2014-2015

I’m not the kind of person who says “I wish this year ended soon” because that “ended” means nothing in itself. What is ongoing, it´s still ongoing a day later when 2015 arrives. What ended the previous day it is already in the past, whether the number of the year changes or not.

So I am not going to tell you the story of 2014 but the continuation of stories, the new stories and stories that ended, and that happened to have taken place in 2014.

To start somewhere,  I’m going to talk about the building of my physical place in the world. This is a story that began in 2013, took place in 2014 and most likely will take place in 2015. No one knows when it will end.

I will be brief because you are going to read the whole story when I publish my novel “how to build a house and not die while trying”.

By way of example. In February the roof that got fixed in July 2013 leaked and I had to make a choice between redoing it or using a geomembrane. In August this year the geomembrane that I used in February failed and I had to make a choice between redoing it or using a water proofing product on it. And now I´ve applied this product that I´m sure will present a new decision making situation again, who knows when. And when that happens, I´ll chose to make a huge garden instead of a room and place a gazebo in the middle. Problem solved.

This brief story tells the story of so many other things I had to do, redo, undo, and do again. And like María la paz, la paz, la paz (1) one step forward and two backwards, I didn´t finish anything. Pending kitchen, rooms, hall, front of the house. “Pending” is the key word

(1) María la paz is a game played by the kids in Bailén, Spain. They accompanied the rhymes with actions so they went a step forward, two backwards, to the sides, as the song was giving them directions.

I spent the summer “traveling”. Traveling between Villa Luro, Once and Barracas (2) mainly. I developed patience. And people were patient with me. Mainly the person who I stayed with during this time who had to deal with a tired Ellen at times, desolated at times, depressed at times, on the verge of a nervous breakdown at times. People who spent with me most of their hours, that is, my coworkers who had to deal with a tired, devastated, depressed, on the verge of a nervous breakdown me and they had to count up to 100 not send me to hell  on more than one occasion. My friends also had to “suffer” me that summer. In the end, all my environment had to be patient while I was learning to develop patience.

(2) Villa Luro, Once and Barracas are the names of neighborhoods

Forever grateful. Without my support net I would have not survived.

Some beautiful things of the summer: my mornings of brisk walking in Plaza España, in front of the apartment where I was living and my moments of meditation after walking. I can talk about the funny things that happened between my host and moi, two independent women who are used to living alone and don’t have to share space with anyone who surprisingly didn´t “murder” each other.

The same summer I wanted to find a way to get paid without having to go to work and I went to see a psychiatrist, since it is the right profession to determine that a person is stressed and needs rest. And I didn´t have to lie. I had more than one sign of stress. But it turns out that this psychiatrist determined that I wasn’t stressed if not depressed so I went from looking for some days off to having to deal with a depression that was a more serious problem.   I rolled up my sleeves and worked on a solution. Oh more work in my life, I wanted less and now I had more. I started to see a a psychologist who turned out to be so talkative that I ended up knowing more of her life that she about mine. And after three months of therapy, I concluded that it was not what I needed and I had to find another way.

The summer ended and not only did I not get rid of my stress but also couldn´t guess where my depression came from. Ellen proposes and life disposes. I couldn´t find the source and stoped searching. Or the search was temporarily on hold, who knows. But this story of psychiatrist and psychologist is one of those that started and finished in 2014

When summer ended tiredness was beating me so I came to live in my house, no kitchen, no connected gas, without bedroom except for the small room upstairs, I came to live to my little house against all good sense that said “is not necessary to go through this type of hardship”. but I had to chose between what tired me less.

Summer went by and it was followed by autumn which in turn was followed by winter. not much more happened, until it happened.

Nothing changes until something moves. Sometimes it is a tiny pebble that slides a micron pulling down a mountain. And no matter what the pebble represents, what matters is that a pebble slid and a mountain came down . It doesn’t matter if the year began or ended. If next year it will continue slipping. Or not. Causing movements. Or not. But whatever happens, it has nothing to do with changing the number of the year.

And I began to let go, let go. I let go my house and put it on sale. Let go my job and used those hours minding my own business. I let go people who didn´t want to be in my life. I let go old habits that I kept out of pure habit. I let go obligations which didn’t make sense anymore. i let go of objects that I didn´t need in my house. I let go some dreams that were there just because I once had dreamed them. I let go of some bad memories. I let go some guilt that was stored in my brain. . I let go. And I cried a lot.

And after the winter, spring came. I blew my nose and moved on, already lighter because I had let go things. Suddenly I had the urge to see the sea. I didn´t know how much I missed it until I walked by the shore, until I sat down to see the waves braking, until I smelled the salt mixed with sand, until I heard the sound of the ocean, so powerful. And I thought a lot. And I felt a lot. So many things. I wanted more escapades  and I went to a lagoon. I wanted to see what it was beyond my own nose and I contacted -through a workshop- with representatives of different cultures that expanded my horizon. I wanted to prepare myself to tackle a project that excites me and as part of it I attended a course in teaching Spanish for foreigners. And I also gave me the pleasure of attending a photography workshop in which I basically was looking for inspiration since my camera had been stored for so long that it had become already noticeable as to receive a mail asking me why I wasn´t taking pictures and if I was feeling ok!

And all that put me in touch with people who bring to your life new emotions, new ideas, new adventures and other things that we cannot predict. Again we go back to the pebble. We don’t know where it can roll, how much it can roll or what it can move.

And the summer followed spring. Again.

And here I am. These days?  Working on my smile. And this is both metaphorical and literal, ask the dentist!I am also planning the final stage of the work in my house. Also daydreaming again about traveling. Writing my novel (to build a house  without dying). Reading a novel. Going swimming.. Going out with my camera since I am again in a “Photo Hunt” which is a game in which one has to find certain objects at a certain time to then swap them with other “hunters”. Spending some time in my hammock. Sharing moments with friends. This is my everyday life. The little things. The tangible. The intangible.

In other words. This is life. Not always great things if not a lot of small things that together are generally larger than a single great thing.  This is the one thing that philosophers called “life”.. And for once I agree with philosophers. That´s why I don´t want that “it´were Friday” and “the year ends” or “this week goes by soon”. Because with the arrival of Friday, the rapid passing of the weeks, the year, it is your life that passes quickly . Very fast. What I want is longer days, as long as they were when a kid, when being an adult was something so so far, when the year 2000 was the future in which cars were flying and people wore costumes that looked like astronauts. Those long days. I´d like to feel that I am living every minute and not a few minutes every now and then.

Although this change of number of the year doesn´t change anything I think it is good time – now that some have been reading this far and since I’m a qualified typist – to thank all of you that are part of my life to be present in one way or another. Despite being a loner I enjoy sharing my days with you, my friends.

It is my wish for everyone to find that something that makes you happy regardless of the year month week day or time in which you find it. And most of all, live. With capital letters. Wanting. With illusion. With desire. Live.

Note: the original was written in Spanish and I´m a lousy translator so please forgive me if I sound “funny” at times. I included two aclaratory notes too since the things I mention don´t make sense unless you live here

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Summer tops

A simple action such as folding my summer tops to” put them at rest”  till next summer has triggered some thoughts:

Why do I have so many tops and I always wear five or six of them?
Why do I keep those I don´t wear at all or rarely wear?

I guess that the answer to the first question is that some of them don´t fit me anymore. I´ve gained weight in the past two years and just now I realize that it was not a pound or two. The answer to the second question is that I always think that I´ll wear them next summer.

???????????????????????????????

Then, another thought popped up: how is it that I didn´t realize that I´ve been gaining weight? At the top of my head, I´ve been so preoccupied, worried, anguished, sad, that I barely looked myself at the mirror or paid attention to the signs. When I start to feel there is some stability something else happens. The latest is the robbery. I´m not fully recovered yet.

This chain of thought leads me to another bunch of questions, not totally related. What can I do to make it all better? Where will I put my clothes when I move?

The first question has no easy answer. I don´t know where to start. I used to live a very hectic life and now I feel I´m just stuck in a routine that I don´t like. It´s not just about the pounds I´ve gained, that is a collateral damage. It´s about not having energy, being tired most of the time. A doctor I´m seeing says that if I were a book, it´d be about stress. Losing parents, friends, job at risk, moving, mourning. Where do I start?

The second question is easier. I have to plan where and what type of closet I can get in my new place. One of the things about old houses here is that there is space but there is not at the same time. Funny. I´ll have to live with the one I have right now at the beginning and pile up the boxes with clothes next to it. A good opportunity to get rid of everything I don´t wear.

The first question brought another one: where do I start to make it all better? What would be the “baby steps” I need to take? I don´t expect an answer from you, I´m just thinking aloud. But if you happen to have an idea, it´s welcome.

Now I´m worried about going through the pants and skirts. What sort of questions can they trigger?

Three hours a month

I have three personal hours a month that I don`t have to justify at all. All I have to do is to schedule them in advance. Today, the last day of the month, I decided to make use of them. I had a meeting outside the office and I told my boss that I wanted to take the rest of the day off, if it was possible. I knew it was short notice but I really didn´t feel like coming back to my desk.

The meeting was in a new working site and part of what I had to do was to make sure that the space assigned for the servers was adequate. It was also a good excuse to take pictures.

offices

the place from outside

But I cannot help myself and I ended up taking pictures nobody asked for!

outdoor bathrooms LOL

I had no real plan after the meeting. All I knew was that I needed to be out of the office, maybe pretend that I didn`t work at all and that I managed my own time. Maybe to feel a small sense of freedom.

I walked around and ended up in a very nice restaurant. I chose a table outside and I just sat there watching the passerbies, playing that game that sometimes I play while on a bus or subway that consists of making up stories about the people I see.

ice cream man reflected on a window with balloons

Could it be that the ice cream man resigned his CEO position and chose to sell happiness to kids? Maybe his wife filed for divorce thinking he was crazy or maybe she insisted on him following his dream and now she makes homemade ice cream for him to sell. Who knows?

After my delicious lunch, ravioli with a basil sauce, I went for a short walk and sat on a bench. This time very curious about a tree with very peculiar leaves. Or not peculiar but for some reason I found them particularly interesting.

I came back home feeling invigorated. Maybe all I needed was to be away for a while, to have my three hours of freedom.

(sorry for my ramblings)

Repeat after me

parrot

” After a Sunday comes Saturday, after a Sunday comes Saturday, after a Sunday comes Saturday …”

Because today is a second Saturday for me since it´s a long weekend here!!! (Carnival Holidays).

Have a great start of the week!!!

Good morning dear rain

from my balcony

It´s been a very hot summer with temperatures that have reached the limit of the bearable. I see my useless A/C on the wall, laughing at me, daring me to fix the electrical problem that affects my rented apartment. But that´s another story.

In a summer like this, rain is a blessing. Today I woke up to a rainy morning and I couldn´t be happier. I sat in my balcony under the roof and spent a long time just watching the rain, enjoying the quietness of a Sunday morning, listening to the sound of the drops falling on the rail, on the few plants I have.

It was a good start of the day.

I wish you all have a good start of the day and an enjoyable Sunday!