Do you also get asked by the end of each year questions like “So, how would you sum up your year? Did you get what you wanted?” I decided to recall the highlights of my amazing 2018 chronologically and share them with all of you.
January 2018: LISB-ON
First time when I visited the Portuguese capital to do my summer language course was in 2016, and that’s when I fell in love with the Portuguese language, culture and the city itself. Then I had a bit of longer reunion with Lisbon in 2017, but it seemed like spending 2-3 months there were never enough. I wanted to have the experience of living in Lisbon for a longer period and also I wanted to become fluent in Portuguese. This goal of mine was finally achieved when I got the Scholarship to do the part of my Masters at FLUL.
Going back to the city where you made a lot of new friends and unforgettable memories are always one of the best things that can happen to you. Being in Portugal for the third time, it really felt like home. Arriving at Terminal 1 at the Lisbon Airport, I had a feeling that after one year of “being somewhere else” I finally found my way back home. We all have different stories in absolutely every city we’ve ever been to. That’s why we like some cities more than others. With every new visit, you realize that something has changed, that there’s something you did not notice before and always something new waiting for you. Sometimes you miss those cities like you miss a person, and you can’t wait to see them again.
March 2018: Rio de Janeiro
While walking around LX FACTORY in Lisbon and doing some Vintage shopping I saw a quote on the wall of one shop there saying “Do you remember your dreams?” and I thought of one of the biggest dreams of mine: BRAZIL!
Since I was way closer to Brazil from Portugal than I’ve ever been from Georgia, I decided not to postpone achieving my goals for more and I booked my trip to Rio de Janeiro. It was totally worth it. Everything happened so fast and unplanned, sometimes I still question the reality of my Brazilian trip, but you can see Rio from my perspective on my first edition of the series Let’s Go Somewhere
Coming back from Brazil, I immediately booked my trip to Scandinavia, because I decided that 2018 was about to be “The year of my goals”. Even though Norway is way more popular with its wild nature and mountains, I decided to visit the capitals of 3 of the Scandinavian countries: Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
with a lot of handsome people, fancy coffee shops and beautiful parks, I had a total privilege of seeing the iconic “SCREAM” live and witness the cold, rainy Norwegian summer, but it was so worth it.
From my previous blog post, you can have a sneak peek of why I loved Stockholm so much. When I took a super long ride with a train from Oslo to Stockholm, the weather was finally nice and summerish. I got to know some of the most fun Swedes while walking around the city or chilling near the riverside. One of the main things I have realized was that Swedes are not as socially awkward as some people say they are. I have heard sentences like: “a Swede will never talk to you unless you make the first move, after that they are friendly, helpful and nice.” Well, I suppose each one of us has a completely different experience in every country. So from my experience Swedes are pretty outgoing, helpful, funny and friendly. Thanks to them I discovered some places in Stockholm where only locals hang out and I was also lucky enough to celebrate “Midsummer” with my newly-made Swedish friends.
After visiting Copenhagen I finally got it why Danes are considered as the “happiest nation” in the world. I can’t really say that my experience in Denmark was completely different than the other Scandinavian cities, but there was something magical about the Danish capital that made me want to re-visit the city all over again. Copenhagen has this mystic vibe of attracting everyone and making it super hard for each one of us to leave.
So far Copenhagen proudly has the 1st place of my all-time favourite cities. And the Tivoli Gardens deserve a completely separate post dedication because this place is really as magical as in the movies.
July 2018: LAGOS
Re-visiting the places where I have been to in Portugal was one of the best decisions ever. I visited Lagos in 2016 and after 2 years I have realized how much it has changed in a way that there were a lot more tourists and new pubs opened/owned by Brits.
The weird thing about tourism in Portugal is transportation. Even though Lagos and Algarve coast, in general, is the most touristic destination of all, they still don’t have a lot of transport options from Lisbon to there. For example, you can’t find a train going to Lagos, so if you don’t rent a car, the only option for you left is a bus, which is actually comfortable but a bit too tiring.
July 2018: NOS ALIVE & ARCTIC MONKEYS
Since 2007, when the FAVOURITE WORST NIGHTMARE was out, Arctic Monkeys keep being my favourite band. As music is one of the most touching pieces of art form that can influence your life, the quote of my beloved Alex Turner explains it all why I fell in love with the Monkeys: “There’s always that one band that comes along when you are 14 or 15 years old that manages to hit you in just the right way and changes your whole perception of things.”
Exactly on my flight day to Lisbon back in January, Nos Alive (The annual festival that takes place near Lisbon every July) announced that they were hosting THE ARCTIC MONKEYS. So the first thing I did after my 5 hours flight to Lisbon and being all jet-lagged, was getting the Nos Alive ticket. Hands down it was one of the most memorable shows I have ever been to.
August 2018: LISB-OFF
So let me get a little emotional here. As my Exchange Program was full of adventures, dreams and new experience, as they say, everything has to come to an end. So by the end of August, I left Lisbon full of new experience (academic and life experience as well) hopes and new dreams. Can I just mention how important it is for any student to make an exchange program at least once in their lives? Because it is so mind-opening and helps you grow culturally on a level that nothing else will ever help. Being on an unfamiliar ground makes you more familiar about your true self. Suddenly you learn how to communicate with people from different cultures, you learn that there might be someone on the other side of the world who will become your best friend. It outdoes absolutely any kind of “office job” experience that you can get by doing the same job for years and years. So please do yourself a favour and promise me to pack & discover the world right now.
Lisbon will keep being my home doesn’t matter where I am/will be based. This city gave me so much love, friendship, experience and opportunities that it’s impossible for me to talk about Portugal without being too emotional. How can I not adore Portugal when this country received me with the warmest welcome for the third time in a row!
The hardest thing in 2018 was saying goodbye to Lisbon, realizing that this specific chapter has been closed for now.
While writing this blog post I have realized how many things can happen in just one year and how we should always take risks and follow our paths.
Share your 2018’s adventures with me on Instagram and let’s have a fresh start of 2019!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!