.: Sunlight and brownies :.

Today was planning to go out for a walk but after baking brownies in the kitchen, I’m feeling a bit tired. Probably the heat doesn’t help either (30 degrees in the living room!)
So instead of going out now, just decided to detox in the room.
I’m actually struggling to find a position where I can actually held my notebook and write while the music is playing in the room and you are moving inside me. It smells brownies all over the house, such a delicious dark chocolate smell.
It would be quite tempting to go back to my computer and get distracted with social media… but sometimes we need to disconnect. No e-mails, no flashing notifications, no distractions, just the here and now. Appreciating the warm light that tries to enter the room, the music playing and the dark chocolate smell.
Considering you are just days before coming out, I should be feeling more stressed and anxious, but actually I’m feeling calm and peaceful. Not because I’m not scared (because I am) but because I’m determined to rest and take it easy. You’ll be born when you decide you are ready, so I’m trying to be ready for you as well.
All I did pretty much this year was to let stress take the best out of me. I felt miserable for a long time (something tells me the hormones had a say on it as well), but it felt I wasn’t being me.
I was moaning and complaining every single day and I even ended up crying on my way back home after a shitty day at the office.
Well you know what? That’s not what I want for me and surely not for you either.
Truth to be told I still don’t know what I want to be and what I should be doing career wise, but I do know who I don’t want to become.
I don’t want to let the child in me die, and I hope the creative me will start to wake up again bit by bit. With so many options out there do I how do I know which road to take? All I know for sure is that I want to spend good quality time with you and dad and give you the same childhood memories as the ones I grew up with.
We never had a luxurious life, on the contrary quite a modest one, but looking back we had the luxury of time well spent together. Running in the beach, gathering sea-shells, building castles in the sand. Running in the fields on the back of our house, grabbing lemons below the tree or grabbing fresh oranges on a sunny day. Or maybe a drive to the mountains where we would jump on the rocks and try not to fall into the river (most likely I would end up doing that and getting my feet wet, whereas my sis would jump faster and more skillfully than clumsy me). We didn’t need any more than that.
Not many of my friends who had better houses, better toys and branded clothing can say the same and I don’t remember being that bothered either even as a kid. Because time is priceless so I want to give the same to you.
There is no point in getting fooled by “lady boss” and “women on leadership” and let’s continue to try to grow as high as I can if that means I won’t have enough time for you. I know for a few years now that I don’t want that life, just haven’t figured out what is my middle ground yet. There’s a part of me that hopes you’ll bring clarity into my head and I’ll end up figuring out what’s best for all of us.
Because in the end all I want is afternoons like this, where I’m here with you, relaxing, stretching my feet, feeling free and enjoying the sun through the windows. Because moments like this have no price, they are memories that will stay with me forever.

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.: The cheesecake and the blank page :.

Is there something more liberating than having time for myself and a blank page staring at you? No pressure, no compromises either. It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday or what happens next, just being here now and go with the flow.
If you spend all your life following schedules that you can barely control yourself and rushing against time, isn’t it great when nothing else matters, just enjoying the freedom of every single second? You can stop and just stare outside, you can grab the pen and just follow your own words. So many possibilities left to unfold waiting for you.
This feels something we used to have as kids, this type of freedom of being but as we grow older the world seems to build it’s own special rules on us. Be on time for work, prepare an important meeting, leave on time to reach the doctor appointment or pick the kids from school.
And now, while I’m staring at everyone else around me follow the clock outside I realise this might be one of the last times in a long time I’ll be able to do this. Just me, no one else, not even my own expectations of me. I guess the more the reason for me to enjoy it well. Although I’m not necessarily alone anymore either. You are making sure I don’t forget about you, kicking inside of me (Probably as a reaction to the amazing cheesecake I’m having). It’s hard to believe it’s only a matter of days before we finally meet! That is probably going to be THE moment of my life Because of that I’ve been full of worries in my head: Are you ok? Are you going to reach outside safely? Are you going to be healthy? Am I going to be the Mom you deserve?

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So for now it feels good just to be here: me, you, us. Just enjoying the cheesecake and occupying this once blank page. The world carries on, but for this once I just stop and stare. No distractions (no e-mail, no social medial). That’s right, to make the most of it all I have is pen and paper – and a big window in front of me. I can also stop and just imagine what the other people are doing. There are 2 other people in the room with me, both of them with their own computers. I used to play a game while I was in public transport trying to read people’s minds and creating stories behind their lives. You don’t even notice time goes by. Now I tend to do what everyone else does, which is to stare at stuff on my phone and occasionally read. I miss a bit of the old days, so let’s try to play it again.
The guy on the right and side of the window seems to be a programmer or a web designer doing some work. He looks really quiet actually. He’s probably used to work from places like this, feels somehow better than to work from home. Less lonely I guess, even if you’re not interacting with anyone. Also in London not many people have the luxury of space for an office.
I would probably fancy finding such a job, that would allow me to work from everywhere. Today this lovely cafe, tomorrow maybe sitting in front of the river. That would be quite a creative boost wouldn’t it?
The lady on my left working with a mac I suspect is a creative of some sort. She’s also quite young (not even sure if she’s even 20!). She just ordered another round of coffee. Probably she’s working at a startup in the marketing or fashion industry. She looks the type that could easily be a blogger and actually be working as such (yap, nowadays being a blogger can be a profession as well).
I have a blog too but I use it mostly to share photos and thoughts. Doubt I could ever make a life out of it.
Next to the counter people are chatting and socialising, but my attention keeps getting drawn to these two silently working from different corners of the room.
Would they actually benefit from talking to each other? I suspect so, but that would be awkward for them I guess, because at first glance, aside from both working from the same space they don’t seem to have anything in common. Also I guess in their heads there’s also an invisible cube around them. It doesn’t matter who else is in the room, who comes or goes. The chatter in the counter doesn’t seem to bother them either – I guess the same way it doesn’t bother me either.
Uh…. just realise my cheesecake is almost gone! It’s really good (one can’t resist happy calories, I surely can’t). I wish I could bake like this! Although I’m certainly improving. The brownies we’ve baked over the weekend were really good and my scones tend to make my friends smile (baby I suspect you will like them as well).
Shall we have the last bit of cheesecake? Let’s do it… and that’s it, gone. Now I’m staring at the plate with nostalgia, when the cheesecake was still there. While the last sweet sensation from the cheesecake goes down, you’re kicking (you recognise the sweet taste don’t you?).
I stop to admire the lights in the room as well as my real life telly (I mean the big window) of people coming and going outside. I’m also starting to feel I need a bit of a break because I’m not used to write this long in pen & paper anymore (need to train my hands on that old school process again). While that, I look at the newcomers, a mom and 2 really well behaved kids. They are quietly enjoying their cake and fresh milk. I’m sure our 2 workers are as impressed as me, as probably they thought that they would be disturbed. They haven’t. Although I suspect a bit of distraction would be a good welcome break to whatever they are doing. Ah, guess I was right, as he got up and he’s looking through the window outside. A mini break before getting back to work. Isn’t it amazing how small little breaks can be such a productivity boost? Which reminds me of an interesting paper I wrote back at uni (we were tasked with interview people and explore around the breaks they did at work and how that affected their productivity). I definitely miss writing. But as soon as I would have the pressure to write to meet deadlines that’s it, all the worlds would take holiday from me and vanish somewhere else. So I guess that’s not something I will be doing either. Just stick to blogging when the words come even if no one else reads it.
There’s a newcomer in the room, a nice guy and a dog. Yap, I know, I’m already assuming he’s a nice guy. But you can actually judge people by the way they treat animals. He’s caressing the dog and the dog seems so happy. I’m seriously smiling as it’s such a tender moment happening right in front of me. Mr worker seems to have noticed as well and he’s smiling, while the young lady is still striking back her keyboard completely distracted of what goes around her. I’m happy I’ve noticed and that I’m actually here right now to see it. Dog seems happy and so am I. Happy that I left the house and the distractions to appreciate moments like this.
I have no idea how long I have been here. I didn’t checked time when I arrived and certainly not checking it now either, but it feels time to go for a walk and stretch my legs a little bit.
The luxury of time does indeed wonders . I feel absolutely peaceful and free from any worries. It doesn’t matter what happens next but I’m just happy that I’ve stopped the clock and just came to my once cheesecake and blank page.

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.: More random thoughts :.

If there’s a thought there’s been in my head for a while is how to live more and worry less. We’ve all seen the latest trends: minimalism, declutter, meditation but somehow it seems a lot easier said than done.
I have started meditation back in May and have been doing it daily ever since (I don’t regret it at all). It feels liberating to take 10/15m out of your time to try not to think about anything. Not the past, not the future, just being there and learning to breathe too. A bit later started yoga, which I’m planning to go back into as soon as I have the chance as well.
But, there’s one thing that still bothers me, and that’s the constant worries, that sense I could be doing so much more out of my life than I’m actually doing. That constant sense that somehow I’ve lost the real me, or even worst, that I don’t even know who the real me is. Life for me is changing, for sure, the biggest change of them all and I guess that will force me to look myself in the mirror and try to understand: where next? What is really really important.
Should I carry on my life as it is? Am I feeling fulfilled with what I’m doing? Probably not, but from this moment on I can’t also just leave it all behind be crazy and start something new. Responsibilities and commitments are about to change. But surely, something can still be done. Can I find the right balance and wake up every morning feeling calm knowing that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing?
This must be the billion dollar question that all of us try to answer. The other day I was talking about this with a friend. I was saying that most of us talk a lot of time about work, it tends to be to complain about it. And then there are those, like my sister who talk about their work and feel excitement, feel passion as if they are doing the right job in that moment in time. I take job and commitment way too seriously and it’s really easy to let it control me and take priority over everything else. I miss the days when I used to feel creative and having time to wonder and just enjoy the things around me, without this constant worry to follow me as a shadow.
If you read what I’ve been doing the past few years you’ll easily notice the trend. I know for a while now I need to chance, except I haven’t yet figure out what. So I carry on, with the stuff I know, not daring, not stopping to look around. I still hope that the answer will come magically knocking on my door, but then again I was never one to trust luck. I guess it could help if I focus in what I know I like and move from there, step by step and try to discard everything else I know I don’t enjoy either. Like a brain declutter ultimately. Probably I should try to do one of those spiritual breakaways, which I kinda experienced last year over a long weekend in lake district. It was so beautiful around me, so relaxing, I just felt like walking slowly and enjoy the beauty around me. It made me realise I really need more moments like that, and they shouldn’t resume to just be over the holidays. Somehow I should be ensuring that I have more moments like that continuously during the week. Or maybe I just need to ensure I just relax more and let everything happen. Rather than keep on trying to find solutions let myself relax and let the solutions pop up in my head while I’m doing something I enjoy, let’s say while listening to music and enjoying the sun on my face or just feeling the wind in my face. Maybe and only maybe the key for finding the solution is to stop searching for it. Maybe and only maybe I’ll start to feel the weight on my shoulders reduce and feel that it can be ok to just wait and try to find a way of making each day matter, at my own rhythm, at my own pace. Maybe and only maybe, when I’m least expecting, I’ll discover all the things I’m searching for are just standing here, by my side waiting for me to grab them and hold them.

.: Who do you want to be? :.

“If you could be anyone today who would you choose to be? Would you be doing exactly the same things as right now? Why is this a question we only ask ourselves when something really drastic happens in our life?
What if we stop waiting for the turning point and stop the clock right now. Imagine you have a magic clock in your hand and with the turn of the engine you could be anything? What would you be? Would you be a musician? A bailarina? A creative? For a small group of us out there we would rather say: at this point in time I am what I want to be, no change required. For most of us though, that endless door of possibilities is a fiction book we are only allowed to read once in a while in our dreams. But we barely read it so every time we do it we have to start again. What happens with our lives that we just let go of all possibilities and we no longer there. Someone would point out that it’s part of growing up and having responsibilities, that we can’t have everything.
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Deep inside I feel like Peter Pan and refusing to grow up and still feeling that little star within me that keeps on whispering it’s never to late why don’t you try it out? Then the rational side of me says if that was that easy…Ā  You don’t ever know what you want, so just go back to what you know and stick with it until you’re sure. But will I ever be sure?
When I was a little girl I wanted to be a lawyer because I used to believe I could make a difference to people. That soon disappeared from my mind. Then IĀ  don’t think I had any further wishes and was always wondering what I wanted to be. Used to spend hours writing. Oh I loved writing. Would let my feelings guide my pen and just feeling free. Maybe in those pages I could be a hero and be doing all the things I wouldn’t ever dare to dream. Then I would draw stuff although I don’t think I was that good at it, so went back to writing. At that point I was a teenager and had lots of emotions flowing through my veins. There was this constant search for love. A love I felt it would never come. Had no other wish back then but to be loved. I was quite the classical dramatic and emotional teenager. One day I found love but that was at the same time as growing up. Start to work, pay the bills and follow up routine like everyone else. Throughout the years though I always felt that a part of me was missing. That my creative side had felt into a black hole and ever since I’ve been trying to find it. I know its within me somewhere and I hope that by finding it I’ll finally find the answer to who would I be if I could be anyone tomorrow?”

.: No more waiting :.

So many things left unsaid
So many dreams left undone
And you wait, you keep on waiting for the right time
The right time to say I love you
The right time to say I miss you
But the right time never comes and you wait
You wait for the rain to stop falling
You wait for the sun to shine again
You wait for warmer days
And then it feels you wait for ever
And the opportunity escapes through your fingers
But what if one day you would stop waiting and would open the door and go
If you pack your bag and follow the road you never tried before
What if one day there’s no more excuse to keep on waiting and you’ll just go
And sing in the rain
Cherish that moment when freedom is all you need
And you will run with your bare feet on the water
And you will hug those you love and say it there and then
“Why did I had to wait for so long?”
– Welcome back my old friend, I’m glad we’re all together again!
Suddenly nothing else will matter
Just living, just daring to do
When the dreams become a reality that you can hold
When every moment along the way matters
What are you waiting for?

.: Surrounded… yet alone :.

I wrote a similar post not that long ago here, but this is a topic that is quite close to my heart as this is how I’ve felt most of my life. Yap, while growing up it was hard for me to really connect with people for real, I just couldn’t find easily people that I would relate to, everything seemed so… fake. It was all about pretending, and this was quite before the facebook age. I felt that I could disappear in the middle of the crowd and no one would notice I had vanished – except for my closest family.

It is a powerful feeling that becomes even more real if you live in a big city such as a London. Everyone’s in a hurry, no one cares, no one has time. It’s all about pretending to have a social life, fake conversations that mean nothing, all so fragile. No one cares who you really are except what you are perceived as. If you look someone powerful then people will notice you. As we have more tools to connect we become a lot more selfish, we only care about the me me me.

For a couple of years now I try to care and try to notice with little things such as looking someone in the eye and ask “how are you?” at the supermarket, or wishing a good day at a coffee shop. Normally people smile back to me because they don’t expect to be noticed. In plane english I don’t give a monkey’s if that person is important or not, I practice “the being nice” to everyone – except if they are rude to me. This is why it’s very easy for me to cross the corridor and speak to people and saying hi all the time. Is there something as powerful of being notice and someone honestly caring for your presence?

Here’s a story that happened to me a few years ago (at least twice that I remember). I was feeling very sick in the underground and I was fainting. I managed to get out on one station without even seeing where I was going and throw myself in a seat. I’m sure I was really pale, as I normally get, but do you think anyone noticed? Nop! Not a single person. I woke up on my own with the fresh air on my face and managed to get back into the next underground. More recently I fainted on the train. Yap, I just managed to throw myself on the ground on a crowded train in rush hour. No one asked me if I was ok or if I needed help. Isn’t this a bit sad? Fortunately I was fine and I managed to do everything on my own, but what if this wasn’t the case?

So this is why I could only have a smile on my face when reading this article

The world we live in needs more people like you Jamie!

Any story you would like to share?

.: Lost in Translation – Travel Linkup :.

For those regular travellers out there, I’m sure you’ve felt lost in translation already. Either because you don’t understand the language, or because the culture is so different from yours that suddenly you don’t even know how to behave. For me it means just feeling lost away from your comfort zone which is your home country.

A few stories from my side:

#1 – I miss the train because I didn’t understood German

Yap, I still laugh every time I remember it. But on my first trip to germany ever, I managed to reach the train station and asked which platform my train was getting out from. Once I’ve reached the platform, I knew that my train was supposed to depart at 10h28. The announcement on the board had something like:

Ankufts 10h26
Abfahrt 10h28

I saw a train stopping but I didn’t got in because I though my train was the 2nd one (10h28). As soon as the train left I started laughing because I’ve realised how silly I’ve been! But then again, they don’t make it any easy for non locals! Whereas in UK, for each train they’ll always announce all the stops, in Germany they just announce the next ones or the major stops. So many times you’re not even sure if you’re getting the right train. Really confusing system! And as I’ve learnt, it’s not always on time.

#2 – Feeling sick in a foreign country (Germany story as well)

I had a few ones like this. The first time was on my 2nd or 3rd week working in Germany. Because I was not used to the cold, I got a strong cold and remember feeling so sick in the hotel that I felt absolutely lost. Even if I wanted to go to hospital I wouldn’t even know how to explain myself. I didn’t know who to call, what to say or what to do. I managed to improve enough to get back to UK and then go to the doctor.

Also on the same note, once I’ve reached the office without earing from one side, as I was flying with a cold (for those of you that travel regularly, you know how painful it is to fly with a cold or being clogged in general!). So suddenly I could barely ear a thing. Went to the doctor available in the office, but I guess he couldn’t really express himself in English and to be fair, some of the words I didn’t know either. We managed to communicate with a translator in the middle šŸ˜

I guess lesson learnt is get to know basic medical vocabulary in the country your travelling to, even if it’s just written on a notebook in case you don’t have internet connection and yes avoid flying with colds, nowadays if I get a cold I get an infection on my ears… almost every single time!

To be fair, I don’t really travel outside Europe so I don’t have that many stories to share, except to say you feel powerless when you don’t know the language, the culture or the place itself. But as you get more experience travelling you’ll feel more used to it and learn different ways on how to react if something unexpected happens, like, if you lose your passport (but that’s a different story).

Any story on the topic you would like to share?


			

.: Surrounded by people… yet… alone :.

I think I wrote here already the effect of solitude even if you are surrounded by people all the time. I have had this feeling myself a couple of years ago. That powerful feeling that no one seems to notice you or who you are. No one cares. I think this is a feeling that it’s getting stronger and stronger, enhanced by the modern age of internet. Yes we have facebook and twitter accounts, we e-Exist yet we forget those real relationships, the physical touch (and power) of a hug, of a touching hands.

In recent years I have been trying to take notice of people, I smile, I say hi in the supermarket, I thank people and they seem to smile back, they actually get surprised that someone stopped the running and just said hello I recognize you are a human being and I’m wishing you a good day.

I guess no one would like to end up alone, all of us want to believe that if we would disappear tomorrow someone will notice. Not just our families but also the friends who care about us. Yet… for some people it doesn’t work out.

Again guilty year, but not that long ago I was so focused in my own work, that I was gradually unplugging myself from real life. I barely saw my friends, I barely spoke with my family. It felt I had a social life because I was going out with colleagues (and now friends) from work. But was that for real? Thankfully I live with someone by my side who cares and pushed me back to reality. So did my friends: you can’t carry on like that any longer. And I couldn’t. Thankfully I had them, but what if I didn’t?

A few years ago there was this story of a lady called Joyce. She was only found in her apartment 3 years after her death. So yes it is real. It does happen and it’s striking sad…

I will watch this documentary, if for nothing else, just as a constant reminder that we should not unplug ourselves from live, that we should value every moment with have with the people that matter.

I actually found out this documentary, because it was the inspiration for Steven Wilson‘s new album: Hand cannot erase

Did you had this feeling before? Do you know someone that did?

.: 2014 – Looking backwards :.

Yes it’s that time of the year and even though it’s quite cheesy I do like to look back in terms of what happened this year. Just had a look back into my objectives book (I also had a blog post) – which we write together every 31st December and I have to say I wasn’t very successful. Most of it was to try to spend more time at home, and I haven’t really managed to do that šŸ˜¦ So easy to know what my 2015 goal will be.

I have to say though a lot happened this year. I finally got promoted, I resigned on the same week as I’ve decided that far more important than a career was quality time at home with those we love. I still travel but it’s within the same country and I work a lot less than I used to. So I guess if for nothing else, this year I’ve learned a precious lesson. It may look harder to say yes it’s even harder to say no. A friend told me these words: “Don’t work harder, just work smarter!” and I guess this was a value lesson from 2014!

I’ve also learnt the value of being nice. Smile to people, be polite. I felt better by doing so and realise other people were smiling too. I say “have a good day” so often it’s become part of my vocabulary now, but I really mean it. Sometimes we just need to keep it simple.

It was also quite a foodie year. I’ve been visiting lots of new restaurants in London and Bristol and created my account on Zomato, which has even encouraged me to explore further šŸ™‚ Also, because it’s so easy to get nice food in Bristol I’ve been eating quite a lot of fish and soups again! Yummy! Who would ever say I would miss fish this much?

Books in 2014: 17 /12 – Mission accomplished

Travel – It wasn’t a good start, but I guess I managed to recover pretty well at the end of the year

What was your major moment from 2014? What have you learnt?