, my favourite place to enjoy a sunny day this past summer was the terrace at BAUT, in the East, away from the hustle and bustle of the “more attractive” areas of Amsterdam. Celebrating Midsummer in Dam Square with other Romanian fellows, all wearing the traditional Romanian blouse, is another nice thing to remember from this month. (See more posts from June here.)
JULY is my favourite month of the year, the definition of summer. Looking back at the amazing days spent in Romania, such as celebrating my birthday in Bucharest in the company of good friends (old and new, including a dear classmate whom I hadn`t seen for 20 years!), spending an amazing weekend at the Black Sea, going to the Danube Delta with my family (almost like in the good old days and to the same village I`ve been going since I was 3 years old) and visiting my grandmother in the countryside (the photo with the tomatoes is taken in her garden) are memories that still make my heart sing! (See more posts from July here.)
AUGUST did not exactly feel like a summer month (moody weather) and, with a significant amount of real summer nostalgia, I spent most of my time reading, going to the cinema and exploring new places for brunch and coffee in Amsterdam. Mada & Vero`s birthday party on the boat, cruising along the canals of Amsterdam, is probably the highlight of the month. (See more posts from August here.)
In SEPTEMBER I was happy to have my sister visiting for almost the entire month. Together we withnessed the coming of autumn into the city, took long walks whenever there was a chance for this and tried to enjoy the sunny days as much as possible. I was happy to visit my good friend Gabi into her new flat in the Jordaan (she decided the new home would be “forest”- themed, so I brought a Wild Pig bottle of wine to fit in) and irreversibly fell in love with the New York style view from Ivo & Jessie`s apartment in the Eastern Docklands (as much as you can get in Amsterdam, of course!) when visiting them. (See more posts from September here.)
The first days of OCTOBER found us in beautiful and sunny Rome, which we found far more enjoyable on this occasion (milder temperatures) rather than in summer, when we had initially visited the previous year. Tom`s birthday, our Saturday and Sunday in Paris, my mother`s short visit to Amsterdam, saying goodbye to Stephanie on her move back to France – these all happened in October. (See more posts from October here.)
NOVEMBER unexpectedly brought a lot of good things. Whether it`s a beautiful sunny day of autumn (also here), a walk at freezing temperatures in Westerpark with Dana of Amsterdamian to accidentally discover a real Chistmas market (mulled wine icluded!), the unexpected encounter with Elena of Have Watercolors Will Travel and Ioana of Roemenië maar dan anders, the cosy evenings at home (also here) – all these are nice memories of November. (See more posts from November here.)
DECEMBER came with the promise of a nice rest during the winter holiday break, but, before that, it brought many nice things. Such as this amazing evening at Mamouche or this beautiful walk in the Jordaan, both in the lovely company of Elena, to whom I had to say goodbye shortly before Christmas, when she left Amsterdam. Christmas found me again in England, where I spent a nice week of total relaxation, by the fireplace, reading Elena`s first novel, “Dogs with Bagels” and, why not, also meeting Santa! 🙂 (See more posts of December here.)
I wish you all a Happy New Year and lots of joy in 2015!