The Fight

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Well, it’s been 2 months since I last wrote. I had this whole plan to write about ALL THE THINGS I’ve been doing, and to move into my own place, and to start blogging more regularly, and to bake bread, and everything else.

But then life struck, again. As I predicted in my last post, there were more bumps in the road. Many, many more. Like, a whole shitload of obstacles. I mean, c’mon people. This is getting ridiculous.

I don’t want to bore you with all the details, but let’s just boil it down quickly: I had issues with my residency permit (came through at the last minute, and I only got my social security number thanks to the good graces of my friend Bram). Then had an apartment disaster (landlord pulled the plug 2 days AFTER I was supposed to move in). I was again saved by Bram. (Bram: You are the fucking man.) AND, I still technically have not received a paycheck. (Don’t worry, I will get paid for every single day I’ve worked. But it’s been an epic saga to sort that out. Dutch banks & foreign companies do not mix well.)

And so, 3 months after my arrival in Amsterdam, I was still without my own apartment, still without a paycheck, and still wondering why on earth everything bad seems to happen to ME.

I realize that sounds a bit melodramatic. But in Bram’s words: “Karma has to eventually go the other way, right?” Because seriously, it’s been ridiculous. Nothing has gone smoothly. This whole move has been a massive shitshow.

And yet, here I am. Powering through. Several years ago, this type of situation would have utterly broken me. I would have become depressed, negative, and convinced myself that nothing will ever be good ever again. Hell, I might have given up entirely. Because Amsterdam does seem to be telling me that I should turn around and go back to where I came from. But I refuse. Because I fucking belong here, I just know it.

There is a group of people here in Amsterdam, and I love them. I call them my Friends. They are cool people. They seem genuinely excited to see me when we we hang out. They are happy that I live here now. Many of them have told me exactly that. And that means a ton, and I can’t just leave now. Because I have friends, and I love these friends. I want to see these friendships grow.

I also just went to Spain for a weekend for a frisbee tournament. At the tournament, people would ask when I was going home. I would say “Tuesday. I’m flying home on Tuesday.” Home. Amsterdam. They are the same now. The flight from Barcelona to Amsterdam felt so natural. It was perfect.

And last weekend, I finally moved into my new apartment. I have my own bedroom, and I have a lovely roommate. This week, I’m going to finish unpacking and hang my art on the walls. And it will be real. For the first time since December, I am going to have MY own bedroom, with MY own things in it. Fucking finally.

So no, it hasn’t been easy. It’s been a fight. But I am fighting hard. Because Amsterdam is my home now, damnit.  You can’t get rid of me that easily.

Ain’t no party like a Jungle party…

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Welp, I think I have officially become a European. I went to my first European club party on Saturday. The theme was “The Jungle,” and I actually survived. In fact, I think it was a roaring success. (Get it? Roaring success?? I’m punny.)

Anyway. I was very proud of myself, because I’m not much of a partier, to be totally honest. Now don’t get me wrong, I do love to have a good time. And I’ve certainly had my share of epic evenings. But most of those involved frisbee people at a frisbee party in the middle of a random field outside a major city somewhere in the world, and I can tell you for a fact, it’s rather different from your standard club scene. And the other share of my drunken adventures usually involve sitting at a brewery somewhere and drinking one too many pints.

TL;DR: Going to clubs is just not my thing.

But I have this friend. His name is Bram. And on Saturday, Bram wanted to “PARTAY.” Yes. “ParTAY” with an “AY.”

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See what I mean? He brought a fucking monkey to the party. That’s how serious he was about the whole thing. (Side note: I don’t remember taking that photo. Also, I am a dumb bitch who makes a duck face when she’s drunk. Feel free to judge me. I am judging myself as we speak.)

Now, some of you may be asking how a European clubbing adventure is any different from an American one. So let me fill you in: these people take their clubbing seriously. The whole thing is planned out to a degree of sophistication I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.

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First, the place looked fucking tight. They decorated for the occasion. I wish I had a better photo, but hopefully you get the point. There were crazy balloon structures, and awesome lighting, and a GIANT wooden/painted monkey face over the DJ booth. Also, the venue itself is just sweet. American clubs are ugly and underground and boring. This place was fucking sick.

Which brings me to THE THEME. Yes, I know a lot of American clubs do theme nights, of sorts. But it’s usually something dumb like “Ladies Night” or “Payday Friday” or “Tropical Party” (i.e. if you are female please wear a bathing suit so we can see you half naked). Please go fuck yourself, misogynistic club culture. I am not interested in your crap.

And of course, I do see how a jungle theme could lend itself very well to that culture. But here’s the thing: there were very few slutty outfits. I was SO pleasantly surprised at how few people wore revealing or skintight clothing. A lot of people ignored the theme altogether. (I just remembered I own leopard pants and I forgot to wear them. Damn.)

On top of all that wonderful stuff, this particular party had a mission: all proceeds went to support the rebuilding of rainforest in Borneo and Sumatra, because they have been ravaged by forest fires. That shit is awesome. It made the cover fee SO worth it.

We decided to meet at midnight (OMG waaaaay past my bedtime) and party till we couldn’t anymore. It all started fairly tame. I drank some beers. I tried not to feel awkward about the fact that I wore a really bright shirt that glowed in the blacklight and made a lot of people stare at my boobs. Huge mistake.

Then the wrecking crew (Bram & co) arrived and shit got real pretty quickly. I ran around like a crazy person, which is something I tend to do while drunk. I also hate techno music, so I needed to get really drunk in order to dance properly. Apparently ecstasy helps with partying all night, but I am terrified of drugs so I just stuck to beer. (Which proved to be a mistake the next day. Also I got sleepy and ended up leaving at 3am. Like a loser.)

I also may have (with a significant amount of assistance from Bram) accosted a dude who looked exactly like someone else I know and gave him my phone number. I hope he never calls me. I am so awkward in real life.

BUT WHO CARES?! I went clubbing like a European with other Europeans and danced my ass off and got weird and crazy and took part in what might be my favorite polaroid photo of all time:

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Perhaps I could get used to this after all. Also, I wish I had stolen that hat.

*****

[Next time, on Christina’s drunken party adventures] CARNIVAL! It’s like Mardi Gras for Dutch people! (I’m actually serious.)

I am my own Advent Calendar.

opening(Spoiler alert: I do not own this awesome advent calendar. It’s really too bad.)

You know that panicked moment you have when you realize it’s December, and you have failed to accomplish 99% of the things you said you would do this year?

Welp, cue panic. But then, cue my full-on IDGAF attitude, because who cares what day it is, I DO WHAT I WANT. (Translation: I freaked out, but then I talked myself down, because that’s how we crazy people operate.)

But in reality, I’m actually super excited it’s December. For one thing, it’s Kahlua month. Every day during the month of December, I put Kahlua in my coffee. It’s a tradition that began in 2009, and I haven’t looked back since. I don’t really know why this tradition gives me so much joy, but it is literally my FAVORITE thing about this (the most wonderful) time of year.

(I actually just realized I forgot to do it this morning. Crap. Guess I’ll have to have 2 cups tomorrow!)

The second reason I’m excited for December is because, well, ’tis the season for countdowns of sorts. In 2012, I wrote 12 blog posts in the days leading up to Christmas called the “12 Drinks of Christmas.” In 2013, it became the “12 BEERS of Christmas.” In 2014, I was a loser and didn’t do a countdown, but I drank plenty of exciting holiday cocktails with my roommate.

This year, I’ve decided to up the ante. Sure, I could do “12 cocktails” or “12 wines,” but both of those sound a) expensive and b) I don’t know that I could come up with 12 really solid candidates without doing a hell of a lot of research. And who has time for that crap?

So instead of 12 days, I’m going for 25. That’s right. I’m gonna be my own goddamn advent calendar. Starting tonight, straight through until Christmas day, I will drink a different beer* every day. Ideally they will be beers I haven’t tried, and hopefully many of them will be winter or holiday brews. Perhaps I’ll throw a barrel-aged brew or two in there as well. Because ’tis the season, right? Everybody knows that “Be merry” = “Be drunk.”

I have failed at a lot of things in life, but I am determined to succeed in this endeavor. Because it’s the last month of the year. Time for the final push! There’s no time to waste! It’s now or never!

And frankly, it’s my last December in America, and who knows what sort of crazy traditions I’ll get into when I live in Europe next year. Only time will tell…

*There is always a chance that some of the next 25 days will feature not a beer, but some other adult beverage. I maintain that this is allowed, because I’m in charge and I made up all the rules anyway.

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[Next time, on Christina’s Drunk Adventures: I’m drinking lots of beer this month! So I’ll probably tell you about it or something.]

The dangerous art of biking and beering.

Ah, day drinking. It really is one of the greatest pastimes on earth.

Yesterday I went on a biking and beer-drinking adventure with my friend Chris. Because what’s more fun than riding your bike around Seattle and drinking beer at craft breweries on the weekend?

Things started poorly when I decided to take us to a brewery that doesn’t exist. #winning

Somehow, Chris decided I was still trustworthy enough to follow me a second time, and we actually began our drinking adventure at Peddler Brewing Co. This turned out to be a stellar choice for our first stop. At 1:30pm, the place was not particularly full yet, so we sat at the bar and shot the shit with the bartenders, both of whom were awesome Midwestern transplants who enjoyed making fun of each other and talking to us instead of serving the other customers. They seemed to think we were pretty cool, because we ended up with a free beer as well!

IMG_2544We tried the two IPAs they had on draft: I had the On Your Left IPA, and Chris had the Tropic Thunder IPA. Both were delicious, but mine was better. Christina 1, Chris 0. Haha!

(This wasn’t actually a competition. But now I’m excited about making this a competition after the fact. Pretty sure I’m going to lose though.)

The adventure could very well have ended there, because despite the fact that I told myself I would photo-document the entire afternoon, this is the only photo I took. So I think I lose a point for that. Back to 0-0. Sigh.

Somehow, though, the adventure continued. For some unknown reason, Chris allowed me to lead the charge again to our next stop: Lucky Envelope Brewing. This brewery has only been open since May, so neither of us had been there before. Hurrah, new things!

lucky_envelope_1(I stole this photo from the internet!)

This time we were lame and both ordered the Fresh Hop Citra Pale Ale, because ’tis the season and soon the fresh hops will be gone. It was good, but not amazing. We both get a half point for effort. Or something.

Next stop was Reuben’s Brews, which is hands down one of my favorite breweries in Seattle. They have a new-ish taproom that is pretty sweet, and we were joined by Laura and Juanse, who are super cool people who ride bikes a lot and are basically just the most fun to hang out with. We also needed food, and there is always a food truck at Reuben’s, hence the decision to go there. Saturday’s food truck was called Napkin Friends, and it was insane.

Ok, so I know this post is supposed to be about beer. But can I just talk about this food truck for a minute? HOLY YUM. I am actually having trouble writing about it right now because I’m beginning to drool all over my keyboard just thinking about this sandwich. (Ok, I know, that’s kind of gross. But if you’ve ever read my blog you’ll know that I often discuss my overt drooling habits when talking about delicious things. So you might as well get used to it. Or don’t, what do I care?)

a8d37bc7ccb6c018efa36b9be4950f15For those of you who didn’t click on that link and are still reading this, here’s the deal: this sandwich doesn’t have any bread. Sounds crazy, right? But no, because it’s AMAZING. Instead of bread, there are latkes. Yes. Potato pancakes. Delicious potato goodness. Two of them, hugging the contents of the sandwich with such care and joy that your taste buds legitimately can’t contain themselves anymore, and once you bite into the sandwich you’re transported to a world where bread no longer matters, because fuck normal sandwiches, THIS IS LITERALLY MAGICAL.

[Sorry. I need a moment to breathe. And by that, I mean WINE BREAK. You know, to calm my nerves.]

Ok. ANYWAY. Back to business. And by business, I mean beer!

Reuben’s Brews is a wonderful spot, and they have a lot of beer. It’s pretty impressive. We’re now at a point in the afternoon where I started losing track of shit, so I don’t entirely remember what we were all drinking. I know I had an Imperial Pumpkin Ale of some sort. I think Laura and Chris both had a Dark Lager. I don’t remember what Juanse ordered, because by then I was a) slightly drunk and b) absorbed in the really intense social/political/real-life-shit conversation we were having. Which, of course, I have little memory of now. Woohoo!

Oh, and as for points, I get points for drinking the strongest beer at the table. So Christina 1.5, Chris 0.5. YES!

So things get a bit shitty here because it started to rain. So, summoning my tipsy authority, I convinced Chris to go back to Peddler for another beer instead of riding all the way home in the rain. He was clearly not entirely on board with the idea, but ultimately he admitted (after the fact) that it was a GREAT IDEA and I am a genius. (He didn’t say that. He did say it was a good idea though. But only afterwards.)

So I get a point for being right (woo!) but Chris gets 2 for putting up with me. So we’re now tied at 2.5 each. Damn.

The return to Peddler is mostly a blur. We sat there for a while, but the place was filled with Ohio State fans and I didn’t really understand what was happening. I also took far too long to drink my beer. So I lose a half point.

Christina 2, Chris 2.5. Shit.

At this point it was definitely time to go home. Both of us had uphill rides ahead of us. But seeing as Chris had to go at least 2 miles farther than I did, he gets an extra point. Christina 2, Chris 3.5.

Well crap. I lost. Damn!

Wait, no. That can’t be right. I went out day-drinking for 5 hours and rode my bike and was super cool and CLEARLY this means I am a winner. Yes. (Chris might be more of a winner, but he’s not here to defend himself so HA!)

And so, dear friends, the moral of the story is that I drank a lot, I biked a lot, and I won. Because that’s just a fact.

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[Next time, on Christina’s Adventures in Drinking: That time I was forced to drink fruit beer in London.]

It’s time to stop being an asshole.

In February, I wrote this post about the fact I was too drunk in January to write a blog post. At the time, that was mostly true.

But now, I’m going to tell you the real and honest truth.

I’m an asshole.

Seriously. I kept saying I’d write more, and then I didn’t. And I kept saying I was sorry (and actually, I was). But then I didn’t do anything about it. I kept saying that I promised it would be different, I promised I’d change, I knew I needed to improve and I really, truly wanted to! But I didn’t.

I’m literally the worst significant other you’ve ever had.

So here’s where the truth comes out: I’m a jerk. And I cannot promise that I won’t be a jerk again in the future. BUT, this time, I’m actually going to try and do better. And here’s why:

In January, I am moving. Not just moving. MOVING. Like, I am leaving this country and moving to a different one. AMERICA, BE GONE. I’m gonna become a full blown European asshole. (Not that all Europeans are assholes. They are not. But I’m an asshole, and now instead of being an American asshole, I’ll be a European one. Whoopeee!)

So why does this change the blog situation? you might ask. (Or you might not. Which is fair, cuz I suck and why should you care?)

Well, I realized I am going to have good stories. Because in putting myself in a completely foreign and crazy life situation, I’m bound to have ridiculous adventures and do stupid things. And, well, writing about it will somehow ground me and make me feel connected to all of you who aren’t in Europe with me.

Yes, I am feeling mildly sentimental at the moment. And I’ve also consumed about 3/4 of a bottle of red wine. BUT I PROMISE I SPEAK THE TRUTH.

I’ve actually got some good stories already from this past summer, and I know there are more to come. For instance, I have a vacation planned next month in Iceland, and apparently buying groceries there is hilarious. So I’m pretty pumped to do that and tell y’all about it. Because why not? I don’t actually give a fuck if you read this or not.

(Ok I do. I’m trying to make myself feel better, ok? Life on the internet is lonely.)

But for reals. I do want to stay in touch, and this seems like the best way. Sure, maybe you won’t know about everything I do, but most of what I do revolves around booze and food, so you’ll get a pretty decent picture. No, this won’t be a travel blog, per se. But for some drunken traveler out there, maybe it’ll be the right blog.

Love to you all. More to come soon. And this time, I’m not kidding.

But first, I gotta go finish that wine.

When your wine does the talking

You know those times when you come home and suddenly that bottle of wine on your counter starts talking to you?

No? Just me?

This afternoon, I left work early to go to the Seattle Cider Summit. Doesn’t that sound fancy?? I mean, it’s sort of fancy. Cider is basically the thing you drink when you’re like “today I’m feeling fancy and want something other than beer, but I’m not fancy enough for champagne.” That’s exactly what it’s like. Seriously.

[The point is, it wasn’t really a “summit” because that is an important meeting between heads of state or something, and this was more just a bunch of casual Seattle folk getting drunk on cider.]

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Photo stolen from Twitter, specifically @seattlebeernews

 

Disirregardless, it was super fun, and it was a damn good excuse to leave my office at 3pm. So I drank a bunch of cider. Here is a bullet-point recap:

  • Apple cider is far better than pear cider. I have done the testing. Trust me.
  • Sometimes brewing cider with hops makes it taste super duper amazing.
  • Dry cider is always the better choice.
  • If you can barrel-age your cider, you probably should do that. (OMG bourbon)
  • Some men who make hard cider are incredibly attractive.
  • People from Alberta, Canada are really awesome.
  • I love dogs.

I tried 8 ciders, I bought 1 bottle, and then I came home and planned to do very little with my evening. Some leftovers for dinner, maybe a beer, watch The Daily Show…

And then the wine started talking.

Oh god.

What do I do??

I cannot possibly resist its advances. It’s basically the most effective pickup line on earth. And by “it” I mean the wine itself. By simply being the wine, it is automatically more successful than pretty much any pickup line I have ever heard.

(Note to all men: If you want to succeed at picking me up, become a bottle of wine. OR make me lamb chops and enjoy my use of the word “segue.”)

The point is, I am immune to many things. Especially horrific pickup lines (like the one where the guy saw me texting at a party and asked me if I could recommend a service provider to him…worst ice-breaker in history).

BUT. I am not immune to wine. Nope. The wine on my counter looked at me, and in the sultriest voice an inanimate object can muster, it said “Hey baby. I’ve been sitting here for 2 days. There’s only a few glasses left in me. Liberate me, baby. I know you want to.”

*SWOOOOOOOOOON*

Yeah. That’s right. I just got turned on by that bottle of wine. It fucking worked.

And now I’m drunk. And it’s awesome.

Happy Friday ❤

The Pain au Chocolat Challenge was a RAGING SUCCESS

That’s right. SUCCESS. I fucking owned the shit out of that challenge.

I WON.

You want to know why I won? Because I ate 5 pains au chocolat in like, 24 hours. That might be the definition of #winning. Yeah, I’m fucking Charlie Sheen-ing this bitch.

Alright, sorry for the profanity. I’ve had too much wine. (Wine!!)

Anyway. For those of you who don’t remember, at the very end of July I embarked upon the best challenge ever challenged to any challenger ever. (This is false. Also, I created the challenge myself, and then somehow ended up doing it. I think the whole thing may have been an excuse for me to eat a lot of chocolate croissants.)

THE POINT IS. I was supposed to eat 5 pains au chocolat in one day. The catch? Each chocolate croissant had to come from a different country.

Technically, I failed, because a) France had run out of pains au chocolat so I had to “fashion my own” and b) all the bakeries were closed when we got to Switzerland at 10pm, so I had to do it the next morning.

BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER. Because it was fucking epic and I recorded it for all eternity on Instagram and, oh, you know, had a fucking CAMERA CREW following me throughout. Because, yes, I am a baller.

Need I say more?

Drink #4: Eggnog

Obviously it would be an issue if this weren’t on my list. Eggnog is pretty much the epitome of holiday beverages. A lot of people hate eggnog. Which is too bad. Because I honestly can’t think of another drink that is more “holiday-appropriate” and completely inappropriate at all other times of year.

So here’s the deal with eggnog. Growing up, I thought eggnog came in a carton, you could buy it at the grocery store, and it was non-alcoholic. My dad used to buy it and spike it with Kahlua, and we would drink eggnog after Christmas dinner and it was wonderful. (In fact, at age 12, I decided it was so wonderful that I left eggnog-with-kahlua out for Santa Claus instead of milk. That was the age when I discovered “Santa” was my mom, and she would rather I leave out something interesting to drink because she hates milk. My life changed at that point.)

ANYWAY. The point is, eggnog is actually an alcoholic beverage. Not sure how and when it became commercialized, but I don’t really give a shit. All I know is that I can buy “virgin” eggnog at the store and put it in my coffee from Thanksgiving to New Years. And I can drink it for funzies if I want.

I also know that I now have at least one friend who makes really good real eggnog (i.e. that drink with eggs, cream, and liquor), and it is amazing. Like, whoa. Delicious. Chris, super props to you. Because if I didn’t have to drive home I’d probably still be drinking that delicious stuff from our work holiday party last night.

So there you have it. Photos are unnecessary. Because if you don’t know how awesome eggnog is, then this post is pretty much pointless to you.

Drink #5: Scotch

[Post from December 20, 2012]
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Alright, alright. Let’s be fair. Except for a few outliers (Manhattan, Cabernet Sauvignon), I’ve stuck to the holiday repertoire pretty well. I know scotch doesn’t really fit in that repertoire, but hear me out.

I will drink scotch pretty much anytime of the year, sure. But for me, it has a relationship to Christmas because of my dad. My dad is a scotch drinker. Oh yes. And he, unlike me, has disposable income. As does my mother. And my mother often buys him fancy scotch for Christmas. And then my dad drinks scotch at Christmas.

For years that meant nothing to me, because I was too young to understand/drink. And even when I did drink, it took me some time to develop a taste for scotch. After sips here and there from my dad’s glass, I started to learn and to understand. And I rapidly developed a habit that I 100% cannot afford. But I don’t give a damn, because I love scotch.

Last Christmas, my dad (who was very low on scotch) received 3 very nice bottles of scotch from my mom. So what did we do on Christmas evening? We did a scotch tasting. IT WAS GLORIOUS.

So no, scotch isn’t a “holiday drink” per se. But it does have a special holiday meaning for me. And let’s be real, that’s what is truly important at the holidays. Right?

The site is live!!!!

First of all, it appears I lied when I said I would be updating more regularly. But I swear I will. Maybe.

Second of all, the website I have been writing for since March is now up! Check it out: www.partyearth.com. It’s awesome.

I don’t want to ramble on too long, because I really want you all to check out this website. It’s a lot of fun to read, you might find a new bar you like, and the neighborhood overviews and “party climate” descriptions for each city are pretty fantastic.

So do it. Party Earth. Chicago. And if you’re interested, here’s a list of the reviews I wrote: