Monday, 26 October 2015

Moved House

You're going to have to bear with me. I'm sort of fumbling around in the dark at the moment with where I'm going with blogging and my online experiences. I feel this need to record and write but I'm not sure if I want to keep doing it here but I've come back anyway as it is the only platform I have right now.


I've just moved house! Suddenly I find myself in El Raval in Barcelona. It is quite amazing. This is my sister's old neighbourhood. It seems more populated then it was back then when she was here. The tourists are overspilling from the Gothic quarters and El Born and the Rambla and wading into this district.

It still retains it seediness though. Outside my house bookending my front door sleep roughly two rather unsavoury figures. First thing I saw the morning I stepped out was one relieving himself against a wall. They group around a little memorial statue everyday like they are having some sort of committee meeting. Further down the road if you turn left you can wonder onto a street of dishevelled prostitutes and pimps and sad looking recycled mobile phone and barber shops.

Contrast this with all the boutique hotels with gold-gilded signs and fairy-light bars and cosy cafes brimming with hipsters and their awesome, stout, little bulldogs. I guess it feels a bit like Camden. It certainly has character. Whatsmore, in one minute you are on the Rambla and it is heaving. I feel like I've moved to the equivalent of Soho or Leicester Square when I find myself here but I'm paying a fraction of the price.

The thing is though - I'm going through a bit of a crisis. Okay...that sounds dramatic. It isn't so bad. It's rather low is just my thoughts. I'm locked in a bit of a downward spiral with what I want from my life...and I've read a lot of literature lately that has left me feeling a bit like 'What is the point?' I'll have to explain this another day in detail but to give you a glimpse, think - environmental issues, money, corruption, the food industry, behaviourism (which makes me question if we have souls)...the world in crisis.

I'm not thinking in a suicidal way or anything. I'm happy enough. I'm just a bit disillusioned with the world and my inability to steer through it the way I want. Can any of us make a difference? Does it really matter? It can feel a bit overwhelming and I feel helpless at times.

Fortunately I'm friends with an eternal optimist whose phd is in positive psychology and she is encouraging me to redirect my thoughts and try to counterbalance the negative reading/facts with some positive. Its actually super simple. The moment I do begin to count my blessings (which at times I have to consciously do) the sun comes out. I mean...Gosh, I've said it just now in the previous paragraphs.

I'm living in central Barcelona. Smack in the heart of all the hub. For a seedy part of town which houses a lot of rough pads (along with bedbugs, cockroaches and rats) I have a wonderfully modern apartment shared with one other person. I have a beautiful large window which lets in all the light and despite being in the centre there is a huge tree outside and birdsong wakes me up.

There is a gym within walking distance, my bank is opposite my front door, the best market in the city is one minute away and I don't have to take a taxi to access all the night-life I want which as a singleton is well...just bloody marvellous. still isn't solving any big world problems. The negative is still very much there but by redirecting my thoughts and focusing on the little things in my life I'm hoping I'm going to climb back out of the hole I slipped down. And maybe once I've made a bit of headway, maybe it will becoming infectious and then maybe little differences will be noticed.

One thing I know for sure, even if I never achieve anything great in this life, if I can just be a good friend, if I can make those around me happy...then well...that is something positive. There is so much I could write about all this but I think I will stop here for now.

I hope you are all having a good day. It is Halloween soon too! My favourite holiday. Lots of Love xxx

Monday, 12 October 2015

Hello! Is it me you're looking for?

Probably not...I've been away too long.

Is there anyone out there?

Hmm...well...I'm here. I'm back to write. For how long? I don't know. I feel like my little blog needs a shake up. I had thought of making a new one, but why? When I have a perfectly good one here.

I've come to realise that although sometimes I have periods where I don't write, ultimately I need a space for this. I have a lot of thoughts and I get swamped in them at times.

I don't know what it is. The blogosphere isn't the same as it was when I first began. It's character has changed and become more slick, more magazine like...less of the community I once knew it to be. I don't know if I want to be a part of that and well, mainly I just can't keep up. I haven't got time.

But I need to write - I need an outlet. I also feel these days that so many people are talking and writing and you feel like you get swallowed up in the sea of it.

I'm going to find a way...Just it is taking some time. 

Friday, 20 March 2015

A strange time...

It's a strange time. I'm coming to a crossroads and once, when I was looking to these roads up ahead, I thought I had it all figured out. I had a plan. But the future always looks different when you reach it in the present. I don't feel as I anticipated, plus circumstances have changed.

Originally, Doha and Qatar were quite firmly flag posted. I felt pretty confident. Then, 2 days before I had talk to my boss about my plans, there was a change in the landscape and I had to throw the middle east idea out the window.

What to do now? I panicked and asked my boss for more time to make a decision. Then, I came to, and realised that I still needed to leave. Just suddenly it seemed more scary with big question marks hanging in the air and I sought security in the idea that I must do my DELTA module 3 before any other big adventure - I think this is a delay tactic of sorts, but it also makes logical sense as it is wise to be progressing with this and not leaving my new knowledge to stagnate. I should press on and finish the qualification. So now, I am looking at adventurous ways to approach this.

In the meantime, other issues have risen to the surface. Namely, my growing inability to cope with every day stress. My life really isn't that stressful and I'm happy. However, my hair is falling out. I have alopecia areata which is where the immune system attacks the hair follicles. Whilst, I'm no Gail Porter case yet - losing your hair is distressing and you worry that it is going to spread or whether it will even grow back. Currently you can't see the problem unless I tie my hair up as my long mane hides the patches that lurk below and near to my ears but, still, they are quite big!

I think I have known it for some time that I need to get this aspect - how I deal with stress - under control. It is only when faced with being bald - a vanity issue - that I'm kick starting myself into action to try and address the issue. If I look back on all my recent ailments they all fall under the 'stress umbrella'. RSI in London and eczema on my face when I was working in a very stressful job, stomach issues when I was caught up over a boy, insomnia and now this and teeth gritting! I pack too much in and whiz around the place and I'm highly sensitive. You just have to beep your horn and I'm like a startled bunny rabbit!

I came to Tarragona to slow down from the speed of London but all I've done is slowly increase the tempo back up again / never actually slowed down in the first place! Just goes to show that you can change your outer environment very easily but the internal one still follows you! I think I have done a lot of work on myself these last three years - three years!? Can you believe it, it went so fast - but I guess there is still much to be done. I feel more resilient with some things but I guess not so much with others - namely decision making at this current moment. Need I hark back to Plath and her fig tree that I completely empathise with!

So...big hanging question marks in the air which I hate. Most people would find it exciting. I should change my perspective really. It is pretty exciting...just it is also nerve-wracking! I want to know the answer now! But I'm just going to have to wait and see how the view is once I'm at the top of the hill....

As for the stress...well...I'm aware of it! Guess it is time to take more conscious steps to helping my unconscious mind relax a little....

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

I wish...

I wanted to write more these days!

Because there is so much I want to write about! I've just started a Positive Psychology course on the online website which is bloody brilliant and keeping my active mind entertained. I've even been recommending the website to some of my higher level English students because you can watch videos in English with subtitles so you can work on one skill whilst you learn about another subject! Very useful and enjoyable.

Positive Psychology as a term is quite new to me - I stumbled across it a few years back when I met a girl - now a very good friend - who was taking a Masters in it (and now a Phd). When she described it to me I felt like someone had designed a course which incapsulated half the reading I'd already done in my lifetime!

Growing up, my dad had (still has) tons of self-help books mixed up with all his business books on his shelves. Being an emotional teenager, I quickly found solace in a lot of these and as the years went by I found a self-help book was always a good quick fix/temporary distraction to easing emotional pain. So I'm pretty well read in this area already by chance (though that is not to say Positive Psychology is the same as self-help exactly) and in the last few years I have continued to read in this area more purposefully now as I recognise I find this area of science fascinating - though I have gone more academic with my pursuit for more knowledge.

There is a massive growing trend for this type of psychology., Tiny Buddha - even dating guru sites like GettheGuy draw inspiration and ideas from Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology also supports a lot of my developing ideas about connection and spirituality. As I said to one friend, it is almost like the science being carried out is proving what we have always known in ancient spiritual texts and ideas. I just want to read more and more and learn more. I'd love to do a Masters like my friend but...pah, so expensive these days!! remains just a hobby for now.

I really should be writing down help me retain it all...but I just can't right now. I'm too busy with other things. This little burst of inspiration is fleeting and fading but I wanted to share...If you have time and you also find these things interesting check it out...And I will try to come back with a few more thoughts to share soon.

Lots of Love xxx

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Hello 2015!

Hey guys,

Been a while! I'm hoping the desire to write comes back but still I don't feel it. I have a desire to write about online dating but this is a different platform from here and at the moment it is just notes and there is not a lot of energy behind it.

Since Christmas my desire to create art has also faded a little. It is strange. My brain is craving action, travel and experiences. The winter is a difficult time after Christmas because you have those few months where everything goes quiet and work becomes more the focus and staying in and keeping warm becomes the priority. But my brain craves action and adventure and whilst I need rest I don't want to stay still. I felt the same last year in Tarragona and I know as the summer creeps closer I will feel better and then that is how Tarragona's magic works...the winter months are tedious but as the summer comes, Tarragona is like a possessive octopus whose tentacles tighten around me and entwine with my heart making me feel as though I am unable to leave.

But I'm going to leave. It is going to be very difficult but I'm desperate for more adventures even if it means tougher challenges and stress and all those negative things that also come with change that are frightening but so exhilarating and rewarding in the long run.

I look back at the moment and I feel I should have kept a blog dedicated to Tarragona. I should have poured all the secrets and experiences into this blog so that someone might come along and read it and have ideas of where to start and what to do. It would have been good for me too - something to look back on.

But I have my memories and photos and well...I was too busy living my life. That is what tends to happen with writing I guess. It is why I never wrote much in my University years. I was too busy getting on with things. Sometimes I'm just not disciplined enough either and I know art sometimes requires this but who is this art for? If disciplining myself goes against the grain when it is meant to be expression then I'm not so sure what I'm doing. I like going with the flow....but maybe I have more to learn yet.

Anyway...2015! What does it hold? Maybe you'll get to hear...and maybe there will just be memories captured in photos. xxx

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Ah dormant blog...

I have left you too long. But you see, the thing is...

...I didn't feel like writing. I felt like doing other things. Maybe I will never be / can never be a true writer...or an artist...or a teacher... or anything. I can't stick to one thing for-ever. I love variety too much.

But then...I suppose, just because you are not doing something for a period of time, does not mean you aren't this thing. Maybe you are always a writer, an artist, a teacher...but well, you are a bit like a rotating rubik's cube or that He-Man baddie whose face keeps revolving...different sides for different days. But this doesn't work in the career world. You can't be a doctor one day and then think - I want to try my hand at something else for a few months...and then go back to being a doctor... (apart from a sabbatical but you probably can't do this continually)

But that is the career world... and some careers are more rigid I suppose. I've deliberately chosen a profession that is flexible.

So here I am studying like a fiend for my forthcoming exam in a week and a half and I've learnt so much about the world of English Language teaching and it has all been very fascinating. And yet...I've been a grumpy bugger with my kids. Stress hasn't made me the nicest teacher, or the most sensible teacher and I've wondered if I still even want to be a teacher - all the while enjoying the studying for career development.


Maybe I am just enjoying the learning (Not the time-consuming studying with an exam which hangs over your head like a Damocles sword warding off any potential opportunity to have fun ((and when you do choose fun over studying you feel guilty so it isn't 'true fun')), just the is a shame they come hand-in-hand). Anyway...who knows? It feels like change is in the air.

Change...sometimes it feels like the enemy but right now I'm yearning for it. Last time I stayed in the same place for three years was ten years ago at University. I need new stimulus and adventures. I'm excited about them. My friends think I'm mad. My tune has totally changed from 'I want to live in Tarragona forever and I plan to go and come back and buy a house with the money I make...' to 'who knows? Maybe I will come back...maybe I won't.'

Because I realised I don't know who I'm going to be in another few years time. I may be a totally different person with a whole new set of dreams and ideas. It is possible. I am seeing so much change around me these days. I guess it is my age. Babies are sprouting like nobody's business. Friendships that once seemed so close at one point in time are now so far away and yet others have reappeared and developed. Family dynamics change, jobs change...the world changes.

Stories I hear, experiences I have had now tell me that nothing is guaranteed. It can all change in one day, one minute. Your perspective is continually changing and updating. Today I feel stronger, tomorrow I may not, but I am keen to seize on my strength whilst I can and propel myself forward into the unknown.

After this exam I will have time to focus on what will be next. Until is concentrated focus with the reward of a family Christmas at the end. Hope I don't leave the next entry for so long... Hope you are all well too xxx

Friday, 5 September 2014

I suddenly had the urge to write

Funny that...but good to still have my little blog here for these moments.

I guess I just want to stop and record my current thinking so I don't forget it.

I started my DELTA course this Sunday gone and currently I am not too stressed as I am not working and I am getting adjusted to the work and course website in my own time. I keep reading that it is going to be HARD and I can see there is a lot to digest and get my head around, but I am surprised by how positive I am about it all and laid back.

I hope I can maintain this chilled-out probably won't remain when my social life starts rolling again when I'm back in Spain next Tuesday, and then work steps up a gear at the end of the month. Still, I tell myself it is two months of intensive work before Christmas and then I can replace the academic books with art materials and I can go out again in abundance!

I also know that despite the mild fear of stress and workload, I am really excited about the learning challenge. I can literally feel my brain expanding and the course is forcing me to address areas in teaching that I have shrunk away from in the past like strange foreign foods. Phonology has always been daunting and has looked like a whole load of hard work but now I have the phonemic chart on my iphone and I am practising the sounds daily and getting familiar with the symbols. It is all good really.

In the meantime, because I am now slightly constrained and I know I have to be disciplined, my reckless, fun side has piped up a bit also having been mildly repressed. Suddenly, after ignoring my kindle for months and not reading for pleasure when I had the chance, now I want to delve into a whole number of light-hearted books and literature such the hilarious as How to be A Woman by Caitlin Moran (which I am reading as a reward in quieter moments).

I'm also taking advantage of 4od whilst back in the UK and watching lots of odd documentaries on serial killers, phone sex and drug experiments. I have to say I think TV seems to have plummeted a bit on the intellectual level and quality. A lot of these documentaries, despite fascinating material, are dishing it out quite slowly and you can quickly pick up on the entertainment techniques they use to keep you watching or to create suspense - which actually has the effect of making me switch off as I'm like 'yeah, yeah...stop being dramatic, just get to the point!' Maybe too much has made me that way... maybe with the quickness/shortness of the web and its content, my attention spam has waned? I don't know...

I'm also embracing the idea of hedonism more and more these days and accepting that, despite feeling like my life plan should fall into the society norms of having a family, getting a mortgage etc etc, it clearly isn't going to go that way for me (well, not as far as I can see currently) and I am really appreciative of my job and situation because of all the opportunities and great adventures that I could choose to seize if I so wish.

When I look to the future and daydream words like 'Barcelona', 'Nepal', 'tropical islands', 'Burning Man Music Festival', 'Art Projects' and 'meeting new people' colour my thoughts and feel like they are within reach. This is the future potential and it excites me.

Of course, I could sit and worry about the security aspect of it all - and I was for a while - but I realised over some frank conversations with friends that such worries were sucking the life and joy out of the present moment. I realise it is wise to be aware of more serious things and to try and take the necessary steps to be prepared but there is only so much I can do right now. I guess it will all happen all in good time.

So that is where I am. I don't think I have been quite this positive for a long time. I'm intrigued as to how the next academic year will go and I am ready. It is a good feeling. xxx