31 de desembre 2014

a primera vista - at first sight

I am not a person who accepts impulsiveness, I can understand it because it is in the culture I grew up with, but I objectively think it doesn't lead anywhere. 
However, there is a kind of impulsiveness I can carry out of intuition. It comes from a warm place in my solar plexus and I know it is right. It is the one full of love, the:

"At first sight"

I read a statement about friendship at first sight and made it mine. It is more realistic than love at first sight, I guess. Still love, without the driven component, toch?

My first experience of love or friendship at first sight was my best friend. I had never experienced that. Our story is beautiful, full of dreams and it started in a breakthrough moment, when we were detaching from childhood, trying to find ourselves. She moved into the neighbourhood as the new kid but I didn't want to meet her. My extremely unloyal, unfaithful and hurting "boyfriend" had her already on her to-do list. I didn't think it was fair to interfere. Yep, I was that considerate. I only took a glimpse of her while walking past a bar and I thought she was worth falling for. She had something special, as much self-esteem as an 18-year-old could hold, I thought she was more worth than I. He didn't deserve her, but  who was I to try to stop it. He had slept with friends of mine in the past. Some it hurt a lot, because I had to remeasure my concept of friendship. And some of the random girls he asked out I felt offended, because I really thought I was more worth than them. But not the new kid. She was really cool to look at, so I didn't want to be friends with her and I just let things take its normal course without being a possessive or jealous person. That is, I let my "boyfriend" be a restless cheater and try his luck on her and I didn't want to be friends because then I had to tell her what and a*hole he was. 
A total different story to figure out why I thought I deserved that 'man' in my life.

But my barrio is not that big, I did see him courting her a couple of times near my street, taking her for a walk on a gorgeous big avenue with a church and banana trees. And as she made friends with my clique, we did end up meeting each other. I've never asked her what background information she had from me, I will ask her some day. I remember we were sitting on a couch, at a friend's place. Me feeling quite uncomfortable. I started kneading one of my friend's backs and she asked me to give her a little rub on the shoulders. She used to have a strict training schedule as a swimmer. I did and she told me something I will never forget: "it felt like you grabbed my muscles one by one and untied them" - and it felt like that. I had never felt that energy, of touching someone and feeling almost like I was touching my own body. 
We have been together since. I left my "boyfriend", for her. It was a funny story. We sort of dumped him together and it felt great to get rid of him and have her in my life. 
It was the best decision I (we) ever made. I love Bego so much as it felt part of me. My better half. We don't look alike at all but even my sister says we seem sisters. Everyone thinks we are sisters. Well, in a way, we ARE sisters. I am sure in a previous life we shared some blood line. 

When the feeling is so strong, the "at first sight" feels so right it is amazing. It is quite like the sugary description people do when they say they found their soulmate. It hits you, and you know you've found someone for life. 

A few days ago I had a friend, another soulmate visit me. We had our "at first sight" a few years ago in a food court in Auckland. It was pretty much so. I did follow my intuition and left her a note at the bar she worked at, telling her what I felt. I left her my number. and she called me back!
I have spent priceless moments with her. I could read instantly her good nature and her amazing positive energy that can fill a football stadium.That dash of naivety with that bit of naughtiness gets me all the time. And I feel I can trust her anything and she won't judge me, neither will I. We can laugh at the world or feel the connection of God, everything goes. And we are utterly out of our minds, and celebrating it!
I love every moment I spend with her. We talked about the first day we met. We remember it well. I was a client like any other, but we got the vibe. That vibe. Funnily I was on a date that day. I was feeling very insecure with that guy (the anger to realise I have a built in radar for generic a*holes), but she made me feel good and positive.

Of course there has to be a black sheep. There was once this thunderbolt-lightining right-here-right-now I felt one unfortunate evening on flat 5, nr21. Desire at first sight, which dragged on for about 10 years. The main subject of my future book called: "progressive dark". Years believing in a fantasy to learn that there is no-one more precious than yourself and your journey, the one you travel within. And those amazing persons you let into your life and you want to travel with, as long as the journey allows it. 

ON a post-post note I just had a talk to my best friend, she contacted me just as I was about to finish this post. And I had the chance to tell her again how much she means for me. Best tears the one you shed of happiness. 
Ah, my whanau, my chosen family. My Sydney mad family, my kiwi whanau! the Amsterdam unique ex-pat bunch, all those freak-like-me in Germany I need not talk to understand, because we speak the same language(s). My German parents, my relatives in Regensburg. The ones I grew up with in Barcelona, colló, el rerafons cultural i educatiu que compartim! Sergi, company de reflexions i confidències... And my family of blood, my alpha and omega. 


21 d’octubre 2014

A European European

As much as I love the Southern Hemisphere there is no other continent I identify more with than Europe.

And as much as many (mostly Dutch friends) shake their head in disbelief, there is no country I feel second (or even later first) at home than Germany.

So, langsam lerne ich die deutsche Sprache wieder, I recover my rusty and never supereloquent_but_nevertheless_correct German. Can't beat this language. It is compact and precise. It rocks and I am glad I can get to practise it, to enjoy speaking and listening to it again. Yep, I am a German enthusiast as much as I am an NZ enthusiast.

I bought an Interrail Pass that has so far made it from Amsterdam to Regensburg, München, Mannheim, Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Bad Vilbel and it is still on the way to Paris with its final destination to Barcelona, the city that saw me first. It is a very nice feeling to travel around on trains. Specially when taking the German ICE high speed super silent trains that rock you to sleep. True story.

I have managed to catch up with a lot of people. Some we didn't manage timewise and some we managed to arrange a short-sweet and cheery improptu breakfast/beer. Danke Steffi, danke Patrick!. Usually people who have lived abroad understand that often touring one's homeland has little to do with doing holidays. It becomes very  important to share the gift of real flesh_and_blood presence and interaction with people. Maybe is a certain sydrome of the permanent migrant. You don't identify with a country as much as you identify with people you share life views and experiences with.

I am delighted that all is still so sentimentally charged. There's this thing... Whenever I travel I hardly ever get an airport farewell or a welcome commitee. But everytime I step an airport there are these people waiting for others and meeting, hugging, celebrating: friends, family, lovers...
Hence, if I arrive to a Bahnhof and if a friend or friends are receiving me I sob without  exception. I understand those arms are for me and I dive in them to wipe my ecstatic tears on their hearts. The love I experience for a brief moment is so big it cures the little wounds their absence did on me. I know it is cheesy, but it feels quite like that.

As much as I love Australia for its sun, its colour, food, wildlife, people, quality of life and uniqueness, Europeans have all the character any new country lacks. I am a European European. Born in Barcelona, raised everywhere.

07 d’octubre 2014

least self reflective trip

I am a bit sadly returned of my trip. That Fernweh...

I love now though when people ask me: are you now going back home? I really have to ask: back home where? It is hard to inhabitate the planet in different areas. Home Amsterdam where I have my apartment? Home Barcelona where I have my family? or home Sydney where I have my heart?
The trip was amazing and very educative. Least self reflective because having a smartphone around spoils all moments of sweet solitude, of writing impressions and of feeling far from your last destination. I think I will continue travelling 90s style. As awesome as it is having all the answers ready, there is a more elaborate way to find them that involves more communication, research and high head keeping.

This trip to a less known area also made me reinfoce the fact that if you've grown up whithin a reality and haven't experienced others you will try to understand things from your available resources. Regarding current affairs within the Middle East nobody we met seemed to carry any hate nor understand much of what was going on without involving many different factors. They all agreed it involved complex political interests. Of course as travellers you get to feel attracted to people with a broader view. Meaning, we'll never get to meet people with radical views. 
Bego, my best friend and travelling partner and I have written some highlights down of our trip.

We left on a Saturday morning from Paris. As we do, we woke up late and waited until last minute to make our way to the airport. And we almost didn't make it. Not because of the public transport, but because there was a fire in the basement of our building and the firemen didn't want us to set foot on street level, which was sealed. It took some running desperately on the same spot and backpack showing before they let us made our way to the metro.
We were surely late and the lady at the customs queue was making things harder. We had 7 minutes before gate closing and a big queue in front of us so I showed the lady the boarding pass and asked her if she could pretty please let us through. A typical charming Parisienne, that lady answered in her lowest grin and loudest voice: "Madame, toute le monde a le
même probleme ici". Ah, we love Parisians!

So there for starters. We took off late and arrived to our first destination: Beirut. In Beirut we were held apart and questioned. We learned later on the trip that we had been super lucky not to have mentioned our trip further to Israel, otherwise we'd still be at the airport answering questions.
I managed not to get too cocky or sarcastic with immigration authorities. Yay to me!

Episode 1 will be Lebanese anecdotes. And there is unfortunately a little bit of a misventure there.

13 de setembre 2014

time warping

I have just taken a dose of melatonin and while waiting for it to kick in, here they go: first Amsterdam impressions.
Once landed the language and the place suddenly became familiar. My first stop at the Schiphol airport was at the Etos. For what? Zoute drop. That impossibly salty snoep I am so addicted to. I filled a modest bag (I don't know my limits when it comes to dropjes) and laughed on the way into the train station because that move was so predictable and so... Dutch. 
zoute drop
Soon the language becomes familiar: "bonnetje bij?" - nee hoor, bedankt - into the culture without a blink.

First thing I realised is how fancy the OV chipkaart has become. It glitters! And the metro system is now very first world. Very nice for the hearing impaired. Each station called comes with a picture of the area, so you can recognise where you are. 

I rush through my street, the Vrolikstraat, and giggle again while going up the impossibly steep stairs of my Amsterdam house. I live now in the attic= zolder. And it is gorgeous. Alex would kill me. He left it spotless and I have managed to turn it into a war zone in a few hours. but now I have all I need in reach.

Because Europe has decent internet and not that shame of a connection from Down Under I have videoconferenced every  conversation I've been able to carry. Great to see people.
My bike was still upstairs and the tyres were flat so I had to walk to the shops, walk, grrrr. Got myself a 6 pack of Grolsh and started cracking beers. And worked to make me tired. I love the peace of my neighbourhood, but today they were cleaning  the playground downstairs with pressure hoses and I didn't get a proper sleep. Shame... I was so ready to take THE nap.

Vrolikstraat playground being cleaned

The first person I've seen in Amsterdam was Jay. He was at work (Ticketscript) which was a bike ride away. I really wanted to take the bike out and hadn't seen Jay in maybe 4 years, so, off we went. We met through one of my closest friends in Amsterdam, Annalisa. Annalisa, like I, quit coporate life and unlike me she became a talented photographer. Jay has been taking pictures of the party scene for a long time and has quite a name in the field. I remember he helped Annalisa for a project in the use of light and movement in darkness. And they used me as a model. 
This is some of Jay's work:

The ticketscript office is on an artificial half island off centraal. The views are amazing and the terrace a dream. Sorry I made it late. Would have been nice to catch up with the rest of the team.
We walked together to centraal and I asked him to take us a picture. This one is for Annalisa. And it has a wish: next time we'll meet the three of us. Love you sweetie. See you soon. 

Amsterdam day 1. We miss Annalisa

Before going to bed I biked through the Dappermarkt. Did I say it  feels amazing to bike through Amsterdam? Everyone is out of your way, because on the bike you are a supreme being. The bike paths are so broad, life is easy, it's just soooo nice!!! 

Checked also to see if Pats was home, but she's already moved next door. Caught up shortly with her and saw the new place. What a nice apartment! What a big terrace! Congratulations! Her two cats Ukki and Pebbles were spending the first night in the new apartment. I had the chance to cuddle brave Ukki. Pebs was a bit under the weather. 

And then Pats told me Lala is back on the streets. My Lala. Something to look forward to tomorrow.

I had another videoconference to wish Bego good night on the same time zone. She laughed at me trying to figure out how to operate my fairphone. 
Night  from A'dam.