Desde el año pasado he estado trabajando en un gran defecto mío: soy una acumuladora. Ropa, zapatos, libros, materiales de pintura, lápices, cuadernos vacíos y cajas de cosas que no tienen palabra para ser clasificadas más que: basura. Poco a poco he estado reduciendo mis pertenencias y he dicho unos cuantos adiós con mucha duda pero todos, incluyendo estos, llegan al alivio de sentirme un poco más ligera sin tener que sacrificar el postre. Con o sin estas cosas, el día de mañana aún seré feliz, aún tendré mis manos para dibujar, aún tendré a los seres que amo y me aman y aún seré Ericka. Nada de que preocuparse… sí algo realmente necesario se va entre todo eso que estoy botando podré encontrarlo en alguna tienda, en Amazon o la dark web.
Personal note: I wrote this entry listening to Blood Bank – Bon Iver on repeat, if you feel like listening you’re welcomed to.
Have you ever stared at your ceiling blankly while thinking about all the possible turns and outcomes of life? The “what if’s” climbing inside your brain and a big question mark written on your forehead. If there’s something I’ve learned from reading poetry is that there’s nothing I’ve felt or lived that someone else hasn’t felt or survived before. So at least right now, while I’m blankly staring at my ceiling with Bon Iver playing on the background I don’t feel so hopeless or alone.
Okay, it sounds pretty deppressing now that I read that first paragraph once more, so let me calm you down and tell you it’s not that bad. There’s just a hole in my brain where the decision-taking expert neurons are supposed to be… they probably flew off to Hawaii when they knew such a big pre-graduation crisis was coming. Those b…ad neurons.
After always being used to knowing what I wanted, right now I shrug away the big questions such as: What are you doing after you graduate? Will you do a masters? Where will you go next? Are you going to stay in Computer Science? Have you thought of doing something totally new? Are you moving back home? etc etc… Sometimes I even smile and jokingly say “I have no idea”, the jokes on me though… cause I really have no idea.
The only thing I’m pretty much clear about is that I’m done with expectations, my own and others’. My university graduation is not only getting my bachelors degree but also the end to the need of thinking that I’m breathing to prove myself smart enough, cool enough, strong enough, mature enough. Because now I know that I’m not smart enough, cool enough, strong enough, mature enough… I’m well beyond that: I’m just right for whatever purpose I’m standing in this planet for… and so are you. So let’s collect all those expectations, tiny “unoffensive” comments that stuck in the back of our brains feeding our insecurities, and that voice whispering all the ‘buts’ to our greatness and let’s throw them away.
I feel like many times we have this constant fear of disappointing others and disappointing our most severe judge: ourselves. So we go on walking each step carefully, taking each decision so seriously, looking over our shoulders for approval because… What if we are wrong? What if we fail? What if at the end we’re not taking the best path? Well I’ll tell you what: you have a tomorrow and a day after that to change that, and if we actually don’t have tomorrow: problems won’t follow us to what comes after “the end”.
All this mess is more than I speaking to you encouraging to live bravely and to not choose right or wrong, the easy way or the tough way, whatever everyone is doing or go against the current… This is me, telling myself to stop being so afraid.
How bad can it be? To just pick that that makes your heart beat faster, that adventure you dream of, that which you can’t take off your head of, yeah… that exact idea/thing/person/place/whatever that makes everyone else think you might be a bit too crazy but you still think about at night when there’s nothing left but you and your thoughts. Because at the end, if we’re wrong at least there won’t be anyone else to blame but “that foolish us from the past”… and that foolish us from the past will thank us back for giving him/her the chance of choosing at least for once… and then maybe say sorry for being so foolish and messing our lives up a bit.
Now, the second issue here is to know what we really really want (I wanna, I wanna, I wanna), which takes us back to the beginning of this mess. Because now that we have decided that we will say goodbye to outside factors, it may happen that we don’t really know… but I’ll tell you a little secret: We always know. Yes, we always know what we want, because we can be a whole mess but if there’s someone that knows how to walk through that mess and get to the center of it all, it is ourselves. So let’s stop looking for the big answer in our ceiling, in that David Bowie thunder shaped cloud, in the lyric of the song we have on repeat for already three days, in the random video that popped up on our Facebook timeline or in others. It might take days or weeks (hopefully not years) before we get that answer out but let’s hope that by then we’re still brave enough to take it.
To close up this tiny mess of an entry, let me quote one of my favorite TV shows, just because when I saw this episode I felt it was talking directly to me and still now from time to time I look back to this quote and keep it as a mini mantra:
“Maybe it’s dumb to look for signs from the universe. Maybe the universe has better things to do. Maybe we don’t need the universe to tell us what we really want. Maybe we already know that, deep down.” -Ted Mosby talking to Robin, How I Met Your Mother Episode: “Something Old”
Step 1: Freak out. Overthink everything. Miss the time when your biggest choice was if you wanted or not queso in your baleada (or cheese in your sandwich for those who don’t understand the baleada culture).
Step 2: Say “go to hell” to all those thoughts. Decide that you will do whatever you really really want.
Step 3: Freak out again because you don’t know what you really really want. Cry in fetal position, if needed.
Step 4: Drink a tea/coffee/beer/six tequila shots/apple juice and realize that all answers will come to you, from inside you… not from any other crazy destiny coded message.
What is the next step though? Sorry… but I haven’t reached it yet. I’m somewhere stucked between step 3 and 4, but I promise that as soon as I get to it I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, I’ll keep on sitting in the coffee shop close to my place writing my mind out and drinking as many Hazelnut Lattes and Passionfruit Green Teas it takes until the big answer comes.
Thanks for reading this, and I hope that if you’re in your pre-graduation crisis, pre-anything crisis or post-anything crisis you feel a bit more understood.
Also, thanks to the coolest Physics teacher ever for keeping up with my mess already for more than a month and reading through this entry as I wrote it… and thanks to all those who have also suffered my suffering when I become insufferable. Thanks to you all I keep thinking this is a pretty time and world to live in.
As 2016 is finishing we have to manage to say goodbye to one part of us. One whole year of experiences, challenges, memories, opportunities, people. As any other cycle it must have its end or it might turn into something harmful to us . So let’s embrace these last days and get ready to whisper goodbye as the fireworks light up the night sky of the first day of 2017.
The task that comes together with beginning a new year is not easy, somehow we have to look through all what has happenned on these 12 months and decide what to keep and what to let go. Of course, we fill up our “luggage” with everything we can but as in any trip there is a maximum weight, so no… You cannot take everything.
So, what are we supposed to take?
Taiwan has been the best experience in my life until now. No doubt. Still I need to accept the journey has not been easy, it has actually been pretty hard. It has lots of ups and downs, and more than a 100 times I have wondered what the hell I am actually doing here… This post is about that: the answer to that question. Why being 14,000+ kms away from home is worth it every centimeter and how every misfortune and mishappening is nothing but a chance, a blessing, a new open door in disguise.
乾杯 to Taiwan, to 蛋餅s and the minutes used in this post instead of studying!~
I left home 2 years, 8 months and 23 days ago. That day I was weeping my heart out, hugging my best friend while he was trying to calm me down by telling me I was going to be back home soon. SOON?! I would think, I am leaving for five years and cannot visit until 2 years later from today. TWO YEARS. At that moment in the airport I was questioning all the set of decisions taken in the past two months. The call in the cellphone telling me the great news about Taiwan and asking me right there in the spot “Do you accept this opportunity?” my shaking voice replying “Yes, yes… of course!” and from that point on it was all a serious rush of events. Documents, shopping, places I wanted to go, a series of farewells, overeating all the food I know I was going to miss (what I did not know was that I was going to miss plantain as soon as I sat down on my first flight… yeah, that was fast.)
I’ve read a couple of times (I would love to say that in some classical books, just to sound sophisticated, literated and cultural, but actually I bet it has been in Tumblr-like pictures, Facebook posts and such) that you have to lose yourself before finding out who you actually are. For me this has been completely true, and in addition to that you have to also be criticised, brought down, fall into pieces… and then when building yourself back up you find out what you are made of.
I would love to say there has been a key moment in my life: a ray of light trespassing the ceiling and bringing with it the answer I have so long needed without knowing. Or maybe a key person: an old man who once told me under an oak tree that I should find the light inside myself before wanting to leave the darkness. But… no. I actually believe I have lost and found myself once and over again along the years and every single time I am totally different. Oh, and not to forget that I will probably lose myself a thousand times more before I shall rest in my grave… hoping every single time to come back to an Ericka ready to keep on walking along. Continue reading
…against concrete and rocks and boom bam BOOOOM… blood.
First of all… HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO THE BLOG! Well, it is not today but it was in February, a couple of days before of Valentine’s when I wrote my first entry while I was in one of Inese’s class which were taught in Latvian so I did not understand anything. Since then it has been a year of writing nonsense but feeling great about it, plus thanks to this blog I’ve gotten to know better more people and all of you have gotten to know me as well. Just in time for this special date someone wrote an inbox to me, she is not my friend, I have never seen her before and I got this amazing inbox in which she told me about reading me and liking it a lot. Her words were so beautiful that made me realize how worth it is to write all these messy thoughts and share them with all of you.
So, thanks to all of you. I am really happy about this small blog and hope to continue it through the pass of months and years.
Recently I was on a trip around Taiwan… on bicycle. It has been one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. The goal was to go around the whole island but on Saturday, pass half of our way I had an accident in the middle of nowhere. Thanks to God no bones were broken but I swear I flew from my bike and for a moment I felt like time stopped and I just thought “This is it”… but it wasn’t pheww.
Now my knee has a hole, or well it had a hole now it is just full of stitches. My right hand is not really useful. My chin has a scar… and I am traumatized after having stitches being made without local anestesia or anything to soothe the pain (yep, that badass I am… ignore the fact that I cried like a baby during the whole process and I was trembling like a chihuahua after that).
The whole point of this is that:
I am thankful for all the wonderful people that exist in this world.
Starting with my adventure buddy Natalia who has been with me through all this mess and now is taking care of me even when our trip ended (because of my fault). We took two rides and three trains to come back to Taipei, the accident happened in the middle of nowhere and it felt like the end of everything, we were rejected from buses and trains since we had our bikes with us, I am pretty much an invalid so I can’t help with anything… and she does not hate me but keeps a strong positive mind.
Let’s continue with the scooter man who stopped in the middle of his way to somewhere just to help two foreigner girls. One almost dying but eating a protein bar because she did not want to faint and the other one having a nervous laughter attack. He called one of his friends to help us get to the police station after seeing that I had no way of gettin back on the bike.
His friend came with his blue truck, and let me in even when there was a high risk of me messing his car seat with blood stains, taking us to the nearest police station which was not that close at all.
Following this hero, we have the two police men and the lady of the police station. They gave me first aid, and then asked us if we had eaten anything. So they shared their lunch with us (the greatest fried rice and sesame noodles I’ve had), made us peanut butter, chocolate and jelly sandwiches for our way back home. Packed lunch for us, gave us cookies, candies and everything they could find in the station that was edible. Then they packed our bikes, and took us to the nearest town.
In Hengchun (the closest town) the police man who drove us there helped us contact SongGe, a guy who has a mini bus and takes people around all the South area. For a minimum fee he was going to take us to the station which was actually really far, but then he decided to take me to the hospital where a doctor healed me really badly (he filled my knee hole with cotton… technically, and told me stitches should be made three days after). While this happenned SongGe was taking a nap on the lobby of the hospital waiting for us. Before taking us to the train station he made a stop and bought us three types of different breads for us to take on our way home since we would get hungry. Oh and on our way he kept on singing and dancing and teaching us Taiwanese. Cool guy, right?
We arrived Kaohsiung in train, since no trains went directly from Fangliao (the station SongGe delivered us to) to Taipei. There we received the terrible news that no train left for Taipei that night and the HighSpeed trains rejected us since they wanted us to take off the wheels of our bikes, fold them (how the hell was I supposed to do that?), and put them inside some fancy bags (that we did not have). Oh, and I was still bleeding during all this time… so I was pretty much weak, stressed, crying, hopeless and planning to stay on a 7/11 convenience store until 10am to wait for a train that would take us… but I decided to bother Maru.
Person #8: I called Maru and in less than an hour she was there… scolding me for not calling her before and taking me to the hospital in Kaohsiung which is a bigger city than Fangliao. In the hospital I had X-rays taken and… No broken bones. Then they tortured me for what seemed to be an eternity but at least my wounds were closed and I had pain killers. We went to sleep to Maru’s house and next day we were on our train to Hsinchu.
5 hours later we were on Hsinchu, taking another 2 hour train to Taipei… and finally back home. Where Jose Mario went to pick us up to the station and helped us take my bike to the store we rent it from while I took a cab home. Oh, by the way… it was Valentine’s! So when they came from the store we decided to celebrate with two pizzas and a movie.
During all this time I walked around through train stations half hopping and half cursing so I decided to leave shame aside and ask on Facebook if anyone in Taipei could lend me crutches. No long after, Aura had already commented offering hers and Irina brougth them to me the day after… in bicycle.
Adding to this I have not been alone in all these two days back home. Natalia is staying with me, Irina has spend all day with me today also, Luisa came to visit and brought me Oreos (I LOVE OREOS), Ari (my roommate) dropped by to say hi and prove with her own eyes that I was still alive, Laura (who also lent us her house while our stay in Tainan during the trip), Adela and Michelle came on the afternoon bringing cheesecake, coffee and a cat
(no, we did not eat the cat)… love, love, so much love. (and food)
And last but not least… the persons who have kept their love and caring coming through phone calls and messages, even when they are far far away, travelling around the world, or somewhere in Taiwan. A thousand million infinites THANK YOUs.
In conclusion, I can’t help to smile for all the love and caring I’ve received during this mess. I hate the fact that I cannot do almost anything on my own but… it is not so bad to be pampered for a little while, I guess.
I am blessed for all this. Still alive. Had an amazing trip even though it finished a bit earlier than expected. With a future pirate scar on my chin. And with hell of a story to tell to my someday to be grandsons and granddaughters.
Oh and of course, with Natalia we are still thinking on finishing the whole island in bicycles… someday.
Meanwhile I will read all the books I have on my list, finish my painting, write on my blog more nonesense, have serious long meetings with Netflix, and jump around in my crutches.
So, see you soon! And for real guys, thanks for being soooo amazing.
PS: Blog entry of the AMAZING trip is coming soon. Wait for it.
First of all: thank you to my Facebook friends who replied to my status. This is for you.
Second: Yeah, I know I have been away from the blog for a bit, but these vacation weeks have been crazy. It was already my second week of vacation and I was STILL going to university to solve some small issues and by the time I was done with that I had to start planning for my bike trip around the island. Adding to that, crazy random “business” meetings with the owner of the future best pizza restaurant in Taipei… when I mean business it is like 40% eating, 30% talking nonsense 20% being mean to each other and 10% actual business talk.
So now, what I come to talk about…
For the ones who don’t know the story behind this post… I posted a status at 12:00am on my Facebook asking my friends “If I should write a post tonight, what should it be about? First comment goes.” (
big mistake) I was actually waiting for something deep. Love, forgiveness, how is my winterbreak going, the most romantic gesture I’ve had, what I believe a prince charming should be like, my plans for a future, etc… But, of course, I did not count with the fact that all my Facebook friends are food junkies. So the comments were the following:
Exactly what you read. Pizza, tamales, mojitos, BBQ, and baleadas.
When I ended up with that list I felt the same way a competitor in Master Chef feels when he is told he needs to do a soup of marshmellows, spinach, cranberry and sour cream. But as any someday to be artist and bad writer, I should try to be able to be write about anything. So… here it goes.