Me, myself, I need to hang on to metaphors I can understand.
Like "those days when I feel there's no Caramel on my Machiatto".
Now that's something I can relate to.
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A few days ago I got a sore throat. Hence, I went to the pharmacy where I usually go, next to my place, and I asked for some throat drops.
The guy there, who has known me for a while, greets me good morning and sets off to get them. He comes back, lays them on the counter and says categorically: "You're gonna suck 2 times a day, ok?" Of course, the minute he said this my eyebrow must have lifted with a surprised expression and I got stuck with that face people get when you're having trouble not bursting out laughing but you must keep a straight face.
On the other hand, a light bulb went off on his head right after the words came out of his mouth and he looked amusingly distressed.
Me, proud owner of a rather distasteful humor, returned: "Starting now?"
And that's how you manage to never be able to set foot on a place again.
Since I'm now back from my volunteering experience, there is no higher noble cause anymore to save this blog's reputation from what it used to be. So expect just the usual sarcastic stupidity my portuguese readers are already familiar with.
On this matter, I would like to express an honest special thank you to the 28 portuguese speaking followers that I don't know, but who have choosen to waste their precious procrastination time to read this humble blogger. I hope you speak English and stick around.
I would also like to offer my insincere apologies to everyone I might have offended in Portuguese with my cynical bluntness before, and to everyone I will still offend in English from now on. I won't let you down. Any complaints you can direct them to my dear parents since they are ultimately responsible for me being in the world.
Vio's planet is on orbit again. You can thank me later.
And so it goes.
At 8:40 in the morning I was touching down in Frankfurt, 18 hours after leaving Cambodia.
I walked out of the plane to a grey, rainy Frankfurt. All of a sudden there were 30 degrees less than what I was used to the past 2 months. Orderly traffic. Clean streets. No loud music. No motorbikes riding in all directions. The ATM is spitting out euros instead of dollars. Nobody is waving or smiling at me. I felt the world spinning for a second before I got a hold of myself.
Three days later, I'm still freezing everywhere, even at home. I'm drowned in my warmest hoodie. The flowers on my balcony were decimated by a winter I didn't see.
The hardest thing now is first encounters. Everyone is asking me: "How was it?? Tell me everything". And all I can do is smile and mumble something like: "...great". I feel numb and I truly don't know how to explain what I saw, what I experienced. The cold that hit me in the face when I returned is nothing compared to the shock of not being able to communicate. Maybe next week, next month, next year, I will be able to talk about it.
So many times, while I was away, I've found myself thinking what was I doing there, if my help was any worth, if I would change anything or if it would only change me. I think now I can, at least, answer the latter. The privilege of distance is clairvoyance.
Cambodia is a magical country, that grows roots under your feet the day you step on it. Eleven thousand miles away, I still have Cambodia under my skin.
And if there's one thing it taught me, is to be grateful. To smile more often, to laugh a lot, to keep hoping. Life will put on your way a million rocks. Collect them, build a castle. Forgive. Forgive yourself too, if you must. Learn to talk about yourself. Learn to talk to others. Remember words are the most powerful legacy - use them wisely. Be kind. Be mature enough to hear a no. Be strong enough to say no yourself. Let go. Invite a friend for wine. Jump in a pool at night.
Keep no sorrows.
Life is too short to be small.
(ps- the show will go on from Frankfurt; the pictures are from my last week in Cambodia. Stay tuned.)
Someone once said that a journey is best measured in friends rather than miles. I couldn't have said it better. I would like to say thank you to Cynthia, Louis, Margaret, Olivia, Isabelle and Megan for sharing the good and the bad along this 9 weeks.
But most of all, for sharing also the life after work. Truth is, you're still an expat in a 3rd world country, and after you finish you work you come home, take a shower and it washes away all the misery, at least until the next morning. And I know it sounds a bit cynical but it's reality and reality is a bitch.
So, for all of this, thank you for the laughs, the tears, the silliness, the drinks and for putting up with my weird fixation for jumping in the pool after hours.
I will see you in Boston, Luxembourg, London, Lausanne and Brisbane.