Depression and other story tellers: The stories they told!

Depression and other story tellers: The stories they told!

Dear Mila,

Guess what? You were not the only one reading my last letter to you. In fact, all of a sudden, it seemed like an incredible amount of people were interested in what I had to say to you. It was scary and it was wonderful.

I went from feeling like no-one would care if I died to receiving thank you messages from strangers for writing my letter. Isn’t that beautiful? First my friends told me that they thought I was brave and how much they liked my writing. But then, all of a sudden, I received messages from people I hadn’t spoken to in a long time or didn’t even know at all.

And the most astonishing thing happened: as a reaction to my letter, people of all kinds and from all places started reaching out to me, telling me about their own stories. All of a sudden, it wasn’t that depression was the storyteller, THEY were. Oh, the stories they told.

The world travelers who suffered from anxiety or depression their whole life and still managed to become impressive and magnetic people who devoted their lives to adventure.
The athletic suffering from a chronic illness with a usually very low life expectancy.
The women’s rights activist who used to suffer from low self-esteem and fought anorexia. Or the academic who proved that everyone can find their place no matter what your burden is.
People who all of a sudden fell into a dark hole of anxiety of depression without any previous trauma or incident, struggling to get their life back together, that had so suddenly fallen apart.

What had been just a letter from me to you, to get it off my chest, had become a motivation for those people to write to me and reveal themselves to me. Most I had never seen or met before. Many told me that it is easier for them to talk to me about it because they didn’t know me and they knew I wouldn’t judge. Which is not entirely true.. I did judge! I judged that all of them were incredibly brave humans who deserve someone to listen to them and understand.

I was so moved and overwhelmed with all the responses I got for that letter! As much as people are thankful for me writing it, I am even more grateful for their responses. It made me feel less lonely. For the first time in a long time I felt something like pride again. But most importantly, I was able to help! Obviously it didn’t have a big impact on each and every reader. But if just one person picked up a phone instead of a bottle of pills after reading it, or if someone felt lighter after telling me their story, it was a win!

Only through this did I realize how small deeds can help. How listening really helps. How many people are just waiting for someone to listen to them and how, by doing so, you may just safe a life.

In my online dating profile it says that I’m an “activist”. For a long time I thought I was just lying to myself. But now I realized that you don’t have to chain yourself to trees or throw paint at people’s coats to be an activist. As much as I’d like to do those things (I’d really love to throw red paint at all those fur coats!), I can’t right now. I am still limited by my body and my mind. But what I can do right now is listen and write and share my story.

As an adolescent and young woman I was always told not to reveal so much of myself, not to tell all my secrets. I was a talker and often confessed my most honest thoughts and feelings to everyone who would listen. They warned me that people would use it against me and try to hurt me with everything they knew about me. I didn’t understand.

And they did use it against me and they did hurt me with it. But you know what? That’s ok! I kept and will keep telling my truth, my story, my thoughts. Because I don’t want to live in a world where people have to hide their reality from others out of fear of being hurt. My story and my past are not something to be ashamed of. Neither are my thoughts. And therefore, there is nothing I need to be afraid of.

Mila, being vulnerable is ok! Sharing you story is important! Speaking your truth, your inside and talking about your experiences is crucial. It is who you are. If we all did, maybe a lot of people would feel less alone, less hopeless?

Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity. 

– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Novelist
Now this all sounds so lovely and candy-cotton-fluffy. But is it? No, it’s not. Reading my letter did not heal anybody from depression, anxiety or any other illness. Getting such wonderful feedback did not all of a sudden cure me from my depression or pick up the low self-esteem I have accumulated over the past 27 years. But it’s a step. Writing it helped me heal a bit more. Reading it and telling me maybe helped someone else heal just a little bit more, too?
It is now time for me to tell my story. I think it does matter, after all.
You will see that maybe I am not who you thought I am. But I hope you will love me, still.
Until the next letter
-A.
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Depression And Other Story-Tellers: My Year Without Life

Depression And Other Story-Tellers: My Year Without Life

Dear Mila,

There’s a story I’d like to tell you. Part of a story. Basically the latest chapter of one. Mine.

For the entire past year I’ve been writing to you about the world, my discoveries, my life.
Today, I will tell you about my death. And my resurrection.

But first, there’s something you need to know: I like people with stories. People who had to fight. And people who’s fight made them kind and compassionate.
I look up to people who know about life’s ups and downs, it’s hidden valleys and treasures. People who only ever have a good time are suspicious to me. How would they relate to the many beings suffering in this world? They seem to be avoiding life in it’s full immenseness. Seem to avoid hardship and are not fully aware of what’s happening around them.
People who think they are strong because they have never fallen have no idea about the strength of the people who get up and fight their demons every day.
If you know how a heart can shatter into a thousand pieces of sharp glass, you’re my kind of person. Because then you know how it feels to have your heart swell and fly, like a balloon filled with helium. So full that you think you’re gonna explode out of joy of a single small moment. The glitter of the ocean, the sensation of warm rain on your salty skin, a hug by that person you’ve been missing for too long. Or the first glimpse of a blue sky you thought you’d never see again!

With this, I want to encourage everyone with a story to share it. With the people they love, people they meet, people they’ll maybe never see again. Because there’s nothing worse than having to go through death, hell and life alone. And by sharing our story, we discover, that we’re not alone. We are story-tellers. And we all have more than one chapter.

So here’s mine.
In January 2015 I packed up my surfboard, my backpack and took off to my favorite place: The ocean. More specific: Sri Lanka.

What I didn’t know was that this would be the end of life as I knew it.

Three weeks later, valentine’s day, we crashed. Our motorbike thundered down the side of a small bridge, leaving me unconscious and my friend utterly and devastatingly injured. I woke up with the high pitched sound of the broken bike and my friend uttering noises of immense pain under her breath.
It took us twelve hours and three different hospitals to get her from the mountains of Sri Lanka to a private hospital in Colombo.

As much as you might be interested in hearing more about my friend’s story, this is not my information to share. Thus I can’t continue here. All I can say is this: She will be fine! And she is by far one of the strongest people I know and I can’t wait to surf with her again. Because we will! I admire her for how she handled the incredibly difficult situation she was in, and the pain she had to endure. I will never stop re-living the moment when we had to separate hands to be taken off to two different intensive care units.

My story begins here.
On February 17, 2015 I had a stroke. Two, to be exact. As a direct consequence of the accident.

Yes, it came along with all the symptoms you hear of. The right side of my body went paralyzed, I couldn’t speak, only utter sounds, I couldn’t move and had no idea what was going on.
I wanted to speak, ask what was happening but could not react besides making those golden-retriever like sounds. That moment is engraved into my brain (literally and figuratively). I hope one day the flash-backs will stop.

The next hours I spent in a big noisy machine, being examined by many doctors and being wheeled around in a bed. But what I remember most is the deeply concerned look on the doctors faces, a certain person’s hand on mine and the overwhelming need to sleep. I hid under the covers.

I woke up in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). In the middle of the night, alone. That was when that little creepy devil of anxiety creeped into my veins. He snuck in through my ears with the beeping of the machines, into my eyes with the blinking lights and the emptiness of the room. Into my blood with every drop of the medicine. And there he settled.
Over the next two weeks in the ICU he had his fun with me. He made me scream, shake, squirm and cry whenever he liked. He’d creep up my right leg, whispering “death” into my ear and would cling to my lungs when I tried to breath or ask for help.

For two weeks I saw no sunlight, smelled no fresh air, no stars, no birds, no plant. Only a room the size of a cardboard box, artificial light and the beep-beep-beep of my heartbeat being digitalized. The devil grew, multiplied, called for his friends. And they came. Guilt and Depression. They picked me apart, left me sometimes apathetic and tired, then again crying and screaming, then begging, then whimpering, then senseless.

And they stayed with me. After I left the hospital. After I left Sri Lanka.
Anxiety was an ever present devil. He’s green, small, grinning. He hides in corners, in buses, in lecture halls, in cafés. And he’ll tell me that death is coming for me. Any second now. So I’d pick up the phone for help or to say goodbye. Break down on the street crying. Hiding. Not taking a shower when no one was in the house, worried that no one would find me in there. Leaving the door open at night, hoping that someone could tell the difference between death and sleep in the morning.
It is no life when you think you’re dying three times a day. It is merely existing. 

But as one devil shrunk with the help of therapy, meditation and medication, another one grew stronger and stronger. This one is less like a little creepy devil. It’s a deep dark black pool of dark water with slippery creatures on the ground, trying to grab your ankles as you flail your arms to stay on the surface. I didn’t. I went under. But the fact that I’m writing to you today means that I didn’t drown.
Having been left with daily symptoms of a strong concussion and the stroke, I could see less and less sense in my life. What would my life be if I couldn’t travel anymore? Who was I, if I couldn’t explore the world anymore?
Can an injured brain take the workload of a student life? What would I do if I couldn’t pursue my degree?
If all your dreams are shattered by a beaten and broken body, why dream?
When just walking down the street is an effort, what does the outside world matter?
When moving around the house is painful, why leave bed?
If every night is only a string of flash-backs and nightmares, why sleep?
Why eat?
Why drink?

Why live?

And so it went on.

Until I found the pills. All the pills. And there I was. On the edge of destruction. On the edge of suicide. On the edge of life and death.

But I couldn’t do it.
I am a person with a story! MANY stories.
My whole life I wanted to be the girl with the many tattoos, many jobs, many destinations and many stories. So I need to live to tell this one. I decided to build my life again.
Even though it still seems like it sometimes, I know that nobody gets everything.
I had more than many. From a beautiful childhood to a troubled youth, a loving family, safety and warmth. Life lessons. I have a good, beautiful body, a great brain (even though it now has holes in it) and an even better heart.
I was given the world, the ocean runs through my body and there’s the sand of the sahara in my shoes. I may never get all the opportunities other people were given. But that doesn’t define me. What defines me is my strength and my love for this life. I’ll never teach great theories, write great articles or be on a big stage.. that’s ok.
I will teach people how to fight and how to be strong. How to love this world. The planet will be my stage. Maybe now, I won’t be as good or smart as others. But there’s a reason I’m still here.
All I can do in the end is give my best in being me.
As long as I feel there’s life. There’s the world. There’s me.

And all the things fighting for.

Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t just snap out of depression or anxiety. I’m still battling it every day. But I’m also discovering that it’s worth being strong.
There are days I don’t want to get up and I’m jealous and angry because it seems everyone else has it easier. Nights where the nightmares are grabbing, where death seems to be peeking into my bedroom. Moments that seem entirely dark, deep and endless.
But they become less and less – because I asked for help. And I received it. By many many people. And I remembered that I matter. I remembered that people care. Family, friends, kind strangers, therapists, doctors, kittens and meditation.

I will never again be the girl that wrote to you last year, Mila. But that’s ok. Because I have another story, another tattoo. I am more compassionate now. I take (even) less bullshit. And even though I’m still a bit shaky in the knees, I know I’ll be stronger. And there will be life.

I can see it from here.

Love,

-A.

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So, where do you go for Nyepi-Day? – Or: How to shut down an island

Dear Mila

„So, where do you go for Nyepi-Day?“

This has probably been the most asked question in Bali last week.

Yes, that is right, this letter is coming to you from the far away island Bali in Indonesia. Do you remember that I said I was going to a different world? Well, sometimes I feel as if my spaceship has taken me too far. To another universe, even. Why? Maybe you will see why when I tell you about Nyepi-Day.

Nyepi – the day of silence – is the balinese new year. On this day, the world – or Bali – is being cleaned of demons and bad spirits. It contains several ceremonies throughout almost a week.

Three days before the actual day of silence Melasti takes place. During this ceremony the sanctuaries of each temple are being cleaned by Neptune in the closest body of water. It is hard to imagine the amount of temples there are in Bali, Mila, because every house and every village has at least one of them.

You would have liked Melasti. I was lucky enough to be able to spy on one. In the middle of the night hundreds of Balinese pilgrimaged – in a buzzing mix of laughter, motor noises, screaming and shouting – past our homestay towards the beach. Some came by foot, some by car or motorbike, in groups of ten or alone. A colorful mix of shrines decorated with flowers, children and adults robed in traditional garment, food and music.

When I heard the noise and laughter from my bed, I asked myself: “What would Mila do?”. You know the answer better than anyone, right? So I rummaged through my backpack to get out my glasses instead of my earplugs, sneaked down the stairs and out the gate right into the stream of ceremony participants. I followed them – as inconspicuously as possible for a blonde tourist on Bali – down to the ocean.

What I saw there was spellbinding. Groups of up to ten young men carried a shrine each into the waves. They raced through the water – hooting, cheering and laughing – followed by their friends with torches, helping to find their way to the main temple. Children chased their older brothers trying to keep up while women balanced food and sacrificial offerings on their head or held babies in their arms, chattering and smiling.

I followed the group for a while along the beach. Unfortunately I lost them at some point because – out of respect and caution – I did not want to interfere with the ceremony at the main temple. It is important to always respect a religion, Mila, even when you are not part of it, ok?

But the interesting part is only coming up. Tawung Kesange – the day before Nyepi. Keyword: “Ogooh-Ogooh”. These are huge statues serving as the embodiment of the demons that Bali needs to be cleansed of during Nyepi-Day. “Ogooh-Ogooh” can be described as Hinduism goes Marvel Comics. Of course I have taken a picture for you, so you can see a particularly remarkable “Ogooh-Ogooh”.

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Hundreds, yes thousands, of those statues have been carried through the streets of Bali on Nyepi-Day. Chickens have been sacrificed, offerings laid down, there was chanting and praying at all the main intersections of each town. Most of those “Ogooh-Ogoohs” were burned – accompanied by loud blustering – at the end of the parade to get rid of the demons and bad spirits. Only the most glorious of them are saved and stored in basements or garages until the next year. Do you think it is a smart idea to store a “bad spirit” at home simply because it is precious?

At 6 am the following morning the actual Nyepi-Day begins: the Day of Silence. And let me tell you, when the Balinese say silence, they mean silent. Very silent. Standstill. Nyepi stands for meditation and balance. From 6 in the morning all the stores and businesses on the whole island are closed, no light and no work is allowed for twenty-four hours. It is not even allowed to cook on an open flame or to laugh too loudly. Short: the island is quiescent, no body is allowed out on the street. “How boring!”, you might think. For some, that might be true, which is why a lot of tourists and non-Hindus leave the island for Nyepi. That explains the questions: “so where do you go for Nyepi-Day?”.

Does it even sound a bit unrealistic to you, maybe? I could not imagine either that Bali would really be going to be completely shut down. It is full of tourists, after all. But even the airport was taken out of service for twenty-four hours. Only the hospitals and a few emergency-services where still on duty. Pecalang – a kind of religion police – patrolled the streets to make sure everyone was following the rules. We even saw them creeping through the streets, lighting up corners with their torches looking for badly behaved citizens. That was quite spooky and we felt like we needed to hide from them on our balcony. Accompanied by a lot of giggles, of course.

The darkness of the Nyeypi-Night has another reason besides the meditation and self-reflection. The scared of demons from the burning of the “Ogooh-Ogoohs” will not be able to see Bali and therefore pass it by on their way back. Brilliant, right? Maybe you still do not believe that the whole island was befogged in darkness. That is why I am also sending you two before and after pictures to prove it. All the way in the back you can see (or not) the airport Denpasar.

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Nyepi-Day impressed me deeply, for various reasons. For many people it is unimaginable to believe in such a thing as demons or evil spirits. But for the Balinese – as is the case for most religious people – it is not a question of belief. For them it is their truth. A truth that guides their lives more than anything else. They believe it so strongly and deeply that just by this, it becomes true. Do you understand what I mean? For them it is reality because they believe in it. That is why, even in this highly globalized and touristic Bali, a thing as drastic as Nyepi-Day is possible.

For some tourists it might be a bit inconvenient but there are a few very unspiritual advantages of Nyepi. Every year twenty-thousand tons of CO2 are being saved during those twenty-four hours, the stars are visible in their full glory and the animals, too, can get some peace for a day.

What do you think, Mila? Should we not all be inspired be the Balinese and celebrate Nyepi-Day in the whole wide world? Imagine a world that stands still, for once and meditates, thinks and takes a break. A world in which we all could flee in a (mental) spaceship to a Balinese universe.

Love

-A.

Dubai – The Challenge

Dear Mila,

This letter comes to you from the airport. Several airports, actually. I am on my way to the end of the world and it seems that getting there really needs to be earned. It is a long and exhausting journey.

In Zurich I departed from a part of the airport that I did not recognize. I have travelled so much, you would think that I know the airport like the back of my hand but it has been a while that I have flown to the ends of the world.

“What nonsense she is writing”, you are probably thinking, “there is no end of the world.” And you sure are right about this, dear Mila. But you also know that there are place that feel like the end of the world. Maybe I should say “different” or “another” world. A new one, to me. That sounds better, doesn’t it? Almost magical.

You may wonder what is so different and magical about where I am going. Well, there are several reasons for I am going to more than one place.

First things first, I am now on my way to Dubai. It is a city built on oil-money, artificial in the midst of the desert. To be honest, it has never been on top of my list of places to see. But in life things never go according to the plan anyway, so you should never stick too closely to your plans and lists, dear Mila, ok?

My cousin lives there with this wife and it is in the middle of my old world and the new world I am going to.

To be honest with you, Mila, there’s not much I know about Dubai so far. Nor about the United Arab Emirates. So for objective information on those destinations you should rather read up in a travel guide or a history book. But one thing I can tell you is why I think Dubai will be a big challenge for me.

I imagine Dubai to be a world of glitter, pomp and decadence. A world created from the dust of the desert. A city to “trotzen” nature and using resources as if they were endless. How else would you snowboard in Summer or waterslide down into a pool in the middle of the Arab desert?

You know about my love for nature, Mila, and how much I want to protect and preserve it with all my heart and deepest „convince“ . I am sure you have realized, with your heart and your mind, that there are many problems on this planet that begin and end with the human’s ruthless „Umgang“ with nature. Places like Dubai seem like they are a different world but they are part of this planet and therefore part of the problem. A big part, indeed.

So what is a nature lover looking for in Dubai, a place where there seems to be nothing to do without increasing your carbon footprint to size 20?

„Just don’t go“, you would maybe advice, right? Probably a good recommendation. But I decided to go anyway. Because my curiosity and hunger for the world, the good and the possibly „bad“, is too strong to miss out on the – manmade – magic Dubai’s.

Also, it is home to my cousin, family, who invited me to share this home of his with him for a few days. Because Dubai is not only the city of Sheikhs, investors and the destruction of nature. It is also a home for thousands of people from all over the world.

That is why I have made up my mind to take on Dubai as a challenge. An experiment to stand true to my beliefs and ideals about conscious consumerism and environmental protection. And as a challenge to see the “Geflecht” of Und als Herausforderung, zwischen den grossen Gebäuden und den Shoppingmalls Dubais die Menschen und ihr Zuhause zu sehen, das bunte Geflecht von Schicksalen, Hoffnungen und Kulturen zu finden, die die Stadt genau so prägen wie der Burj al Arab.

Do you think I can do it, Mila? If you want, I will let you know about my encounters with magic in Dubai in my next letter.

Love

– A.Burj-al-Khalifa-Dubai-640x400

Dubai – City of Masks

Dear Mila,

My last letter to you was only 6 days ago, but it seems so much longer. Here in the other world the time follows different rules. It is not counted in seconds or hours but how much life fills one moment in time.

In the meantime I have found out a bit more about Dubai. I hope you are ready to hear some more about it. But if we try to understand Dubai and it’s citizen it may be helpful if I tell you a bit more about the city itself, what do you think?

The name Dubai represents not only a city but a whole emirate, which is like a “state” in the United Arab Emirates. The emirate Dubai mainly consist of a vast desert. Dubai-City was basically built out of nothing in this desert. Before oil was found there in 1966 the region’s main income source was pearl fishing and sea trading. The collapse of the pearl fishing industry was not a big deal then, because where there’s oil, there’s money. An Arabic proverb says: “Daba Dubai” meaning “they came with a lot of money”. Even the name Dubai, says a theory, comes from an ancient Arabic word for “money”. So you can tell that Dubai is all about money, money, money.

Imagine the city like a giant plastic city. Hard, shiny plastic in the desert. There are buildings so high, dear Mila, that you have to lean out of the car window to only see half of the tower. Have you ever seen buildings that high? I sure have not. But let me tell you, it makes you feel very dizzy if you gaze up there for too long. They even built the highest building on earth there. At night it glitters like the Eiffel tower and another one looks like a sail in the wind. They are beautiful, those buildings, without doubt. Between them, multiple lane streets find their way through, like rivers cutting through stone. It is easy to forget that you are in the desert there, because they planted so many flowers and paved so many streets that you can no longer see the sand. I do not know where the water comes from, to water those flowers. But I do know that it does not come from the desert. What do you think, from how far away do they bring the water in?

Just like the water, most of the people in Dubai come from very far away. They come from all the countries that you can imagine and maybe even more. More than three quarters of Dubai’s citizen are foreigners there. Do you want to get to know some of them? Let me present them to you.

After all, that was my goal for Dubai, to tell you the stories of the people. During my short time in this Babylon of the modern age little treasures of glimpses into the people’s lives have revealed themselves to me. Behind this facade of internationality, restaurants, shopping malls and fast cars you can find, if you look really closely, humans on their quest for money, happiness and destiny. They are more than nationalities or workers. To lift the veil of this facade was my challenge for Dubai, do you remember, Mila?

I met, for example, a lovely Russian flight attendant who fancied her co-worker. By chance she met him again in a bar at the beach. Maybe the beginning of a wonderful love story? Or the Nepalese, who, even though he lives in the pompous Dubai and drives a sports car, organizes trekking tours in his home-country. Then there was the most unlikely group of young people who met up in the evenings to listen to music and play videogames. They originally came from places like Hungary, Jamaica, the Philippines or Slovenia. Countries, so different to each other that it seems very unlikely for those teenagers to ever meet, right? But they all grew up here and say that their childhood could not have been more normal. In Dubai you will find women from Angola dancing Salsa Cubano with men from the Iran, having a long island ice tea afterwards, while in the same bar beautiful veiled women in traditional, sparkling robes are chatting away laughing. In the center for cultural understanding an American artist paints camels on a canvas while a young Arabic woman with red dyed hair is introducing art of the modern pop-culture. Aren’t those wonderful, almost magical contradictions?

Well, let me tell you, I was able to make myself a very human picture of Dubai. Many people go there, looking for happiness. Very often, all they find is money. „Dubai kills relationships“, they told me. It is a place to get your career going, to work hard and where you can achieve anything and everything. But it’s not a place of love, affection or to raise a family. As a matter of fact, the city has a sad aura about it, Mila. Almost grim or dreary. „Dubai sucks life out of you“, they said and indeed, shining eyes like yours seem to be suffocated under the weight of greed for money and consumerism.

The Syrian salsa teacher who has been living in Dubai for seventeen years hesitated when I asked him whether he was happy there. „You know, you are the master of your own happiness“, he finally said. That is very good advice to remember, Mila. He found his happiness in dancing and the people who share this passion with him. But behind the windows of the fast cars in the palm lined streets sit many broken hearts. That makes me sad Mila, you too? I wish they would see that the greed for more and even more is what makes their hearts grow cold. Cold like a piece of shiny plastic.

But there is another reality, too. In the city where there is almost the most millionaires in the world live people who work for less than five dollars a day as construction workers, cleaning ladies or other things. Next to the Ferraris you often see big old busses taking those workers to and from their job. They have only little rights and are thought of as just as worthless as nature. She, too, is abused and exploited. On this principle of exploitation of workers and nature is the wealth and opulence of the city built. The city who hides it’s broken hearts and smiles behind a mask of money and luxury.

Do not get me wrong, dear Mila. All those who I met in my short time in Dubai were friendly and kind people who welcomed me with generosity and open arms. They came to Dubai in the hope of a better life. Some found it, some did not. It is only on the other side of the car window that you can see their vulnerability. That is exactly why it makes me so sad that those people feel the need to wear a mask. Hopefully the will find what their hearts are calling out for from deep within.

Just as much as I hope that your heart still smiles and shines. But not like a piece of plastic but like the ocean in the light of the raising sun!

Love

-A.

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This city’s streets

Dear Mila,

For a while I have been asking myself a question.

Wandering around these streets finally gives me an answer. Not THE answer. But one. One answer is better than none, I guess.

Useless. That’s how I feel here. This world, here, doesn’t need me. There’s nothing here to do for me. I don’t even need myself here. I could immerse myself in any kind of project, it would only feel  like the thing it is: a time filler, a way to keep my occupied.

The people here have their own lives, they don’t need me, either.

I understand that they don’t need me somewhere else, either. But at least, there I need myself. To be my own home, my very own friend. To think for and to rely on myself. To be proud of, too. To tell my story and to listen to the worlds. Stories that no one here wants to hear, because we are all the same anyway.

Harold says that to be old and wise you first have to be young and foolish. But right now, in this rainy night in this city’s streets, staying seems to be the most foolish things of all.

If I stay, I may have all the money to buy plane tickets later. But no money on earth can buy me time.

Mila, you must know and never forget: Lifetime is the only thing you really own. It is yours and you will not get a single second back until it has all run out one day. So spend it wisely.

Will I see you again where I am going?

Love

-A.

City lights

Dear Mila,

Oh I miss that feeling of excitement when flying over an unknown cityscape, squealing of joy. All the things you know you’re going to see and adventures you’re going live. All the things you’ve been waiting for, so long, so long. That shudder that runs up and down your spine when you see the sparkling lights of that promising and unknown city full of new friends yet to meet! The peaks of the mountains you’ll climb, the plains you’ll hike and the glitter of the ocean you’ll love. Oh how much I miss it!