Dear Catariya,

Today is your 26th birthday (happy birthday!!) and in a way, it also marks our 10 year anniversary as friends.

Cata at fiket playing UNO

I will never forget the day I asked about your last name and it turned out that your cousin was my first love.

It took me 2½ years to get over him and despite the fact that I might still be slightly messed up because of how things ended with him, I look back and see how that extreme heartbreak was necessary because it led me to one of the biggest loves of my life – you.

Cata and Neil at Fiket

We haven’t always seen eye to eye on things in the past, like the whole Neil / Dave situation / soap opera that happened in high school…

But despite our differences and despite both of us being incredibly stubborn, we managed to find our way back to each other and we had a lot of fun during that whole process.

We went to Prague, not once, but twice!

Mia and Cata on Prague trip

Cata and Dave Prague trip

Neil and Cata Prague trip

Cata and Dave on the boat in Prague

(as you can see there – neil / dave / neil / dave haha)

We spent a lot of our time studying at fiket and generally having a typical teenage high school life with parties like IB awards (I love how you still wear that red lipstick!)

Cata and Dave at IB awards

Prom nights at the Hilton

Dave and Cata at prom

Cata at prom

And crazy trips going skiing in the alps, mini breaks in London and graduation party holiday in Barcelona

Mia and Cata - Girls night out in Barcelona, dinner at seafood place

Cata and Orsi - Girls night out in Barcelona getting drunk & dancing

Cata hung over in Barcelona

Orsi and Cata very hung over in Barcelona (you in my Nina Simone tee!)

You were the one who convinced me to move to London in 2005 and not take a gap year. I will never forget arriving at Kings Cross and walking around the corner by Scala to catch a cab.

I’m scared to think about how my life would have turned out if you wouldn’t have given me courage and that extra push I needed to move here and follow my dreams.

The three years we spent at university were pretty strange and we kind of drifted apart, even though we met up once in a while.

Remember making sushi in my disgusting & tiny halls of residence and getting absolutely TRASHED at the bar we had there on like Martini and £1 shots in the bar?

Cata making Sushi at halls

Cata at James Leicester Halls

I was always a bit jealous of the new friends that you made during our uni years. Not because I wasn’t making friends, but because it felt like they completely stole you away from me. And even though I made new friends, none were ever as good as you & the IB crew…

I’m sure you have lots of great memories from your uni years, I found this picture of you from one of your uni parties (not sure when it was or where, but its the only one I have of you that I didn’t take).

Cata at some UCL party

I will never forget the drunken argument we had at Cargo when Ina was visiting us. You know… that time when all my frustration and anger and sadness about us and our friendship just came out.

I think that was a turning point in our friendship because you made me a promise that night that you would change and try to be a better friend, and you really kept that promise ever since.

So we both started making more efforts to see each other and do things together.

Like that one day festival we went to in Finsbury Park

Cata and Orsi at Finsbury Park

Uni graduation celebrations

Dave Martin and Cata at UCL unofficial mini graduation party

Cata and Orsi at UCL unofficial mini graduation party

Eurovision nights

Dave and Cata Eurovision

Cata and Dave Schlager

Birthdays (yours and mine)

Cata Dave Orsi - Orsi 24th Bday

Neil and Cata - Joint 24th Bday

Cata - Orsi's Harry Potter themed 25th bday

Random Fika catch ups or drinks or meals whenever we could fit it in

Catch up din dins with Cata

Not to mention the fantastic BBQs at Russell Avenue

Cata first BBQ

Cata and Orsi first BBQ

Cata deep in thought about life at second BBQ

Cata smiling at second BBQ

We’ve survived several awkward boy incidents, totally fucked up living incidents with insane landlords and flats burning down, stressful job situations, tight budget and no money periods, depression, illness, loneliness – you name it, we did it and we made it!

We even survived a damn half marathon together!!

Cata and Orsi Amsterdam Half Marathon

I can’t thank you enough for being my friend because I know that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for you.

It hasn’t always been easy for us, but our friendship has been tested and survived so many things during these past 10 years.

It has grown, evolved and matured, and I know with confidence and love that no matter what happens in my life, you will be there for me, just like I will be there for you.

So a big happy birthday again on your very special day!

I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you as my best friend.

Love you

Hello my friends!

Since last time I checked in I managed to acquire some additional bling in my incredibly small but growing collection of medals.

You see, I wanted to go on holiday with my mum and grandma to a nice, relaxing and warm place, mainly since I had too many holiday days left that I couldn’t take over to my next working year. But also because I am (and was) too poor to pay for a holiday on my own. However, due to the increasingly bad situation with my stomach and the hardcore diet & supplement regime I had to start, I was advised not to travel anywhere.

In the very very last minute I decided to travel home to Sweden so I could cheer on my Run Dem Crew friends who were running the Copenhagen Half Marathon and to take a mini holiday at home so I could get help and support from my mum with this very difficult transition in my life. Little did I know that I would get a text 5 minutes after I had arrived by my friend Cory, telling me that I had a free place in the race the next morning if I was up for it.

At first I wasn’t sure what to say. It’s no secret I haven’t really been the happiest as of late and this mindset has sadly affected my training for the Amsterdam Half Marathon. So I wasn’t sure if my legs would be able to cope with 13,1 miles! But my mum said to go for it since she had never seen me run, so I figured why not. I wasn’t going to miss out on running in one of my favourite cities on earth with some of the best people in my life. Plus, it would be the first time in my life that my mum would see me run, an opportunity I couldn’t refuse either.

I find it pretty funny when people seem to think I run races all the time. I wish it was the case, but this half marathon was my 3rd EVER race in my life. I actually cried a little at some point during the run, because I was thinking about how incredibly shit I’ve been feeling for a while now and how disappointed I was with certain aspects of my life, and no matter how hard I worked and tried, they never seemed to get any better.

Yet I was here, running this half marathon on a 12 hour notice from the evening before, my 2nd ever half marathon and 3rd ever race, and I was doing it. Hell, I even got so bored of my slow speed that I pretty much sprinted between the 18th & 21st KM – We are all about sprint finish at RDC!

This run really helped me put some things in perspective, even if the full effect (mentally) of it would come a week later. It felt so incredibly amazing to be and run (!!) with Cory, Shameek, Darkz & Maya in Copenhagen because I have so many great memories from that city and this half marathon is now at the top that list. I can’t thank the NBRO crew enough for inviting us over, for the awesome t-shirt and of course, for the beer! I can’t wait to see you all and run with you in Amsterdam.

But, the week that followed this run was pretty much a combination of heaven and hell. The hardcore diet to heal my stomach isn’t the easiest and the supplements are not the nicest. And with my great luck, I reacted badly to them without knowing that I was, which resulted in extreme bloating all around (not just my stomach) spots on my face, weird cuts and cold sores on my mouth, mood swings and some other not-much-fun things.

I tried to write a post about how I was feeling but nothing would come out. I mean to be fair, I have been trying to write several posts about how I’ve feeling for a while now, but it just didn’t feel right because it just felt like I was complaining and whining, and maybe my problems and the way I felt were not as bad as they appeared to be to myself. But I realise now that waking up for weeks on end, just wanting to cry because I didn’t want to face the day ahead, is definitely not a good way to feel!

But during that run and during the week when I finally allowed myself to relax a little without feeling guilty about it, it all slowly became clear  to me and I finally understood what I had to do to get myself out of the miserable state I was finding myself in.

And that was simply to not give up on myself and what I had set out to achieve.

Truth be told, it was making me extremely depressed that I had given up and sacrificed so many things in my life for no noticeable benefit at all – not health wise, not money wise, not spiritual wise – nothing.

I was giving my all but it wasn’t enough, and I just felt lost and disappointed. Then I started spending the majority of my very little pay check to (hopefully) sort out this illness I’ve had with my stomach for a good 20 years now, but when that didn’t seem to work either I just lost it.

I don’t expect people to understand how hard it is to live the way I have to do at the moment, and for a while, I was pissed off that once again I was the one who had to bite the sour apple and make all these sacrifices in my life.

And as much as I was dreading coming back to London after my holiday, I realised that I shouldn’t be angry or upset or disappointed about my situation and most importantly, I shouldn’t put myself for feeling that life difficult at the moment, it doesn’t mean that I am weak.

Instead of focusing on all the negative things in my life like feeling extremely lonely working from home, still feeling fat & unhappy about my appearance, being extremely short on money, not really be able to go out due to the restrictive diet, I need to focus on the positive, or at least try to put a positive twist on all the negative aspects.

And whenever in doubt, I need to remind myself of all the fantastic achievements from this year so far, and just have enough faith in myself to know that when I put my mind to something, I can achieve pretty much anything. If I need proof, I just have to look at my medals & pictures from this year, and not forget about all the people I have somehow  managed to inspire to run and become active.

I know for a fact that not many people would have it in them to do what I am doing at the moment, not because I’m better but because it really is so damn difficult and it puts an incredible strain on so many aspects of life.

But I know now that I will get through this and I’m gonna do it with a sprint finish ;)