Monday, March 31, 2014

The First Few Days

After that discouraging day of travel, things only went up. Forcing myself to be adventurous, I went to my complimentary breakfast and ate the best croissant of my life alone and then went to explore the town of Alibr. In order to get to Albir you have to walk down this tragically beautiful run down alley that goes through little farms and orange groves. Its beauty began to lift my spirits.

In town I kept myself busy that way I didn’t have to return to the hotel and become a recluse. First I want to an empty park (excluding the gardener) and read, then I visited the beach where I was mesmerized by it’s clear blue waters and the smooth white stones that littered the ground instead of sand, after I ventured inland where I ate at a little café and people watched. Though it wasn’t a very riveting day, it was nice and much needed after the hectic one I had had before.

The next day I was surprised by how great I was feeling and decided to go on (what should have been) a two-hour round-trip hike to the Camino El Faro. The beauty I saw that day was unbelievable, it was everything I hoped to see in Spain and more.

During the hike I met this really nice Norwegian lady with blue eyeliner who told me about her homeland and the history of the Camino El Faro. She was so sweet and gave me all the encouragement I needed to get through this upcoming adventure.

The lighthouse itself was really nothing special, but the view showed so much beauty off of the path that I decided to off road it during my journey back.

Finding a small clearing far enough from the other tourists, I decided to be rather hippie and lay down the many scarfs and coats I had brought with me and made a bed. Lying in the heat of the sun I put in my ear buds and began a meditation body scan. Giving in to the now, I escaped reality and become one with nature. The birds chirping around me just added to the magical effect the meditation brought and when it was over I felt as though I had been born again.

As I finished the rest of my hike through the Camino El Faro I began to notices the changes in my body, but more than that I noticed a change in me. As I walked back to civilization and looked around me, I wanted to cry because in that moment I had fallen in love with nature. There was nothing more beautiful in the world than earth itself and I finally felt at one with it. No longer did I wonder what people were doing back home or what my future was going to be like. Instead I wondered who else had walked these paths and if trees could talk what would stories would they have. Yes they were all silly childish thoughts but for my first time ever I stayed in the present even after I came out of a mediation or a yoga class. For the first time I felt at one with myself.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Good Bye America, Hello Spain!

On Tuesday I took my long awaited flights to Spain. I thought that it was going to be boring just like all flights but boy was I wrong.

The first one was normal enough. My only complaint was that I was at next to a “Bro” who kept trying to engage in conversation even though I had an eye mask on and ear buds in. It wasn’t until after my first flight that things got interesting.

When we landed I asked an airline worker where my new gate was, she then told me the number and letter –was even kind enough to write it on my ticket in case I forgot- faced me in the right direction. Since I had two hours to kill, I bought some food and made up camp at my gate where I stretched, wrote, ate, and took a nap. When it was time to board I gathered up my things and went forward only to find I was at the wrong gate. The airline attendant had directed me to the wrong place. Once I got my new gate number, I looked down at my watch and saw I only 5 minutes until my plane took off. So I ran.

I soon discovered that my gate was on the completely other side of the airport and would have to take the train. Of course when I reached the platform the train was just leaving so I had to wait for the next one. As each second ticked away, my anxiety grew more and more. On the train I met a woman who was also going to be on the same flight as me, so as we chugged through the airport I confided in her all of my fears about missing the plane but at the time trying to reassure her that everything was going to be alright. Her only reply was a confused “Si”.

When the train stopped I ditched her and ran through the airport thinking I could stop the plane for both of us since she obviously didn’t understand that we were late. When I reached the desk of our gate, I asked whether or not the plane had taken off yet, to which I got an even more confused look and the reply, “No, you have about an hour until take off.”

Shocked, I looked down at my watch and then up at their clock. Turns out my watch was an hour fast. I had forgotten to change it for daylight savings. Feeling like a complete fool, I hid myself in the back corner behind a pillar trying not to think about the stress headache that was coming on.

After an hour had past the airline worker told us our flight had been delayed twenty minutes due to technical difficulties. Twenty minutes later they told us that they had to get a new plane all together and that our new flight time was in two hours. A lot of groaning commenced but what made me groan was the fact that our new gate was one next to the one I had just come from.

While I waited, I made friends with this woman who told me stories of her travels and gave me 20 euros because I reminded her of her daughter and didn’t want me to get stranded when I finally did land. Then I explored the airport many shops and gates. Until finally, there was nothing left to do but go to my gate and wait.

By this point I had decided I hated Miami (the place where my layover way). I knew that it wasn’t Miami’s fault for my headache or my delayed flight but I obviously had no luck there and I wanted nothing more to do with it. So when it was time to board I excitedly ran forward and eagerly awaited my eight-hour flight out of, what I was pretty sure was, Hell.

Once we were all aboard, our pilot took off and as we were just about to hit the runway, our plane stopped. IT STOPPED. According to the loud speaker the coffee machine was broken and they needed to fix it before it leaked into the engine. Now I was certain that the Devil lived in Miami.

So the plane turned around and made it’s way back to our gate. While they were fixing it we were told we weren’t allowed to leave our seats, which no one listened to and everyone began walking about the cabin trying to figure out what was going on. Then something very unusual happened. During those two hours (yes two hours more) of being stuck on a grounded plane all of the passengers started to become friends.

The friendships started off in the usual way, bad talking a common enemy (American Airlines) and from there, grew into learning each others names, where we were all from, and that I was the only American on the mainly Spanish filled plane (or sitting in Economy at least). During this time I made friend with the two girls sitting next to me. They were 24 and 25 med students who had been backpacking through South America. To pass the time they taught me some Spanish and drew me a map of their county while telling me it’s history.

Right before we were about to take off for our second time a French family (who was sitting in the back row) started making their way to the exist explaining why to anyone who would listen in Spanish. According to new friends, they watched the repair guy fix the plane but all the guy really did was “put a band aid on a broken leg instead of a cast”

Everyone began freaking out and started gathering up their stuff by this point the pilot announced that we were allowed to leave if we wanted, but if we did we could not get our checked baggage or new ticket home. In those next five minutes I made the hardest decision of my life. Risk my life for Spain or save it and stay in Miami. I chose risking it.

The next eight hours were the worst. My stress headache turned into a clogged up nose, a sore throat, and an upset stomach. But since I had now become friends with everyone on a personal level, I had a multitude of mothers taking of me. One flight attendant would come by and place wet paper towel on my head to cool me down and a few others found me sinus tablets. At one point, this little girl began crying because she had been stuck in the plane for too long. Everyone in Economy came together and searched through bags for some chocolate and gum to help quiet her. Though it was probably the worst flight of my life, looking back I think it was probably the most amazing. That one flight restored my faith in humanity. It’s odd to think that in that one moment of terror a group of strangers become one.

I wish I could say my journey ended there, that would be such a happy ending, but it didn’t. I still had another flight (which I slept through) and bus ride equally as bad as Miami.

The Shuttle was filled with a few elderly European couples and a group of middle-aged women from New Castle. Two songs into our Journey, the song Brown Eyed Girl came on the radio, making one of the middle-aged women yell, “Oooo GIRL! That’s my song. TURN IT UPPP!” The bus driver didn’t so they spent the rest of the song yelling, “TURN IT UPPP!” missing the whole song entirely. Through out the rest of the drive they yelled tufor louder music and started a dance party in the back making everyone really annoyed and uncomfortable.

At our first stop the bus driver separated all of them and gave them assigned seating telling them that they couldn’t move or speak. Basically the bus driver put these middle-aged women in time out. Of course they didn’t listen and that only made the bus driver angrier. After they were gone, he was still angry (and I am pretty sure he tried to hit one of them as we were driving away). Soon I was the last one in the bus. After about five minutes we pulled up to a street corner and he told me to get out. Confused I asked him where my hotel was. He pointed somewhere and said few blocks that way. I should probably mention that it was midnight in a country I had never been to before that had a language I couldn’t speak, I soon became terrified.

“No, your manager told me you would drop me off at my hotel.”

But he didn’t listen he was too annoyed and didn’t want anything to do with me. So he flagged me down a taxi, took my bag and threw it into the back of his car and left me with a cab driver who didn’t speak English and for the first time, I felt alone. Putting on a fake air of confidents, I demanded the cab driver take me to the hotel that was written on a sheet of paper. He nodded and drove me there. Once I arrived I paid him (Money that should have gone towards something fun) and checked into a room that didn’t really feel safe.

Putting a chair up against my door that didn’t have a lock, I crawled into bed reassuring myself that I was as brave as my dad and as independent as my mom. Reassuring myself that I was strong enough to do this.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Under the Traintracks

The following is post I wrote toward the end of October 2012. I never posted it because I was too self-conscious to do so. After re-reading it I feel as though it definitely needs to be public since it addresses a lot of points I still find valid about myself today. While, at the same time, showing me how far I've come. Enjoy!
When I am not running off to heaven-knows-where or busy with schoolwork I am usually deep in thought. Back home this would usually last for about an hour tops since reality would usually interrupt in the form of friends, family, or responsibilities. But out here in rural England, reality rarely ever interrupts. Every week I have about one or two days to myself where the only time I see anyone is during meals, meaning I am left to my thoughts longer than anyone really should be.

I usually tend to fill this time with schoolwork, writing, or reading Games of Thrones, I might even schedule a few Skype sessions, but more frequent than not my internet decides to stop working and I end up on one of Sansa’s chapters and I begin to consider my life and where it is headed. But you can only go so far until feelings pop up. Something I have always buried down deep under the train track out everyone’s reach.
Now I know that this is not healthy, I have faced the consequences of hiding them away loads of times. And my friends would probably not agree that I do this but that is only because I have always been skilled at hiding the things that scare me the most.

Hiding behind my couldn’t-care-less persona, I walk around the world with smile on my face and attitude that is friendly yet innocent, making people believe I am naïve to most things. Which is a downright lie. The truth is that I know too much about how terrible the world is since I have experienced a good variety of hardship and the reason why I don’t tell a soul is because why would I want anyone to feel the pain I wish I never knew? But because of this choice I have also pushed away good feelings, like love. Yes, I love people. But I love them in a way where if anything ever happened to them a part of me would die with their soul. Never have I loved in the way that people write songs and sonnets about and sometimes I think I never will. And just so we’re on the same page I am not saying that I don’t think that there is someone out there for me, what I am saying is that when I meet the person I am suppose to fall madly in love with I won’t because I have trained myself not too. In the end, being the villain to my own fairytale.

Now this isn’t a post where I tell the cyber world everything I kept locked away for the past four years, but it is post for me to come to terms with the fact that I do this. And I hope that by writing this out and putting it on here for all the world to see that I will one day have the strength to let my feelings out and let people in.

Taken October 2012 under the train tracks of Garforth Station

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Emotions, feelings, being free? Oh my!

This past weekend I hopped in the car with my sister Molly and drove up to the mountains to join my family for a little weekend excursion.

Normally when my family goes up to the mountains I stay at home because of work or yoga training… or at least, that’s what I tell myself. But to be quite perfectly honest, the real reason might be because there is still a small part of me that doesn’t want to miss out on anything. I don’t want to miss that extra dollar I could earn, that new yoga pose I could master, or some amazing adventure a friend just thought of. And though the New Year has been filled with so many amazing happenings it has also been filled with emotional turmoil. So I decided to take a break from “my reality” and escape into the mountains for a weekend off from everyone and everything.

I guess I should start off by saying that “emotional turmoil” might be a tad dramatic. But I have been dealing with a lot of emotions as of late and, well, I just needed a break from them, okay?

You see, this past year I have been trying to become more open about how I feel and not see emotions (other than happiness) as a weakness. And let me tell you, it’s a struggle. Lately I feel as though I have been a waterfall of emotions, telling everyone left and right how I feel. Which is good, coming from never telling anyone anything  (of substance) at all. But right now I am finding that I don’t know how to communicate what I am feeling correctly. For instance, in November, I told a guy I liked him and I think he thought I was joking because he later on hooked up with a another girl in front of me and then gave me that “booyah” best mates sort of look. So I think a break to collect my thoughts and weed through everything was much needed.

The entire weekend I only did three things: read Mindful Yoga Mindful Life, go on hikes with my mom, and watched some mindless television. It was perfect.

I especially loved the walks with my mom. We hiked up the old ski slopes and walked through (probably closed off) meadows. We talked about life, our opinions on world matters, and my future. It was nice to talk about these things while feeling like we were the only two people in the world. It made things… simpler.

By the end of the weekend my brain felt so much clearer, I came to terms with the fact that though I was that guys friend and that I was sexually attracted to him, it didn’t mean I necessarily liked him. Also, just because he doesn’t like me doesn’t mean he is a bad person. That last one is common sense, I know, but you cannot imagine how many people bad talk someone when they find out they don’t like you or a friend back.

Another thing I learned, which might be the most important of them all, is that I am tired of being alone. My entire life I have gone from group to group, county to county, always changing up the people I keep in my life besides a rare a few. Though it has given me amazing opportunities and adventures, it has also left me rather lonely. I mean, I am twenty-one and I think it’s about time I had a serious, committed relationship. But I need to stop looking for it where I know I can’t find it or with people I know will give it to me even if I don’t fully like them back. It’s very selfish of me and it’s time to grow out of that childish trait. So I will stop looking and just stay in my hometown and be with the people who have stayed in my life since the beginning until I leave for Spain and maybe learn how to create some roots.

With all this in my mind, I went back to yoga Monday with a clear mind only to find we will be starting a new project of learning how to express ourselves correctly. I couldn’t believe it! The universe really does work in strange, miraculous ways. It could have sent me a relationship that I would have been too immature to understand but instead it gave me tools to grow as a human, to one day have a healthy relationship.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Obligatory New Years Post

Let me first start off by saying, I am not a fan of new years. Nothing to do with bad past experiences or anything like that, I just don’t see the point in it. After all, it’s not really my new year. My new year starts the day of my birthday but in hopes of not being too difficult I go along with all the festivities and resolutions and (hopefully) not let on how stupid I think the whole thing really is.

That being said, this year was a particularly great one to reign in. I really stepped out of my comfort zone, took on a few challenges I had been meaning to get around to, and learned new things about myself. For instances I started going to parties and I survived going to a concert without having a total break down. Two things that are pretty big achievements since I have suffered from panic attacks for most of my life and crowds are by far my biggest triggers. I became vegan, something I had wanted to do since I was a little girl and started reducing my belongings as I slowly make my way to becoming a minimalist. I made great strides in the romance department in ways of figuring out what I actually want/need in a partner and how I work in those given situations. And lastly, I started taking my yoga practice so seriously that I decided to become certified.
I also had some crazy curve balls thrown my way like being evacuated from the summer camp I was working/living at because of a giant forest fire. But I also made some awesome new friends and got to see how the other half lived for a weekend. In other words, I had a really awesome year.

So when it came to making my new years resolutions, I must say, I was at loss. After all, I had been eating healthy for the past four months and working out (pretty much) everyday since April. I don’t drink or consume anything that could possibly poison my body (this even includes caffeine) and, as far as I am aware, there was no bad quality I possessed that I desperately needed to work on. I mean, that’s why last year was so great, it was because I had grown so much. Then it dawned on me. While I was working on me, my love for writing and photography had taken a backseat. Two things I very much loved doing.

In conclusion, this year I plan to focus on my artsy side. Maybe finally finish that novel I have been working on for the past five years, use my camera for more fun things, learn how poetry works, and (hopefully) update my blog more.


Monday, March 18, 2013

The Wonders in my own Backyard

With Under the Tuscan Sun still fresh on my mind I decided to explore my hometown with my “little sister”, Olivia. As we drove through my town I showed her an old faded school bus with the words Jesus Saves stamped across the front and back of it I discovered about a week ago. The bus was parked in front of a house that seemed just as abandoned as the bus itself, making it a bit more unusual. 

After, we walked to the outskirts of town where I showed her the timeworn tire swing that has swung the children of my “turf” since before I can remember. There is something about an old tire swing that just makes you feel free. Maybe that’s why we are so envious of children? Children are unaware of boundaries we grown ups have created and are allowed to live their life in sheer bliss.

Even though the day doesn’t seem like much, it was such an amazing adventure that promised many more to come.

My outfit~
Shirt: Matalan
Skirt: Topshop
Beanie: gift

Olivia's Outfit:
Cardigan: Thrift store
Shirt: Target
Shorts: Urban Outfitters

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Finding my Tuscan Sun

Monday night, as my nieces and nephew were fast asleep in the other room, I sat alone on my aunt’s couch watching a film I never in my life expected too: Under the Tuscan Sun.

One of the reoccurring themes in this film is fate and at that very moment – and still to this day-- I believe that it was fate that I happened to turn on that film.  The lines speak to my heart in the most haunting way, while the characters bring to life people in my own.

Though I am not going through a major break up like the lead, I feel like I have been trying to get over a loss that was just bad as hers. Not only that, but I have been trying to get over it the same way as her by escaping to places unknown and trying to find the ending goal: happiness. But that’s the problem with happiness, you can’t go searching for happiness, happiness finds you. A lesson she learns through out the film and though I relate more to the lead I long to be the miraculous English woman with her fancy hats and ice cream. Something I believe the protagonist wishes to be too. She lives in the moment and allows magic into her life rather then trying to create it herself. Because of this she is happy and is never second-guessing or wondering that dreaded “what if”.

Maybe it’s the left over wanderlust from England or maybe it’s the fact that I have fallen in love with some obsolete film but I want to go on adventures. I want to travel the world. I want to walk the El Camino Trail, visit the rooms that hold great historical value to the life of the Romanovs, live in a villa in Italy for a summer, teach children in a foreign country.  In other words, I just want to live.

The problem with living though is that it costs money and in order to get money you have to study hard and work vigorously. Two things I am thankfully good at but it still doesn’t make my dream completely attainable, but who know? Maybe with the right amount of positivity and will power I can make this dream a reality.