Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Pequeños momentos, grandes recuerdos

All my time in Spain, and I never wrote a single piece. I wanted to absorb all of it before I put my thoughts down on this virtual but permanent paper. I wanted to focus on living in the present and not thinking too much about what it all represents. I kept waiting for something monumental to happen that would be the center point of my piece.

And now that it's been more than a year since I lived there. All the feelings have been felt, and as it happens with hindsight, the good moments feel great and the not so good ones are forgotten. I feel ready to write about it. A little life was lived in learning Spanish so I could communicate with the taxi drivers but mostly so I could sing along to the latest latin pop.

There is a playlist in my head that plays when I think about my time in Madrid. It includes an embarrassing number of Pitbull songs, but also a lot of flashbacks to screaming the lyrics our with 50 other people.  A whole new world was imagined sitting in one beautiful plaza way past my bed time, under the best weather you get at 3am in Madrid. Rooftops full of vino and cervezas, new friends were made who would teach you how to be travel and how they are actually just like you even though it may not seem that way at first.

Some life was lived in trying to use google translate on menu cards and figuring out derecho from izquierda. In trying to figure out what the big deal was about the Alhambra and then realizing it was the sunset you watched with your best friend from one of the many balconies while making up fake history about Spanish royals. It was in fighting with your other best friends in the streets of Barcelona and Paris about what food we should eat next. Some more deeper breaths were taken while buying a Shakespeare book from a library where JK Rowling got inspiration for Salazar Slytherin by being a total nerd and buying a JK Rowling book from 100 year old Shakespeare and Co. And in freaking out after finding cafes and square you had only seen before in Woody Allen movies.

The best life was lived in figuring out the best place to get tacos, and yes it is from Takos on Calle de la Abada in Madrid. In finding the best mercado for weeknights and the best bars for between class beer. It was also lived in mismatched clothes, buckets of popcorn and bottles of vino. It was in strange fruits that appeared in your bed while throwing a house party. In showing up to the wrong bar for your own birthday.

A good life was lived watching flamenco dances and fado singers and realizing the insignificance of over commercialized neon signs. In realizing that it takes very little to be happy, sometimes happiness was a tomato rubbed over a piece of bread and covered in olive oil also known as pan con tomate.

I hope to return one day, to bring my partner and show them around, leave them confused about why I am excited about a grocery store in a random street. It was a tiny year that went by way too fast and left just as many bruises as smiles but it was perfect. The monumental thing that happened in a fleeting year of my life was life itself.

hasta pronto.



Friday, July 21, 2017

Not the nice stuff.

Stuff that sticks with you, people who said them may or may not still be in your life. They probably never meant it in a bad way. Someone said they were giving you constructive criticism, some said it as a joke. But in the middle of a conversation it will come back to you 10 years later. It doesn't affect you now, because it didn't affect you then. But that doesn't mean you forgot about it, oh no, it's still very much there.

1. You have a big head. Like size wise.
2. You are never going to be the hot kind, you are like the cute types.
3. Your arms are like a bears. Pre giving into the being hairless trend.
4. You have fat fingers.
5. Her hair is funny. After losing all the hair to hormones as a 15yo.
6. She needs a nose job.
7. Your face looks like a monkey's face. unbleached and unwaxed.
8. You are not cute, you are sexy.
9. You cry a lot.
10. Your laugh sounds fake.
11. You don't cry enough.
12. You are insensitive.
13. You are too sensitive.
14. You are bossy. and yes also, you are too much of a pushover.
15. I didn't ask you because I didn't think you would be good enough for this.

Hi, no its not okay for you to say this to anyone. Even when someone says they are looking for feedback, no it's still not okay to say this. And if it's unsolicited, you should never say these things. What is wrong with you if you think any of these are okay to say? 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Snow Days.

I woke up this morning
with a glimmer in my eye
of a dream I dreamt
that was prettier than the sky

I woke up this morning
to storm raging in me
and a storm raging outside
it made all the trees white

I woke up with a dream
of a day I'd spend with you
we'd watch the blizzard rage
while eating some that rhymes with rage

but instead, I'm stuck in my room
looking out of this window
wondering if you are looking out too
wishing I could've spent this day with you

--

This is my first and possibly only poem. Literally never thought this day would come.

No Country for Single Women.

I have said this before and I'll say it again, I love to go out and eat by myself. I love to go out and watch movies by myself and I love the most to shop by myself. All these are activities where others add little value. You are eating the food, not them. You are watching the movie while the other person stays quiet and watches the movie too, and you are buying stuff for yourself and so the only opinion that matters is your own.

These are some of the few things I enjoy doing when I need to take a day for myself. Six days of the week, you can't shut me up around people, but taking a day to recharge is important as well for me and my mental health. After having lived in the States, Nigeria, Spain and India, I have come to the conclusion that India does not endorse people who like to do things by themselves. In madrid, it is never hard to find a spot in the park or in one of the million cafes to enjoy the sun and the wind. In the States there is always a hike, or a kayak or a biking trail waiting for you or in the worst of cases a poor little starbucks that will give you respite from people. In Nigeria too, at least in the afternoons you will find cafes peppered with some book readers.

In India however there are no avenues designed for single people. There are no parks that you can do, nothing safe at least, restaurants don't even come for seating for one, and even the fanciest of cafes always have huddles of 3s and 5s that 'hangout' together. Even Paytm won't give you a movie ticket discount unless you are buying 2 tickets. I have looked far and wide in the last three months for my fellow young, single people. Where are you at?
Don't get me wrong, I don't want to come up to you and talk to you, I just want to crack a smile in acknowledgement that you exist.
And it's not restricted to women, my male cousin who just wanted to read a book and get a drink was asked 4 times no less if he really just wanted to eat alone by wait staff.

Of course, I've still tried to go out and watch movies by myself, failing to find a single other person who just wants to watch a movie on their own. At the malls, there are people with parents, people with boyfriends, people with spouses, friends, but unfortunately zero lone wolves. Travels for a young single woman is a different ball game altogether which unsafe from the get go takes extra pills of courage in India. There are a few hiking groups and trekking groups that get together on long weekends to nearby cities, but none so far have seemed to be safe or credible enough to grab my attention. My latest attempt at enjoying myself was going to the pool of a fantastic hotel and even there I was surrounded by double dates and a huge joint family. Sadly, not a single other single person.

All these observations over the last few weeks have gotten me to think - Are we as a society just so uncomfortable with people being happy on their own? Or are we just uncomfortable with being happy when alone? I have seen people in a couple or bigger group throw questioning looks at those who eat alone, do we scare you? Does our independence and confidence to enjoy things alone freak you out?


Disclaimer: When I say single, I mean someone on their own, it has nothing to do with your relationship status.

This song has nothing to do with the article, it's only here because I like it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Cafuné

Play this song as you read: 



the thing about perfect days, is that they come without a warning. sometimes you realize half way during the day that you are going to remember every minute of this day with startling clarity.

some perfect days are the perfect mix of spontaneity and planning. some perfect days are the right combination of nostalgia and freedom. some of them are full of your favorite people. some of them have your best friend getting married. they make you forget punctuation and grammar. lately I've had a few of them in quick succession and they have made me see magic everywhere.

one of those was spent reading love letters and poems written in high school, full of hope and innocent love and lifelong promises. it was spent sitting next to a friend, watching the city lights dim by the seaside. we saw the city together like tourists, ate all the must eats and drank all the must drinks. it was singing songs out of tune in the not long enough commute without a care in the world.

another one was spent in a little cottage by yet another seaside but of a different ocean a thousand miles away. it was when running their hands through my hair became cafuné. it was when a open bleeding heart healed all the wounds yet to come. in that moment we were infinite. it was eating soup dumplings in a city where all you could eat was seafood. it was finding our brunch spot even if just for two days. it was listening to our favorite songs and reading to each other and dancing sober.

can one perfect day be more perfect than another? no? that's not how it works? ok.

there was another where my heart was finally home. i was in a place where my closest friends all meet every year. it was being safe, it was being myself after so many months of finding someone with whom i could just be me. it was realizing that the right dog can make you a dog person. it was baking cake for my best friends birthday and dancing all night, something that everyone knows i have literally never done before. it was driving alone with windows down and wind in my hair and being transported back to a different lifetime.

perfect days are those that make you love again, that make you see the stardust in the universe, and feel the blood in your veins, make you alive.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Borrowed Happiness

So hear me out. Sometimes you life sucks and absolutely nothing is good. You have had a shit year, you don't have a job and if you do it's the pits, your love life is worse than your job scene, you are far away from every one you love, and you are don't really have a home. And its totally reasonable to be absolutely depressed and cynical because good things are avoiding you like the plague.

Even if every single of those things are happening to me and my life totally is the dumps, I am happy. This is my way of dealing with unhappiness this year. I am borrowing happiness from those around me. While I have nothing to be happy for, those around me do and that just makes me feel fantastic. My best friend in the whole world is getting married and that single handedly has made the universally accepted trash year 2016 worth it. Not just one, but 4 more of my closes friends have decided to seal the deal in the coming year and their happiness makes me ecstatic. Their happiness is the mdma thats keeping me going. It makes me see that while everything terrible can happen to mankind, the most beautiful thing is still our one redeeming quality. That we can love someone with all our heart and be fearless and declare it to the rest of the world.

I am borrowing some happiness from my other best friend and sister both of whom got jobs of their dreams. They are truly deserving of everything they are getting and I am so grateful for it. I want them to enjoy every second of what they are doing. I am borrowing joy from my other sister who found out she is pregnant and her radiating happiness makes me glow too. I am borrowing it from my little niece who just makes my day with her perfect laughter. She makes this year so totally worth it.

I am taking it from those who are accomplishing their goals and falling in love and making decisions like total badasses that they are.

I am borrowing it from movies and from music and from books. Thats exactly what they are there for. Thank you all of you. I'm not going to let this year beat me, because goddamnit 2017 will be spectacular. It has to be. And until things turn around, I am going to be relentlessly cheerful. Because I'm bored of being bummed.



Sunday, November 27, 2016

Our Thing.

Kayaking was our thing.
Laying under the trees on the grass was our thing.
Watching tv but not really watching it was our thing.
You making food for me, even though I am better at it was our thing.
Bollywood was our thing.
Mexican food was your thing that became my thing.
Watching the sunset on your balcony was our thing.
Dancing to cheesy songs was our thing.
Watching youtube clips and laughing my head off was my thing that I hoped would become your thing.
Driving in the car was our thing just because of how much time we spent in it.
Video chatting every night was our thing even when we lived 20 minutes away from each other.
Listening to music, drinking beer and just chatting on the couch after work was also our thing.

We had all these things but you chose to focus on the one thing that wasn't. And that is what our story will be reduced to.