I’ve started and restarted this post five times and still can’t find the right words to express my exact sentiments. There are so many thoughts bouncing around in my mind, things I want to say and share. But I can’t. It’s like a misconstrued puzzle of words and thoughts and ideas that I am yet to interpret and understand myself. I couldn’t even put it in a song if I tried. So I’m just going to leave it here.
So it’s been a while since I’ve blogged or written about anything. I guess sometimes it’s just hard to find the right words to express your exact mood or exactly how you feel about something or someone. This is totes a “Dear diary” moment lol but lately I’ve found myself feeling so inspired to give without any explanation why. It’s bizarre. I’ve experienced so much hurt recently but still my heart feels big enough to give and enhance the life of another. I want to do good things for people, even for people I feel don’t particularly like me. And it confuses me. Why should I, well why would I want to dedicate so much of my time being good to everyone when half of those people would not do the same for me? It’s incomprehensible and completely beyond me. But nonetheless I still find myself doing it. I find myself loving and caring about people I barely know. I find myself wanting to make people happy. I find myself wanting to make someone smile and brighten their day with a compliment and give someone a reason to feel relevant. Why? Could it be that I lack a sense of belonging and relevance? Or do I just have a desperate desire to be approved of by others? I honestly don’t have a clue. But what I do know is people take the piss and fully take advantage of people like me who are willing to do deeds as such. Maybe what I’m failing to realise is my heart has already grasped the whole “don’t give to receive” concept. The other day I read an article about this guy who spoke about how “marriage is not for you” but is instead a selfless act for your partner and I guess he was right and the same goes for love. We don’t always have to give to receive, I mean we can always hope to be loved in return but maybe the beauty of love itself is simply being able to be open enough to give yourself to another person expecting nothing in return. It’s like Drake’s song says “I love me enough for the both of us” which is exactly what people need sometimes – a crutch, enough love to support them both. Trouble is I find myself giving so much and merely hoping for at least mutual respect in return but receiving nothing but disappointment. Could it be I’m making the wrong choices? Perhaps. But how can you know until you’ve spent enough time to find out? Or maybe I’m closed off to myself and I don’t even know it. It seems I’m always ready to please the world and not allow anyone to do the same for me. A kind soul said to me “smile, love and allow yourself to be loved.” which is probably what I’m finding the hardest. Another Drake quote “you give but you can not take love” (yes people I love Drake get over it! lol), I remember when I first heard that line in the song and it dawned on me that my problem has never been giving, it’s knowing how to accept and receive. It’s difficult to comprehend a situation where a person knows how and wants to give love and joy and support to another but has no ability to accept it in return. But how do you stop yourself from effing it all up and pushing people away when you’re not even conscious of doing it?! Sounds confusing, probably because I’ve failed to go into much detail…. Anyway some things are just better left unsaid.
I’m transitioning again. Two years ago I went through a change similar to this and grew into a different person. A stronger me. A wiser me. And I became complacent as the new me, ignorantly forgetting that we never stop growing and changing as individuals. Being away from my friends and family like this is truly a testing experience and it becomes even harder when you’re surrounded by nothing but foreign faces. I’ve been so afraid to admit to myself and others that this is the most alone I have ever felt so far in my life. I’ve been running from this truth because it’s a harsh reality to face I guess. And then there’s the fear of letting people down and only wanting people to think I’m having the “time of my life” when in actual fact I feel stuck. And this is what I mean by transitioning, I’m moving towards a change. The change hasn’t occurred just yet. I know that London isn’t where I need to be right now, I am exactly where I should be at this present moment in my life so that I can excel as a person and build an even stronger and even wiser character but I haven’t yet mastered this experience either. I’m between the two – excelling past my four wall single London bedroom and trying to keep up with this new challenging international life, which includes maintaining a household and myself all on my own. Thank God for Skype! Otherwise I’d feel completely institutionalised! Sometimes it’s hard to talk to friends and family back home though because everyone is so inthralled by uni work and their own lives I guess so the last thing I want to be is a burden. Talking to parents should always be easy though right?… Wrong. Who wants to disappoint their parents by being a complete dark cloud about (what is supposed to be) such an amazing experience all the time. So here I am writing it all (well at least some thoughts) on my blog. Tbh I do have my insecurities and fears of what people will think reading this (if anyone even bothers to read this far lol) but who cares! I’m writing this for me just because sometimes it can be therapeutic to just put all your thoughts and ideas down on paper and express any hurt and pain or joy and elation. I’ve held in this ‘doom and gloom’ for too long now and it’s starting to weigh on my character and state of mind which I can’t accept for myself. So here I am with my most honest words writing to myself I guess and trying to rid myself of this “dark cloud”.
(Side Note): The work experience is going well though, I’m enjoying working with a really lovely team who I would consider the closest thing to family out here. Is that sad? I dunno, I think it’s kinda nice. We’re like one big dysfunctional family lol and I know I’m going to miss them all so much when I finally return home.
I haven’t really been able to blog in a while because I haven’t felt as inspired as usual to write, but after last night I think it’s safe to say plenty inspiration is a-coming (as my best friend Mary would say lol!) I can’t believe the time has gone so quickly already! Yesterday was exactly one month since I moved to Lisbon and what a way to mark the occasion! Last night was amaze! The night life here is SO different to London’s. The prices for starters are tremendously reasonable. I met with a few friends at the local pre-drinks bar which I couldn’t tell you the name of at this point because it was all a bit of a blur 😛 but there they served buckets of any alcoholic beverage for like 5 euros at the most!! So I started on the good old rum and coke (really wanted a caipirinha but apparently there was no more crushed ice left -___- ). Anyway after that we went to Lux which is supposed to be one of the trendiest clubs in Lisbon and I would assume so after seeing how long the line was to get in…
We finally got in at about 3:30am – which is another thing about Portuguese culture, all the young people arrive at the main club around 3/4am, Lux didn’t close til 8 last night so you can imagine what a crazy night it was…
I met so many lovely people last night and I had all the girls teaching me Portuguese slang already haha! Towards the end of the night we all sat up on the rooftop with some other guys talking about languages and different cultures and switching between Spanish and Portuguese and English until sunrise…
And as exhausted as I am now, I’d defo do it all again! 😛 Roll on next weekend perhaps??!
If you ask a hundred people to describe what ‘Home’ is to them you are guaranteed a variety of responses and that’s simply because we all see an element of ‘Home’ in different things throughout our lives and within our surroundings. In a city as old and as culturally detailed as Lisbon, it’s easy to imagine all the wonderful things people would consider to be their emblems of ‘Home’. Here is an account of the various things I have seen throughout my time here so far that I would regard as examples of cherishable things linked to Lisbon as a ‘Home’:
HOME IS THE PEOPLE.
It’s young love found crossing a busy street in Chiado. It’s the humble musician/vendedor sharing his talents with the community. It’s the locals who fill the coloured houses with teracotta rooftops. It’s the Castelo that can be seen proudly flying a Portuguese flag so prominently at the peak of the hill.
It’s the typical Fado music of Lisboa. (those are real people btw :P)
It’s the cheeky little old neighbourhood women who sit outside every afternoon and gossip the day away.
It’s time taken to appreciate all the finer details of a beautiful landscape.
It’s being able to share a simple, meal in the simplest of café’s with your best friend, your lover, your other half. It’s having years of milage with the old ‘ball and chain’ (lol) and still being able to laugh together. It’s specifically choosing to sit beside each other to feel close. It’s an aged love that still appears so novel. (Seriously guys this married couple were just far too cute, they had to be included in this post! They were sat so closely together the whole time just laughing like teenagers at everything, even people passing by outside LOL! Love love to them! :’)
HOME IS COMMON TRANSPORTATION.
It’s the ringing of the trams, it’s the beeping of impatient drivers. – (The driving here is actually ridik! If I make it out of here without one accident I deserve a prize and will definitely count my lucky stars! If you’re thinking of visiting Lisbon be very aware that the drivers here pay NO attention to pedestrian crossings or pedestrians in general for that matter lol)
HOME IS THE LANDMARKS.
HOME IS CELEBRATION AND ELATION WITH A FAMILIAR FACE.
It’s the way everywhere looks congested with playful colours and buildings at different heights and sizes but still feels so bright and open. It’s the way the sun neglects the streets at sunset and highlights all the beautiful houses and monuments. It’s the people who gather in the shadows every evening to watch the sun fall to sleep behind the River Tejo.
HOME IS YOU.
When I think of home, I think of you. And when I miss home, every part of me misses you. For so long you’ve been my home away from home and without either of you I’m at a loss. Just like you used to get home sick every time we’d leave and I was there to keep you sane, I’ve needed that too. I saw home in you because anywhere with you was safe. Anywhere with you was joy. Anywhere with you was wholesome. It was companionship. It was warmth. It was authentic. It was……right. That it was.
It feels so strange being here on my own. I know it’s only been three weeks so this feeling is completely natural but I’m so used to being surrounded by people I know and hearing police cars from my bedroom window late at night and hearing foxes and cats making weird noises in my back garden lol, sounds like a mess but anything beats the silence here tbh. It’s all so different now. There are people here that I know, but who I’m yet to regard as ‘friends’. How can I best describe what this experience currently feels like? Hmmm.. It’s kind of like purposely losing yourself on your own far out at sea with no lifejacket and trying to see if by God’s grace you can make it back to shore. Only, I just feel like I’m floating and probably in the wrong direction at that lol. I’m going through the motions really like I’m here, but I’m not here here (for those of you who know me you’ll know what that is and I love you for that! lol) Maybe I’m closed? because all I can think about is getting back home to London, which is crazy because I know once this is all over I’ll probably be saying “wow what a great experience I want to go back!”. I don’t really know what I was expecting from Portugal but I’m here now and I feel kinda stuck. Maybe it has to do with the space I’m in right now within myself or maybe I’m just being ungrateful? I don’t know. It will take time to settle I know that. I just didn’t expect home to feel so far away.
I can find my way around here fairly easily now, but I still get lost quite a lot actually lol, I’m still yet to master my ‘street wise’ skills. A lot of the houses and mews look the same so it’s so easy to take a wrong turning. To be fair it’s very touristic around here as I live near Graça which is considered one of the ‘trendy’ areas in Lisbon. Not to mention the large number of tourist attractions ranging from monuments to Fado Houses to famous bars and restaurants, to jazz clubs etc. (pics of those coming soon) During this time of the year there are many foreigners here like myself which keeps this area rather interesting and busy. I feel like I should be liking it all. But I just feel stuck. The 9to5 life is definitely a challenge as I’ve never experienced working it before. It’s a great opportunity to see how the ‘real world’ works I guess but it can become difficult to stay consistently motivated when your mind and heart are longing to be elsewhere at times. Nevertheless, this is not a holiday as my boss keeps reminding me haha. I just have to keep my eye on the prize. I’m here to create more opportunities for myself and my future so for now I guess you could call these my doors of opportunity. 😀
Lisbon is a perfect place for two, there are so many interesting things to do and places to explore that are just kind of awkward if you try and do on your own – unless you’re a photographer or a self volunteered lonely backpacker.
There’s so much that can be seen taking a tram (n.28E) from my house right up until the Basilica…
Oh and I can’t forget their House of Parliament!…
It’s even more stunning and huge in person!
There are various other forms of transportation tourists take to go sightseeing such as the big red bus…
And last for this post but certainly not least, there are a large number of gift shops around here, it’s literally like being in Piccadilly or Oxford Circus. They’re all pretty much the same but they all offer lovely gifts, hats, mugs, t-shirts and postcards etc. you know the essential ‘bring back home’ pressies for the family.
More posts coming soon…
I’m surrounded by new faces, new shops, new rooftops, new cobbled walk ways, a new language, a new culture. This is a different place. For the next seven months Lisbon is ‘home’, only, home is where the heart is and mine currently resides in a place far away from this one. It’s been almost three weeks since I arrived in this beautiful city and almost one since I’ve been living here on my own and I’m scared and anxious but I’m also excited and grateful. This experience will change me for the better and all I can do is look forward to growing.
The horizon never felt so close, the sea never smelt so poignant, drifting me further and further away from home.