Please direct all mail: a Cielo

Dare to be one of us, girl / facing the android’s conundrum / you don’t know how long I’ve been / watching the lantern dim / starved of oxygen / So give me your hand / And let’s jump out the window…

I am being led by the hand, five lovely people have taken me under their wing and I have to say, it’s a nice place to be. I stand by Marc’s balcony which looks over the tiniest street in all of Barcelona. I walk home past the Santa Maria del Mar, the most  beautiful church I have ever seen, and in seconds I am in my bed or maybe it’s the bed of someone else, no one in this house is too fussed about where they end up. We sit and hang out in eachother’s rooms or in the living room or in the kitchen, or wherever but we’re always together and we get excited when someone comes back, after going away for the weekend.

My roof curves over, higher than high, in what can only be described as a palace. My housemates, my new family have made it their mission to show me I can live my life how I always wanted to. One comes home to find a salon filled with the other family members, laughing and drinking and lazing and joke telling or tv critiquing. We jump around in the kitchen and say ‘family reunion’ just after coming home from a normal day. We cut cucumbers and tomatoes and laugh about putting lemon juice in the salad dressing. We drink coffee or copious amounts of tea and there’s a tea store across from our house, a Caixa Catalunya bank on the corner, a bakery on the other side, a Lomography shop for the camera aficionados (almost all of us).

We are all creative artists in our own way. We created this dream.

We listen to the same music, dance to music only we can hear, sing the same tune, go crazy in the streets, one for all, all for one – so we all go out together and have such a good time, maybe too good a time, that we barely remember how we got home, but there’s always someone who went home a little bit earlier so they could make toasted sandwiches for those drunkies on their way in.

I feel the stone cold wall beside me, my hand brushes it delicately and I know this is my home. The labyrinth streets, the dark but alluminating old quarter, the trendy cafes and bars, the hip crowd. This is the Barcelona I have wished for for eleven months but never truly believed would material before my eyes, let alone exist. I don’t know how it’s possible to  be unhappy in this place. I think I may have died and gone to heaven. One of the family members kissed me on the forehead goodnight and smiled, saying something inaudible in Spanish. For the first time in years, and I mean years, I am myself, or how I have always wanted to be.

Young, beautiful, free spirited. Loved.

There is no place in my life for cowards, disrespectful cowards, who hurt mercilessly, act out their part like a scene from a dramatic play, promise all the world and not only never deliver but take everything you thought was true away and make you grovel for it back, while watching on with indifference. You had pain in every blood vessel, every inch of skin, every part of your mind, your soul and you felt so damaged that you might never recover. Then one day you do. and it’s nothing short of marvellous.

 

Am I gloating? Hell yeah, I’m gloating. I get a fucking novel out of my broken heart, a line of men from here until Morrocco and a family in a beautiful house. He gets to be a 31 year old unemployed failure, living with fools and some ugly, fake blonde, Italian whore. Which is exactly where he was when he met me.

As for me, well, simply put, I am on my way to the sky with a one way ticket and some wings (made with love). Good, dios, it feels good.

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Let grief be a fallen leaf…

Today I translated into Spanish one of the greatest love poems in the English language for a translation exam. I found it easier to translate from English to Spanish than Spanish to English because I have forgotten the myriad ways of writing one word, all the possibilities are lost on me, particularly now as I try and write this entry. I admit I still sometimes spell words in English with one syllable when two are required. In fact I´m having doubts right now about the word ´syllable´.

 

Will people correct me when I speak my native tongue?

 

Will people comment on how good my English is for a so and so from this country?

 

I have only weeks left in Spain and what do I have to show for it? Apart from a grasp of the language, I can now add a broken heart to the list, along with one I wasn´t expecting – the resolution to learn from this experience.  As I translated the words of the poem Raglan Road, they were merely words and meant little to me. As the words appeared in Spanish on my page, I would pause mid exam and marvel at the simplicity these words carried, teetering on the edge of all things beautiful. How did this page of words fall at my feet? Whatever reason, I chose to shower myself in these words and walk out a different person than she who walked in.

 

Oh I loved too much and by such, by such

Is happiness thrown away

 

The words etched out on paper rang true somewhere inside of me. This year I tried to love everything, everywhere and during every moment. It was in this attempt to love unconditionally and constantly, that I spent some of my most difficult moments, struggling and running against time, falling repeatedly and learning all over again how to stand up. I began to see love as the obstacle, as though it were to blame for all my drama.

 

We write the drama and we write the words and we have the choice to do so. It doesn´t have to be the mourning of something lost but the celebration of something that has occurred and the ability to recount these tales while smiling softly. Letting something bitter and angry and hurtful release you and move on to those not strong enough to control it, with a simple gesture.

 

When a friend lamented at potentially not seeing my constant smiling face in the face of such struggles, I realised the cost of losing positivity. Happiness is not necessarily loving and being loved in return. Happiness is positivity in the face of difficult times. Ask a Peruvian family who have nothing. Ask the majority of the country in the same position. They´ll tell you over a cup of coffee they can´t afford to give you and over a plate of food they needed to live off for the rest of the week and will do so with a smiling face.

 

Maybe in translating Patrick Kavanagh´s poem, I could have simply drawn the following

 

Is that not a universal language? Is that not what we all hope to be doing on our final day?

 

My final day in Barcelona… I´ll be the one dressed in yellow with a black smile.

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‘hi mum. still alive’

Summer has come and gone. I have spent 9 months in Spain. In that time I could have given birth. In some ways I feel like I did just that – only the birth pangs were prolonged and sporadic and there were fewer stretch marks in the end. And there is no baby to show for it. Just a changed young woman who is afraid to return home to face the hordes of people, ignorant to her plight, apart from the odd postcard and the ‘still alive’ messages.

The remnants of summer are still here. There’s the weather for starters, the september sun is still out and about albeit mildly so. There’s La Merce, the week where all of Barcelona takes to the street for their patron saint’s party. There’s the new house and along with it, new housemates who provide lots of headaches and sleepless nights from late night partying. I’ve also seemingly lost my command of the English language which often results in some hilarious grammatical errors and not to mention the need to stop and think constantly before speaking to avoid embarassment in front of fellow English speakers.

 

I don’t know how I feel about going home in three months. I feel similar to how I felt three months before departing for Spain. Worried, anxious, nervous, scared, stressed. There’ll be so much to organise, so much to do before then and lots of pressure to make the most of these last days. Yet in addition to all of that there’s something I have in my life that I didn’t have this time last year. And he’s already begun the process of applying to live in Australia. The only test is time and distance until that moment.

 

It’s still nice though, to not go through it all alone.

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Next stop: Esperanza

I have never been to a music festival of cultures where, for just 17 euros one can spend a day on the Costa Brava, enjoying a picnic with friends in a secluded beach cove, swimming and laughing before heading out to watch a series of bands like a Palestinian female duo rapping about women’s right and freedom for Palestine. Or a modern flamenco band that enraptures its audience with the inviting and husky voice of its lead female singer before finally giving us the great Manu Chao and his energetic fusion of reggae and urban music, with poignant Spanish lyrics that sing of a man trapped in himself, forever lost and wandering, altogether fused with the Rumba Catalana, a gypsy genre of music. I fell in love with that day and that night and danced and closed my eyes and let the music wash over me, the breeze from the beach comforting me from the heat, the sweat and the tired tears of joy. I have never been to a music festival of cultures like this one for just 17 euros. But then again, I have never been to a music festival in Catalonia. And I liked what Catalonia hides behind its shores.

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memories from here

Digging my feet into the warm sand

Laughing about taking a beach umbrella back to Denmark

Milkshakes and burgers in an American-Spanish fusion brunch bar, under leafy trees in the pretty part of Raval.

Developing my first Diana photos and not completely failing at first go

Crazy South American band by the port and random dancing men carrying giant spliffs

Sitting by the fountain and watching couples dance the swing in plaza Virreina

Free seafood and wine in a garden terrace while locals sing and dance to the rumba catalana

Sitting in a chiringuito (beach bar) waiting for the boyfriend to appear with his only ever serious ex girlfriend.

Looking like a drowned rat while aforementioned ex girlfriend looks divine.

Walking to the beach from the old city and complaining with every step about how far it is…and then realising the same distance would only get you from one suburb of Sydney to the other, equally as ugly suburb.

Moving my things out of home, carrying 3 times as much but feeling 100 times lighter…..

 

Farewell beautiful Gracia.

 

 

Hello life as a squatter girlfriend.

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Ode

We drift through the small streets of the old fisherman’s neighbourhood on our bicycles. There are secret places here with mouth watering seafood but they are hidden and it’s easy to get lost. The sea breeze gently guides us to our destination – an Argentinean gelato pit stop that serves 7 different kinds of Dulce de Leche. The servings are as big as my head. We lick rapidly before we dress ourselves in the sticky goodness.

 

We wander through the backstreets of the Barrio Gotico, he leads the way and we yell out to each other in Spanish, anything from which street to turn into, to what we’re going to do tomorrow, together.

 

My Spanish boyfriend, the protagonist of my stories thus far, spots a good looking guy in a jersey from his hometown near Madrid and they stop to chat amicably. He cheekily comments later that everyone from his town is good looking.

 

Barcelona, the sultry temptress that I have come to love, beckons towards us, telling us to dodge the children on the streets, to wait patiently behind the old people and most importantly, to always look to our left, the sea, the Mediterranean and we willingly oblige.

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And we dance until our feet bleed.

 

Literally,

Our feet are bleeding.  (why are we still dancing?)

 because we came here to baaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiilllllllllllllllllaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrr (to dance)

Shattered glass covers the floor and sparkles when the lights turn on.


I develop a dance move called ‘push the broken glass away’

 

Consisting of a smooth, jagged motion with feet,

 

Kicking the glass onto other people who don’t give a shit,

 

An absolutely useless manoeuvre,

 

Gipsy kings to finish,

 

After a night of indie rock,

 

And some old school rock too,

 

           (Viva el Rock&Roll)

 

Showered by sweat, need to breathe,

 

The night is ours to conquer,

 

It’s morning. Where’s the next party?

 

Welcome to nasty Mondays (see you later at work/uni/bed zzzZZZZ)

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