~ Its all a journey of change ~
Today the Sky is very blue here in Greece. It is a place I decided to visit in order to finalize my studies. It was a place to write my dissertation and enjoy the sea air. But it turned out to be more than that. It turned out I needed a place to have people around who I was close to.
Before this, I was in London sharing a house with a lone stranger someone who would go to work at 10 am and come back at midnight, someone who always stayed in their room. It got to the point where it began to feel a bit threatening. There was this strange man in my house who made me jump every time he was in the hallway. However, here in Greece, I have spent much of my time with my dad talking and out with my sister meeting her friends. I feel welcome and not alone. Last night we met up with a couple of sweet girls my sister knows and for the second time meeting since being here I have met strangers I felt at peace and relaxed. I could be completely myself and people like it. I could be quiet when I wanted yet talk when it felt natural. I enjoyed the mix of Greek and English conversation. I could have my silent pensive thoughts but not so much that I was left out. I realize how important this is. And also the fact that my sister picks friends wisely. Tonight we will all go out to see some live music and I can’t wait.
So this is my blog that I was supposed to write as a single woman and something I still remain to be. Because it is not the same single woman you see all the time in movies and the media. And that needs to be written about. Yet as a side note through my time in Greece where everyone seems to be together with someone and content with that. I realized how hardhearted we are in the UK. In Greece, all men will look at you, in a respectful way enough to feel appreciated, not so much to feel threatened and unsafe. I have a greek friend who I had a big crush some time ago and has since moved to Japan. Yesterday he instantly jumped up to help with my dissertation, just like that. Even though I acted crazy with him all those years ago. At the weekend we will skype for the first time in about 7 years after meeting in Brighton. Now my mind goes back to this period of my life.
I came to Brighton after Nepal. It was during my time of change, and some years after I had left my call centre job and a boyfriend in Bristol in order to travel. I guess if I’m honest, it was a time in which I needed to find myself. Nepal seemed to call out to me because of the link with Buddhism. It probably stemmed from watching the movie Seven Years in Tibet. I really wanted to go there because it just looked so peaceful. Yet, when I arrived in Katmandu it was anything but. It was a tiny city hijacked by tourists and cars. I had already started off on the wrong foot because I had forgotten to change my money over. This was probably because I was too enthralled by Istanbul in the snow the apple mint tea, 1920’s orient express station and Agia Sofia. So imagine the picture of this girl sitting in an airport, stressed with my bag contents all over the floor, watching as everyone else leaving out of the airport, empty except for me. I was surrounded by Nepalese staff nodding their heads in that wonderful way that Indians do ‘is everything ok?’ they asked and quite likely wondering to themselves what strange girl decided she was better off remaining in the airport. The reason because I needed the said currency for a visa to pass through the doors, otherwise I was stuck in no -mans land. Eventually, after ten tries of the cash machine, I finally managed to draw some money out and was then accepted to enter Nepal. Once out I regained my excitement which entailed having big ambitions which included; trekking the Himalayas ‘Annapurna’ with a girl whom I had connected with on Couchsurfing from South America, and who was due to arrive in a few weeks time as well as a two weeks stint at a temple and learn Buddhist meditation. Finally some peace. I was planning to stay for a month.
As soon as arrived I was somewhat overwhelmed and underprepared. Whatever type of ‘breakdown’ occurred when in Bristol seemed to still remain and resonate quietly underneath it all despite having left 2 years previous. I just remember this feeling of tension, and unhappiness that was amplified by the noise, commotion and people trying to sell anything and everything. Yet in my mind (as it is inherently an optimistic mind) I kept the memories of the good times. The giant bookshop where I drank tea and bought a book of translated Indian poems. One I loved was of a woman who looked out of the window to watch the blossom fall wistfully but with intensity. I remembered the time I went to a restaurant where a group of young Nepalese who played beautiful music reminiscent of Irish folk and offered for me to join them for dinner. The memory of arriving in one hostel to be greeted by a young man who worked there and offered to make me some chia unique to Nepal. We sat on the roof and looked at the stars. I asked him about his dreams and what he replied humbled me. He came from a village, and to him, Kathmandu was the world. The nepalanise don’t have the chance to travel as they have such limited money. This means they cannot get a visa unless they want to become a slave to Dubi. However, in the city for the first time, he was able to meet people from all over the world. This is a big thing because in the past many would be stationed in their village knowing only their neighbours. Instead, some individuals would come to work and live hostels, sleeping on the reception floor at night- time and working in the day. The world came to them and that was enough. He told me that his dream was to find a woman and remain as he was in this city doing what he was doing that was it. It was such a simple dream and I wondered how our heads got so big in the West.
Despite these experiences, my mood was not improved. During the day I would find rooftop cafes sit wistfully in a lonely way. In one such cafe, I saw two people talking a man and a woman and I felt such a level of sadness. For some reason, I was inside myself unable to connect with others at that point in time. There are times when I become such a closed person that its almost impossible and for some reason, at this time such a thing happened. Being resourceful I decided to go onto Couchsurfing and see if I could join some fellow travellers on a trip. I found two who were going to a celebration of Shiva up in the mountains for some kind of rave there. The trip out to the place was beautiful. The villages out of this world, calm – peaceful and colourful. The pace of life slowed, the mountains stood majestically in the background. When we arrived at our destination my dynonison spirit entered and as a stupid English Girl I went on automated do everything quickly and in a destructive way mode. We were at somewhat of an altitude and I decided to be the typical white English girl. Drinking vodka along with special tea laced with marijuana. The younger parisian girl I was with decided to keep things slow to pace herself. I did not take the warning and not long after was lost in a state of vacancy. My body and mind were separating and not in a good way. I will never forget the walk down from the mountain, quite shameful and unpleasant experience. From there on, things became complicated and I was perhaps tired in life. This meant that it seemed so effortful for example simply trying to find the sleeping bag that I needed to go hiking. I had such a low mood. To add to this state of mind my taxi driver could not find the temple for my meditation retreat. At this point, I told him to turn around. I made a decision on that ride to leave. Finally, I managed to go to a place in the holistic centre that offered a day dedicated to just for me as no-one else had booked a package. I had a massage, we meditated and practised yoga. I even received Reiki – and when he reached my head all my hair stood on end because they told me ‘I think too much’. We talked of Nepal in the past and how the city was getting eaten up by buildings, only a few years ago had been surrounded by green fields. We ate dinner together, it was wonderful.
There I was with nowhere to go. Before I came to Nepal I had finished my job in the Lake District and was homeless. So, I just went ahead and booked a flight to Paris. I craved it. I knew it was my safe place. I remember entering Paris airport and thinking wow, I really have no-where to go and what will I do, but not in a sad way. I decided to go directly to Shakespeare and Co which is American bookshop directly opposite Notre Dame. I ended up finding a hotel beside it. Oh how beautiful, and old fashioned. I was a walk in booking, quite a rarity for these days. The man on the desk looked like he had been there for 100 years, and offered me a room for only £60 – I discovered later that Monet stayed in this hotel and was so enamoured by it he wrote a small novel for his niece about it. Incidentally, I seem to have followed the path of Monets travels quite by accident. My room was divine, picture perfect, velvet drapes and window that overlooked the Cathedral. I stayed for two days and walked around the Latin Quatre. I took my little book and wrote as much as I could. In the evening I went to a dark little cocktail bar and found a table and chair by the window just waiting for me. I bought a la vie on a rose champagne cocktail and sat to write in my book, a stark contrast to my previous plans of hiking across the Himalayas. An old Dutch professor whom I worked with on a farm told me I was a tourist in a peasants body, I get it. I am both needing my comforts and yet as working class as they come. I am simple yet needing aesthetic pleasures. So, I was happy here at this moment. When I left the man ran out of the bar and asked me excitedly if I was a writer. It made me smile. I said ‘I write, but I’m not a writer’ like this makes any sense. But, to only when I decide to write a real story then I become the writer I want to be. Something I had told my English Teacher at secondary school that ‘I want to write a novel when I grow up’. How hard that seems now.
Anyway, There came a point where it was time to make a decision, with money running out it was unrealistic to try and make a life in Paris because that’s only for the bourgeois society. The question was where do I start my new life? And, I thought well I’ve always wanted to live in Brighton so why not give it a try. I knew of a really lovely welcoming hostel that I had been to with my friends some years ago, it was a trip I really enjoyed and never forgot. It was the first time I heard Arcade fire and the song Rebellion. I had danced to with so much joy I had to run to the DJ and ask what it was. So, this was my Brighton a place to start my new life. Yes, songs make decisions for me.
I could feel that I made the right decision as I made arrived at the Brighton station one of the stations I really love. Indeed the hostel had a 4-bed long term stay room and I was lucky as it was the last one left. I found cash in hand type of job in a central cafe. The owners was a typical Cypriot Greek Cockney powerhouse of a lady and very emotional Iranian owner. He used to make me Persian omelette from time to time and tell me all about Tehran a place I desperately want to go. I eventually found a dive of a room with one single bed, damp on the walls and god knows what else. There was no kitchen and a shower that costs a pound every time you used it. But it was only £50.00 a week and on a road close to the seafront. I decided that I was going to work 30 hours a week and or even less if I could manage. I met a beautiful friend from Slovakia who joined me on my 30th Birthday when my friends visited and where we had dinner at an opera restaurant. Here I fell in love with poetry, I went to a variety of different poetry evenings ran by Brighton university and other random poets setting up evenings spotted around the city. I even ended up meeting a poet whose poems I had stuck to my wall. it was like a whole new world had opened up to me. I joined the Quakers and sat there on Sundays in silence. I went to a documentary festival and saw films that must have triggered in me the need to make a difference in the world. One document was so averse to me. So much so I had to go outside and walk around the garden in the state because it actually made me shake, nothing I have watched before or after ever led me to that reaction. I made friends with a group of young blokes from up north who were in the bedsit next door and constantly having parties, as a person who enjoys my sleep I was angry – until I walked out fo the door and so this tall man in a 90’s style hat and melted with the gorgeousness. I asked them when it was going to end, he told me who knows but just join us. And that started another friendship/flirtation/and more. This often meant me waking up at 5 am after they came back from the club and persuaded to drink gin and tonic despite having to go to work at 9 am. He would end up sneaking in my room ‘for somewhere to sleep’ that never ended up just being so, but I was happy in our little brief encounter and I remember he was really doing well in his job and stuck between wanting to have a good time but progressing in his career, I love those pivotal moments I can share in someone’s life. Man, I still think of him now. These guys reignited my youth, we went to gigs together, house parties and sat on the beach high and flying, all around a burning bonfire. They were both attractive and protective of me at the same time, and I was fully embraced by their friends. For 3 months I stayed here, and my energy increased so much that I would ask my boss for unpaid long breaks so I could run along the seafront because the energy was so intense. Of course, they thought I was mad.
That was my life that I’m now starting to realize got me to this point. Which brings me to my Greek friend. I decided I wanted to learn Greek. I wrote in Couchsurfing if someone was able to do a language exchange and he wrote back and suggested we connect at the next Couchsurfing meeting. Well, I went thinking he is a man but Greek and I’ve never really found Greek man attractive – but arrived and phew! I was enamoured immediately, we drank, we talked, we flirted. That was a friendship in bloom. And I felt quite a joyful energy. He had a selection of friends from different countries and we all fit together like a perfect puzzle. I, of course, had to control the situation and hoped he might invite me out on a ‘date’ or at least I could pretend. We met and had noodles together (as hinted by me) and we flirted some more and like any girl, I imagined how we would one day walk around the streets of Thessaloniki and he would read poetry and philosophy, make me greek pies to take me to live music and dance. Of course, there was a point I had to say But why don’t you ever want to kiss me? In an email of course. Well, there was one time we were he stood right in front of my face and I think I said something to take the piss. I think that was the move, now I look back. I always ruin those moments. It reminds me of a time I met this boy on a Christian holiday camp my mum made me go to when I was 12 and we where we used to hide under the bed and eat sweets to avoid prayers. After we would write letters to each and then he invited me to Hereford. I must have stayed over, I can’t recall but I do remember towards the end, he kept trying to get close and I kept hitting him thinking he wanted to play around. Actually, he just wanted to hold my hand, and he was cute. Tim his name was. I digress, Well, of course, the long story short my anxiety started to come back after this, and the whole thing blew up in my face – I ran back to Somerset with my tail between my legs whilst he was left spinning and confused. I was the girl that got away so he told me some time later. Though I think we do have the romantic versions locked in our minds.
That’s what made me write this blog after sleeping on it. Now, we will face each other some years later and in a calm way. I realize that who I am is not that person I think I am and that even with all my craziness I am someone still worth knowing. Therefore It is the beauty of these meetings that matter. It is the stories we tell. It is the conflict and anxieties we go through because we know we have to make an effort to get a life how we want it.
So what I do realize is I have the tendency literally run from every man. I mean, this even happened in my student union bar a year ago. I spoke to this young one from Brussels tall and dutch like, we were introduced by a friend. We clicked, and we went out to the balcony and he turned so he was facing me trapping me in his space and would not take his attention away even though so many girls were trying to get his attention. When the night ended, he said he just had to say goodbye to some, assuming he would walk out with me. I said I have to go and goodbye, when he turned around, I don’t think he heard me, so probably surprised I just disappeared. As soon as I was out of his sight I ran down the road like a mad woman. I still kick myself for that one. What could have been? But then, I would have missed such a lovely moment more recently had something happened. So, it all works out.
Yet despite this. I do love the intensity of it, despite the fact it drives me and them crazy due to my erratic nature. However, If I was different and calmer the story would be different. I would have almost certainly been married by now, I would never have experienced all of this. I Just wished it all happened without the emotional avalanche. But yet I know now that I have managed to bring forth a sense of peace when meeting new people. This year I have realized we can create our own mind states, this knowledge has reduced the length of my low mood and apathy. Also, I spent some time with my friend’s son a few months ago. He is only 17 and I had to take him to an open day at the Imperial College. It was his first time travelling alone and I felt honoured that my friend trusted me with her precious cargo. It was when I was sitting at the station with him at the end of the day and we were eating burritos and sharing a beer that I noticed how easy it was to be with someone whose whole life was ahead of him. He hadn’t suffered heartache, arguments with friends or any kind of destruction. I felt such peace – either we talked or we didn’t but there was no stress about having to say something. Merely just saying whatever popped into our heads. I shared with him, his first steps into the world, I felt so worldly wise, and couldn’t wait for him to have his mind open to this world. This feeling is now with me whenever I meet new people now I have the same sense of peace. Therefore, I can apply this ability to potential romantic liaisons as well. It doesn’t have to be a mind breaking affair. Its all a journey of change.
So I feel good. And it doesn’t matter if things don’t work out. All those people that touched my soul enter the narrative of my mind and never leave. I often imagine myself as an old lady that has the pleasure to sift through different moments of my life with great pleasure and become nostalgic in a positive way. I imagine myself with a smile on my face. Though, I would like a lovely man who is also there in the picture too. I once saw an old man and a lady in the south of France we were on the train arriving at a small village where I was to volunteer on a farm. She was stood by his side as he had such a look of contentment on his face, standing there with his old suitcase a picture of joy upon arriving at the station of this little village. It was almost as though it was somewhere he hadn’t been for countless years and here he was again reliving the past that held fond memories, and there she stood beside him. I thought to myself in that moment. I want to marry a man just like that and stand beside him as he savours moments in his past. I still carry a polaroid of that moment in my mind.
Back to reality. Right now I have passed through another emotional avalanche of recent times. I know things are ok. This is because I had a dream about a man I had met recently some weeks ago who wasn’t so open, which is such a shame. But in the dream, he gave me this beautiful book which full of his life and somehow it gave me such joy and also peace and a sense of closure. The mind is a wonderful thing.
Then last night I had a wonderful dream one where I had built a garden with some friends and we managed to feed through water where we sat together and enjoyed it and worked out how the water worked. There were these men who entered my life but then disappeared. I was angry and lost I didn’t want to go back to school where I was situated. Instead, I walked out to the countryside, and for the first time dreamt of this mist covering the landscape. I think the dream symbolises the fact that my future is uncertain, and it is up to me to decide what I do next. But I’m excited because life has already been so full. I am one that attracts adventure something my friends greatly admire, and that they tell me to write about. It is true that we crave certainty these days. I recently read some articles about how millennials are turning to spirituality and are more likely to go to tarot card readers and psychics. I am no exception. It is to elevate the sense of uncertainty that the brain doesn’t particularly enjoy. I actually found myself going to a tarot card reader not so long ago who had advised me to avoid entering into any love affair that will distract me from my purpose. It gave me such great pain. And I made a decision from then on that I was to trust myself self and go where the feeling takes me. Because of my current time travelling, I realized this connects me the moment where I realized that both my purpose and my relationships are combined together. I had this visualization in Nimbin Australia of interwoven roots, whereas before I saw them as different roads. And strangely enough, it turned out to be the core message of my psychological research, something I hadn’t even thought I would be doing 5 years ago in Australia. And so I will continue and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
NAMASTE LOVE & LIFE