In the middle of June, it felt like a lot of things were ending. It was my last days as a Social Media Specialist and as I count down to my final day on 13th June, every evening walk from the office to the outdoor parking lot weighed heavier with nostalgia. I thought about the people that I have come to love. I thought about the outdoor deck, filled with laughter, complaints, silence and new ideas. I thought about my pet hamster, Cornelius who seems to be growing fatter and fatter that he no longer fits the running wheel. I thought about every memory, every moment infused with a sense of solidarity that I sometimes think I can never find in any other work place. But as communities grow larger, people fall apart and they move away. I can only hold on to those dear to me as I dive into new arenas of possibilities.
I had also ended what some might call a relationship. It had to be done, even though it pained me to.
I didn’t know what to expect. Every inch of my body refused to take control of the present, it only wanted time to stop for awhile, so it could come up with a solid plan on how to move forward.
Without a plan, I moved forward. First destination, London.
Hi, it’s me again. Three years in a row, London had been my brief companion. My head slightly peeking out of the covers on chilly mornings, the diaphanous sun taunting me to explore, to want more. Every time I walk along each street, I remember to look back, etching the symmetry of imperial buildings, brick upon brick, thought upon thought. The picture above is the view of our street from my room in Shepherd’s Bush.
It was my fourth visit to Tate Modern. This time, we didn’t go into every room. I’ve seen every painting and they have failed to reiterate inspiration, or exhale something new. One thing that I will continue to love, however, is the way space speaks. There is so much space here that my being a part of the museum among other tourists or loyal lovers of art makes us a center piece of an elaborate art project called ‘life and what we fail to observe’. Every person paused in time is a thought suspended and they make up the most abstract and elusive subject matter because we will never know what it is that they are thinking.
On our first morning in Barcelona, we were awaken by the smell of breakfast. Mama Persita, our host had prepared a large spread of cured meat, olives, toast with tomato pulp and olive oil and baked omelette with potatoes and onions. The best meal to cook is breakfast, because the first thing we would want to wake up to is the sight and smell of love. Our beds were made while we ate and Mama Persita eagerly shares her favourite places in the city. Her English is negligible, so we converse in French (I could understand un peu, un peu) and Spanish (I could understand nothing). But we get along just fine. Her cat, Simba is a marmalade feline, overfed and loves sitting on our bed (it pisses my mom off). Persita would call us to ‘mangez’ by saying: nyam nyam!
You know, any adult would feel young again when consuming ice cream. For cherries, it was as if we were eating summer whole and ripe and we could feel the joy and vibrancy of this hot celebration of a season bursting in our bellies. Every pop into our mouth is a journey of excitement on its own, always surprised by how juicy and lightly sweet these cherries are.
Barcelona is my second favourite city thus far, after Prague. The city breathes harmoniously in its differences. I am merely an intruder of the romance of concrete here, but I watch and revel like a child glued to his favourite television show. In the city, the buildings are poets and I am its faithful reader. The picture above is Antoni Gaudi’s Casa Mila. I can merely commend him for his subversive ways, making his buildings seem so malleable- a living, breathing thing. However, it almost feels like you’re being consumed by it which appears to possess more life than you do. Concrete becomes creatures with scales and spines and I could almost feel it coiling its body around me until I couldn’t breathe. Also, as my mother puts it, the ridiculous curves and texture makes his work a difficult one to clean. The OCD lady speaks.
We took a forty minute train ride to Cascais, a small beach-side town West of Lisbon. The ocean melts into the sky, azure, certain that its purpose was to captivate in all its mystery, calm, with tiny ripples of waves taunting the tourists. With the sun on my face, and a bee sting on my thigh (that is another story on its own), I stood at Boca de Inferno (picture above), watching the waves lapping up the dark cliffs, men casting their lines, every one else staring in wonder.
Back in London, I returned to Primrose Hill again to remind myself what exactly I love so much about this city. We stumble across independent cafes and bookstores often, and every visit is a mini exploration on its own. I see books I’ve been meaning to read, new books that tease and tempt under the well supplied Critical Theory section. Pastries and coffee linger our skin and clothes even when we are deep in a park, watching pudgy squirrels play an affectionate tug of war with little children. Going closer, running away. They never fail to make those children laugh or smile. I smile along with them.
When I see anything as if the first time seeing them, I always wish that I was invisible, that I could observe and inspect each planet of conversation and gesture up close, a microcosm of complex thought shared among people whom I don’t know.
On the flight home, I wrote in my little dark green notebook: I hope these pages live on with its stories to tell. I have come to a certain kind of ending where I’m left with the littlest trace, where somehow, you could remove everything, but you can’t take away my memories and the very fact that I have lived 23 years and that all these ups and downs were necessary, every ending ushers new and wonderful beginnings. That is how it is, and I love it. I only wish to continue to look around me, as if seeing everything for the first time, believing in endless possibilities. I am happy and I am excited and I certainly want more.
What an exciting year it has been and we’re only halfway through. Our stories remain unfinished, but there are plenty of spaces to create remarkable ones. I can tell you and I this, that within the boundaries of our bodies, breaths and binaries, we are more infinite than we think we can be.
I’m at my new job as a journalist at a local publication, I have had excellent conversations with people, newly found or even long time friends. After a long day, I am thankful for the traffic jam that allows me time to my own, observing the sky, and the street lights glowing brighter and brighter. After a long drive, I am thankful for the comforts of my home, my parents would watch TV while I sit and have dinner, watching TVB dramas with them for awhile before going upstairs to catch up on my books. Every day is an adventure, every detailed conversation and observation a reminder and a living truth about the vastness of this life we live. Oh how mundane it can be, but oh, how exciting it is too, to know that happiness is now and infinite.