I am not sure what my earliest memory is. The first few couple years of my life are collided into a whirlwind of images, sounds and smells, all connected to one tiny house in the countryside. The house where my first memories were created and the house where little sister was born.
One of my earliest memories is of my mother and my aunt, Sandra. I remember how she came over the day before my or my sister’s birthday and helped my mother put up colorful balloons and paper garlands. I guess you could say that I was raised by two mothers, especially the first few years of my life. My father worked as a roadie and his day started when mine was about to end. His sister, Sandra, would come over and help my mother out. They were like sisters, their laughter echoing through that tiny house, as they took care of baby sisters.
There are not clear images I remember. More like flashes of light and sounds, that become reality in the shape of my mothers.
I was six years old when the first love of my life appeared. It stood outside of our new house, a foreign object in a neat neighborhood, all orange and bright. I remember standing on the sidewalk, looking at the van. I figured it was some sort of unnaturally big car, with a high roof and brown curtains, but I loved it the instant I saw it.
I remember the first time I stepped inside the van, surrounded by the smell that was weird and old then, but now one of my favorite scents in the world. When I close my eyes, I can feel the velvet touch of the backseat and the leather feel of the front seats. I can see my six year old self standing on the far tip of my toes, reaching out to the window in the roof, turning the knob to let the fresh Spring air in.
My father bought the van somewhere I do not know and I do not really care. He saw it parked along the road, with a sign that said “For Sale”, turned around and bought the van. I guess he had the picture in his head that would form my childhood; our family in the van, driving towards the beach, towards campsites, towards adventures. During the Summer, we would wake up early every weekend, pack our bags and drive the van towards the beach. We could park the bright orange bus, and sit by the seaside in the sun.
Both my mother and my father love music. I was eleven years old, when my father took me to my first festival. It was new, it was strange, it was scary and it was amazing. I would sit with my three fathers on the grass in front of a stage, watching bands perform and sipping from my godfather’s beer and making faces at the horribly bitter taste of it. I remember how bad my sunburns were that year and how my godfather would pick the skin from my bright red shoulders and nose. There are pictures of how we wrapped my other godfather in toilet paper and of my father and me sitting back to back amongst festival visitors.
In the many years that followed, my family and me would visit many concerts and festivals. Always together, being incredibly loud and unbelievably loved. We would cram ourselves into my godfather’s tiny car, and drive towards Amsterdam or Utrecht or Antwerp, pit-stopping at fast food restaurants along the road. My godfather and I would sing along with songs playing on the radio, at which my sister and my mother would roll their eyes at us. I began to love how my shoes sticked to the beer covered floors of music venues and how my bones would follow the thumping of the beats.
My most happiest and most beautiful memories are those of my family at festivals. It is our tradition and it means the world to me. Dancing barefoot in the grass, eating spare-ribs in the sun, waiting in line for the showers and welcoming cold, cold rain after days of warmth.