Birthday brilliance

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you will know that last year I talked about not really enjoying my birthdays and that I was making a decision to let it go and think differently. First of all, I can’t believe it’s been a year. It feels like just yesterday I was in Cartagena dressing up to go out for a birthday lunch…

 

I’m pleased to say that I officially have let go! It’s my birthday today, I had actually forgotten most of the day. There were no anxieties about how many people would remember, if I was significant to other people, etc. The truth is, I’m not more or less significant than anyone else in the world and receiving millions of birthday messages doesn’t actually mean anything other than there are a lot of thoughtful or forgetful people in my life.

 

What mattered is that before I even got here, my new Captain told me the first party would be on the 13th after I sent him over my passport. On Saturday morning for our morning meeting, the engineer said ‘a very important topic is how are we going to celebrate Sarah’s birthday?’ We’re going to St Thomas tomorrow so we couldn’t have a big celebration tonight. And you know what? They gave me an absolutely amazing birthday celebration which lasted two days.  They introduced me to new friends, we had a birthday jacuzzi dip, a beautiful night out at a beach party where I chatted to three crazy French sailors about sailing, the sea and the meaning of life. It was a full moon and they all said I was glowing with positive energy, I could feel it and through all the beers I was given and puffs of the green stuff, I thought, “Yes, I really am living my life. On my birthday, with strangers on an amazing beach, under a full moon and feeling so incredibly loved by everyone and everything.”

 

The engineer was telling everyone it was my birthday which resulted in me being bought birthday beers. One of the three French sailors was chasing me around trying to kiss me because he said I had “sugar lips” and he just wanted to try them. When I finally gave in and let him in for a quick peck, he gave the loudest, “WOOOO HOOOOO!!!” I have ever heard in my life and said, “Yes! Wow, that was amazing, so much energy, so much goodness!” Then proceeded to take his clothes off and jump in the sea to feel even more pure. He of course kept following me for another one, but it just became hilarious and we all learned to have conversations with his commentary about my lips on the side. I’m sure he was on some kind of drug, but that was probably the most amazing reaction I have ever received from a peck on the lips! I could feel the radiation coming from me and really enjoyed spreading it out to those around me.

 

There were eight of us in a circle. All sailors of one kind and not one of us had our phone. We were on a beautiful beach with great company and knew that was going to happen, so why bring a phone to ruin it?!?! I thought, these are the types of people I want to be surrounded by for the rest of my life.

 

Then we went to a nightclub and got a lift from one of the three crazy French sailors. He had an amazing car with a great sound system and there was rap blasting on the radio. The engineer and I love rap and he was in the front so he turned it up super loud and all five of us in the car started throwing up our hands in the air and doing rap video dances. I was laughing and remembering how I probably did something similar (not on an island!!) about 15 years ago and that there is no need to grow up. I was seriously in heaven soaking up the happiness and beautiful people around me.

 

No one could believe I was turning 38. Everyone guessed under 30. In London, people always guessed above 30. There is something about the Caribbean air or maybe the sea that shaves 10 years off my face. My hair becomes lighter, grows faster and my nails grow at an astonishing rate. It’s amazing how much my body thrives in this environment. I feel so young, alive, energetic, vibrant and healthy.

 

They forced me to go out last night even though I was hungover. They weren’t so pushy with the drinks, but they made me stay up until midnight so that we could have the cake the chef made for me. They invited a bunch of people over to sing me happy birthday and I was so touched. I went to bed thinking how lucky I was to be alive, how thankful I am to my parents for giving me this life. Such a beautiful life that is hard at times, but that’s just what makes the beautiful times more beautiful.

 

You see what happens when you let go? Everything you were afraid of not happening, comes to you in such a beautiful and natural way.

 

I have been on the boat for five days now and I have about 10 blogworthy stories. However, I haven’t had the time to write because the work is full on and I’m exhausted afterwards, not to mention there is a new crew to get to know, new friends around the marina and a gorgeous island to explore before we go to the next one. All I will say is that this place is crazy, in a good way and I find myself pinching myself to see if this is all really real. Year 38 has started off brilliantly and I’m excited to see where the adventure is going to take me!

The Caribbean called me back.

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When I bought my plane ticket to Palma for the 13th, my intuition was telling me not to. I simply thought it was a bit of fear creeping in. Then when I bought the train ticket to see a dear friend up North, my intuition again said, “No, don’t do it.” Before I pressed confirm, I sat back and thought why wouldn’t I? A message that some work would come my way popped up. I really do need the money. I pushed that thought away because whatever off the cuff work I would get over those two days wouldn’t be that much.  It means far more to me to spend time with friends I haven’t seen in ages, then to stay and HOPEFULLY make some pocket change.

 

After I finished my yoga and mediation Thursday morning, I saw I had received a voicemail from an unknown number. I listened and it was a recruitment agency that I didn’t remember signing up for. She said my CV had been passed to her which made me happy that it was out there. I phoned her back and got the details of the job. A private motor yacht, working as a stewardess. I wasn’t so keen as I’m more of a deckie. Then she said it was in the Caribbean and they were crossing over to the Mediterranean in the summer. My eyebrows rose. I do like extended times of being on the water, so I said, “Yes, I’m interested.” Then it all happened quite quickly! Another agent who works closely with the Captain called me to ask more questions and tell me more details. Actually it was a Stew/Deck position so I would be doing a bit of everything. Then the Captain called me. He sounded great and made the owners sound great too. He said he would make a decision by the end of the day.

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He didn’t, but he called me the next day and said he was a bit worried about my lack of interior experience and qualifications. My mind raced as to how I could prove that this job was for me, then my soul stepped in and said, “Calm down, if it’s meant to be, it will happen. No need to become desperate or prove yourself.” He said, “Do you think you can do it?” I confidently replied. “Yes.” His reply, “Welcome aboard. I enjoyed talking to you yesterday and this just feels right. So ok, we’ll fly you out on Wednesday if that’s ok.” It will be a steep learning curve as I work out how to organise and manage the interior of a 37 meter yacht, but I do love to sink my teeth into a good old challenge!

 

Once again, being calm, relaxed and trusting in the Universe made things happen. Every day I spent hours looking and applying for jobs, even if I thought I didn’t have a chance. I didn’t worry about it, I knew something would come along so I just enjoyed my time in London. I saw lots of friends, enjoyed each moment and did some different types of work which was really lovely! I felt like a tourist in a city I knew well. London is a whole different game when you aren’t rushing from place to place with little time in between meetings. It’s a beautiful city with interesting architecture, tons of free things to do and lots of people to enjoy.

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I am ready and excited for my new journey. No doubt there will be some difficult times, but as I have done since finding my peace in November 2014, I will keep calm and trust it will all be ok, because it always will be. I’m enjoying my last couple of days in London and pushing back the thoughts of being back on the sea, being rocked to sleep and having the most amazing lifestyle that suits me perfectly. Today is great too for different reasons. The best part is that I have very little to do and in fact, could leave tonight if need be. I can only take one bag which is pretty much packed, I have no flat or house to break out of, I have no children, no responsibility, no commitment. I am simply free and what an amazing feeling that is!

Damaging appearances

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It all started when I was in the USA and a seven year old little girl looked at my eyes and told me I had grandma wrinkles. I told her they were smile lines, not grandma wrinkles. She looked at me with determination and anger and shouted, “GRANDMA WRINKLES!!!” I smiled at her again to show her my lines and said calmly, “I see them as smile lines because I’m a happy person and I smile a lot.” She muttered, “Grandma wrinkles” and stomped off angrily. I thought how sad it was that the people in her life have gave her this perception. She is only seven and already thinking about appearances, it is such a sad world when children think like that.

 

After this, I was watching a TV program with my parents and on came this three minute commercial about cream for the neck and upper chest. It featured numerous female celebrities who had used this cream and said how young it made them look and how much they loved it.  Funny enough, a few months earlier when I was in Cartagena, I looked in the mirror and thought my age was starting to show on my neck, I simply brushed off such a shallow thought, but slathered more sun cream on that area to prevent any more damage. When I was watching this advert, I started panicking a bit about my looks and my age and god forbid I should actually look my real age one day. I found my hand involuntarily touching my neck as if it was to blame for the fact that I am getting older. Then the advert started talking about all of these freebies they would throw in and I found myself anxious to hear the price. When they said it, it was actually a rather decent price and of course came with a guarantee so if I didn’t see results, I would get my money back. I was so close to writing down the website and then I stopped myself. Why would I do that? Many women these days seem to have lost the ability to age gracefully. My grandmothers did not mess with a thing and I’m not even sure used face cream, yet they were still beautiful women. I guess it depends on your definition of beauty.

 

Not to mention, when you start getting botox, fillers, implants here there and everywhere, shit goes wrong when you get older. Trust me, I’m sure one woman I saw who was in her 50’s would tell you that she regretted everything she ever had done. Her face and lips were totally deformed, her boobs were rock solid in a midst of aging skin and her skin was leathered from being in the sun with no protection. She was a kind person, but her outside was not so beautiful.

 

Now back to the present. I am absolutely loving my time in London. It’s great because I’m not working much and I have a bike which gives me freedom to travel around for free (speaking of which I got good old Sky back with all of his parts and the bike shop did indeed reimburse me for everything and gave me a better lock for a discount!) and explore this incredible city. When I am coming home from somewhere, I love to take new roads or old roads that are new to me because it’s been a couple of years. It’s amazing! I am truly truly observing and seeing this incredibly magic city. The spirits of London, of which there are many are constantly guiding me. They speak to me at every corner I turn, every alley way I look in. It’s incredible! They are showing me new perspectives and truly opening my eyes to a peaceful way of living. They are telling me that this is not the place for me right now, but I am here so I should soak in all of the lessons that are being offered to me.

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I love the contrasts in London. Depending on the area, the buildings are different, the types of shops vary, the street life is different, the colours of people are different (but always with a mix of colours), the way people carry themselves is different. It’s really interesting to see. I’ve been spending a lot of time around Covent Garden and Marylebone in the last few days. There are a lot of shops, businesses and rich people around. I have been looking at the shops and the types of people that go into them. On the weekend Tommy Hilfiger near Harrods had such a huge crowd of people waiting for something that people were blocking the pavement and nearly pouring out into the streets. As I was rushing with excitement to meet a friend I hadn’t seen in over two years, I suddenly found this absurd. I shouldn’t judge I know, but that was my initial thought. It was probably some model or some new range of clothing that was coming.  People were using their precious life going there because they think it would make them look better than me who has no designer clothes or even anything that is considered fashionable. They place so much importance on how they look and who they wear that perhaps they are missing out on what really is important.

 

I realised that I too, in my previous life fell victim to this marketing. I wanted to have the latest fashion (at high street prices!), have an iPhone, live in a “cool” part of London, travel to exotic places, have lots of shoes, jackets and money to go to shows, good restaurants and goodness knows what else. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t go to my high school reunion because I didn’t have children or a husband or that Doctorate that I went for. Really, none of that matters and it wasn’t until I gave everything up, including fake appearances, that I finally felt free, confident and sure.

 

As I cycle around the more affluent areas of London, I notice how they are so much about appearances. I notice how they look at me just a bit longer than they do everyone else because I have an old dirty bike, a red sailing jacket (which needs a good wash but I don’t have a spare while it’s drying!), worn black mittens and a red bobbly Christmas ski hat that my friend lent me (thanks Jennie, it’s been the most valuable object I’ve received since coming here!!). They are either judging me, in disgust of such a scrub in their area or maybe they are grateful to see someone different to all the rest.  

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I went to an induction to teach private yoga for a mobile styling company (Blow Ltd). The majority of the people there were hair, make up and nail artists who were very concerned about their appearance. I rocked up not in the dress code because I don’t have black trousers or shoes, not wearing any make except a splash of eyeliner and I hadn’t even blow dried my hair. Just as a side note, when I looked in the mirror in the bathroom, my hair looked just as good as two of the girls who clearly worked hard to get their hair that way. They were really nice women and I couldn’t help but wonder what we would do with all this free time if we weren’t so concerned about wearing masks.

 

 

One reason why I went travelling was because I realised that I was getting a bit ridiculous and needed to learn how to live without these small luxuries. I was working so hard to maintain an appearance, that I stopped living because I was too busy working to fulfil this empty desire. My travelling goal was accomplished. I lived on a small and strict budget so that I could travel for a long time and when I came back, I would be ready to start a new career path with little money. Well, I’m not ready to settle here, but I certainly don’t need any more than what I already have. Nor do I really need all of what I have.  However, what I do have is more important than any object or appearance I could ever wish for. Peace and contentment. Buddha was right, you really do have to give up everything to find everything you are supposed to have.     

On the move again

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I honestly think my ancestors were gypsies. What really makes my blood start circulating and my heart racing is being on the move. I wrote this entry at the last night in my flat. The flat I moved into a short 27 days ago. I went through quite an adjustment and learning process in the last 27 days. It’s quite amazing actually!

 

Having a bike makes me feel like I’m travelling. It offers me complete freedom because it allows me to get around this huge and beautiful city for free. I get to see little alleyways that cars can’t go through and take detours that don’t add on time because I’m on a bike! The wind whips through my hair and the diesel fumes go up my nose, but I don’t care. I’m on the move and a smile always forms.

 

I was going to leave the end of March, but the spirits of London are telling me it’s time to go now. I have done what it called me here for. Don’t ask what that is, I do keep some things private 🙂 So I decided that I would like to start my 38th year how I want the rest of the year (and my life) to go, with adventure! I booked tickets to Palma, Mallorca for the 13th of March and am absolutely terrified! But incredibly excited and open to whatever journey I will go on.  

 

Anyway, I was homeless last weekend, so I took it as an opportunity to go to the countryside where I used to live and see my ex work colleagues/dear friends who I am still in touch with despite leaving the job and area more than six years ago. They housed me, fed me, chauffeured me around and one of them filled me with too much wine. I had a great time and felt very loved! Now I’m staying in a posh part of London, Angel, with another friend until I go.  

 

Then the scary part comes. Palma (unless I find a job before then!). I am going without knowing anyone, without knowing the area, without a job, but with all the faith and trust that Palma has something to offer me. Whether that’s a job or a lesson, I won’t know until I get there. I’m nervous, a bit scared, but really excited to see what this new chapter will offer me. So many people have told me I’m brave, I used to brush it off and say I’m just sticking up for my right to happiness, but the truth is, Yes I am. My courage has even given me a paid return ticket back from a good friend should all go wrong (not purchased, nor do we think it will be necessary).  

 

I will be sad to leave London again. My friends have supported me in ways that were beyond what friendship calls for. Probably because they know I would do exactly the same for them.  They admire me and want me to succeed because I’m going off the social norm of what I am “supposed” to be doing. Having such great support around me has recharged my strength. I was definitely in need of a recharge. With all of my free time, I have looked into various jobs and made contacts. I had some job leads and offers that would have developed into something more had I stayed here longer, but I firmly believe that everyone who walks into my life does so for a purpose. Many people I have met for brief periods of time have told me something which has made a long lasting positive impression, have helped me years later with something or have become significant people in my life. There is a reason for all of these people that have walked along with me on this London path and no doubt time will tell me what that is.   

 

For now, I am ready to go. I am ready to continue pursuing my dream, I am ready to work towards a life where the only concern I have is my very own sail boat, where I’m going to sail it to and who I should have with me.  With the strength and support of my friends, I will create new adventures, new stories, have new ups and downs and hopefully make a lasting positive impact on new people. I am very much looking forward to a new journey!

Trust the universe

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Wow. What a day! What a week really. I’m in London after all, it’s a city where there is a lot going on and things happen quickly!

 

I can officially declare that I have adjusted to the circumstances. I have stopped bursting into tears when people ask me how I am.  The band aid has been completely ripped off now and the soreness has almost disappeared. I have been doing lots of meditation and breathing exercises (until I got my first cold in over a year) which has helped me gather perspective on my current situation. I am looking at London from an outsider’s perspective and being in awe of what I observe.

 

Last week, (at least I think it was, I’m still totally disoriented to time, just like I was on the sea…), I went into my old office to fill out paperwork in case I am so desperate my only options are prostitution or doing sessional work for them. I’m still not sure which one I would chose if I get to that point.  I’ll write a blog on the thought process if I find myself faced with that decision.  Anyway, I was sitting on hold with Human Resources, staring out the window and watching London go by and my mind started drifting. It started drifting to how I use to do this regularly and being on hold use to stress me out because I had a million things to do and probably other people to talk to. I would sit with my shoulder holding the phone and catching up with emails or the report I had to do or the holiday I was trying to book so that I could try to salvage my sanity. After 20 minutes, I would become increasingly angry and anxious that HR was wasting my precious time. How dare they! I would start swearing and complaining to my colleagues about how ridiculous it is and they would of course join in and offer sympathy.

 

I looked down the office room, which since I’ve been there, has been converted to hold more desks and people. I saw people on other teams sat at their desks typing away, making phone calls, sounding stressed, trying to get something done and getting impatient down the phone. No one was laughing or joking or having a regular conversation. It was all about getting stuff done, stuff that’s impossible, stuff that is so incredibly important because if they don’t do their jobs as well as they can and someone re-offends, they could lose their job. Not to mention the guilt if another victim is created. Of course it’s not their fault, but the system makes it out to be.

 

After 30 minutes on hold, I was lost in my peaceful thoughts and my colleague was getting mad for me. “Jesus! How long has it been?? That’s ridiculous!” I just looked at him and said, “Yeah, I don’t have anything else to do, it’s alright.” Then I stared out the window again and watched people literally rushing to and fro, looking stressed and dishelved. I looked back in the office and then I looked inside of myself and I smiled. I used to be one of these people rushing in the street and being stressed out in the office, but I escaped. After 53 minutes on hold, I put the phone down and just made up the answer to the question that I needed in order to complete the paperwork. I put the phone down knowing that I wouldn’t have to deal with this again and that since I have escaped, there is no turning back.  Not unless I want to kill my soul again and stop living life. I finally discovered how to live, no way am I going to give it up. Excuse the bad language, but it’s fucking awesome!

 

I have been busy catching up with friends. After two years of not having friends, it feels great. It’s amazing to know there are so many options of people I can call to have a laugh with and talk about nice things. Everyone has been so supportive of me, so giving, so loving, so encouraging. To be honest, I’m very surprised and feel so fortunate. On my bike today, I realised that these people were always here. Always. I just wanted to live life alone because “I am strong. I can do it. I am an independent woman. I don’t need anyone’s help.” All of that is true, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t need other people from time to time. Well, all the time to be honest. One thing sailing life has taught me is that life is about teamwork. Helping that stranger who is struggling is just as important as helping the ones closest to you because it really all does come back one day.  Trust me, it’s happening to me now.

 

After a lovely lunch catching up with a good colleague of mine, I couldn’t open my bike lock. I just bought the thing nine days ago. I had been having problems with it before, but normally I would take a deep breath, do some yogi magic and Voila!! It would open. Well, this time it wouldn’t. I was there for an hour and a half. I recruited the security guard to help me, while he went in to do his real job, a stranger came up to me and said, “You’ve been here for a while, can I help you?” What a kind kind man. He couldn’t help me either. Another ex-colleague found the maintenance man who came out to help me and he said it was a faulty lock that was poorly made and the best thing to do was cut off. Unfortunately he didn’t have the necessary tools. I was nearly in tears. I was so ill with my cold, so tired and just wanting to be out of the cold. I have no money to travel, so my friend gave me £10 to get home and to a training I need to go to in the morning. I was sitting on the bus wanting to cry and then thought, “Why? What is really the problem?” Ok, the problem is, where I’ve left it, I’ve left it before in broad daylight and parts were missing when I returned, but really what is there to cry about? Instead, I looked out from the top of the double decker bus and decided to enjoy London from a perspective I hadn’t seen before. I put in my headphones and listened to my Latina music and enjoyed the ride. I decided that it was all going to be ok whether or not I got my bike back. London truly is a beautiful city and I sat back and soaked it in. Why stress about my bike when I can’t control if someone is going to steal part of it or not? It’s not like I’m going to sleep next to it!

 

I got home, grabbed the spare flat bike that needs a lot of work to function and walked to the bike shop where I purchased the lock. I was expecting them to say something ridiculous and unhelpful, but after calmly describing the situation, the manager said, “Just get the lock cut off, get a receipt and bring it in. We’ll reimburse you for the locksmith and I’ll give you a new lock.” I then asked him if he could look over the bike I brought in and if he had a spare lock. He adjusted the bike so it was usable short term and gave me a spare lock.  You know why that happened? Because I trusted. Because I went in expecting nothing but to tell him that he should warn other purchasers about the lock so they don’t lose their bike too. Because I asked for help. Simply because, the world is a beautiful place when you can step back, remove the stress and discover what living really means to you.  

 

I have very little money, I have no job and soon I will have no home other than the kind offers of numerous friends. The good thing is, I have everything else. I have love, support and a huge cheerleading team who want to see nothing more than for me to carry on living in a way that suits me.  What a wonderful world I have built myself. So really, if I lose that bike, I’ve actually lost nothing at all. There really is nothing to be stressed about for if I fall, I have a nice cushy landing of smiley, loving faces who will just push me back up again.

Making new steps with the old ones

 

img_7881“Why don’t you just stay here and sign up for the crew agencies?” said one of my flatmates. I shrugged my shoulders up to my ears, tightly gripped the cup of tea I was holding and said, “Because it’s freezing in here!!!” When I looked at the thermometer yesterday as I was shivering so hard I could barely type, it was 10 degrees Celsius!!! When they built all these purpose flat blocks in the 70’s, they really didn’t think through the insulation. I understand why so much violence erupted, it’s not fun permanently shivering. Thank goodness for my electric blanket.

 

Besides, I’m having a tough weekend and I just needed to get out. It’s now been one week since I talked to Captain Cool and it will probably be two more weeks. I had a great week at a training course and with the friend who was kind enough to take me in as one of her family during the course.  Now I’m back in the igloo in London with yet again no purpose other than to frantically look for work as I have very little time left with the money I have. I’m not doing so good so far, the job I want requires me to have yet another certification which will cost about £250 (ouch!!), but if it gets me a really good paying job on a yacht, I guess it’s worth the investment.

 

Anyway, I digress, actually there is no digression because there isn’t really a point to this entry, other than like all the other ones. Live in the moment, to the fullest and trust in the universe! Yesterday, I went to pick up my old bike. When I left 20 months ago, I sold it to a friend who sold it to a friend who never used it, so sold it back to me! It’s way cheaper than public transport even though I will hopefully only be here for a maximum of one more month. It felt so good to see Sky again. Like all of my possessions, he is blue and not the prettiest of bikes, but the fastest of a bike his size. My bum sat on the wide cushy saddle and sighed with relief. I spent two years using him as my sole means of getting around London and it felt great to be back on him!

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I was just going to go to a cafe down the road, but that wouldn’t be such a good reunion with Sky, so I decided to go down to the Southbank which is about six miles from where I’m staying. That’s always been my favourite part of London and always will be. I’ve had many romantic strolls, romantic endings, many strolls discussing life (ok, dissing whatever boyfriend I was with at the time) with good friends, strolls alone as I thought and thought and threw all the negativity into the rapidly moving, mesmerising, cleansing and energising Thames. Many memories, but always feelings of hope, positivity and rejuvenation. What a good place to sit and work on my job applications.

 

Off we rode, down the familiar streets we used to rush down always late for something. Sky never let me down, but sometimes the traffic did as I scrambled from one tightly scheduled commitment to another. I refuse to do that now and life is so much more enjoyable. Sky really does ride fast so it was hard not to go a bit slow and breathe in all of the sights. We started off in a newly built neighbourhood where the buildings aren’t so pretty and are very boxy. As we cycled towards Westminster, the huge grand Victorian houses started appearing. They are so beautiful and carry such a fascinating history. We passed by hospitals that even though may not be in use anymore, still have their historical significance painted on them. I really do love that about London. Our ride was along the river and I noticed all of the new builds, of which there are many, that have occurred since I was last here.

 

Just like that, we were at the roundabout where if you turn left at MI-6, you would arrive at the very first place of work I had in London. I remembered the excitement I felt the first day I walked along the river in complete and utter disbelief that I FINALLY got that job in London after 12 years of planning and working hard to get there. To be honest, that feeling took a long time to fade. As a US citizen with no roots in England, that seemed like a pretty impossible dream. I just didn’t want to give up. It’s a good thing I’m an expert in making things happen. I must remember that now as my current dream/goal seems to have just one too many challenges.

 

Soon I saw the tops of the Houses of Parliament appear over the trees and I giggled with the memory of how this was the walk to get to Paul’s work. He took me under his wing when I moved to London and we had lots of fun, usually involving too much alcohol, all on his wallet. Well, let me correct that, I had lots of fun and he had lots of trouble. We’re still in contact, so I guess I didn’t do too much damage. The closer I got to the pinnacle Big Ben, the pavements became more and more dotted with people. People of all different ages, sizes, colours and languages. For the first time, it felt good to be home. As I cycled by with the cold wind trying to enter my ski hat and face mask, I could hear all different languages. There is no city in the world where I’ve been to that has been so diverse. Mind you, there are lots of big cities I’ve never been too. I didn’t feel the need to visit after I moved here.

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I went around Westminster square and crossed over the bridge. It gave me the opportunity to play my favourite game of ‘how many photos can I be in?’ which used to entertain me on my journeys in between offices. It’s great to see the faces of people who are visiting this city and have never seen Big Ben. The pavement on both sides of the bridge was just packed side to side of people taking photographs and wondering at the marvel of it all. I never took that view for granted and often planned my cycle commute so that I would pas by. The crowds of people never bothered me.

 

I was soon to arrive at my destination. I made a sharp left after the bridge and 10 seconds later, saw the massive steel structure that is the London Eye. I have been in it four times and the view is always beautiful, day or night! I smiled again thinking how many times I met people just in front of it, always out of breath because of course I was late! The smells from the street food near Southbank Centre kissed my nose and reminded me to breathe in deeply. I parked up in the same spot I always did and wandered off to see my old friend, the Thames.

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I found myself a prime seat in the Southbank Centre, overlooking the Thames with my back turned so I couldn’t see all of the paying customers searching for a table. I took out the water I brought from home and started to work. It was great to look up and see the river rushing by, children running to and fro, people standing by the edge of the balcony pondering life. It’s a beautiful place. It’s noisy inside, but a nice background noise because if it’s too quiet, I just think about how much my heart hurts and how I know I can’t do much about the situation with CC and I (especially when we can’t talk!!) right now. There are people of all colours wearing all different styles of dress and speaking all kinds of languages. London truly is a magical multi-cultural place. I love it. If I could get a job on the river and bring CC here with me, I would happily live here temporarily in between our circumnavigations.  

 

 

I took a basic boat safety training course last week (that was amazing!!) which made me realise that maybe my dream of paying off my student debt quickly and reuniting with CC isn’t so far fetched. So that’s the dream I’m working on now. Let’s hope with all of my experience in turning dream to reality, it doesn’t take 12 years. I’m just looking forward to getting back on the sea because if I can’t be with my human love, than I can find comfort in my natural love. As long as I have the sea, things don’t seem so bad.

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Life as a river.

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For the best part of the last two years, I have been sailing down a beautifully calm river in a warm environment with my soulmate and lover by my side. Our home was our haven. It was beautiful, bright, clean, safe, homey and with a great energy. Whenever we ventured out onto land, we always breathed a sigh of relief and smiled as we jumped back into our rocking base. On anchor, we would be happy not leaving the boat for a day or two. After all, we could hear the outside world and preferred our little bubble.  Suddenly, we started sailing down some rapids, but it was ok because we were together and we had our fun little games which made us giggle. We had our frequent cuddles and kisses that always produced smiles and warm feelings.

 

Then there was a fork in our beautiful river.  Unfortunately I didn’t like the fork that Captain Cool wanted to take, so I jumped off feet first with hardly anything on my back. I could see the rapids from our safe haven, so I knew it would be a bit of a rough ride, but everything else was unknown. The first time I saw the rocks, I started to panic hoping that it wouldn’t be too painful when I crashed into them. I closed my eyes and waited for the worse. Then somehow, I found myself being lifted up onto a soft raft that could go over the rocks while I only felt slight bumps beneath me. I opened my eyes, saw some blue sky and relaxed for a bit. Just as I was ready to sit up, there were some stronger rapids and I fell off the raft, plunging back into the whirling rapids seeing rocks on both sides of me.  I was scared, but I knew someone would come back with that soft raft where I could feel safe again for a moment while the rapids rushed noisily beneath me. This pattern of falling off and coming back up again is what it’s like being back in the city.

 

I am of course talking metaphorically. This is how it feels leaving CC and being back in London. The soft raft is my friends who are an extension of my family.  I have been very touched by the welcome I have received. I have way more friends than I realised and they are so understanding. They want to see me, but understand when I get a bit overwhelmed by the whole planning process. Even if I say not right now, they continue to send texts to see how I am settling in, if I need anything, if they can help in anyway. I know the world is going a bit crazy with Trump, but there are so many beautiful people in the world and I wish there was more social media about them.

 

Entering the life of planning is hard. Do you know how I’ve planned for the last two years? I’ve stepped into the marina and if a friend is around, I tell them what we’re up to or they tell us and ask if they/we want to come along. There is no, “How about next week?” Sure, sometimes it’s planned two days in advance, but anything more than that is just crazy. A whole bunch of life can happen in that time!! I mean, the main confusion amongst sailors is what day it is and since most sailors are unconcerned with their phone, we don’t even have a phone to tell us who is guessing right. Now I have to wake up and think what day it is and if I have something going on, how to get there, who I need to call/email/text. I’m sure it sounds so normal and simple to most readers, but it’s not my life anymore. I liked it not being my life. I don’t want it to be a part of my life because it made my life complicated. I know this means I will probably hardly get to see my friends because everyone in London is booked up for weeks or months sometimes. It will get lonely, but I’m a firm believer in being true to myself. I found something that works for me, why change it?

 

And lonely I feel right now. I’m fine when I’m frantically searching for jobs (I don’t want!!), walking somewhere or visiting friends. Actually, just the one friend who is on maternity leave with no hectic schedule and has been my saviour. It’s waking up in the morning and not having my soulmate to greet and bury my head into.  It’s when I’m cooking by myself and eating by myself. We always cooked and ate together. Always. We would spend the time chatting (ok, mostly me!) and not watching TV or glued to our phones. Not to mention he normally cooked so not only do I have to do something I don’t enjoy very much, but I have to do it alone! It’s bedtime with a racing mind about re-building my life and a body who is still in a different time zone.  I am up until 12.30 or 1 in the morning thinking, thinking. I try to imagine being back on the gently rocking boat and using my hot water bottle as a CC substitute, but then it just makes me miss that life which is so suited to me.

 

Another lifestyle change is this work business. Oh my god they make it impossible!! Do you know what? If I didn’t have my student loans to pay, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be in Cartagena either, but I would be sailing, probably for food and accommodation, but I learned that the only things I really need in life are that. Food, accommodation, a sail boat and love. I’m signing up for temp agencies who need to see utility statements, national insurance documents, bank statements, blah, blah. You can guess how many of those I have right now! The last 2 years and 4 months of my life if I needed work, I went up to someone, smiled and said, “Hi, I’m a yoga teacher. Do you need one or know someone who does?” “I do Thai massage. Want one?” One guy I worked for never even met me or knew me! How I got the sailing gig was by saying, “I love this. Will you teach me how to sail?” No references required, no paperwork, just my smile and positive energy! Oh how complicated us Westerners can make our lives. Before you get defensive, I know there are certain rules for a reason.

 

I don’t need the advice that suggests to go out dating, shagging or whatever meaningless activity that will only make the loneliness worse. I don’t need those “words of comfort” that suggest everything is fine, “but you lived a life most people only dream of. It’s time to get a real job now,” or whatever other well intentioned, but completely unhelpful statement I’ve heard. Don’t feel bad saying them. God knows I’ve said my share of unhelpful things! What I need is patience, time and understanding. Exactly what I’m giving myself.  I will be fine. I know that. For now I appreciate this time is difficult. It’s a HUGE change, I’ve lost my right arm (not literally, I’m talking about CC!) and I’ve been thrown into swirling rapids after a long time of a lazy river. It doesn’t mean I’m weak, depressed or negative. It means I’m adjusting and that’s ok. Nothing is permanent.

 

Since I believe there is not nearly enough time in life to experience everything it has to offer,  I’m still going to find bright moments. Nothing will stop me! I cherish the times I have with one of my closest friends and her beautiful baby. They brighten my day and comfort me by not saying anything. I love reading all the kind messages I receive. I’m really enjoying walking again. Something the sailing life doesn’t offer a lot of! I love walking up and down the streets of London feeling the energy. It’s a beautiful and unique energy. Yesterday as I was walking along the narrow tree lined streets listening to the birds singing proudly while the cars whizzed by, I was trying to figure out why the energy is so unique. What a beautiful thing to ponder. It made me forget everything else. I came to the conclusion that it has to deal with the rich history London has. I’m currently reading a book about the cholera outbreak in 1854, which offers a lot of insight into London in that time. So much pain, suffering, humanity, laughter, tears, hope, hopelessness, courage, death and life amongst millions of people in a small space. They may have left long ago, but their energy is still around and I love feeling it. Londoners have always been survivors and enthusiastic to live, even if they over do it a bit!

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Then there are the sounds of London. Sure there are the sirens, the sound of water rushing under tires on a wet road and the loud buses. But listen closer. If you pay attention, you hear birds singing in almost all parts of London. There are so many green spaces for them to hang out! They sing beautiful songs all year round. The narrow streets and perfectly matched houses in terms of height along with the constant cloud cover, mute noises. Sometimes there’s a muffled silence if that makes any sense at all! The click clack of shoes pounding the pavement as people rush to where they are no doubt late for.

 

I mustn’t leave out the smells. Sometimes you don’t want to take a deep breath, or any breath at all, but I was fortunate to be temporarily housed in a posh part of London where there are trees, front gardens and parks. Yesterday as I was walking home and listening to the birds, I smelled freesia. I just stopped, closed my eyes and breathed in it’s warming fragrance. I smiled and thought how life is so beautiful when we keep it simple.

 

A friend told me yesterday that I seemed so much calmer within myself. I had to agree with her, even if I still have everything to sort out! You know why? Because I’m not searching for anything. I’m not searching for a man, the best job, the best place to live, the best wardrobe, etc. I found what I needed. Peace. Much to contrary belief, peace does not mean you walk around happy all of the time with nothing affecting you. It means that despite the water rapidly rising above your head, you can close your eyes and trust that it will all be ok and simply enjoy the good and bad parts of the journey.   This is exactly what I’m doing despite the heartache, loneliness and uncertainty and yes, it is all going to be ok. I remember that nothing is permanent and one day it will feel normal to be alone again.