Question of the Week: What song or songs remind you of your younger self or of a specific time in your life?

This question has been on my mind for a very long time, the reason I think this question often pops in my head is that I have vivid memories that are strongly attached to specific songs, each time I hear these songs, my soul goes time traveling back to that moment and I feel encapsulated with all the colors, people and places of that time. Which song/moment combo comes to you when you think about it? It can be a sad, happy, lonely, coming-of-age moment, or just powerful enough to find its place in your memories. My Top 3 moments and their songs are:

1.Place: Street Car in New Orleans   Band: Duncan Dhu (all songs)   

I studied  Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering at the University of New Orleans and one year into my studies I moved to an apartment in uptown New Orleans with my best friend.  While living in uptown meant we were closer to our Panamanian friends and Bourbon Street with all its glory, it meant also that I was far from where the University was and had no car, so for a full year, I took the Streetcar (from beginning to end which is approx 1 hr) and then a  bus that would take me across the city until reaching the University campus. I went back and forth every day while listening to Duncan Dhu, a Spanish band and one of my old-time favorite’s. I had a big collection of their records so I was always changing the CD on my CD player (oh yeah!!) and never ever getting tired. 

I have one perfect memory of being in the Streetcar, passing through Audubon Park in Saint Charles Avenue while listening to A Tientas, with my head resting on the window.  Its been 20 years since that time and the memory remains the same.  It is one of my favorite memories because although I felt tired, lonely, and overwhelmed with the studies, and uncertain about the future, the song lyrics and melody allowed my soul to sing giving me profound hope for the next chapter in my life.

2. Place:  New Orleans    Song: Late in the Evening by Paul Simon (in Concert)

When I was 14 years old my dad introduced me to Simon and Garfunkel and was love at first sight.  I barely spoke English but the album Bridge Over Troubled Water had a special place in my music collection.  With the years I was able to slowly collect more albums and the album The Concert in Central Park became my favorite.   In 2001, when I was living in New Orleans Paul Simon came to Jazz Fest and he was giving a concert and of course, I wanted to go.  I could not get one person to come with me so I asked my then-boyfriend to drop me off and pick me up after the concert to which he agreed.   I remember I had bought the cheapest ticket and was on the second floor, but since I was by myself I slowly moved my way down and placed myself in the center of the fourth row. It was magical. Seeing all these people singing Paul Simon’s songs was unbelievable to me.  And then he played Late in the Evening and the people exploded and I was there, dancing, singing, seeing Paul Simon singing while playing his guitar was unbelievable, it was a moment of excitement, of pure joy, of pure greatness.  No matter where I am, every time I hear this song, I smile… I fill myself with love and joy and happiness… Thank you, Paul Simon.

3. Place: Driving in our car   Song: Everything will change

We have been fans of Gavin Degraw’s music for years.  We have all his albums and we constantly listen to him in the house or while driving.  My husband and kids are huge fans too which makes it super easy to ask Google to play his music at any time. He is our to-go-artist when the four of us are together.  My husband always dreamed of buying a convertible and after saving money for a couple of years we were able to buy one. One beautiful morning, we went for a ride, with the top down, the wind blowing, the sun shining, and Gavin Degraw’s Everything will change playing out loud.  I captured this moment in video and this moment represents fulfillment, joy, happiness, and love. I catch my husband every now and then watching the video with a big smile on his face, holding on to that moment in time in which as a family, we felt whole, we felt connected and we felt loved.  The kids are much older now and although their love for Gavin Degraw and especially this song has not diminished, this moment in time will forever be ours.

I believe in the power of music, on the power of songwriting, from been a teenager and listening to Sublime, to Ruben Blades (of course best ever), to singing Regueton with my oldest son, or reaching for Pearl Jam during traffice time, music plays an important moment in my life. So what about you?  Which are the songs that connect you with that special memory time and time again?

First time traveling solo…

traveling solo

When I was 16 years old my parents offered me the opportunity to go to Bournemouth, England to study English and I happily said yes.  The English course would take 4 weeks and after its completion, I would fly to Rotterdam, where my cousin was currently living, and stay with her for a week or so.  Once I arrived in Rotterdam, I and my cousin started planning out what I could do during the day while she and her husband were at work. She proposed for me to go to Bruges, Belgium for the day by train, my cousin would drop me off at the train station and after a 2-hour train ride, I would arrive at Bruges.  I was anxious about going by myself to a new city, but I felt confident with my improved English skills and felt genuinely excited to go.

I arrived at Bruges train station around 10:00 a.m. It was February so it was cold, although not freezing.  I walked from the Train Station to the City Centre to the Markt guided by the city map my cousin had given me. I walked the Historic Centre and through the channels by the lake. I remember vividly standing at Rozenhoedkaai for what it seems to be a very long time, looking at the water while seating on a bench, with my thoughts overfloating me.  I felt the excitement of being in a new place, of discovering the beauty of this amazing city, the freedom to walk at my pace while taking pictures and enjoying the peace within my silence.

After having a long lunch which consisted of Belgian waffles and a Coca Cola I continued to walk along the water, looking at my map while following my instincts, buying Belgian chocolates and small souvenirs and after eating fries with mayonnaise (European style), I walked back to the train station to find myself back in Rotterdam.  

During the years to come (24 years since then), I have had the opportunity to travel alone many times, Syria, Greece, London, China, among other places.  Always finding the perfect moment in which amazement meets self-enjoyment and happiness shows up, but I always go back to 16-year old me, sitting on the bench looking at the bridge in Bruges, Belgium and I cannot help but smile, knowing its true that old saying… To remember is to live again. 

First Book Review of 2020!

Black and Yellow Quotes Book Literature Facebook Cover

“The Bookshop of Yesterdays” was an incredible read. It was funny, dramatic, sad, insightful, hopeful, romantic, and for the avid reader, an adventure through books and their meaning in our lives.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to have an adventure of self-discovery, forgiveness, resolve, courage and love.

♥♥♥♥ Four hearts out of five!

Additional info as found in Goodreads

Book: The Bookshop of Yesterdays
Author: Amy Meyerson
Published: June 12, 2018
Publisher: Park Row
Genre: Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased in Barnes and Noble

Synopsis

A woman inherits a beloved bookstore and sets forth on a journey of self-discovery in this poignant debut about family, forgiveness and a love of reading. Miranda Brooks grew up in the stacks of her eccentric uncle Billy’s bookstore, solving the inventive scavenger hunts he created just for her. But on Miranda’s twelfth birthday, Billy has a mysterious falling-out with her mother and suddenly disappears from Miranda’s life. She doesn’t hear about him again until sixteen years later when she receives unexpected news: Billy has died and left her Prospero Books, which is teetering on bankruptcy, and one final scavenger hunt. When Miranda returns home to Los Angeles and to Prospero Books–now as its owner–she finds clues that Billy has hidden for her inside novels on the store’s shelves, in locked drawers of his apartment upstairs, in the name of the store itself. Miranda becomes determined to save Prospero Books and to solve Billy’s last scavenger hunt. She soon finds herself drawn into a journey where she meets people from Billy’s past, people whose stories reveal a history that Miranda’s mother has kept hidden–and the terrible secret that tore her family apart. Bighearted and trenchantly observant, The Bookshop of Yesterdays is a love letter to reading and bookstores, and a testament to the healing power of community and how our histories shape who we become.  (Goodreads)