Freedom

I had a flashback today. I was running by the sea, when I saw two small children run ahead from their parents with the most exhilarated look on their faces. It made me reflect on the following:

When we are little we dream about freedom. We dream about running ahead by ourselves in the street or to the sea’s edge; feeling the wind on our faces without having to hold on to Mum or Dad’s hand. We are not afraid of any consequences and we want to discover everything by ourselves.

Later, when this dream becomes reality, we turn it into a nightmare. We complain about everything, blaming other people, “my past” or “what I’m like”.

Running in the street or by the sea becomes a way to burn calories, while our accelerated minds don’t allow us to enjoy the hidden pleasure of finally being ‘free’…

Sunset-at-Sea

Which interpretation works best?

As a historian, I have always been fascinated by different interpretations of the past. In my ‘wild’ postmodern phase I came to argue that facts did not exist.

Of course, every fact is subject to an interpretation. How the “fact” is assimilated or communicated, is subjective. All history and life itself then become a story. The question is, which story do we want to tell?

Last Thursday I went to an incredible workshop, “El Color de Cristal” (The Colour of Crystal) by Alberto Ortega. In a series of entertaining dynamics we saw how one event can be interpreted in an entirely different way, depending on who is experiencing it.

The inevitable question was asked. If everything is subject to interpretation, how do I know what “the truth” is?

Whatever works for you. If a positive interpretation of you, your life, and those around you brings you health, happiness and joy (to name a few possibilities), would it be worth reviewing your concept of “truth?”

This is not to suggest ignoring things that don’t work in you, in your life…or in your business. Sometimes the best way to discover what you want is by recognizing everything that you don’t –being brutally honest with yourself.

If you can do this without beating yourself up; with a conviction that this moment is as good as any to be the person you want to be – or to do what you want to do… you are suddenly free to choose.

In the same way that history, apart from fulfilling people’s curiosity, is a magnificent tool.  A tool to see who we, human beings, want to be as a species… from this moment on…

No Man’s Land

A week without my passport. I was waiting for the renewed one to come through the post. I couldn’t fly back to Spain until it arrived. I had a strange sense of being suspended between two countries and two lives.

Here in the UK I don’t have a flat or a car. I spend time with family, I have business meetings, and I meet friends. I admire the gorgeous countryside in this mostly mild autumn, and I spend double the money I would in Spain.

This doesn’t feel like home any more and yet, I have more vivid memories than ever over here. Every multi-colored autumn tree and bright green field jolts something within me. Every crunchy leaf I step on transports me back to a time when I had little legs and learnt about the world.

Blog_Autumn-Image (1)

My aim is to see all this through fresh eyes, and create a new place for myself here. Not a place based on memories that haunt me – good and bad – but a place that is part of my now and my future. When I return to Spain, I would like to do the same. Life is based on change, and clinging on to sentimental creations can be dangerous.

It’s time to actually live in and accept the moment – wherever that may be –  and be the person I want to be…. A hundred times more cheerful than the person in my passport photo!  😛

Coming Soon: The Heat in Seville

The afternoon sun is omnipresent. The blanket has been thrown off my bed. I can almost smell those evenings when I dive outside into a pool of heat.

The Sevillanos ask me “Conoces Sevilla en agosto?” (Have you ever lived through an August in Seville?) Never mind that this will be my fourth consecutive summer here, I think what they mean to say is, “How can someone so pale and English aguantar (put up with) such heat?”

I am a typical guiri. I love the sun and I solve the ‘heat problem’ with flip-flops, short skirts, sun cream, swimming pools, beach and air-conditioning…However, I must admit, the sleepless nights, heavy head and inability to go for a run until late at night, do get to me.

Before, I was worse. When I was on Erasmus I got stopped by a policeman while I was sunbathing.  I was in my bikini by the river in August, eyes closed, and suddenly I hear, “Rubia, rubia, te has puesto crema??!!” (Blonde girl, have you put sun cream on??)…

How embarrassing! I can safely say I have never done that again, and partly of course, because I’m now a little older and wiser ;).

I digress…The heat will be here by next week. I would like to take this opportunity to think, while I am still able to do so clearly. I would like to reflect, and to consider my plans and aims for the next few months before they slip away in front of my eyes. I would like to be aware that I am living, and not just merely alive. So, hold on please 40 degrees days, I’m not quite there yet.

Reasons to miss the UK

This post is dedicated to one of my best friends, Noah, who has recently accused me of being “the least patriotic person” he knows…

The Greenery! It’s lush, it’s fresh, it’s beautiful. The English countryside is a pure delight. You somehow feel like there’s always a cow watching over you…

British banter! Otherwise known as a sarcastic exchange of loving insults. It’s never quite the same in another country. 😦

The Pubs! The atmosphere of a local English pub is unique. Pub food, beer, pool, music, and if you’re lucky, a nice pub garden to sit out and drink Pimms in. 🙂

Fresh milk! Ooh yes, it’s nothing, I mean nothing, like the carton stuff. A cup of tea’s never the same abroad. Talking of that:

The Tea solution! No matter how bad it gets, it can always be solved – or at least made better – with a ‘nice cuppa tea’…

Customer Service! In the UK the customer is ALWAYS right. (Well nearly always…)

The Seasons! Those “falling autumn leaves” and “swaying daffodils” primary school poems will always hold a special place in my heart…

Walking in the rain with no umbrella! In Spain I just get called loca :S

London! Enough said.

Family and Friends! Get out the violins, because they’re what I miss most about the UK, hands down.

If you can think of anymore, please add to the list :).

El tiempo vuela…like a Ryanair plane? Let’s hope not!

“Dee de le dee de dee de deee. You’ve arrived at another on-time flight”. YES, we’re alive. Everyone claps. Just a few more minutes until we can escape the dirty, bright yellow seats, and the claustrophobia of a typical ryanair (‘reeyanair’ at Sevilla airport…) ‘experience’…

The Spaniards talk loudly about llegando a casita, la comida de mamá y el frío que hace en Inglaterra, whilst the English mutter quietly about tapas, sangría and ‘getting a tan’.

Both are relieved to arrive, forgetting that nearly a WHOLE day has been lost travelling¡¡Qué ganas de llegar!! It’s a day that’s frequently ‘gone’ for us ‘guiris’ and for Spaniards who live abroad.

But when we wish time away it flies faster than a plane from London to Sevilla. In Spain there’s always something to ‘look forward to’. In the next few months: Semana Santa, La Fería de Sevilla, later el horario intensivo… It is great, however, it often gives me the sense that el tiempo vuela.

In England this year, it will be the same: Easter, the Queen’s Jubilee, the Olympics… Every time I hop on to a plane, it’ll be close to some sort of fecha importante…

So, the next time I am on a flight, I am going to take a deep breath and not wish it away. I am going to try to appreciate every single day for what it is, and not always looking forward to ‘the next thing’. It is an enormous challenge, but I would really like to think that time CAN be a beautiful, galloping horse, and not, as it sometimes becomes, a tacky, accelerated ryanair plane…