Day 1 on Enschede

The trip was, well – exhausting. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this tired in my life. I managed to stay awake the whole day with the jet lag so I could sleep all night in this new time zone.

The only part of the city I got to know was the road from my house to the university, which is 20 min away, bus or bike. Well, I don’t have a bike yet, turns out I’m too short for the bike I was going to buy so I need to keep looking for one that suits me, probably in the Hobbit store. I also lost my OV-chipkaart card for taking the bus after the first use, which means I need to a) find it, b) buy a new one c) pay the bus rides in cash. I’m still rooting for plan A but I’m not the best finding things when I haven’t slept for 36 hours.

My room is really tiny. But, really, really tiny. I do have a shower inside my room which is cool, but there’s a clog in the piping we need to fix. There’s a bunk bed I need to disassemble and get rid of because the mattress is literally a foot from the roof. Something about sleeping with the roof on my nose doesn’t sound very appealing, so until I can disassemble that thing and get it out of the room I’m sleeping in a borrowed sleeping bag on the floor. I haven’t really talked to all my roomies because besides the fact that I’m very shy and awkward and this is all too overwhelming to me and I want to run away and hide in my room every time someone talks to me, well, I haven’t had much time.

Thanks to the Universe Lore lives in the same city. She made dinner for me and lent me her OV-chipkaart so I could come back home. I really need to sleep. Tomorrow’s the introductory day at the University. Let’s hope my brain works better in the morning and everything changes to a positive discourse. Until then.

1 day until The Netherlands

Basically having a panic attack.

70% of this week was working my ass off to get my bank accounts in order before I leave the country, pick the clothes I want to wear for the next year and put ‘em in a bag. Learning to cut my hair, saying goodbye to my best friends and the guy I liked, throwing away stuff, saying goodbye to the band.

The other 30% I’ve been procrastinating, reading stupid stuff online, watching the Janis Joplin’s Little Girl Blue documentary, going out for a drink. I never gave myself the time to realize how fucking scared I am, I just wasn’t centered, I’m so nervous. It just hit me because I’m putting the last things in my bag, today’s both the band’s New E.P. Release party and my Farewell party. It’s done, I’ve done it. I’ve managed to escape from this city. Will it be better? Will it suck? Will it crack me or will it make me a better person? Wiser, more determined. Will I really find a path for my career or will I just discover somewhere else I don’t fit in?

By now, you should’ve probably noticed I’m ridiculously emotional. And now I’m all broken down to tears because I’m afraid, but then I’m also in awe of what I’m capable of doing. So just let it sink in, take it as it comes, open your eyes, just carpe diem. I’ll keep writing so you might find out how all this ends.

Getting my Dutch Visa

Well, I’m back from Mexico City where I had my appointment with the Netherlands’ embassy today. It was a fucking odyssey trying to get there on time because the city is HUGE and traffic jam in the weekdays is just ridiculous. So my aunt, which has been living in the city for about half a year, offers to take me there. Awesome, we don’t really know the whole city so we use Google Maps, right? Turns out there’s a pretty decent road within a couple of miles you can take with very few minutes of delay, so we get on our way. We drove between steep hills for about 15 minutes and my aunt was crazy scared and then we finally get to the long expected nice road – yay!? No.

My aunt seemed to forget you have to have some sort of pre-paid card in your car to drive through that specific road (it’s called a tag, and now I know the road was the second floor of Mexico’s city Peripheral Ring). And by this time we’re totally past our alternative exits to get to the embassy. It’s getting pretty late and my aunt feels super bad. We start to think I’m not gonna get my visa, but I can’t NOT get my visa because I already quit my job. Plus, I really want to go and study my master. Are people from the Netherlands always on time? Will they get offended if I’m late? I don’t really want to find out. So we decide to call an Uber which will obviously have that prepaid tag and I’ll take that road and I’ll get my visa and I’ll get my master degree.

The Uber arrives within two minutes, I jump to this other car, wave my aunt goodbye and I’m on my way again. I’m a little bit more relaxed, everything’s going pretty smooth and we’re a few minutes from there. I’ve got everything I need with me, right?. Except for… my papers!? I forgot my papers on my aunt’s car! I try calling her a hundred times, the call finally gets through. “Aunt, I forgot my papers in your car” I can tell from her voice she’s about to faint, she tells me she’ll try to make it as soon as possible but I should make an appearance in the embassy and explain the situation.

I’m just walking to the embassy, I cannot help but laugh at myself. These things just keep happening to me. I have no idea how I’ve managed to keep myself alive for 25 years. Seriously. 

Everything went pretty well at the embassy, they waited for me, I gave them all the papers needed and now my passport is traveling to Washington to get my visa stuck on there. Meanwhile, I’m back in my hometown and I’ll be trying to close any pending item at my job, pack everything up, plan a couple of farewell parties and get ready for my trip.

Here’s a rainbow I spotted on the flight from Mexico city today. It doesn’t really have any meaning other than the spectrum of light caused by reflection, refraction and dispersion, but it kinda reminds me I don’t have to be perfect to get things going. 

Fear overtakes

Because you feel like you cannot take one more day of this 9 to 5. There’s a fire in your heart that’s telling you to go away as far as you can. Telling you something needs to be done, for your sake, for the sake of people, for the sake of the planet, making you feel like your purpose is way bigger than the money in your bank account, the chair you’re sitting on, or any title you can get. And you convince yourself it’s all going to work out. Somehow, things always work out.

But then you’re there and it’s all finally happening and your bank account has no money. You feel overwhelmed by the change. And you’re all by yourself and you realize you have no idea if it really is going to work out. And you forget about everything you wanted first, and fear overtakes your brain and it gets pretty dark inside your head. And you want to call it quits. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking right, I’m not ready for this, I’m not going to make it. I don’t know that much about life yet. This was a mistake”.

But you have to remember. You have to remember what was like having that dream, you have to move your hands violently and clear the fog and look at what’s ahead on the road. And when you ask yourself “How did I ever thought this was going to work out?” Remember you told yourself it was YOU who was going to make it work. It was you who was willing to sacrifice time, money and friends for it. And it won’t be easy. You gave up comfort and reassurance and a path everybody knows. You exchanged that for the unknown, the uncertainty. And if you were courageous enough to step on that path by yourself, you’re courageous enough to walk it.  And if you make it past the anxiety attacks, the drugs cravings, the procrastination, depression and overall shitstorm from your own mind, what needs to be done is waiting for you. And you are completely capable of doing it. So do it.

An idea

When I was fourteen, I wanted to study philosophy, write books and be a teacher. But I was told, “Anyone can be a teacher, you should study something that you like and then teach about it”. So then at fifteen, I wanted to study cinematography. That idea didn’t stick for long, I thought Industrial Design would be a more down-to-earth decision. Since I was a lot into programming and fixing stuff in my computer, I finally considered engineering at sixteen. So there I was on the day to enroll to university, at the engineering faculty, making a line. And I thought “I’m getting out of here, I should be on the visual arts faculty line”. I made a call to the guy who was my best friend then, and asked him “what should I do?” He told me, “you’re already in the engineering line, just stay there”. And so I did that.

BUT THE POINT IS: I had no idea I was setting the path for the rest of my life, could someone please just give me a break?

And now after 8 years of successfully making my way through engineering school and engineering jobs, I’m quitting. I’m quitting my 9 to 5 and getting a master in Philosophy. I want to write books, and be a teacher. And I won’t resent the fact that nobody ever told me at fourteen “Hey kid, If that’s what you want to do, then do just that”. I won’t resent it because I have to start taking responsibility for the decisions I take in my life and face the outcome of all those choices. (Mr. Nobody, anyone?)  I will, however, in time, let my fourteen-year-old kids know they can do just that thing that’s itching their curiosity.

And so the real purpose of this blog (though I’m a little bit ashamed to accept it) is for it to be my loyal companion on this venturous (stupid) journey. Let my sad and scarce savings serve as my first step, and with a little help from the blessed University of Twente who believed in me enough to give me a partial scholarship, off I go. Here we are, ground zero, square one, starting line. Where to next?