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BRISA LIBRE

A free-spirited one in pursuit of dreams and self; much to do about Spain

Prompt: ¨I never want to forget this…¨

On this glorious sunny summer day, I escaped the heat by ¨going shopping¨ in a mall not far from home. As I strolled through an accessories store, a little notebook distracted me from lazily glazing over the overabundant amount of little pieces of jewelry. The cover of the notebook was made to look like an envelope. It´s read ¨Letters to My Future Self¨. Inside, the pages are folded and labeled with different prompts… I have to say the design and packaging of this thing is ridiculously attractive, but since I am trying not to spend needlessly, I decided to return to you my old friend (WordPress) and write it out. So here goes:

I never want to forget this… I have recently turned 23 (a few hours ago, to be exact). Considered to be a baby by the elderly, I must say that I have an experienced a sh*t ton of things that not many 20-something´s would have. I have just returned ¨home¨ after 2 years in Spain, the place I actually considered my first home. I never want to forget my time in the Iberian Peninsula. There, I had many, many, maaaaany first´s: apartment, job, night out, night out alone, sex, one night stand, love (?), to name a few. Just 2 weeks before I left, I decided to go dancing alone because why the hell not. My only intention was to dance and nothing more. Of course, when you have no expectations, the men come pouring in. I was only dancing into my second song when I was approached. I danced with the first one for a bit and bid my farewell. Walking away, somebody else asked me to dance. Again, I did so briefly and tried to sneak away again, but he soon found me and asked for another opportunity. His accent was different, I thought, so I decided to have a conversation with him. When I found out he was Colombian, I literally groaned (Shit, not again, the 3rd one), considering I haven´t had the best experiences with the previous two. I knew how it was going to go. He was going to say all the right things and then fade away. I didn´t know that I was going to believe him…let alone fall for him. 

This post deserves more than just a mention of someone I spent a few days with. (There will be more on that later as I can´t get him the f*ck out of my head and I´ve got time to kill). However, this particular event has affected my state of mind on this particular moment of my life….

Dear my future self,

By the time you read this, I hope you will be more at ease than I am. Not to worry, I am ¨fine¨. I´m back at home from my f*cking amazing 2 years in Madrid. You´d expect me to die from a heartache since you know that I love Spain SO DAMN MUCH, but I´m actually managing. Those frequent trips I took were to practice how to leave Madrid, so it will be alright. 

Life goes on. 

I had a great time on the other side of the world, but now it´s over. Rather, it´s time to begin again, to chase a new dreams. Currently, I am transfixed with the idea of living in Miami, but I don´t see that happening soon. I´ve applied for a job down there like 45 days ago at a university but I haven´t heard back… It´s not an ideal job, but I do have compatible qualifications and what I need the most right now is experience. Another job I´ve applied for around the same time period is in Tampa. Now this job would be PERFECT since it has to do with international education and that is what I am all about. However, I still haven´t heard from them either… I am growing more anxious by the minute. And how do I deal with this stress? I applied for more jobs – which I feel is kind of pointless because I would have to possibly wait even longer to hear back from them…but it is better than not doing anything. 

Moving back home with Mom is not ideal. I feel like I lost my independence and freedom. Hey, at least there is always food and company. 

I am trying my hardest to focus on how I feel in this letter, rather than saying things like ¨Wow, I´m such a loser, look at me¨. No more negative self-labeling. I am giving it my best to find light in these dark times. If anything, I need to be more kind to myself.

Anyway, by the time you read this, I hope you are employed, healthy, and happy. Hopefully, you are reading in Miami…or somewhere warm. I hope you are happy being single, or have found someone who loves and values you – even better than the way that Colombian did. I hope you have moved on. We both know that you and him have always been nearly impossible…even though I would give it a shot – but that doesn´t mean he will. It´s a lot to ask of a guy and it´s too much for you to be hopelessly waiting around for someone who didn´t have the decency to say goodbye but has the nerve to say he knows he will see me again. But if he really is the one…holy shit that would be amazing haha….I doubt it will be easy, though. I think you will thank me later when I finally have moved on 😉 Don´t I deserve so much more? 

~Brisa

Buenos dias desde Madrid,

Who would’ve thought that I’d be one of those terrible bloggers who take too long to post something new.

So quick update: I’m halfway through my second year as a “native English language and cultural assistant”. Life’s fine. Work’s not so good.

Compared to last year, I have 7 more classes per week, which adds up to be 29 in total – anywhere from 1st grade to vocational training. It’s been rough – nearly impossible. I’m always tired and running late.

Just feeling like I’m losing grip of everything… blindly reaching for a string to get out of this deep, dark water.

As for the personal life…meh, it’s fine.

I’ve become very close to my former roommate, who just left the apartment to go back to her home university in the other side of the ocean.

As for the love life, still non-existant like always. Not that it matters, but it’s getting closer to Valentine’s Day so the single awareness is becoming more powerful by the day. The only people hitting on me are either twice my age or a few years younger (keep in mind that I am 22) which I think is gross. But thinking that it’s gross is probably why I should stay single. And if that makes me a horrible person…at least I’m an honest terrible person.

I’m 2 stops away, about to get off the metro so I will sign out now.

I have a feeling I will post again soon. It’s actually making me feel a bit better.

~Brisa

 

Self-Love Challenge, Day 1: Where Are You Now?

So here I am, back on the hard floor where I used to sit before everything started… Everything being the 10 months in Spain, studying and teaching.

Life is back almost exactly where it was before I left the country. I am undergoing the illusion that what happened in Spain was almost a dream. The people that I met were just mirages that don´t exist now that they are out of sight.

But I´ve managed to keep in contact one person in particular against all the odds…one that I should never have in the first place. Deep down, I knew I was expecting more. Even deeper down, I know I was expecting more from someone who cannot give. If he does, it means that he has another girl´s heart to break.

But things between them didn´t work out and I was the first he reached out to… Only for me to find out – on my own – that they were back together again.

So imagine how I would have felt. Ashamed for lowering my standards of morals and values. Embarrassed for being taken as a second draft. Such a lose-lose situation regardless of whether I get to have him or not.

I´ve done everything right in life. Educated, polite, hard-working, open-minded… And yet there has been no luck in my love life. None. At all.

As much as I hate the society for imposing the need to be in a relationship, I could not help but wonder why I have yet to have a boyfriend…. It seems like having one would be validating for my attractiveness and character. Acknowledging that makes me hate myself even more. Who the fuck needs validation from some man? Get your shit together.

Which brought me here for the challenge from the book Self-Love: the 21-Day Challenge by Ingrid Lindberg…

The first challenge is to answer whether or not I love myself…

The answer is:

Sure, I have some positive aspects. I´m pretty good-looking with a voluptuous and just-right slightly toned body. I have a master´s degree from Spain and my work ethics brought me here. I love my roots, coming from a economically-challenged household from a third-world country. I love my values and determination, as well as the acceptance that I am unique but not better than anyone with less education, money, and good looks, among other things. However, I hate that I try to please people too much and the amount of love, care, and attention is never reciprocated. Despite being busy as fuck during grad school, I still made room to see someone -only to stood around for 30 minutes for a date that never happened. I hate myself for still speaking with him after that but never addressing the fact that he was a no-show. I hate myself for still wanting to see him after knowing I was lied to, that he was not in a committed relationship. I hate myself for looking forward to seeing him again. I hate myself that I kept another guy around pretending it was a platonic interest and getting rejected and neglected again. Second blow and I would still do everything to keep them both in my life. I hate that all of this shit happened in the past few months and it made me question whether I was a good person with high moral values that I thought I was. What I hate the most is that I am so clouded to even know how to fix this problem and know what my next move should be- or if I should even make a move at all.

Uff. That was rough.

Day 1 ended with the author saying that most people would not answer with a straight ¨Yes.¨

And shit, she´s so right.

I´m looking forward to the next challenge.

 

~Brisa

 

Self-Love, Self-Doubt, & Madrid

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Calle Fuencarral, August 2015

Despite being the studious kind, I avoid taking all things seriously (besides school, of course) – even when it comes to entertainment. I hate watching ¨serious¨ movies, especially drama, horror, or mystery ; but when I do watch them, they often belong to the light-hearted, endorphin-inducing rom-coms with happy endings.

One of my most favorite is Casanova (2005) starring Heath Ledger and Sienna Miller. It has all the elements that I find attractive: a bit of romance, comedy, history, and imagination. It´s not a surprise that I have watched this film over and over again, enough times to quote lines without a second thought.

Of course, verbatim and comprehension are two very different things. I´ve never really understood one particular quote, but those few words memorized me and often ring inside my mind with the scene of the leading female delivering the line with an air of effortless confidence and pride.

¨Self-love is self-doubt.¨

(Spoiler alert: Francesca asked a man whom she thought to be a philosopher and friend of Casanova to deliver Casanova this message. Little did she know that she was speaking to the infamous Casanova himself).

But what does this even have to do with Madrid? Well, allow me to backtrack.

The first time I stepped foot in Madrid was in June 2014, right before heading off to Málaga for a summer semester abroad. I was about to turn 20 years old, so imagine… Young, reckless, impulsive, you name it. It was the first time that I felt completely free. No one knew my name nor where I came from. Those who knew such information did not know where I really was. I was just another face in the busy streets, lost in the crowd. I was free.

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First picture taken on foot in Spain – Gran Vía, June 25th, 2014

This first affair with Madrid was cut short, but I was determined to come back. There was something about the city…something inexplicable. No, it does not have jaw-dropping, UNESCO-approved sights, but the city felt alive to me. We had something special and Madrid grinned knowingly that one day I will be running back into her arms.

That day was last September, when I started graduate school and a teaching internship. I landed towards the end of August 2015 and stayed in a quaint hotel in Sol – the most central and touristy neighborhood possible. My first five hours were spent on foot, exploring the familiar sights, hearing the familiar sounds, and breathing the hot summer air with hopes of catching the smell of that same damn popular masculine cologne whose name I still have yet to know (and determined to find out soon).

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Gran Vía, August 20th 2015

To say I felt at home would not do it justice. No, I had a home…and Madrid was so much better than that. There, I was liberated from the given identity and all attachments from the past. I was a blank slate, open and ready to fully absorb new sights and sounds of the present moment. Nothing else mattered. Every new experience was between me and Madrid.

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My refuge, pictured on September 7th, 2015

A few days later, I was settled in. I found a roof over my head and a street to claim as my own. It did not take long to become accustomed to my new way of life: how to use the metro, where to get the groceries, the best place to go shopping, etc. etc. I could go anywhere and do anything however and whenever I felt like without the fear of getting lost. Have I ever lost my bearing at the beginning? Yes, countless times, but I didn´t care. Not knowing where I was is just Madrid´s spontaneous way of showing me her hidden corners that became our secret spots that never fail to amaze me. Despite losing my ways, I was always confident that I could get back on track somehow – and I have always had. It was the most empowering experience that made me value and love myself more than anything.

Not only do I love Madrid, but I love who I have become in Madrid. I love how the city made me feel the way I felt. Calm, confident, carefree yet calculative. My self-love had never been that intense before…and in the back of my mind, it made me think about the haunting quote from a freaking movie that wasn´t even historically accurate.

Is self-love equal to self-doubt?

And if it is…what´s wrong with that?

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Reflecting on the floor of Plaza de la Villa on May 2nd, 2016

Yes, I am full of self-doubt. I often question who I was, and that person is someone who has always strived to be someone she was told to be. If so, was my existence even relevant, then? Also, I doubt my strengths, but also my weaknesses, questioning if those things define who I really am or if the ¨strengths¨ are truly strengths and the ¨weaknesses¨ are really weaknesses. I doubt my skills and abilities, and often seeking improvement despite knowing that at some point chasing the impossible perfection will cease to become productive, and, therefore, pointless. I wonder how who I was in the past and who I am in the present will shape who I will be in the future. I doubt if I put too much care and emphasis into becoming the distinguished individual when I really am just like all the rest? Aren´t we all the same of flesh and blood?

Asking these self-doubt questions is important. Some people have gone a lifetime without questioning anything. I refuse to live my life as a being who wakes up, eats, and works, only to go to sleep just to wake up to repeat the same mindless routine again at the sound of an alarm clock.

I want to chase my passions, and even that perfection that I know does not exist. I want to see the invisible, hear the silence, taste the sounds, and smell the colors. I want to do certain things just because ¨me dan las ganas¨. I want to walk the opposite direction of the partying night owls going home early in the morning. I want to sit on the floor in an empty plaza at midnight. I want to be a nameless shadow tiptoeing in a tranquil street at 4 o´clock in the morning. I want to be me and I want to be able to love who I am…and I can do that best in Madrid.

If self-love is self-doubt, so be it.

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Gazing upon the Cuatro Torres from Chamartín station after arriving from an out-of-town trip at night on a spring day, 2016

Ode to Fuencarral

Living on the edge

Never fitting in

Neither part of Malasaña

Nor Chueca or anything

A north star and a labyrinth

…You are me and I am you…

Que viva mi querida calle

One More

(Originally intended to be titled ¨One More Year¨ but age isn´t another one that has recently added up).

My 21st year of life has been well spent.

I moved to Spain. Visited many places. Got a Master´s degree. Renewed the job contract….

But now I´m back at the place before it all began – a place that, if I could be frank, I despised for not being ¨my Madrid¨ and keeping me away from it.

But now that I´m back from my trip to the moon (Madrid), things have changed.

I wouldn´t stay here, no, but I definitely don´t hate it anymore. If anything, I appreciate it for being a part of my life and shaping who I´ve become. The peace have been made.

I´m going to enjoy my short stay here while I can. There won´t be an opportunity to re-live this experience again.

Ah, remember the guy I was talking about from my last post? I sure don´t.

There may have been new developments but I´m not sure…

After realizing it was my birthday, someone whom I adore message me immediately. The difference….

It´s always nice to talk to him but I´ve been keeping my distance because he was not single. But he told me yesterday that he no longer has a girlfriend and it breaks and warms my heart at the same time… But I know he and I are impossible. The important thing to keep in mind here is that there are more than one kind of ¨love¨. I intend to keep this one in my life and will not do anything stupid that would cause me to lose him. He´s a gem.

Looks like I have someone waiting for me to get back to Madrid and I couldn´t be happier. One more to look forward to in my 22nd year 🙂

 

~Brisa

One Less

This post was almost named ¨One Less Thing (to Worry About)¨, but it dawned to me that I should stop referring to a person as a ¨thing¨ -as heartless as they seem to be.

*Taking a deep breath

It takes courage…SO much courage to type these thoughts out. I have been keeping them in my head and am scared that once I typed them out, they will seem more…real. More concerning, to be exact.

Besides watching my diet cautiously after coming back ¨home¨, I´ve been using every joule of energy not to text a f*ck boy (defined by Urban Dictionary as ¨a person who is a weak ass (bleep) that ain’t bout shit¨ – definition for those who aren´t up to the pop culture and apologies for the language). But guess what? I did.

This person is… Gosh, how do I even begin?

For moral reasons, he´s someone whom I should never have seen. For the sake of my dignity, he´s someone whom I should have never texted first -and for several times.

It made me wonder if I had deeper issues. Do I hate myself this much to be trying so hard to keep someone who clearly has little time, interest, and respect for me? Why do I keep causing myself pain?

It hurts to type and it kills me to read what I just typed.

This whole situation has me thinking that I may need help. But acknowledgement is the first step, right?

Anyway, I think today was the last time. A final string has been pulled.

I wish him the best in all his future endeavors, but I don´t want to be a part of any of them.

I deserve so much better.

 

~Brisa

 

 

 

Brisa´s 3rd Year Anniversary

There´s no need to say it: I´ve been abandoning this blog for too long. Today, I happened to log in and saw the ¨Happy Anniversary¨ notification.

Oh, how things have changed. Here´s a quick recap:

Three years ago, I started this app as a Junior who was anxiously anticipating  to study abroad in Spain. Fast forward to today, I just received my master´s degree from a Spanish university in Madrid. Life.

I will be heading back ¨home¨ for the summer, with plenty of free-time (from anything intellectually challenging) when not working on that same manual labor job that I hated so much. But it pays and I don´t have time to be picky. Why? I´m coming back to Madrid when more year, that´s why.

Saludos!

~Brisa

 

A Trip to Ibiza

Spring Break is heeeeeeere.

Who am I kidding? This is Spain, and it´s called ¨Semana Santa¨, but it´s a break nonetheless.

Last Thursday was my last day of work before the break. The following day, I woke up a few minutes before 4AM and took a flight to Ibiza, as if I couldn´t get away fast enough.

It was my first time travelling with a friend. I usually prefer going solo but I could not ask for a better travelling partner/classmate. I have been hanging out with her a lot and look up to her like an older sister.

Still with a flu and all, I met up with my friend on Gran Vía to walk to Cibeles and catch the bus to the airport together. There was no traffic and we got to Terminal 1 in no time. We directly went to the security, given that we already printed our boarding pass with Ryannair. Passing through the security was quick and painless enough, except for the fact that the staff made me throw my 16-euro facial wash away. I guess he couldn´t read Korean…(neither can I, but damn, that was the best facial wash he threw away. But it´s ok, I´ll buy a new one, a better one.)

We got to the gate with so much time to spare. An hour or so later, people started forming a line, so we joined them… The gates were so close together and I started to expect that we were in the wrong line. Sure enough, that line was for the people going to Italy. Why they would put international and national flights in the same terminal, I´ll never know.

Long story short, we got to Ibiza in less than an hour (much less than my daily commute to and from school). It was a cloudy Friday. We had an ¨Americano¨ brunch at the Cafe del Mar next to the port before catching the bus to Sant Antoni de Portmany.

Sant Antoni is known to be popular among foreign tourists. In other words, everything I hate. But when we were there, it was off-season, meaning that almost everything was closed and we were the only tourists. After checking in, we went to the Tourist Information Center and got a map along with a few recommendations, one of which was Port des Torrent. There, we had lunch on a restaurant on the beach, whose cala became my most favorite from the trip… I would post a picture but it still wouldn´t do it any justice. 12888535_1230587026970984_3033708215020871968_o (1)

Later, we came back to Sant Antoni and had a long, long walk around the city and finally along the promenade. It was dark, windy, and cold, but nonetheless beautiful. The only people who crossed our path were two jogging young men that I should have stopped. Oh well. I´ll live.

The next morning, we came back to Ibiza. We had a couple of hours to kill because the check-in time wasn´t until 3 pm. While my friend was looking up things to do on her phone, I came downstairs and simply looked around and found that the beach was only one minute away. It was warm and sunny, so I took off my leggings and jacket. Everything felt better when you´re wearing only your favorite jumpsuit. We had another fantastic lunch on Platja de ses Figueretes in a true Spanish fashion: outside and no hurry. I took a short walk in the water until I noticed some jellyfish, but it was enjoyable regardless. Later, we went up the hill to the Castillo in the Dalt Vila, where all the good things are. We even met a cat that was following us around for a good while.

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Later on, we walked down to the lighthouse and spent a good half an hour just talking and admiring Ibiza´s beauty in the dark.

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At nine, we had yet another amazing meal, this time at an Italian restaurant called Peter Pan. The entree was consisted of a tapas with grilled squid and grilled sardines, followed by the main course of a well-prepared pasta. Highly, highly recommended.

Day 3 was dedicated to the dead Formentera. We went to the marina at 10 to buy tickets for the boat trip and the island excursion. The trip, although advertized to last only 30 minutes, actually took about 50 minutes. When we got to the island, we found out that no buses run on Saturday afternoons and Sunday, so we were lucky that we decided to do the excursion instead.

While a few stores were still opened in Sant Antoni, Formentera was even more quiet. The whole town was in a deep slumber, waiting for summer. After having lunch, we joined a group of the elderly for the panoramic tour of the tiny island. At one point, the bus stopped to so that they can take a look at some trees. Yaaaawn. Finally, they dropped us off at the Es Pujols beach. For the third time, I took a walk in the water despite the fact that it was really, really cold. It was refreshing and I needed it. Ironically, the highlight of this little excursion was the boat ride back. (Photos to be uploaded).

That evening, we came back to the cafe by the port and I begged them to turn on MotoGP. I might have been on a vacation but there was no way in hell that I was going to miss the first race of the year. After some hesitation, the waiter changed channel showing Valencia vs. Celta game to MotoGP. I had a beer, got drunk, threw up, and went back to the place at 10 on a taxi. The next morning, I was back to normal and back in Madrid.

That is all, folks. Until next time.

Galicia awaits.

 

~Brisa

 

 

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