There are some memories that just stay with you. It’s easy to have fun times with great people, but not all memories come back with the same clarity, nor fill you with the same sense of nostalgia. There are some memories that come rushing back to your present moment as if you were re-living them all over again… though perhaps with some details blurred out. What stands out is the way those moments made you feel. These become the moments that you base other moments on moving forward.

As I was taken back this weekend to one of the moments I describe below, I managed to pull out a few other memories that often fill me with joyful butterflies, happily fluttering in my insides. The first two are from the same evening1; I was in New York City on Independence Day visiting a friend2.

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One | It was drizzling, but the city decided to continue with their fireworks display. I was hanging out with some friends of the friend I was visiting at the time, who happened to have a roof we were able to get out to. Watching the fireworks, with the Brooklyn Bridge on one side, and The Williamsburg Bridge on the other3 was magical, and I just remember feeling like it was exactly where I needed to be. I’ve been to many fireworks displays since, and none have ever come close – despite the awesome things they can do with fireworks these days.

Two | I can no longer recall if this happened before or after the fireworks; I’m leaning towards it happening before but it doesn’t really matter. The same house featured a gorgeous backyard that was longer than it was wide, with some gorgeous landscaping work that featured trees in the back of the yard, just at their tall fence. At one point the night, fireflies began to dance around the night sky; sometimes flying right beside us. There’s just something about watching fireflies flit and flutter around in the night sky that left me, and still fills me with a feeling of sheer joyous wonder.

There are other memories that make New York City one of my absolute favourite places to visit but these two often come back to me vividly; sometimes in dreams. The next two memories take place during the same vacation4; I was on a tiny Island called Holbox, which is a part of Mexico. I was visiting one of my all-time favourite people in the world, Jackie, while she was working on the island conducting research for her thesis. The entire trip is one giant happy memory but these two are ones that come to me most often.

Three | We had gone into the mainland to check out the ruins, and we also checked out a cenote. I don’t even care that my brand new underwater camera drowned that day because everything about swimming in that water was heavenly; add to that the sight of sunlight streaming in through the hole in the ‘ceiling’ making it easy to see the stalactites where some bats were just hanging out; marvelous. It didn’t matter that there were kids splashing around us, there was a certain brand of peace and quiet that existed in that cenote; and it will stay with me always5.

Four | Early one morning, we were invited to go fishing with a couple6 brothers who owned a restaurant on the Island. They would go out every morning and fish, then go home and serve up their catch of the day at the restaurant. They taught us how to fish using only a line, a hook and fresh sardines caught even earlier that morning. Once we were back on the Island, they fed us fresh ceviche and fish tacos from the day’s catch. I often wonder if I’d be able to recreate my success that day if I were ever stranded on a boat with similar supplies; I’d like to think I would.

I don’t know that my experience in Mexico is the same as most, since I didn’t spend a lot of time on the mainland. And there were definitely more wonderful memories such as star gazing while listening to nothing but the ocean waves and each other’s voices; or riding out on that man’s golf cart to the other end of the island to watch the glofish do their thing that one night; or snorkeling in cozumel…or killing that cockroach in Jackie’s room my first night there. I know I can’t physically go back there, but I sure do enjoy revisiting the trip in my mind and through pictures.

The next one needs to be vague, for reasons I don’t want to disclose. If you were there, you may recognize the event where the next memory takes place in the photo below.

Five | It was a special person’s birthday. I was attending an annual event downtown; serendipitously7, I managed to get tickets for him and his friend8. I also managed to double all of the supplies that I needed to bring9, plus a birthday cake for him. There was this moment that evening, when he was about to blow out the candles on his cake10, and he just looked so carefree; so happy. I remember thinking that I was so proud that I did that; that I managed to make someone so happy. If only it were always that easy.

Mostly because I don’t want to end this trip down memory lane, there but also because this last memory is one that I hope to recreate very soon with a trip back to Europe. I moved back from Ireland in 2008, which is exactly 8 years ago… It has been far, far too long.

Six | We were in Paris. They were hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2007. My bf at the time had won tickets to the Ireland v Argentina match so we flew over for the weekend. We were out with friends, walking around the city, bar hopping and having fun with just about everyone else who was out on the street. Ireland had lost the match but everyone was in good spirits anyway. The temperature was perfect; we walked for hours; I was wearing heels but I don’t remember ever feeling pain. Just pure bliss11.

What are some of your favourite memories?

  1. photos may not necessarily reflect the memories I described []
  2. ex-friend but that’s neither here nor there []
  3. and we all know how much I love bridges []
  4. photos may not necessarily reflect the memories I described []
  5. now if only I can master summoning it at will []
  6. or was it three? []
  7. let’s say it’s a word, ok? []
  8. even though the event was sold-out []
  9. it was that kind of an event – where we bring all the things needed []
  10. I even have photographic evidence to remind me of this moment []
  11. and no, we weren’t on drugs []

J’adore Paris!!

20070929-77 It started with a nearly missed early morning flight and a lot of running. But it was pretty smooth sailing after that. When we finally got off the bus in Paris from Beauvais airport, there was a moment where we were completely lost and had no idea how to get to our hotel so we went into an Irish pub for a drink. Once there we found a nice South African bartender who knew the best way we could get to our hotel. 20070930-18The metro is one of the best subway systems in the world. The hotel was not great. Our bathroom floor filled with water after every shower, and the room smelled like smoke even though it was a non-smoking room. But non of it mattered. Everyone was in a great mood.

We wanted to visit the Musee de Louvre the first day we were there, but it closed at 5:30 p.m. and we took too long getting ready to eat lunch. So we took a walk along Boulevard de Strausborg, continued down Rue de Sebastopol and walked around the Louvre for a bit. We went out that night, but we didn’t stay up as late as everyone else. We wanted to get up early the next day and give the Musee de Louvre a proper visit. 20070930-111We only really wanted to see the Mona Lisa, and the Venus de Milo but we were able to see the Raft of the Medusa, The Madonna and many others as well. Afterwards we went back to the hotel for a bit of a nap, and got ready to go to the match. Oh the match. What a heartbreaking experience. Even the little bit of hope Brian O’Discoll’s try had was bittersweet. After the match, we drank. We drank our sorrows away. Then we had dinner. And we drank some more. And when we couldn’t drink anymore, we went to see the Eiffel tower. Luckily, we caught it while it was still open. 20071001-4And it was amazing! We went all the way up to the top, shared our romantic kisses, got some photos taken. Then we headed back into the area of the hotel, for a couple more drinks. And it was early to bed.

The last day, we were able to go down to the Arc de Triomphe and Galleria La Fayette and walk along Champs Ellesse. The flight even left on time, and then we got to immigration. Let’s just say it was a very scary experience. But I won’t get into that at all. I’m just going to leave it at it was very scary and the scare brought us so much closer than I thought we could be. And for all those reasons… Paris was the best holiday I’ve ever been on. And so was born, my most recent catch phrase: Paris, I love you!