Vows of Love

  1. I promise to not be so harsh on you. I know sometimes I go blind to your efforts and how much you’re trying day to day. You deserve some good love at the end of the day and not a reproval look across the mirror.
  2. I promise to love you how you are, love handles, insecurities, dark circles under the eyes, frizzy hair on winter and spontaneous tears every time you watch movies in airplanes included. You’re great just like that and I couldn’t be happier to share my whole life with someone else rather than you.
  3. I promise to let you choose more often. To stop pushing society’s point of view, the pressure to make money or the fear of failure on every step of the way.
  4. I promise to let you follow your heart and together find/be with that who deserves our craziness. We’re happy enough both together but I’ve noticed you like holding hands, cuddling and breakfasts in couple on weekend mornings… So let’s share that with the right person.
  5. I promise to stop judging you for your bad days, weeks or months. You can’t always be all smiles and that is okay.
  6. I promise to let you stay in more often. No need to go out to that dinner if you don’t feel like it or to clubbing on a Saturday night. Some time with a book and a cup of tea is much needed every once in a while.
  7. I promise to stop making you remember the past. You’ve made such a good job moving on, sorry for sometimes just bringing it all up and making you a ball of tears and nostalgia.
  8. I promise to try to push you out of your pride/ego a bit more often. Come on, send that message, give that call, make that person cookies or just go out for a coffee… Let’s not lose great company to great pride, giving the first step says nothing but good things of you.
  9. I promise to let you sing your lungs out to Adele or T. Swift on a blue Tuesday night without judging you. No questions asked, no reasons needed. Just let it all out.
  10. I promise to do more stupid decisions… That you might regret later. Living is not only about the home runs but also about the striked and fouls, we might learn something at the end or just wake up with a huge moral hangover.
  11. I promise to let you wander around without destination. Travel, discover, make friends that will last for a day but that will give you dope life advice. Fly away and leave, go to a new place, repeat. Be free.
  12. I promise to take care of your heart. There’s nothing more vulnerable than that and still I know how you hand it out to those that look in the need of some love. How many times did it end up broken or messed up? And how many rejected? I know you regret none but it’s time to start living a bit less recklessly.
  13. I promise to fill your life with verses, music and colors. Feed your mind and soul, give you tunes to dance at random moments when you think no one’s dancing and enough material to turn over a grey day to a parade.
  14. I promise to go to the gym a bit more often, not so much about appearance but to keep you healthy and pumped up for whatever challenge pops up into your brain next.
  15. I also promise to eat healthier…. But also never forget to treat yourself every once or twice in a while.

    I guess you figured out to whom this love vows are, and I feel it’s so important to sometimes remember to be nice to yourself. Throughout many ups anf downs I’ve found out we can be our own worst enemy and it’s so terrible to have someone dragging you down all day, every day. No, no, no… 

    Probably I could think of more but I’m on s bus on my way to the south and I’m getting a bit dizy from staring at the screen… Shame on me making myself dizzy. 

    16. I promise to be more conscious about my car sickness in long rides.

    Have a beautiful weekend and treat yo’self. I for sure will!!! 

    Four Days in Vienna

    “Slow down you crazy child”, I listen to this song in 13 Going on 30 while tearing up because Matt will marry and Jenna couldn’t do anything about it. After the movie is over it doesn’t only leave me the strong believe that at 30 I will be flirting and thriving and a happy ending that adds up to my hopeless romanticism but also an obsession with a new song.

    It seems written directly for me; mentioning my anxiousness and fear for the future “If you’re so smart tell me why are you still so afraid”, and also pointing out my tendency of wanting to do everything today, now: You’ve got so much to do and only so many hours in a day. Of course, it also gives me a solution to everything, the answer to the big question:

    “When will you realize Vienna waits for you?”

    That’s all it took for me to become fixated that someday, somehow I had to visit that city in Europe, a continent that seem like a platonic love back then at 12.

    I would love to say that my love for Vienna was ignited by it’s history, it’s music and artists… but no. I learned about all those months and years later and even though they were great points I must be honest with all of you. Vienna was stuck in my head long before I became a fan of Gustav Klimt’s mastering of the gold foil.

    And well, Vienna waited for me and contrary to what’s expected of a love based on ideas, pictures and others’ opinions when the encounter became reality there was no disappointment but the affirmation that dream cities do exist and Vienna is one of them.

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    New Beginnings

    Pack all you have learned (no, not those college lectures), pack the falls and the healings, the ups and the downs. Wrap carefully those bonds that grew not with the years but by coffees, shared books and conversations till sunrise. Don’t forget the person you’ve built during these years and tie to it the good wishes of those who love you and want nothing but the best for you.

    Don’t put in your carry-on those kisses that had no end and left you breathless and thirsty, they could try to take a them away saying you can’t bring with you dangerous weapons. Fill your bottle with energy and desires to begin again. Leave the photo albums behind, they’re extra weight, better take all the memories and a bit more of space for new ones. 

    Hey! Wait! Don’t even dare to leave without the keys to your future, your power and right of deciding what to do next, and all those dreams you’ve had since you were 10. Is there’s still more space in your luggage? There better be, because we’re still missing your mom’s recipes to cure a brokenheart and the smell of your favorite coffee shop.

    Take all the hugs and smiles in case of nostalgia. Bring your home inside you so you don’t get cold. Remember you always have somewhere to go back but pretend you forgot the address because right now is time to just move forward. Make sure you have your global visa because there’s no frontier or wall to keep you away from your goals. Just keep your eyes forward and your heart strong.

    You might be heading on your own right now but you’re never alone. The stars look upon you and the wind blows your sails. Where are you going? That’s right: NO IDEA. But wherever you end, that’s the right place to grow roots or maybe just charge up your batteries before the next flight. Don’t be afraid to do something wrong, because there’s no one that has lived your life before so whatever you do it’s the best someone will ever do.

    Run! This is the last call!

    Fight 103, Destination: New Beginnings

    Be Nice to Your(self) Art

    As you may notice I’m not writing much lately and here between us I must confess I’m not painting much either. Partly is due to that I’m a bit busy and heavily tired in the nights due to Dragon Boat training (my inspiration comes late at night and lately by 11:30pm I’m already sleeping). I believed these two were the only reasons but after having some time to think and analyze what was going on I got to another conclusion.

    Some months ago I had the opportunity to participate in my first exhibition here in Taiwan. I have to say it was an honor and a great opportunity to meet two great artists but it also changed me for bad (and now for good)… Let me explain myself better:

    The month before this event I spent several sleepless nights preparing some paintings to show in the exhibition. I didn’t have much done that I could consider “exhibition worth it” (first mistake right here) so there was lots of work to do. I love to do small scale drawings and paintings, as a matter of fact most of my works are the size of a notebook page… well most of my works are in one of the thousand sketchbooks I love to collect. The thing is that when I thought of something “exhibition worth it” I thought of BIG canvas and fancy acrylics, not all those sketchbook pages filled with colors of any source (including coffee stains, pens I asked from anyone sitting close enough to me during lectures, pencils I randomly found in my bookbag , etc)

    So… sleepless nights, acrylics, canvas, blah blah… after all these the big day came and I was so nervous. Somehow I felt I, as an artist, was not worth it for any of this. I looked at the paintings hanging there and thought of a better shade of purple for the petals of the tulip, wanted to grab a marker and finish the details of one of the leaves in a better way, and regretted adding ink to the face of the girl… People came and congratulated me about such great works and while I was smiling, deep inside me I just wanted to run away and go back to my room and read a nice book and drink a cup of tea.

    How could I feel in such way in such a big day? How could I be so ungrateful?

    To top all of this I received two comments from one person (someone I’m pretty sure has never even touched a paintbrush or combined two shades of oranges to reach THE color for the sunset) that just sunk me more into all this aggravating battle inside my head. Till today I’m not sure if it was the remarks on their own or the tone that human being used to make such remarks but ohh how they hurt…

    “You need to change your signature. Ericka Bastias is too long… think of Picasso for example… he’s just Picasso. There are just few exceptions like Pinto Rodezno here who can make it work” So… now even my “artistic name” was wrong. Thanks. First of all, is not even my artistic name, it’s just my name. I decided to sign every single piece of work: letters, poems, paintings with Ericka Bastias as a way of honoring my mother who was my first motivation to start painting. Second, I keep the Ericka because it has been the name I have heard all my life and in that way it can be clear that behind all that you see there’s a girl, woman, female. After signing more than 200 works with my name here comes a stranger telling me how not “artsy and professional” it is and how I’m of course not an exception that can make it work.

    This comment just made me feel uncomfortable, it didn’t really affect me because I have pretty clear reasons for my signature and I love them and it. But the next one did kill my soul a bit, not because it was a direct critic to my art but because it just pinpointed something I was lacking and something I’m probably still “lacking”

    “So… I just want to make sure because someone asked me and I didn’t know what to answer. What is your style? I just see so many things put up together… and I don’t know. It doesn’t seem like you have your own style.”

    Yeah, the person was actually right. If you saw my four works you saw pretty different things: small works, big works, pencil, acrylic, ink, flowers, faces and anatomy… there was even one CIRCULAR canva in all that space of squared pieces.

    I stare back blankly with no answer at all… and then just say “Well… I guess I’m still looking for it”

    After those two days I kept on thinking to myself “So what it’s your style?” “What do you like painting?” “WHO ARE YOU?” and I couldn’t really answer that. I went through all my sketchbooks and saw dark drawings with sad stories, colorful flowers and animals, love and loneliness, sharp details and crazy scribbles, drawings that took me minutes and others days…. such a mess.

    I felt lost and disappointed because at this point I thought I knew what I was going on about. What is my art? What am I trying to say to the world? 

    After thinking and thinking I convinced myself that: EUREKA! I have found it! I found my style and now I’m going to start a collection with it and some day show it… It was going quite well. I was using the ink I so much love and still implementing bright colors in the background, I was drawing women and some flowers too… Yes, this was it, this is me…

    Soon enough I was getting bored of having to follow this collection. I HAD to do at least eight of them and I HAD to do them in ink and I HAD to think of a color for their background and I HAD to look through thousands of women faces to get right some features. They were looking good but what was I saying through them? Was I sad? Was I happy? Had my heart just been broken? Or was I feeling empty? Because this was sure looking empty to me..

    And there I went again sitting with all my sketchbooks piled in front of me and I started browsing them again… I did found the same mess I found months ago but I also found something else: I found the time I failed my first quiz ever in my first week of university (with an 18 of 100 by the way, go big or go home they say), I found the time I stayed up until 4am because I wanted to do something nice before going to sleep one typical Tuesday night, I found my broken heart and myself completely in love, I also found one of the many times I recalled my mother because of a small thing and had no other way of getting it out than through art, and when I get bored in lectures and just run far far away without leaving my chair…

    I found myself in all these different faces with all these different feelings just trying to let it out and scream to the world “THIS IS WHO I AM” without being taken to the police because of disrupting public areas with my screams. I wanted to share a piece of me with everyone without needing to get a piece back.

    And that’s exactly who I am… a woman (I’m 21 now so I’m not consider a girl anymore in any country, damn it) who’s trying to just express herself without talking but still saying a lot. Someone who takes a notebook with her and closes herself up when surrounded by all this meaningless and empty noise. Someone who indeed is a mess and can’t define herself inside a “artistic style”.

    Art is something I do for myself. Art is the time I close up all my walls and at the same time let it all out to share with others. Art is all this tiny moments I want to remember forever. Art is all these persons, places and memories that have built me up and changed me. Art is… art is something way beyond what you can see in front of your eyes but what you get to feel through it and for it.

    So… if being an artist is about big canvas, having a proper signature and having a defined style… let me keep being a not-artist with all her sketches, her counless incomplete notebooks and way too many feelings to fit hanging in a fancy saloon.

    -Ericka Bastías.

    PS: To celebrate my own art freedom I bought myself two new black pens and two sketchbooks… 

    PPS: Even though this post might seem like the person who made those remarks is THE enemy… I must tell you that my biggest enemy was no one else but myself. These past months I must accept I was quite harsh on myself and this is something I know happens to a lot of us. So remember: be your best friend, you have to live with yourself… forever. 

    PPPS: Now it’s all about drinking tea and waiting for inspiration to take me back in its loving arms… 

    Nostalgia for Her

    28c4411cddb61af9740f61a11d6c60d6.jpgnostalgia (noun): a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past.

    I wake up at 4:00am in the morning by the voice of my elder sister, as soon as I see her red face and her puffy eyes I know something is wrong, very very wrong. Her lips open but words don’t come out right at the moment, I stare blankly and think about the worst… Thing is I was wrong, what came out of her mouth was THE worst. 

    “Mom is not with us anymore”

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    Share the Light

    65321202I’ve been quite busy lately. I’m finally sort of done with (almost) all of my tough courses in university so I got overexcited about having a tiny spec of free time and decided to join every possible extracurricular activity I had interest in. This took me back to my high school years when my mom would be exasperated by the amount of things I got myself into and would ask me “Do you really need to do all this!?” and I would go “But but… MOOOM”. The funny thing about now is that I have no one to keep track of my activities so I just went all out. For this same reason I have not found much time to paint or write blogs, though now I’m keeping a mini journal (nothing interesting really, just me babbling whatever is in my mind)

    Aside from the fact of trying to keep myself together during the week and enjoying  my (still sort of busy) weekends, everything has been sweet. All though now I understand one of the reasons my mom got so stressed about me and my everything activities… THEY-REQUIRE-SO-MUCH-MONEY. I’m literally broke as I can get right now… but it’s okay. Who needs money… haha… or stability, right?

    So now, let’s get down to what I was thinking to write about…

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    South East Asia Taught Me…

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    Rice field at Hoi An

    Where to start from? First of all, I don’t want to bore you with the itinerary of my 35 day journey throughout South East Asia since you can find that in lots of blogs and travel websites around the Internet. So, let’s keep it simple and I will try to do my best to make your time reading this entry worth it (or at least entertaining).

    I won’t deny it has been one of the coolest things I’ve dared to do in my life and also accept I was missing my bed by day 10. Travelling has become one of my favorite things to do since I moved to Taiwan but it was the first time I left home for so long with not much planned and just 7.42 kilos (that ended up being almost 10) in a backpack. So yeah, I was everything but ready for all that happenned and more than a couple of times I thought to myself “Why am I even here doing this?” but now I can tell you this from the bottom of my heart: it was all worth it. As every experience this trip was full of lessons, so this is what I will share (today) about my trip.

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    Halong Bay

    Get your tickets, solve the rest later. Before leaving to this trip I had lots of issues, especially with my passport, that lead me to think I would end up staying home for the winterbreak. Thanks God (and my amazing

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    TukTuk friend in Phnom Penh

    family) all this was solved on time… then I realized my savings were not going to make it, so again I found myself in an existencial crisis… but then again, I was saved (this time by art). The thing is, that once you have your tickets you’re already one step out of the country, if any of these problems would have happenned and I didn’t have my tickets I would’ve probably stayed at home thinking there was no possible solution.

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    Hanoi Airport 4:00am

    Every place is good enough to sleep if you are tired (or creative) enough. When you have really early flights and all the accommodation or transport to the airport goes way out of the budget spending a night in the airport is not such a bad idea… okay, actually it’s the worst idea you can come up with but it happens from time to time. I have to say though that Phuket airport is way more comfortable than Hanoi’s. Oh, and also: any commutting time can be nap time. By the end of this trip Laura and I could sleep in anything that moved: cars, buses, airplanes, ferries… you name it.

    Cheap might end up being not so cheap. With this I’m not meaning that by buying cheap food or cheap things it might end up being something of bad quality… all the contrary. In Vietnam I had so much cheap food (Bahn Mis I miss you) that I ended up eating 4 or 5 times a day just because IT WAS TOO CHEAP. A delicious sandwich for 1 dollar? GIVE ME FIVE. Oh, this pair of shorts are just 2 dollars? I want them all! By the end of Vietnam I spent almost a third more than what I expected… So I would recommend a bit of self control in these situations. (I would do it again, though)

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    BahnMi from BahnMi Queen, Hoi An

    You might want to save your adventurous crazy stories for when you’re safe back at home. While in South East Asia I reported myself daily with my family. Even though they sort of had no choice but to let me go on this trip, I am pretty sure if I had told them we walked with Laura through desolated streets at 2:00 am, they would have come all the way from Honduras to bring me home themselves. So, every day I showed them the pretty pictures, told them the nice stories, and insisted on Skypping once I was back in Taipei to give them full detail about the trip.

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    Hanoi Streets at 2:00am

    Food is risky but yummy. I’ve been preparing myself for this type of food my whole life. I am not sure if I had told you, but I’m a street food lover… Once I made my mom take me to some (dubious) delicious hot dogs that were sold from 10pm onwards in the corner in front of one of the apartments I lived in back in Honduras and since then I’ve always tried anything I feel like eating. Baleadas from the market, pupusas from street carts, french fries sold in downtown, plantain chips with every sauce and salad you can think of, dumplings, danbings and fried onion pancakes from any source, etc etc. Now in South East Asia I didn’t stop to consider the risk of food poisoning and tried all the food that my tummy asked for. I am proud to say I survived through it all and I am back with nothing but good memories of all my cravings. Though of course, I recognized I was lucky since I know lots of people who have suffered from food poisoning and others, so be careful.

    Traveling spontaneously is not for everyone. Throughout the trip we met lots of people who travelled spontaneously, they woke up and decided they wanted to leave to the next city (or country) and so they did… free as the wind. We had Vietnam and Cambodia sort of well-planned so we didn’t have the chance to try this travelstyle until Thailand and… it didn’t work at all for us. We got stuck in Bangkok for more time than what we would have liked to, we couldn’t find the train we wanted to take, we ended up having one more airport night than planned, and so on… so yeah, it’s not a travelstyle everyone can have.

    Pictures lie. Have you seen the pictures people (including me) post at these amazing places that look empty with no other tourists? Well, most of them are just taken in a PERFECT PRECISE moment… tourist are EVERYWHERE (including me).

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    The REAL Angkor Wat

    Talk to strangers, befriend strangers. During all this trip I met many awesome people. I’ve learned so much from them, even when they were not trying to teach me anything at all… but just talking with them and seeing the world in a way I’ve never seen it before (through their eyes) was enough to move something inside me. I will go further on this in another entry since I believe they should have their own entry… but yeah, we were never alone and it was always fun. From our first night out in Hanoi, to drinking cheap beer and talking about friends of them we don’t know at all, to laughing about nothing in the darkness of the dorm room, to having “a big brother” on a club, and having a family breakfast in a morning on a small town. They just made everything better.

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    Sunrise at Banyon Temple, Siem Reap

    Sometimes the must see’s can be skipped, SOMETIMES. It happenned a couple of times we quitted the must see’s to try something different and every time it was worth it. Of course, the must see’s are must see for a reason but sometimes, just sometimes… it is good to take a rest. After having a crowded sunrise in the dunes of Mui Ne we decided to go to a different place rather than Angkor Wat for the sunrise and it was perfect, quiet and peaceful. We also stopped the temple tourism after a couple in Thailand and changed them for good conversations in the hostel’s lobby. And have you heard about the beauty of Hoi An in the night? Well, it is even more beautiful at 7am when just a couple of locals are up and around and the streets are peaceful and with enough space to dance around without bumping anyone.

    Music is necessary. I try to quit Spotify for this vacation break… what was I thinking with bus rides of 7+ hours?!

    Sunrises and sunsets are a thing. Normally sunsets make me feel nostalgic, I don’t really know why but I just end up feeling a bit blue inside. Anyways, they’re also great for inspiration and to make a close up of chapters. The sunrises I got to watch where in really espectacular places (in the Sand Dunes and the temples), but still I think my favorite sun-moment of the trip was in a bus entering to Cambodia. I was trying to fall asleep when I noticed all these crazy colors in the sky and the orange sun setting behind the mountains. I had no other option than to wake up the Argentinan sitting next to me since it was not possible he would lose such an amazing sky show.

    The small things, it’s all about the small things. Have you ever felt the softness of your towel against your body while it dries you up? Probably not… but after using a microfiber towel for more than 2 weeks that was a real experience. Lowe bunk bed?! Wow, I must be the luckiest today. Hot shower after a long day? The nirvana. A fruit smoothie under the killer sun, sitting down under a tree after walking for kilometers, having free water at a hostel, Thai food with the right amount of spicyness, having WiFi with decent speed to load a video or making a call…. oh, the difference these things make.


    HAHA, STYLE, WHAT IS THAT?!
    I confess I lost my hair comb before the third week of this trip, didn’t take any make up or accessories, and by the end of this trip as long as I had showered I was already good to go. Looks, hairstyle, matching clothes… there’s no space in my backpack for all that.

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    All the patterns, black leather and don’t dare forget the flip flops, of course.

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    The Bombfire of Deep Conversations, Pai

    Everyone has a story or something interesting to say. At some point I was tired of all the “Where do you come from? Where have you been? Where are you going to next?”, but what comes after that is so worth it. I had deeper conversations with people I cannot even recall their names (or that didn’t even tell me their names) than with people I’ve known for years. I talked with someone about our dreams and goals, one man told us his story of superation all the way from jail to being a master graduate, other told me about his family and way of seeing life, one girl gave us fashion classes, and with other I spent at least half an hour talking about food. Talks about death, fears, life, love, meaning, the past, the future, estability, society, politics, history, literature… and all these with perfect strangers.

    History class is nothing. Okay, I did learn a lot in history class and I had good teachers but… how come I didn’t learn almost nothing about the war in Vietnam? Why did I learn NOTHING about the genocide in Cambodia? This are really important events in history, so many lives lost, countries totally destroyed. Of course, this is also one of the amazing things about travelling you get to learn the history, step on the same places, feel it… but still I’m still surprised and disappointed of the small coverage that is given to those countries that are not in the mainstream spotlight (even today it’s still the same).

    There is no age limit. Travelling I saw and met people I can say they could be my grandmas or grandpas, and there they were exploring, discovering and amazing themselves just as I was (probably with a better hotel and a bigger budget but it is still tiring). For example, in the boat we stayed one night around Halong Bay, the last one standing dancing all night long was a grandpa who had just ONE dance move and there he went all night long dancing through disco, to rock, to pop and techno.

    Invest in moments, experiences, memories, all the rest is secondary. Even though I regret (a bit) not buying a GoPro and a Kindle before this trip… It also proved to me how the money invested in experiences like this one is so much worth it than the other I’ve used for material acquisitions. After travelling around with one single backpack and being able to survive from it all this time I come back home and look at my closet and all the stuff in my room and it really makes me think how much of all this I really need. I accept I wouldn’t be able to live as a backpacker forever, but at least this trip openned my eyes a bit more to the person I am being during my routine. All this buying, consuming, trying to fill spaces with things that I don’t even need… 

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    Dancing at 7am, Hoi An

    Finally, this trip helped to the biggest lesson I’m learning throughout these years: LIVE THE MOMENT. I know it sounds like a cliché and it might be, but it’s also one of the best things we can learn to do. Hakuna Matata life a bit, forget about what might happen or

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    Koh Phi Phi

    could have happenned, leave the worries behind and breathe the
    present. It will take me a while or maybe a whole lifetime to stop being an overthinker tiny human being but meanwhile that change takes over me I will keep on enjoying and exploring this amazing place called Earth and also this universe I was given upon birth: myself.

    So, yeah! South East Asia trip was AWESOME! I will keep on posting about it for a while (hope you can keep up with me and I won’tannoy you… too much) Have a nice day and leave your comments or thoughts in the comments! Meanwhile I will go to the laundry to dry my covers and read Pedro Páramo. Oh routine,  sweet routine…