My trip to Kilkenny with Esther! (01.20-21)

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About three weeks ago, I went to Kilkenny, Ireland, with my lovely lovely friend Esther. It was a wonderful experience, so I want to share some of it with you!

It was raining the whole weekend. Well, not so much on Saturday but, Sunday all day (Like, it never stopped one minute, I swear! Light rain but with a very consistent flow. haha). Which we had expected and which, honestly, didn’t keep us from having fun.

We stayed in a hostel (which wasn’t an amazing experience in itself but there was a dog so whatever) and it was pretty fun. It had been a while since my last sleepover with a friend (although that technically wasn’t one) and man, I missed the silly talk and the laughing… But that was only for the night and for lunch. The rest of the time, obviously, we were on different adventures!

The big lines of what we did:

  • Visit the Rothe house and its garden
  • The Smithwicks experience! (yummy)
  • Walk around in the Butler house garden + be astonished by their fancy toilets which I did not dare use btw
  • Go on a high quality ghost tour!!!
  • Sleep terribly in our dorm room 😛
  • Visit the Kilkenny Castle and garden + check out the art gallery
  • Awkwardly walk in St. Mary’s cathedral and sit so I could rest my legs
  • Walk past St Canice’s cathedral and meet a cat, a black cat in the graveyard
  • Visit the (spooky) Medevial Mile Museum

I’m not gonna do an exhaustive account of this whole adventure, obviously, I’m trying to watch my time! Instead, I’ll just tell you about the Rothe house, Smithwicks and the ghost tour which were my favorite experiences! These were the most enjoyable ones to me. I learned things from every other and it was entertaining and all, but it didn’t set off a spark in me like these three did.

The Rothe house and garden

It was literally across from the street of our hostel. So, easy peasy first stop.

The Rothe house was, hmm, pretty creepy actually. But there was so much to see, like that humongous deer head above the fireplace:

If I recall, it’s actually from an extinct species which disappeared a long long time ago. It is massive. And creepy. But I LOVED IT. They used to have the whole skeleton displayed but for conservation purposes, it was taken out of the house and put… some place else. Sorry, my memory of facts is always very vague… Ha ha!

But, honestly, aside from all the history and creaking floorboards, what got my whole heart was the garden and its numerous WOODEN DEER STATUES.

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I’m pretty sure I let out a high-pitched scream when I saw the first deer. I was so freaking happy once I realized there were so many more of them!! They were everywhere and they were beautiful!! I could not believe my eyes! I took pictures! Would’ve taken selfies with all of them but then the rain caught up with us so we kinda rushed through the end. It was b-e-a-utiful! ❤

Here are a few more pictures of what was to be found in this house (which was, if I’m not mistaken, actually three houses?). From the hilarious tapestries to the creepy dresses and mannequins, including dog bones and an amazing candle/chandelier(?).

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Just a special mention for this plate with these beautiful words engraved in it:

Dearest Earth and dearest Sun, thanks for all that you have done. Earth who gave to us this food. Sun who made it ripe and good.

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The Smithwicks Experience

(right across from the street once again hehe)

Then, the Smithwicks experience… What can I say? Our guide, Simon, was literally the best guide I’ve ever had my whole existence! There was something very captivating about him and I swear I actually learned so much about the making of their ales and others, lots of things I had no clue about. He was lovely!

We were shown short films, some machines and lots of barley! We got to taste some wort (disappointingly bland for something with a high sugar content!) and smell different hops. And then, obviously, in the end, we got to taste some of their ale. We bought upgrade tickets so we got to taste all three and man…

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I fell in love with the Smithwicks ales, I must confess. They’re delicious. My most favorite had to be the pale ale because you can really taste the flower in it. But even the red ale, as “basic” as it is, was much more than any other beer that I had in the past. I loved it so much that I bought a shirt to proudly wear!

It was a very basic experience but tasty and like I said, the guide made all the difference. ❤

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Kilkenny Ghost Tour

Now, I’ll tell you a little bit about this ghost tour…

But first, let me just mention how poor Esther and I had our private space violated by a very drunk lad while she was sipping on her ice water and I, on my red Smithwicks(*wink wink*).

We were just fooling around with snapchat filters like one does, and one of the guys just got in the frame. And then, well, you know, the endless chitchat of a very drunk lad. I wasn’t sure if I had to laugh or feel for him; so I did both. Like, big bummer… Do guys just really think life is a fucking buffet and they can just come and pick whatever they want like? They weren’t exactly the terrible type of drunk dudes in a bar but, still, you know, it never feels good. Rude intrusion and the persistence of the pest..!

But anyway, our night just got turned around when we met our guide.

Caroll, was his name if I recall. (But really, it probably wasn’t??..) We walked to him, only to find out that the tour would consist of only the three of us (what a surprise…). Of course we didn’t mind it and I think that actually made the whole night better. Ever since our Titanic experience in Cobh, I tend to get Bill Withers’ song “Just the two of us” stuck in my head whenever we do anything! Ha ha.

Caroll was an amazing story teller and also such a nice guy. We walked around the city learning about witches and banshees, and getting to know each other. The stories were chilling and the company was top quality. I am so glad it was just the two of us, we had an amazing time!

***

The city was beautiful but, honestly, not as attractive to me as Cobh is. It’s lovely but I wouldn’t live there. As a matter of fact, by the end of the second day I was pretty sick of it and just wanted to go back to my sweet Cork! There’s not too much to see but what’s there is worth the trip. Pieces of history, art and heebie-jeebies to be savoured!

It was a wonderful experience, and, I have to say, so far, it has been my most wonderful travelling experience! I made some good memories guys! Yay!! 😀

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Typical fluffy tourists

 

As you might have already noticed, Dee was indeed with us in Kilkenny! I wanted to bring him with us in Cobh but, sadly, in my hurry I must’ve forgotten him. I was really happy to have him around this time! Esther got me Dee last Christmas and he is like our little mascot almost so I want to make sure he comes on all our adventures from now on!

Here’s a little slideshow of Dee in various places for you to enjoy! ❤

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Now, I’d just like to take a moment to acknowledge how truthfully thankful I am for Esther because, just like pretty much everything happening to me ever since I set foot in Cork, she’s one of those things that I thought I’d never get to know (again). I’ve been through disastrous friendships these past years and my life has definitely been all over the place, mostly down(ever since the beginning of me lolz). And even my first try at friendship here didn’t go so well. But somehow, I still held on to a bit of hope and, by the most amazing magic, Esther and I got together.

Having her by my side during this trip made everything worth it, from walking in the rain with sore legs to enduring a stupid drunk dude in a bar and the two hours and a half bus rides. I mean, she literally made me so happy… Like!

I can’t silence that voice in the back of my mind that keeps whispering “what if it all ends now? what if she too leaves? what if it’s the only way and she doesn’t care as much as you?”. I can’t silence it. But I don’t let it stop me from enjoying it; while it lasts. This whole friendship thing feels very new to me. She makes me happy and treats me like a person, she cheers me up and stops me when I get too stupid and we grab coffees together, we go on adventures together and we… We’re friends. The real kind. The good kind. ❤

We can be happy together, miserable together, silly and also very serious. I’m comfortable around you. You make me feel happier, stronger and God, I swear, I am so fucking thankful. I am glad that I survived long enough to meet you, Esther. Here’s to us! And here’s to more of us!  ❤

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P.S.: Can’t believe I almost forgot to mention that! While we were walking in the graveyard of St. Mary’s cathedral, we crossed paths with a black cat. Like…. Wow. It was raining and we were in a graveyard and he just came. At first I was like “spooky!”. Especially since it was on Sunday morning, after our ghost tour the night before! But of course, first instinct was still to try and pet him. He was just at home out there. He was like “move away, peasants” but then he gave in. He didn’t really care for my caresses. He was trying to catch the crows. The big black crows just being crows in a graveyard. Perfect scenery! Ha ha ha

 

Bonus deer:

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Nostrum is 3 months old!

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…And, sadly, this is how she spent the day:

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I woke up with some tension in my right arm this morning and rather than being bold and pushing through the soreness, I made the responsible choice of not touching the guitar at all today. Which was terrible and rendered me under-productive on this merry day! I wish we could’ve had some nice jam time together to celebrate our three months together, but it was for the best…

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Spending my day with the brace on my right wrist brought back some memories of 2016 with Glitch and so much bullshit. I remembered the struggle and I tried my best to be brave through it, and patient. I had my muscle relaxing oil, my special cream, my ice patch and my snuggly Emily around to care for me. Although it did get me very frustrated now and then, I frowned a lot but did not cry, and I had a lovely day with the kids.

I’m not gonna lie, it is super hard to try and force my brain to use mostly my left hand in these situations. Although I have been lately incorporating more and more left-hand activities in my daily life in order to actually become ambidextrous (and avoid any more days like these due to overworking my right hand/arm)… It does not make it easier. Because there is the factor of constraint involved and that makes it harder on me. But anywhoooo, I made it through the day, huh?!

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Mid hide&seek selfie

I still got to work a bit on a DIY cardboard shelf I’m making to gain space in my tiny bedroom(yes, I’ll post about it later on haha). And, after I’m done with this post, I’m going to to do some online Italian/music theory exercises (that won’t involve my right hand) or maybe even do some more left-handed writing if my eyes aren’t too tired. I played some cool games this evening with the kids and we had a very smooth transition to bedtime and they’re sound asleep now. It is my second night babysitting in a row but I’m not complaining; we love each other and it’s always a good time!

Today was a bit of a bummer because I’m dying for hard work right now and there’s always something, and I end up working way less than I intend to! But I should definitely celebrate all my progress and most importantly, celebrate having the exact guitar that I wanted by my side in this moment. She’s a beauty & she’s mine!

It’s hard to believe that she is here with me but, once again, this is fact not fiction and g*d does it feel so good! We’re making progress, step by step, we’ll get there! And I’m happy I have her because, even on days where I don’t play at all, Nostrum keeps me company and just like a good friend, even in the silence, my heart she tends. It’s weird but it’s real.

Happy birthday my dear Nostrum! And here’s to more existence together! ❤

(I’m super tired now, might as well just post this and hop into bed, rest that arm some more! I’ll get work done tomorrow!)

Make sure you can count on yourself.

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Hi! I’m tired and my eyes are struggling to stay open as I type this. But I have to get it out so bear with me, this is a good one, I promise!

I had a small talk with my best friend earlier about how I’m uncovering wounds that have yet to heal but never stung enough for me to notice them. I have indeed, in the past few days, became aware of a couple of issues and mental/emotional blocks and also realized where a few of them originate from. And I was telling her a bit about them and how I was feeling, how crazy it is the impact that other people and their words, no matter the levity they be spoken in, can have on one tiny person.

She, of course, agreed and worked her best friend magic on me. But there’s one thing she said… She told me we’d work through it together ( ❤ ) and it would take time, loads of precious time, but we’ll get there eventually. Which was sweet. Then she went on giving me the “love yourself” talk and I had to stop her.

Sure, we all need some pep talk every now and then and reminders to love ourselves through our flaws and darkest moments, yadi yada yada. But, that seems to be a big misconception a lot people tend to have about me so I had to write this down to set the record straight(and also, maybe, possibly, make sure I remember what’s true). Sure, I’m definitely all about self-depreciating jokes and I don’t radiate confidence like my ego was the fucking sun, but I do love me.

I am not going to lie, I have insecurities, doubts and on some days I really can beat myself up about a tiny detail on my body/mind. Of course! We all do. But I still love myself. Then again, to keep in the same line of my previous post, my way of loving me might not earn one too many ticks on your own “check-list of self-love”. But believe me, if there’s someone that loves me, it’s me. I know myself like no one else and my darkness, and all those ugly corners, I know them, I accept them and I wouldn’t trade them.

Love is not an acquired skill or a prized possession or whatever you wanna make it. It’s a work in progress, a continuous lesson. You keep learning and it keeps growing and changing shape and moving and burning… And you have to take care of it just like a garden filled with stuff(to be very unoriginal). But it’s something you work on and something that works within you also. You care for it and it cares for you.

Also, I was telling her how overly dramatic my little self has been reacting to minor inconveniences in the past few months. Like, a tiny thing would happen (maybe just in my mind), and I’d go “Alright so… You can’t count on anyone at all. I better just focus on my work and build myself a career or something. That won’t let me down.” And I was just laughing about it. Like today, nothing at all happened; I just misinterpreted a thing and then my brain turned it instantly into a full-blown drama and I picked my guitar up and I could hear those words in my head. I had to stop and laugh it out. Because it is super silly.

One thing, though, that I have to save from this funny newly added feature in my tragedy-orientated mind, is “you can only count on yourself”. Which might be an overstatement, but I think the core of it is true. No matter how many love you, how many you can trust and turn to, at the end of the day, you’re always the one that’s here, all the time, and the only one that can always be there. And that’s a relationship you definitely have to look out for and make sure it is healthy, non-toxic, balanced and just.

Compassion, empathy, love, little attentions, etc; all of these are actually pretty easy to give, give, give away to all you love. But it’s sometimes harder to give it to yourself. We tend to be harder on ourselves than we are with others and I’m like, why? I know I do it too! I’m all about love and forgiveness for all. Accept all their flaws and understand them, be patient and caring. But I’m the first one brandishing a belt ready to beat my own self up over any tiny detail. If I think everyone is deserving of love and forgiveness and should be treated with kindness always, then why should that be any different for me? Let’s not go there today, though haha

And I know I’m not perfect. And I know that sometimes I fail at loving and caring for myself when faced with frustration and broken expectations. And I know I break my heart a lot and don’t always do what I want me to do. But at the end of the day, I still love me and I know I can count on me.

I’ve been acknowledging the fire in me a lot more lately, especially ever since I let go of all the toxicity (relationships and environment) in my life. I’ve gotten over a lot of things and struggled, survived and am still working through it. I have been faced with a small portion of my own strength and now know for sure that I am capable of much much more! I have trust in me and in my potential.

I’m enjoying time on my own more and am becoming more & more okay with the idea of standing alone. I can acknowledge (okay, it’s pretty hard to admit sometimes but I can do it) my beauty, both inside and out. And I don’t take my flaws as flaws although I can recognize those that definitely need to be worked on. My anxiety had managed to convince me last year that I definitely wasn’t anything at all on my own. But I’ve proved that b*tch(and the other ones too) super wrong, haven’t I?

We all need people. People to love us and support us. I do. I need that. A lot. But it’s important to remember that you are your own person also and you definitely are still valid and awesome without these people. It’s important to be able to exist without them and rely on yourself. You gotta make sure that you are here. Be okay with having to hold your own hand through dark times and carry your own tired body on your back to get through those long dull alleys of life. Make sure that when all else fails, you’ll still be there.

You’re the foundations of this big house, your whole universe revolves around you. People don’t make you you, you do. People don’t make your strength, your worth; you are strong and valuable on your own. Love can add on to the strength and make things look more meaningful. But I promise you, you are already so much more on your own! Trust in that. Skies get dark and nights get long, but there is comfort to be found in your own warmth on those lonely winter nights.

I know sometimes the idea of having only your own hand to hold through a hard day is not exactly a very comforting thought. But that is the beginning of it all. Once you realize that you are here and you are someone to fall back on, you’ll get a better grasp of the words “you’re not alone”. You might have friends, you might have family, you might have pets, you might have hobbies or weird fetishes or whatever floats your boat. But you also have you, and that, lads, is actually such a stupid beautiful thing.

I’ll just end this here. I love me and am happy to know that I’m someone to fall back on. I apologize to my hands for looking down on them sometimes when I’m drowning in myself and they’re the only ones I can reach. I am thankful for them. I am thankful for the fire in me and the neverending strength the Earth keeps on feeding me. And I am also thankful for all the outside love that I receive through my friends and family and the whole Universe, because that is also an important piece of the puzzle!

Until next post, just, send yourself some flowers or something. You’re beautiful and you deserve all the love. ❤

Welcome home, dear Nostrum!

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On October 11th, a dream I had for about eight months now came true. I got my new guitar and it turned my life around once more.

Since I have finally named her, I can, at last, write about it on my lovely lovely messy website. And today marks her two months anniversary, so it is the perfect opportunity!

 

When she arrived I was so overwhelmed I had to live chat with my mom and brother just so I could open the box and see her with my own two eyes. When the outburst of emotions finally chillaxed, I proceeded to take many many pictures with her– of course! I haven’t been playing with her every single day like I’d love to but we’ve spent lots of time together these past two months, and it was pretty sweet. I missed this so much!

From my two brown eyes’ point of view, a relationship with an instrument, just like any other, is also very spiritual; it’s not all about the touching and the strumming… There’s much more to it; soul-food, magic; an instrument can be, or maybe, should be, more than “just it“. It’s a friend, a partner in crime, a weapon to brandish at the sky and howl at the moon with. I mean, it’s not just an instrument; when you create with it, you allow this deep and sincere connection to exist because you let yourself be vulnerable, you let it see your insides and you willingly share your private parts with it. And, no, this is not just a poetic excuse for my slacking off! 😛

It took me a few days to actually start practicing with her because I needed time to adjust and accept her as a new part of my life. But even without practicing with her, the link between our two selves grows. In fact, I instantly felt connected to her once I put her in my room. And now that I’ve been playing more frequently, I feel closer and closer to her and I think that’s why I was finally able to get a feel for a name! So let’s talk about it for a bit, shall we?

The name…

Nostrum (n.)

  • a medicine made by the person who recommends it, sold with exaggerated or false claims with no actual proof of its efficiency
  • “quack medicine”
  • cure-all;
  • a pet scheme for solving issues, mainly social or political ones
  • panacea
  • my left-handed Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro

Honestly, I did not really give too much thought to it. I was just fooling around with my “word of the day” app on my phone and it showed up and I was like “Oooh…”.

What got me was the “quack medicine” part. Because music and art is what I turn to in my dark times and if you’d ask me, I’d recommend it to solve any issue, soothe any burn, heal any wound and I’d assure you it is THE cure you need. And I like to sprinkle a pinch of doubt on everything, because it is necessary and also I do find it funny? So, using that word to name my weapon of choice is that for me. Meaningful and funny. Also, “no strum”… I mean, come on! I love it.

On a more serious tone, as much as she definitely is not a cure-all, Nostrum is a very good friend. Like, I remember writing on my Instagram one night how she already knew my heart even though we had barely just met.

[…] There’s nothing like music. And nothing like a fancy varnished piece of wood that allows your heart to bleed shamelessly and doesn’t condemn silence. She can already hear what I haven’t even thought yet.” I remember; I had had a rough day (emotionally speaking) but I didn’t have to work the afternoon so I managed to shower and focus on myself; I picked her up and even though I was doing some tedious theory practice, it fixed my mood. We do have a connection. It was an instant one and it grows with every breath, with every strum and every sigh. *You Raise Me Upppp starts playing in the back*IMG_20171011_195825_142.jpg

This is a piece of paper that came with Nostrum and it perfectly put it into words.

Remember it is one of your most intimate possessions–closer to you perhaps than anything else you may own. For it is the voice of the music within you, singing or sighing with your mood and forever faithful to your innermost whims. […] Give it the best you have and the best will come back to you.

Your instrument is an intimate friend and a door to your intimate parts. It knows you. And there is magic happening when you get together…

On working together…

It has been two months now and I have managed to gain back my very few left-handed skills.

For the record, I’ve been through so many changes I’m surprised my hands&brain didn’t get motion-sickness? Was right-handed, had to learn left-handed, then play right-handed again, then not play at all for so long, then play right-handed again, and then play left-handed again. I’m not gonna lie, frustration has been around a couple of times and I felt like banging my head on the walls way too many times. But I’m back on the left side now and I’m feeling good! My strumming is coming back nicely, finger-picking is doing okay and fretting hand isn’t so flexible but we’re getting there.

Just like when I first transitioned to left-handedness, the progress made was surprisingly fast and I am happy it was so. I should be able to write music again now but I’m not sure how fast that is going to happen! Ha ha. But I will. I’ll squeeze it out if I have to! I need to.

I’ve been considering many things like open mics and even busking. I will do them. But I still need some more practice and also songs to play… But I’m getting good enough to at least do a very simple performance on an open mic one night, I think. My host parents were talking with me about it and they said we should be going together to help me get started. And I think I could really use their presence!

Now that I think about it, I’ve never done anything like it before. I’ve never performed in front of more than one person at once! Well, sure when I was a kid we did some shows at the end of the school year, but I gotta admit I used to pretend to sing because I didn’t give a shit and it was pretty lame. My only real stage performances were during my high-school years with theater. I did pretty good then.

I love being on a stage and it somehow makes my performances better. I swear, during rehearsals I was okay, even pretty good sometimes, but on stage, I’d deliver so much more and it would feel much better also! I can’t wait to actually perform as a musician because once I start I am never gonna stop!

Nostrum and I

A new guitar marked the beginning of yet another chapter in this second volume of my life and it had to be marked also with a new picture; mandatory! So, I tried recreating the picture of Glitch and I because it looked pretty cool! However, I was not able to… (achieve the same level of coolness cos I’m an old woman trapped in a 21-year-old body)

I tried the same position at first but it wouldn’t work out. So instead, I went for what came naturally. I tried many different poses but I could not get it to feel the same. I thought that maybe with the editing after, I could get it right. But it did not happen. And then I understood why: everything is different and no amount of editing could copy all that misery and darkness onto my brighter self.

Things have changed. Things have remained the same. I’ve grown. I’ve shrunk. I’ve learned; I’ve forgotten. But the promise is still a thing. My dreams are still a thing. My fighting on never giving up is still a thing. I’m still a thing. Just a better thing! I’m not as miserable, not as lost and not surrounded by so much bullshit anymore. I am not wasting my time anymore; I’m doing things and I’m loving brighter.

This little family of mine has underwent many changes. Friends have died, friends have left, friends have been thrown away. Glitch was sold, Crash was given with love to my amazing best friend, Lilly. We’ve been desperate, at the bottom of the whole and on the edge of the cliff. We’ve drown and learned to swim. We’ve died and dived back in. But Nostrum is here to stay. And we’ll do great things together, mark my words!

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This is my favorite picture of us so far because of the light and my yellow sweater.

I’ve entered a new chapter, bigger chapter of my life and this bright light is devouring me but the shadows are still here, creeping on me. But you’ll notice how darkness and light coexist perfectly. There’s room for both of them and worth in both of them.

Yellow is a beautiful color and has always been my favorite (*wink wink* Winnie the Pooh). It’s bright and strong and warm but also is the color of some fallen leaves in autumn, the undertone of my skin color (thx mama) and… that’s it! I love pairing it with black and grey! Three cheers for yellow!!!

That light is Ireland. That light is me. That light is my darkness. That light is my new friends my Irish family and all that’s new and that’s yet to come. That light is so bright it covers my smile and you have Nostrum and I in the middle of it all, so close together and ready to take it on.

Welcome home, Nostrum! I will love you and we will love together. I’m looking forward to creating art together and performing it and painting life a brighter shade of black together.

Cheers guys! ❤

My three months as an au pair

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Today, November 25th, at 4:40PM (Irish time!) precisely, marks my THREE months being in Ireland!

Time flies…

…but in that weird way where it all happens so fast yet the days seem to drag with every breath you take. Only a week in, I felt like I had been there for twice as long but the week had went by so fast it almost slipped out of my hands. And now, three months in, I feel like I’ve spent over a year with my family and at the same time, I realize it’s been so little, but the days just fade fast. Maybe that’s what settling in feels like?

All that means is just, I guess, that I’m very lost in the now, which is a good thing. It means that I’m so absorbed by what I’m doing that I can’t quite grasp the passing of time. Which doesn’t mean that my days and weeks don’t get long or anything; not at all. It just happens so fast no matter how slow it gets. And sometimes, it leaves me with such an overwhelming feeling of helplessness which strips me of all pressure.

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Naked trees inspire me

When that solid thought hits me that Time just glides on me and I’m simply fading fast through life, I feel so… Lightweight. Like I’m just floating through life, never grabbing onto anything heavy enough nor going to any solid shelter. Like I’m just a candle burning away and my flame will die, sooner than later and I won’t even see it coming, and I’m fine with it. Like opening my eyes only to realize that my body is free falling and closing them again, accepting my impending fate and smiling to the thought of it. Sometimes, I give myself up completely to the insane flow of life and Time thinks, for a second, that it’s won. But it’s not and it won’t get the best of me.

Sometimes I feel so small and I feel lost, but I’m not losing. I’m learning and growing. And although it doesn’t always look like it, I’m not just fading through life. I’m leaving a mark everywhere, my soul-prints are everywhere. Even when I’m just running my fingers along the walls as I float by, I’m still leaving traces. Even when I’m not being productive, working hard enough on things that are dear to me, I’m still existing and I still mean something. Because there is more to life than purpose and solid things.

Life is an experience and being human revolves a lot around your senses and feelings. Maybe the real purpose of life is life? It’s to just learn to appreciate it, ups and downs, scars and smiles, blood and light, and go through it with an open heart, let it fill you?? I wouldn’t know, I’m just a kid after all..

Time flies but my broken wings can still carry me; I’ll run, faster.

The road so far!

I think I only have five medium-sized “buckets of thoughts” to share about my experience so far. I’ve been trying to write this post since last weekend, in the hopes of scheduling it for today but it was all just a big struggle and so I end up only finishing today. Some thoughts just weren’t ripe enough to be written out so I kept them for another post and we’ll focus on things I can actually put into words right now.

 I found a home here. I am filled with love.

The parents, kids and I all adapted to each other almost instantly. I feel like we were meant to be. It’s only been three months but there’s so much love, trust and happiness going on.  We know each other and we can be real together, you know what I mean? It’s all so natural. I feel like an actual part of the family; it’s a lovely feeling.

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Tiny blurry family in the woods

We were comfortable from the get-go and only grew closer by the day. We had this instant connection. Especially with the kids! I thought it would take them a while to open up and get used to me and accept me as a new part of their life but not at all. We’re super buddies now and they give me so much love sometimes I don’t even know what to do with it. Ha ha!
Although we don’t spend as much time together as I do with the kids, my host parents and I are pretty close and we know we can count on each other and it is all oh so very beautiful. I can have really deep and sincere conversations with them, wear my heart on my sleeve and it’s mutual. They confide in me sometimes, no questions asked; just come to me after a weird day and tell me what’s on their minds. We can also be silly-goofs together and joke about the hard times. And they’re also really supportive and encouraging of me and honestly, how did I ever get in such a good home?
Simply put: we’re the perfect match and life is awesome.

I went to evening art classes at the community school…

Which was okay. But I’m not going anymore because it is not teaching me anything and, although it is a cool place to be, I don’t want to invest any more time in it since it doesn’t bring nothing much into my life.IMG_20171116_220949_329.jpg

I didn’t make friends but I think it was still a nice experience somehow. I got to focus completely (well, 90% at least since, you know, my mind is always roaming and am always obsessing over several different things) on making a thing for two hours one night every week and it felt really good. Sure, I never once finished one thing in class since I’m an art-snail but I finished them at home anyways. I made things and it was cool. But, no more. I think my time should be invested on something else.
I talked about it for a bit on my second channel the other day, you can watch here

I’m rediscovering the joy of friendship and simple acquaintances!

I’ve met with other au pairs and while some of them have become really good friends, others are just these familiar faces added to this very new environment of mine!

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Esther, Aidana and I

With my new friends, we do things together and it feels good to have people other than my Irish family to turn to and make new memories with. I’m so thankful that I met them because they are lovely people. We get to hang out on the weekends and sometimes even during the week if we’re lucky. And it feels good, you know, to just know that you don’t have to go alone to that art exhibition or you can definitely go grab a coffee when you’re a little blue and need some company.
With my past being what it was, I had almost forgotten how good it felt to hang out with people. Just going out for a drink or simply hanging out; going shopping together, being silly together and exploring together. Just last weekend I went to the art gallery with Esther and I had an amazing time!

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“fish alcohol” ewww

And the start of a friendship is such a beautiful thing by the way. Getting to experience all of these feelings feels like a first time again; it is scary but enjoyable. After all, this is a fresh start for me, and, maybe not a new life, but a new chapter and I have a better grip on my story. Forever afraid to be loved but, remember what I say guys, use the fear as a fuel, don’t let it consume you. I’m learning to walk with my shaky legs and go through life again, even if I’ve been burned in the past. Learning to give second chances to everyone and myself.
I am so happy to have people I can call friends already! I just can’t wait to get to know them a little bit more and do more things together. Just be friends!

Everything is routine.

The kids are going to school after all, so it is normal for life to follow a very repetitive schedule which doesn’t make it any less fun. During the afternoons, after homework, sometimes we make art together or music or they just go outside play with their friends and I sit on my lonely ass and watch haha But having that structure is actually really helpful to get your shit together and build your own scheduled life around it and get to do your own things too.

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I will fully place my heart in these tiny hands.

I still struggle to wake up in the morning. I’d like to wake up at six so I can get a few things done before I wake the kids up. So far, I’ve only failed. But, I’m getting there. I usually wake up with my alarm but snooze until at least half past and sometimes all the way to ten to.
I’m doing my best, for once in my life, to lead a more organized existence. I’m not one for plans because WHY? and also because they aren’t compatible with the way my mind works. But, I’ve got goals and loads of things that I want to work on while I’m living the good life with my lovely Irish family. There are simple things I can do to make sure I can fit all of my hard work in my free time and not let my dreams sink instead of just giving into the laziness and fun side of life.

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*wink wink*

It isn’t that hard to be invested in what you love. As a matter of fact, if you care enough about something/someone, you’ll find the time, energy and motivation for them. You’ll make way for it. Because there is always a way and if you’re not willing to trade some TV time for guitar practice or whatever it is you’re all about, then, maybe it doesn’t mean so much to you after all. You just have to care enough. Think about it like dessert after dinner; sometimes you’re full but you always manage to fit that delicious dessert in, don’t you? 😉
So, I’ve started a bullet journal to help guide me into my weeks and make sure I get work done and also, to keep track of me and see the big picture. So far, this first week of it was a disaster. I was not productive at all although I did get a few tasks done and I’ll blame it on my period, yes. But even though my journal has yet to be the magical cure to getting my shit together, just having a visual representation of all the things I didn’t do is helping me (beat myself up some more). And I definitely think that on the long term it’ll be a great guide and it’ll document my progress as a functioning adult artist.

 

I’m all settled in the school routine now so all I have to do is manage to fit my many passions (not hobbies, actual rocks that make me, my life an actual thing) in there. SQUEEZE THEM IN I don’t care, I have to fit them all someway somehow. And I think the key is to let go of foolish things like snoozing, tv shows and laying around (and only keep these for “lazy days” like Esther would put it 😉 ).

Oh and yeah, I bought my dream guitar ♥♥♥♥ (And there finally is a post about her on my blog here! )

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Dramatically chilling into the night

Therefore I am finally able to work hard on my dreams again and not feel so alone on those bone chilling lonely days.
Haven’t really been working hard, to keep this post honest, but trying! Like I said, I am indeed learning to organize my life and fit everything I do in there, so my hard work agenda has been wibbly wobbly these past few months. But I’m getting there. Step by step.
I have almost regained all the left-handed skills I had! My strumming is finally coming back quite nicely and my fretting hand is doing better by the day too. I’m making a point to practice my scales everyday even if that’s the only thing I pick up my guitar for.

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Eat it maybe?

(Which can get really frustrating sometimes cos I want to play and have fun, not just go through my scales! It isn’t that boring a thing, but you know, it’s like having simply salad for dinner. Doesn’t suck so bad but could’ve used something more…)
I have also gotten back to my music theory study and trying to keep the knowledge in my brain and also translate it through my hands to the guitar/eyes/ears. I’ve been making these little flash cards to quizz myself but I’ve found that it’s not enough to help me digest the knowledge. Or maybe that’s just cause I haven’t been working on it every single day too… hehehe :3 But I’ll study better and harder, promise!

New guitar, muscle memory and brain abs!

Looking forward..

..to life, more days. I’ve had very dark days these past years that were so heavy they left deep marks on my shoulders that have yet to fade. I’ve had days where I was unable to even look forward to my next attack on myself. I’ve had days where I clung onto the tiniest piece of light I had found in the back of a dirty drawer all the while wishing for it to go out. I’ve died a thousand times, like they said, and wished for thousands more.
But I think that at this moment in my life, I can tell that I am in a better place, a better headspace. I am not cured, of course not. My cuts have not healed and my darkness has not just disappeared. But I’ve regained so much of that light I thought for real that I had forever lost.

orca-image-1511295523619.jpg_1511295523859.jpegI’m happy. I’m alive. I’m living and enjoying my every days. Sure sometimes time flies and I feel like I’m so powerless and falling behind. Sometimes the storm sends big waves my way and I have to face them in a very adult way, meaning mostly keeping a face for the kids and keeping a happy house while I crumble inside. Sometimes shit sucks. Sometimes I suck. But I’m happy here. Almost. I’m okay. I’m fine.

I look forward to getting back more seriously into music. Writing songs and trying out open mic nights and maybe even busking! And I’m looking forward to feelings and emotions and connections. I look forward to progress and feeling myself evolve into a better singer/musician//artist.  I know that there’s so much bottled up inside, so many ideas just macerating in dark or dimly lit corners of my mind and I can’t wait to be able to turn them into actual things.

When I look ahead, all I hope to see is a life filled with all arts, human connections, smiles, laughter, friendships, adventures, LOVE and so much more! I can’t wait to create more. I can’t wait to meet more people and allow my current relationships to get deeper and brighter. I can’t wait for new things and feelings too.

I’m just overall excited about life. I guess in a very calm and normal way, which I’ve never been used to. I’m just like “Wow, tomorrow I’m having coffee with Esther; this is AWESOME LIFE IS SO BUSY WOOT WOOT”. Life, guys, life! There’s art, there’s love and there’s darkness too. I’m still me, hey. Looking forward to the light and the darkness; to the love and the heart-rips; to the bigger and still-big-but-less-bigger things.

I’m looking forward to more life, that’s it.

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Emily “found” a flower in her mandarin peel the other day and it was the prettiest thing

So, yeah, three months gone! Living the good life with the loveliest family and making warm memories. Discovering myself and learning on and on. Living and breathing and struggling to reconcile all of what I do with my new lifestyle and happiness. Excited, alive and burning brighter.

I’m trying hard to get things done and build my little empire so that I can work in it in order to build the bigger dream-empire. But, I’ve never learned how to be organized nor productive since school has taught me all the opposite; I’m really good at last-minute-intense-pressure-what-the-fuck-am-i-doing type of scenarios but not so good at spreading things over the week. I’m learning and I’m getting there. Hard to allow organization and a free mind to coexist; one just like to roam and go with the flow, it’ll happen if the feeling is there or not, while the other is all about this-should-be-done-right-now and I already know what we’ll do tomorrow. And, it’s hard. I’m learning.

I am thankful and I am happy. It’s lovely, it’s amazing and I’m glad that I took the leap, that I came here, followed my guts, stuck to my words and I just want more. I love my family, I love my city, I love my few friends and I love life.

Thank You, Universe! And to me too! ❤

Ready to go out by myself and rock my own world?

P.S.:  Tonight I am going to this really cool art-related event and it’s probably going to bring big things into my life so stay tuned, I’ll probably post about it soon!!! 😀 (still leaving some room for disappointment so that if it ends up not becoming too big a thing, my heart will break a little less harder. Just in case. You never know. I believe it’ll happen. But I can’t let myself fall completely into the arms of any fantasy anymore; I don’t want to burn too hard sometimes. Nothing wrong with that. Expect the pain and embrace the surprise of life.)

Oh Deer, let Light and Darkness kiss again!

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 Last week, I unexpectedly joined my family for a picnic in the woods. And, little did I know that it would not only, bring me back on my feet (I had a miserable weekend) but also surprise me in the loveliest possible way: I saw a live deer.23336382_1615479725186097_207816256_o

Growing up on my island, I spent loads of time with my nose stuck in books (mostly about animals or Egypt but honestly, just reading anything I could find lying around the house too haha) and I had never seen many animals which are pretty common in mainland France up until I went to Lille two years ago. Swans, magpies, and even ducks(I only saw a few when I was tiny but man, a long time ago..)!

I only finally saw them for real two years ago. Up until that point, it was all just book pictures in my head. Things I knew of, things I knew to be real but never actually saw with my own two eyes and so I did not have that feeling/relationship(?) with it. They had that mystery to them, some kind of magic that comes from only knowing something the way your imagination can conceive it.

And the first time I saw them, I was struck with awe. It’s almost like seeing my childhood heroes. I remember those long hours spend lying on the floor or on a couch just staring at these glossy pages in the books, examining every inch of each picture just to get a somewhat clear memory of it engraved in my mind.

I am really happy, though, to be able to say that seeing them IRL does not take away the magic but only adds on, and also more frills. Nature is scary beautiful in that fragile-though-almighty way.

When I saw the deer, my brain just went *blop* *happy* and also, many (MANY) flashbacks to the Hannibal tv series… Ha ha! I had a small though intense phase last year where I got a tad bit obsessed with deer and drew loads of them. It was at the time I had started watching Hannibal and was shamelessly embracing my love for horror and disgusting stuff. In midst all the blood and chaos, those deer that I drew brought in some light in my dark room and mind.

I got pictures of all the deer drawings that I did in that short period to display them right here, in this post, and look back with a bittersweet smile on my face.

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I honestly loved the Hannibal show. And I’d have so much to say about it, but I’d rather not enlarge on the matter. What I’m going to say though is that it brought a lot of good out me, a lot of inspiration and reflections on life, and art… And deer!! At that time, I was going through a rough patch and things weren’t really good at all; I was at war with myself and also being sat on fire by other beings whom I thought were worth all the burns (spoiler alert: they weren’t). It was a dark time but weirdly enough(or not at all), I found comfort in this show and it brought loads of good things into my mind.

And as I type this, I’m reminded that my Thomas Harris books stayed at my mom’s house, several thousand kilometers away from me and I’d love to dive back in Red Dragon now. Heartbreaking thought, I must confess. That book was so good! And what a shame I didn’t even have time to read the other two before I had to abandon them in my nest in order to take my leap and fly so far away from it. I’ll probably get mom to send them back to me or something at some point anyway, I just know it.

That deer was beautiful. I’m not going to lie, there was a drop of disappointment as my eyes found their way to the live body of what used to fuel my pencil on my sketchbook months ago. I was delighted to see a deer and really happy. And there was magic. But, the truth is that there is always that drop of disappointment.

Whenever you finally come to face with something you’ve only been dreaming about, reading about, looking at pictures of, it is here, in the back of your mouth or tickling the inside of your eyelids. That tiny drop of disappointment, tightly seated next to the tears of joy and surprise, keeping the back of your throat moist as you scream “Oh God, I’m alive!”. I think it is nearly impossible not to have expectations, as humans, as creatures that dream and hope. And, the longer the road you have to walk between the moment it first captures your attention and monopolizes parts of your mind and heart, the bigger the expectations (no matter how small), and the bitter the drop of disappointment.23269934_1615479551852781_2080742452_o

You will be excited, you will be delighted; happiness, tears, smiles and fire inside. But it’ll be here, whether you feel it or not. Sometimes, even through the happy storm, there will be more than one drop. You might not be able to feel it, but it’ll be here. It might not ruin your happy time, but it’ll be here. And I think it’s important to acknowledge that.

It’s a reminder in a way, isn’t it? That there is never just one emotion, one feeling, one sensation; never just one thing happening at once. Life is plural. There’s always lots happening at once. We’re always feeling so much at once. Different intensities, different temperatures, different shapes, different causes and different spots hit. But at once. And you get to decide where the focus is.

You can focus on the pebble in your shoe. And then, you can shift the focus and go on think about that headache you have now. And you can move that focus as much as you want, as much as your mind is able to before it runs out of energy. Or you can keep the focus on one point tiny as it may be and make it seem bigger than that big bright sun shining out your window. You get to choose. Or, at least you have the possibility to do so. The power is in your hands but I guess the battery can’t always be full enough to enjoy its wide range of possibilities.

I saw that deer and the second I did, as I had a miserable weekend and I still had my negative glasses on, I felt the drop of disappointment. And I swallowed it, and the taste lingered on but I didn’t mind it; I enjoyed it. I let it do its job and I minded my own business, took pictures of the deer and tried to get over the fact that “Wow, there is a real deer in front of me!”.

Trying hard not to make this a generalization but I’ve met quite a few people with a positive outtake on life, those striving for a happy existence, and I always feel like they are missing out on something. I’m not a pessimistic. I’m not an optimistic either. I might actually strongly be both and usually all at the same time because I’m a walking disaster. But I just don’t think that being positive and happy is about rejecting nor ignoring the dark bits, the negative points, the heavy stuff. I think it’s all about accepting light and darkness no matter the amount or diversity of what’s within you. It’s about accepting them as a part of life, as a part of you and dealing with them, and maybe just learning to co-exist again.

19250288_1615479531852783_348158042_oIn my opinion, those people that I’ve met wrongly believe that negative = bad. Sure, negative vibes are definitely bad news and can dismantle the strongest of ships and you don’t want them around. But, think about balance, think about Nature and how everything serves a purpose. Blocking out all sadness, negative thoughts, anything that’s not rainbows and butterflies is going to ruin you on the long run. These things are part of being a human and you can’t just wipe them out of the board because you want things to look neat.

Life is not neat. Humans are not tidy inside. And you have to let it in, let it happen, let it out, let it roll over you…

Some things you have to face and break, some things you just have to throw straightaway and others you just have to sit down and swallow and maybe get some ice cream to let it make its way down your throat. And it’s something you learn to do, like recycling!

You learn where to put the tin cans and the glass bottles and the papers; you learn what can be reused, what just goes to waste and what things don’t go together even though they will serve a similar purpose. And sometimes you don’t want to throw something away although it belongs in the bin but you figure out some clever way to turn it into something useful, something you can still keep in your home and you transform it with your own two hands.

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learning on and on

There’s a required balance in all of that rickety machinery inside. And it doesn’t always make sense. It’s not a simple list of do’s and don’t’s. It’s complex but at the same time, so easy. The darkness is part of life, part of light. There are dark spots in light, and light spots in darkness. And you can’t just try to wipe one side out cos that’ll mess you up. Gotta find the right middle. Equilibrium.

I’ve learned and am still learning that it’s okay not to be okay. And it’s okay to feel down, to feel sad, to feel horrible, even when you’re in a happy place, with happy people and you are happy. Because life is not a monochrome painting. It’s as complex and simple and intense as a five-year-old’s painting. And it’s beautiful.

My darkness keeps getting brighter and my fire finally feels like it’s actually burning. I love sharing and I hope that through my words, music and art(and rare smiles?) I reach some hearts, minds or just the eyes, really and shed some darkness; the good kind. No matter how very few that might be, I hope that some people read me and that it makes them questions things, think, feel or just smile cos I’m so dramatic about everything it’s funny. I hope that whenever my darkness shines and people get a peek inside, I hope that it makes a difference to them, even the tiniest and that somewhere along the way, some way, somehow, it helps them.

Until next post, let yourself learn, and let your darkness shine. ❤

My first evening art class, 09.26.17

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Last Tuesday, I attended my first evening art class at the community school. It was 3hours-ish long but it went by so fast. We were a small group, I would say less than twenty, and only three of us in our twenties (I felt it coming to be honest, I guess it’s the hours). And, long story short, I had a lovely time!

Since I started taking drawing seriously a year ago, I can say that I have greatly improved already. This first class was focused on taking the pressure off of drawing by looking at things from a much simpler point of view. We worked on three different things (although some people just worked on whatever over thing they actually felt like; chill, I swear, chillllllll atmosphere).

The first exercise was to copy a drawing which the teacher gave us, but upside down! That was so we weren’t focusing on the drawing as a thing but rather on the lines and their thickness and shapes. And it is amazing how just turning a piece of paper upside down can help! For the first quarter of the picture, I actually thought I was drawing a flower… This is what I spent most of the class working on, because I am very slow when focused (I realize that now and will work on it!) and I really wanted to finish it — I didn’t. I barely copied half of the picture by the end of the class so I finished it at home. Also, I ended up giving up after a while because I really wanted to move on to the last exercise!

 

I loved that exercise because it helped me be really focused and the final product really isn’t that bad! I know that if I had tried to copy the image the “regular way”, I would have struggled A LOT by allowing myself to get scared of the hands and face and overall size of the person. And that was exactly the point of it! I was so focused on getting all those lines to match the original ones and it was all I cared about. Seeing it as a person is a scary thing but shifting your perspective and seeing the picture as only a bunch of lines is not scary, it’s just technical and precision work.

Looking at the problem from a different angle to realize that in fact, it isn’t a problem at all, rather a slightly challenging hill to go down on. We’re not climbing, we’re rolling down. After all, that’s what a drawing is: a bunch of lines put together in a certain way to create a bigger thing. Do not see the mountain as a humongous rock but rather thousands of small rocks and pebbles. That’s the lesson this first class taught me and it shall help me through art and life in the future.

The other two exercises were all about exploring the different grades of our pencils. I barely spent a few minutes on these although I don’t think it is any less important than perspective. Know your tools!

My first impression of this class is a really good one. I love the calm and artistic atmosphere. I feel like this teacher is going to be one that I actually learn from and enjoy listening to. The two people I have talked to are the reason I enrolled in the first place; to make friends with the same interests as me. I don’t think that I can get an actual opinion from just one class (and the first one, that is!) but I honestly believe that I made a good choice and that these Tuesday evenings are going to bring me lots of joy and art clouds in my heart. And also, you know, I’m just in love with watching people being passionate about what they’re passionate about (yes sentence) and looking at old people just doing their things.

Help, there’s so much good happening in this life of mine now I’m afraid I won’t have enough room for all the happiness!

I’m looking forward to next Tuesday to see Rosaline again and get to know more of these people and work some more!

Until next post, just go for it; come on, go on! ❤

P.S.: Today, I have painted on a small square canvas a beautiful picture for my sister’s birthday (09/29) as a belated gift (cos yeah, I forgot….. BUSY WEEK I’M SORRY TTwTT) and I shall post it later, after she receives it in the mail! 😉