We’re 14 days into 2018 and I still haven’t had the chance to reflect on last year year, so I thought I’d kick things off by doing exactly that.
2017 was fucking awesome.
As with any year, 2017 came with its highs and its lows. Some might say it was a emotional rollercoaster, but not me, I prefer to be less dramatic. So I’ll just walk you through the highlights…
#1. The one where I moved to Amsterdam
Did I mention I moved to a different country? Yeeeeah, Feb was the month I packed up my stuff and began my new life in Amsterdam.
It’s pretty alright y’know.
#2. The one where we all turned 30, kinda
Who else loves to talk shit when they’re drunk? Every time I wake up from a night out I find that I planned to go on some ridiculous trip, usually with strangers.
And of course, it never happens.
But there’s always an exception to the rule, and I’m so glad this was it.
My hometown friends all decided we wanted to celebrate our 30th birthdays with something memorable, so we got drunk, said we were gonna go to America, got sober, and booked it!
We started in Washington DC, flew to Las Vegas, then hired a car and drove to San Francisco, stopping at Death Valley, Mammoth Lakes, Lake Tahoe, and Nappy Valley.
There’s too many funny memories to mention here.. and I’m probably gonna use some of them to flesh out this post since my life isn’t that interesting, but collectively this trip was awesome.
#3. The one with the flight upgrade
During our American trip we needed to fly from Washington to Vegas…cause ain’t nobody got time for a 35 hour car journey when there’s dollar bills to be made on the roulette table!
Sam, Thom, and I, headed to the airport to catch our fight. Buut when we got there, we were told that the flight was overbooked (classic) and would we mind switching to a different flight, one that would get us there a few hours earlier.
Thom was raging. He saw straight through those pesky people at American Airlines who were pretending to be doing us a favour, and so the kick off commenced.
He argued with them for a good 15 minutes until they agreed to give his poorer friends (me and Sam) an upgrade. This didn’t really make much difference to Thom anyway as he always rolls in first class, but for the lower citizens of the world, we’d struck gold.
The very kind flight attendant said we could have anything we wanted on board the flight, and boy did we take advantage.
- Gin = check
- Beer = check
- Sandwiches = check
- Nuts = check
- Cookies (that were actually biscuits but whatevs America) = check
I was drunk. Sam was drunk. Thom, was still reeling.
Annnnnd it was all fun and games until we reached Vegas airport and our luggage hadn’t….but who cares, we got freebies y’all.
#4. The one with King’s Day
I don’t know much about King Willem, but I do know that the Dutch like to celebrate his birthday in style, so that’s good enough for me.
King’s Day is like one giant street/canal party and everyone’s invited. They all wear orange, they set up stalls and sell random shit in the street, and people basically parade about on boats drinking all day long.
As with most chaotic drinking sessions, this one was no different. I ended my evening friendless in a random coffee shop, with a 50 year old French woman who was giving me wordly advice on what I should do with my life.
It was a fun introduction to Dutch traditions, and one that I’m looking forward to adopting for years to come.
#5 The one with all the Pride
Pride was pretty similar to King’s Day… but like everything was pink… there was a shit ton of glitter… and the canal parade was loads more impressive (or so I heard… it’s hard to see when you live in the land of giants).
Drunken antics pursued and this time I ended up needing something to soak up the alcohol pronto… so I turned to Deliveroo for a Burger King… only for it to arrive at 10:30am the next day.
Still ate it though.
#6. The one where we went to a British car festival
We’re Brits… in the Dam… and us Brits like to stick together. We also like to go to anything that remotely sounds like it’s going to have something to do with our homeland.
Maybe that’s what Brexit is all about 😬
Anyways, when we heard that there was gonna be a British Car Racing Festival, we jumped on the train to Zandvoort in search of all things Britishy.
But we spent most of the day trying to get into the damn thing. You see, the race track was between sand dunes and George sat-nav Williams took us on a wild goose chase up and down hills trying to find our way in.
It turned out for the best though, because when we did finally get there, we didn’t have to pay the entrance fee as it was basically closing 30 mins later.
We did get to see loads of classic minis, a Big Ben replica, fish and chips, some bizzarro 1930s wartime singers, and a shit ton of sand. So all in all it was a fun day out.
Oh and Chloe fell over, lols.
#7. The one where I tried to learn Dutch
#8. The one where we went speed dating
I’m sure we can all agree, dating life is hard, especially in a city full of options and dickheads.
Chloe and I decided that to save ourselves the trauma of going on an endless dead hole of dates, we’d go speed dating and get them all over with in one night.
It’s fair to say we were dreading it, I mean, speed dating is for the no hopers right?
BUT… it was one of the funniest nights I’ve had in Amsterdam! There were 20 guys there, and you had 4 minutes to speak to each.
Unfortunately, one female bailed at the last minute, and it just so happened that she was sat next to me, so every time I’d finish with my date, they then had to sit on the table next to me and watch me have my next date.
It was still fun though. I met people from all walks of life, including two Syrians.
Me: “Where you from”
Me: “Oo that’s cool!”
Them: “Not really”
Me: “So, what brought you here?”
Them: “Erm, war?”
We didn’t follow up with any of our potential matches, but it was still a fun evening.
#9. The one where Booking makes you care about stuff
So at work they do this cool thing where you get a day off and you can go and give back to the universe and stuff.
I decided to go on a trip around the Netherlands, touring World Heritage Sites, and it was super fun!
We went to Pampus (a fort), Schroder’s Huis (a house), and Kinderdijk (windmills).
#10. The one where we didn’t go camping
Soo a few of us really wanted to go camping and mountain climbing, and the only place we could really do that was in Germany.
Buuuttt, there was some huge storm thing the weekend that we wanted to go, so instead we hired a car and booked a random Airbnb in the middle of nowhere and went there instead.
We saw loads of cute stuff, like castles, Lidl, and sleepy fishing villages, but the highlight of the trip was the house we stayed in.
It was creepy af.
It had bear traps, doll houses, weird dusty dark rooms, broken chairs from 1835, a noose hanging from a beam, a ladder that was somehow balancing on nothing in the middle of a barn – it was proper creepy, but proper cool.
So we did what any mature 20-30 something year olds would do. We fashioned a ouija board out of a beer box and called upon the dead.
They never came…. but a good time was had by all.
Everyone that is, except the homeowner who tarnished my good name with a shitty Airbnb review.
Screw you, Florian.
#11. The one with all the cat food
I’ve started to see a trend in that the majority of my stories involve drinking. Do I have a problem?
Anyway, this isn’t the time to be questioning my life choices because this is a good highlight.
A local pub was having a charity auction thing for some sick kid, so we thought we’d go along to help out a good cause.
Bands were playing, drinks were flowing, and so the auction began.
They had loads of cool stuff to auction off, but the problem for me at least, was that this auction was all in Dutch.
No worries I thought. I’d been learning Dutch, I got this.
I started to shout out any number that I could remember (17) and so the bidding war commenced.
Turns out, the only bidding war I was in was with myself, so every time I shouted out a number, I was actually bidding on a new item.
I ended up with 5 giant bags of cat food. Like human-sized bags of cat food:
I don’t even have a cat.
#12. The one with the Crystal Maze
Who remembers the TV show the Crystal Maze?
Yeeeah you do!
Well, they’ve brought it back, kinda, and you can go take part, without the worry of having to be on TV, or having to deal with the creepy presenter guy.
Obviously I flew back to Manchester to join in the fun, and it was totally worth it. An actor takes you round the different worlds, as you’re pushed mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally… to collect crystals.
I failed both of mine 😦
But I got to go in an adult sized ball pool soooo who’s the real loser?
#13. The one where my mates came to the Dam
The end of the year saw three of my bestests coming to Amsterdam, and I wouldn’t want to see the year out any other way.
As with all our trips that involve these ladies, we like to fit in a billion things.
We enjoyed traditional Dutch cuisine, a canal cruise, red lights, parks, botanical gardens, loooadsa alcohol, and the craziest firework display I’ve ever seen.
Cheers 2017, let’s see what 2018 has to offer.