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…

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Spanish Hooligans

They exist! I found them. Not at a football match, club or on a dark street but… at a Beatles tribute gig! And they weren’t rowdy youths, canis (chavs), or scary motorbike men but… two well-dressed, overweight men in their sixties…

They weren’t drinking beer but gin tonic after gin tonic (not caring about the ‘brand’ of gin and tonic that’s de moda now of course…).

Instead of chanting football songs they knew EVERY WORD to every single Beatles song played, and they threateningly demanded more.

Their equivalent to “Come the F on!” was “¡VAMOS QUE NOS VAMOS!” – cried out between every tune…

Instead of throwing beer cans, one of them climbed onto the stage to hug the base player – a super fan, until… they found out that the group didn’t know how to play ‘Michelle’ (Rubber Soul album).

At this point all hell broke loose. The two men began chanting “MICHELLE, MICHELLE” at the tops of their voices and proceeded to sing the WHOLE song, while the poor group (who by the way, are amazing) carried on their show.

Y para colmo, their ‘likeness’ to English hooligans ‘relieving themselves’ in bottles of water, was to just NOT GO to the toilet the WHOLE BLIMIN’ night (excuse my inner hooligan) from the sound check (8.30pm) to the end of the show (1:30am)….

Lucky Eleanor Rigby. 

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.

Words and tears fade away

Perhaps because it’s raining in Sevilla: Today it occurred to me that words and tears have a lot in common. Both can be scarce, powerful and loaded with meaning. On the other hand they can be abundant, corrupt and meaningless.

Words and tears may sometimes flow as continuously and generously as the pouring rain. Yet, they lose all substance when they hit concrete ground, only to eventually evaporate. Even words and tears that break out in a potent storm will not remain visible over time. Mostly, they just simply fade away…

Partly inspired by this song:

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…