So, now that it’s been over a month since I left America, it is about time I summarized my thoughts about the trip here on the blog. I have thought long and hard (five minutes while I was playing Call of Duty) about how I should do this review, and eventually I decided that the best method would be to break down my holiday into good and bad points, and then accompany each statement with a simple explanation about why it was indeed good or bad.
Why did I choose to do it that way? Well, not only does it refrain me from waffling on too much (which I’m sure is beneficial for everyone here, including myself), it also allows me to use big fonts to jazz it up! Yay!
(yeah…it’s been a slow day).
So, I’ll begin with…
The Good Bits!
I got to spend time with Vanna again:
Self explanatory really. When I got on that plane in Newcastle, it had been 8 months since we had last been together. We needed this trip, more than words can even describe.
So at the airport when I saw her for the first time in such a long, long time…yeah, that was amazing.
Got sick of her by the second month mind, but still, you can’t take that moment away from me (joking!).
Saw Vanna’s friends and family as well:
Though Vanna was the main attraction, it was nice to see everybody else too. I missed them as well, so I’m glad there was plenty of time to hang with them too.
Had a wonderful anniversary:
Definitely my favourite memory of the trip. That weekend in Duluth was just wonderful. From Glensheen Mansion on Friday, to the dinner cruise on Saturday…everything was perfect. It really was. It’s going to be hard to top that next June, but I look forward to trying anyway.
Got a bike:
I miss my bike. It’s the first bike I’ve actually bought myself. And look how happy I was!
Learned how to drive:
Next time I’ll get a license!
Found a new favourite T.V Show:
It isn’t quite on the level of Lost, but I did enjoy watching the The Walking Dead this year. Still haven’t watched the third season though. Or the fourth. Hmm. Will have to fix that soon.
Showed Vanna A Touch Of Frost:
Probably my greatest achievement. She hated it to start with, but now I think she loves A Touch Of Frost more than I do. Many fond memories of snuggling up in bed and watching Inspector Frost solve a series of gruesome murders. Ah yes, happy times.
Saw some great films (and a few not so great):
A Place Beyond The Pines, Bernie, Gangster Squad, The Heat, Iron Man 3, Now You See Me, World War Z… there were a lot of good films that we watched this summer (no doubt there are a few more that I’ve forgotten). I think the only one that really disappointed me was Man Of Steel. And even that wasn’t too bad. So yeah, we did pretty well this summer for films.
I may have been thousands of miles away from the action, but I still managed to see Chelsea win the Europa League. And the matches I watch online are streamed from American channels and websites, so, uh, well done America. Moving across to the States permanently might not be such a footballing disaster after all.
Renewed my love of Couscous:
Ah yes. Who would have thought Couscous boiled in Pomegranate juice would be so delicious?
Mmm…my mouth is drooling at the memory of those Jumbo Margaritas I had at Poncho And Lefties. Being 21 this time made things a whole lot better.
Had some lovely meals, both at home and out:
The chipotle bowls (restaurant and homemade), the fajitas, the burgers, our 3 coarse meal at the dinner cruise…all were very, very good. We didn’t too bad at all this year. And yet…
I didn’t gain much weight:
A miracle, really.
Lost my hair:
Watching me get my haircut was probably Vanna’s highlight of the summer. Goodbye locks, hello…still reasonably long hair.
Got my Xbox headset:
No more echo, buzzing or broken cables for me!
Most productive writing session yet:
Nearly doubled my word count in the space of three months. Nuff said.
There were a few, of course, but nothing compared to last year, where we were out-and-out miserable for three months. But that was thanks to…
Sure, it was still humid, and before that, incredibly cold, but the weather this year was a vast improvement on what we had to put up with last summer. No intense lightning storms, no weeks of rain…it was mostly okay. I’ll take that.
And finally, the blog:
I think we had some fun times this year. I’ve posted enough links in the article to suggest so, at least. And because I had my camera this time, there were a lot more pictures. You got to see our food, the neighbour’s dogs, a spider in a bin…and of course, Vanna’s cat stuck in a tree. Just think about how much you’ve experienced because I was kind enough to bring a camera everywhere. You’re life has probably improved tenfold thanks to me, right?
Hey, hey. No need. You’re welcome.
Now For The Bad…
Oh dear, the bathroom. The apartment was a really nice place to live, but that bathroom was a pain. It was out of action more times than it was in, the toilet flooded repeatedly, the pipe outside burst…what a nightmare. Fortunately it seems to be fixed now. Hopefully it’ll stay like that, but I’m not holding my breath…
Not so much a problem for me, but for Vanna, the sheer volume of spiders in our room was the worst thing ever. I must have killed at least 40 or 50. No idea how she is coping without me. Maybe the cat has done her bit. I doubt it though. Poor Vanna.
A necessary evil, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t a pain. We knew it was going to happen, but it was still difficult to accept not being able to spend the full day with each other. I did go to work with her for the second half of the trip, but it wasn’t the same. And the holiday seemed to go faster because of it.
On the plus side, it made me appreciate her more. So that’s something.
Not doing everything we wanted to do:
I won’t go through the entire list of things we missed out (mostly missed because Vanna was working so much, but hey ho), but there was a few things I was disappointed not to have time for: the Brainerd arboretum, the turtle races, a big bike ride along the Paul Bunyan trail together, the Breezy Point Garden Awards…
Yep, sorry about the last one. It was on the agenda, but ultimately we didn’t get around to doing it. The much-anticipated sequel to The Crosby Garden Awards will just have to wait another year. But it will happen. I promise you that!
And, of course, having to leave:
Yep. Definitely the worst bit. It doesn’t get any easier to say goodbye. In fact, it just seems to get worse.
The Ugly! (By that I mean the conclusion; don’t ask)
I think the fact that I have talked about so many good things (and there are plenty more I’ve missed out or forgotten; I bet Vanna could conjure up a completely different list of good things if she was asked) in this blog post, and yet mentioned only a few negatives, sums up my trip quite accurately. It was mostly good, and very rarely bad. All in all, it was a very enjoyable summer. In all honesty, my only real regret is leaving Vanna behind. Other than I don’t really have any complaints.
The most important thing was how Vanna and I got along. Last year was marred by arguments, as stress and various other factors got the better of us. I wouldn’t say this summer was ‘make or break’, but it was certainly a big indicator of whether we could live together or not. After all, we would be fully independent in a new place, with nobody else to distract us, or help out (for the most part). Essentially, this summer would be the closest thing we’d get to being in a permanent relationship, and it would tell us if we were right for each other. We’d spoken prior to my arrival about what we needed, and this was our chance to say ‘hey, I’ve listened to you, and I’m willing to compromise.’ It was our biggest test.
And we passed! We rarely argued, and even when we did, it was nothing serious. I did what Vanna asked of me, and vice versa. It was a good time. We had a lot of fun, and we got on well. Nothing was forced..it was just good.
Which I think is a fantastic achievement. especially when you consider how much time we spent together. I think even the happiest of married couples would want to kill their partner after spending more or less every hour for three months with them. So for us to get by without even one strangling moment is pretty impressive. I’m happy with it anyway.
So, yes, we didn’t get to spend as much time together, and it didn’t feel as new this time (by that I mean the American experience; not that I’m not bored of Minnesota, but obviously my enthusiasm isn’t as big as it once was), but this summer was definitely my favourite time in the U.S.
9/10. Room to improve, but not bad at all.