Friday, September 2, 2016

Lost in Translation

When I told my Grandma that I was moving to the US, the first thing she said was: 
"You'll have the opportunity to learn English."

English being my second language since the early age of 4, I couldn't help but laugh.
Less than a week in US territory, I am laughing no more. 

I've become a human Wikipedia, having to explain what my British English words pronounced in a broken Irish accent are failing to express.

     · The place where your clothes go is not a wardrobe, but a closet.
     · You ask for the restrooms when you want to go to the toilet.
     · The elevator lifts you up building floors.
     · Fall is the new autumn.
     · Supermarkets don't have trolleys, but carts.
     · Rubbish is put in trash cans.
     · If you have a sweet tooth, you would want some candy.
     · When you want take away from restaurants you order take-out.
     · City center signs read downtown.
     · ...

And don't get me started on the spelling: replacing 's' with 'z' or erasing 'u' in words like flavour and colour.

Or the metric system. My head is currently a molotov cocktail of inches, Fahrenheit, pounds, feet...

Indeed Grandma, indeed, I will be learning English.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Undeniable Signs of Aging

When do we stop growing 'up' and begin to grow 'old'? 

Is it when kids expose the obvious generation gap between you and them by addressing you  as 'Madam' / 'Sir'?

In my particular case, there was that (aren't kids lovely? - sense the irony there) but most importantly, what the event triggered: acceptance. Admitting to myself that, although I still love doing some of the same things that I did years ago ("but I'm not old! I still like to do what young people do!"), the reasons for doing them couldn't diverge more.

Here is what I'm talking about: 

1. Dyeing my hair
'Sunkissed brown', 'golden bronze', 'deep copper'... My hair has seen (and in some cases suffered) a wide range of shades and highlights.
Motivation behind it:
   · Before: new looks
   · Now: new greys

2. Wearing my headphones on the go
During my daily bus commute, walking around town, at work...My headphones plugged in to walkman (yes, I'm that old) > discman (told you I am!)) > ipod > and now phone.
Motivation behind it:
   · Before: listening to brand new hits
   · Now: cancel the noise of world - I confess: there times when no music is coming out of them :)

3. Longing for the weekend
All week waiting for Friday, thinking about the free days to come.
Motivation behind it:
   · Before: Go out with friends till dawn and go out again the following day.
   · Now: Curl up under a blanket on the couch with a good book and a hot tea. My weekend plans are the best!

What makes you feel your age?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Happy Hallothanksmas!

Wait, I'm confused, is Christmas still on for 25th December? 

Excuse me if the answer to my question is obvious. Last time I checked we were half way through November, making it 38 more sleeps (38!) until then - ok, give or take a few hours depending on what part of the globe you live in. 

Why then have we gone from pumpkins and ghosts only a few days ago, straight into snowmen and and Christmas trees?! No 'in-between' whatsoever to enjoy a consumerism-free November. 

I want in-betweens, I like in-betweens! In-betweens keep me sane. In-betweens act as breathers to help me recover. 

But nope! Instead I have shops with fake snow on its windows and/or Christmas carols playing on the background. Even supermarkets are stocked up with toys, chocolates and 'turrĂ³n'. The most astonishing thing is that we don't find this astonishing at all! We happily buy the Christmas tree with all its decorations, we start loading on gold gift wrap, we start planning Christmas dinners and booking friends and family.

How did we allow this to become the new normal? 

Next thing I know I'll start celebrating my next birthday the day after I turn a year older. 

There is a clear conflict between my journey towards inner peace with all my meditation, yoga and whatnot and a world that conspires against my mental sanity. Happiness is found in living in the moment they say, well stop stressing me about future events then!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Wedding Planner

I'm hiring a wedding planner.

Hold your horses before jumping into any conclusions: I am not getting married - everything's still good in singlehood -  everyone else around me is. And they all seem to be doing it at the same time! 

That's why I'm on the lookout for a wedding planner. Not your regular one though. To pull me through this wedding season my wedding planner needs to also be a:

1. Stylist
Looking for a dress opens an overwhelming world of infinite options of colours, shapes, lengths...At least the bride knows she'll be wearing white! 

2. Financial advisor
Outfit for the day (dress, jewellery, handbag, shoes, etc.) 
+ gift for the newlyweds 
+ flights and accommodation when needed 
+ hen-do expenses
+ hairdresser 
x by number of weddings 
= I'll let you do the math!

3. Chauffeur
Wedding day: home > ceremony. Ceremony > wedding reception. Wedding reception > home. 
Prior to wedding day: frantic tours around the city in desperate search of a decent dress.

4. Prompter
Weddings bring people together who haven't been so in years. And, although surprisingly good with faces, I'm a complete disaster at remembering names. Having, like political and royalty members do, someone whispering in my ear the name, relationship to the bride/groom and major life events of the person approaching would prevent me from repeating embarrassing experiences.

5. Nutritionist
Traditional Spanish weddings offer a fine selection of small bites prior to a (at least) 4 course dinner. Add the glasses of wine that waiters eagerly keep refilling and the open bar and you easily get yourself into a nutrition bombshell that only a few weeks' detox plan will help your digestive system recover from.

6. My +1
For 2 main reasons:
a) to mitigate seating planning headaches for the bride and groom (tables are normally set for even number of people)
b) to avoid answering for the nth time whether I am with someone at the moment, which normally follows with a pity faced "who knows? you might meet someone today".

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Simple Questions Impossible to Answer

Sometimes the simplest queries are the most difficult to answer. Occasionally I am challenged with questions that, although hide no obscure intentions, leave me answer-less (and that 'am I weird?' feeling).

"Where are you from?"
Both my birth certificate and passport say Spain, but my heart is made of pieces from every different place I've lived in. Pieces small enough that impede me from identifying myself with another nationality, but so big that prevent me from feeling Spanish.

"What do you do at [insert company]?"
When your daily tasks, responsibilities, organisation and focus changes on a daily basis, it is impossible to generalise what you do for a living.

"Why did you leave [insert last city I've lived in]?"
Excellent question that I frequently ask myself as well. And a very personal one. I'm still trying to come up with the perfect answer that will satisfy those looking for an interesting story. In the meantime, I smile and say it was down to 'several things, none in particular'.

"Can you recommend a book?"
I would very much love to, but I need you to guide me here a bit. Reading a book is like listening to a song, the one you choose has to match not only your personal preferences, but also your mood. It will depend on what you are looking to feel when you put the book down.

"Don't you ever feel lonely living on your own?"
The loneliest I remember feeling was during a time I had someone by my side. After then, I stopped believing that the amount of people around you is not a direct indicator of how accompanied someone is.

"How many languages do you speak"
What do you mean by 'speak'? Mam's desperate face when I fail to find the word I'm looking for proves that I sometimes fail to speak my own native one! 

"Are you staying here for good?"
None of us are :P