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Closing the Gap (Year)

So the time has come where I leave what’s familiar to me behind, yet again. I’ve done this countless times in the past 3 years and it sort of feels like second nature to me now but that doesn’t mean it gets easier –

The prospect of having yet another different chapter added into my life is always exciting because I love going places, meeting new people and having more stories to tell.

And this time, this chapter is going to be titled: University.

The next 4 years I will be spending most of my time on the south coast of England, which comes with its pros and cons. It doesn’t feel very new because of the 2 years I spent here before but being away for a year in tropical climates makes the cold a little uninviting.

I can only hope that the experiences and people I will meet will make up for it. (It usually does.)

The past year has been hard, rewarding and full of joy, all at the same time. Hard because learning how to work and working multiple jobs is not only physically stressful, but also emotionally and it was evident in my mood and wasn’t the healthiest lifestyle but hey, we make do.

The hard work paid off though, when I used the money that I earned to go away and live a simpler but more fulfilling life in Africa, teaching for a few months.

My days were nothing short of exciting because children have such creative minds and I was learning a lot more from them as the days flew past. I was also learning how to truly be myself and to be happy and comfortable of who I am.

The children and the people I met were so full of happiness, life, and had like-minded goals that made it easy to be myself around them because the energy that they brought was positive and never-ending.

Now, I hope this translates somewhat into the newest chapter in my life and hopefully I have grown up enough this past year to really get stuck in and work for what I want.

Because I really do want to succeed and I don’t think I can’t handle failing again.

Wish me luck!

Andrea x

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June // Happy

It’s taken us awhile to get here, huh.

It was gemini season and my birthday month so maybe that might have had something to do with it but I was really feeling all kinds of love from everyone around me in June.

Happy used to be an emotion that I would confuse with elation and because of that, be stuck in a cycle of “why am I not happy?” when indeed, for the most part, I was.

If they were put side by side, happy would be rated 6/10 and elation would be 9/10 and confusing the two meant that I would only consider moments where I felt joy to the point where only if tears rolled down my eyes – that would be a moment of happiness. Do you see what my issue was?

In June, happiness transformed into a constant high – where content filled every hour of every day. Those around me made me feel the safest I’ve felt in awhile. The rawness of my existence in June made me feel as vulnerable as a newborn baby but I embraced it fully because I felt like I finally made a start in finding my place amongst all others in this big, bad universe.

The positive energy that I gave out also felt reciprocated and I do believe that being grateful and showing that I was played a major role in achieving this happy high.

So to everyone that I’ve met, spent time with, laughed with and cried with in June, thank you, for making it one of the happiest times of my life (so far).

-Andrea

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December//Grateful

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I touched down on the 6th of December. The weather was 30 degrees, and I was boiling in my plane attire. Being home always comes with a mix of emotions; I never really know how I feel. Nevertheless, the end of November was a sad one for me and I was glad to be away from some of the negativity that was getting me down; I felt alone – and don’t get me wrong, everyone gets lonely sometimes, but  I just felt like I wasn’t wanted/needed around those who I cared about.I don’t like to expect much or latch onto people that I meet on a day to day basis but when it comes to those who I feel close and connected to, I get protective – and I get hurt, too easily.

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I’m not going to tell you a story of how I’m an outcast in my circle of friends or how much attention I crave 24/7 because no one wants to hear a 17 year old whine about how lonely she feels in this BIG, BAD world. What I want to write is what I learned from this loneliness; I need to show those who I care for that I, in fact, do care for them. I’m not the most affectionate human being and I’m definitely not the kindest, but this month I’ve been genuinely trying. Smiling at strangers, telling those around me that I love them, being kind to old ladies that are crossing the street, noticing the emotions of people around me before I act out or say anything stupid and insensitive.

 

My new years resolution thing that I never set out to do (because who really does their new years resolution) already started in December; kindness instead of judgement is starting to creep into this angsty teenage soul I possess and you know what? It feels sooooooooo good. Therefore, this is why, for the whole of 2016, I am going to do a photography project. I was inspired by this video I saw of a lady photographing one thing she was grateful for everyday of the year. Because this is not an original project in any sense, the only way to make it my own is to make it strictly focused on portraits. I want to really take in the people around me; they don’t have to be my best friend or a member of my family. They could be the cafeteria lady or the man that mows the playing fields – but everyday of 2016, I have vowed (to myself) to take one picture of someone I am grateful for – and hopefully hearing this will put a smile on their faces too. Let’s see what I come up with.

What are you going to do in the new year?

x Andrea

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November//Change

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Three weeks has passed with the days just getting colder and colder. Today, when I woke up after my brother tried to quietly leave the flat, I saw snow, floating down from the clouds. That kept me in bed till 10.30. Because who wants to walk around the streets of London in a tee shirt, cardigan and ripped jeans when frozen water molecules are freezing the very molecules in your own body? Not me.

This month has been about reinvention. Thinking and journaling what I want out of life and what I need to do. There are many things that went back and forth within my mind, thoughts about the future, the past and nothing about the present. Living in the present has always been one of the things I’ve struggled with. Battling with my past has always been something I constantly do, even though I hate myself for doing it.

I also started my vegan adventure this month and am loving it so far – there were times where I wanted to go back to being just a  vegetarian (still better than eating dead animals) because although it seems like the difference is minor between the lifestyles, the effect that comes with removing animal products from your life really does make a difference; for the environment, the animals, the human race and that’s what I try to remind myself everytime I see cheese. It’s not an easy switch when you’re addicted to something that to you, is the best thing in the world (like cheese) but I’m learning and developing and I’ll get there somehow. Although a plus is that I now can eat a whole tub of hummus and not care. A win for me, I would say.

x Andrea

 

 

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October//Unplugged

The days varied. There were hot days, cold days, days where the sky was unsure what colour it wanted to be. School was where I was for most of these days. England; summer turning into autumn has to be one of the most magical things I’ve ever seen. I know, I sound simple, but when you grow up in a tropical climate and the seasons don’t change, (although this is a blessing in so many ways) – watching a leaf turn from green to shades of red, orange and yellow, is a simple pleasure that I want to remember. (And yes, you probably can find me staring at a tree in the middle of nowhere.)

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There were many things I learnt in October and how to be independent without a smartphone was one of them.

There were two reactions to this; most people said “how did you survive” while others (of the older generation) said “well yeah”. For me, it was an achievement because although I don’t put myself in the category of the social media obsessed teens, I do acknowledge that it is a piece of equipment that I depend on every single day. And that’s sad. Without it, I felt responsible for making the deadlines I was set and the times I was supposed to meet or call someone. With my phone, all I had to do was call, text or snapchat someone saying I would be late and that I was sorry. Take that away and the guilt came rushing in.

It seemed that I wasn’t the only one unplugged from the online scene. Someone told me that they’d deleted all of their social media off their phones and that it was unnecessary. My immediate reaction was disbelief. I, one, did not believe a 17 year old boy was capable of living without his escape online two, well, I couldn’t see me doing it so I assumed if I couldn’t, he couldn’t either.

Essentially, the WWW is a treasure chest of information that we can use – translations, books, articles, gossip, everything you will ever need. But if I think that if we utilise these social media apps to enrich others – instead of flaunting what we have – we could show each other the goodness in our lives – really express ourselves. Our thoughts and our dreams instead of our physical yet meaningless objects that we detach our real selves from.

Being a 17 year old girl I find that social media takes a toll on the boys and girls my age and younger because there is a constant need to put up a superficial front that showcases the best of you. And although that is not necessarily a bad thing, it can create an alter ego that isn’t you and I have problems with that because I think that everyone should cherish and appreciate themselves instead of creating a perfect image of themselves that isn’t true to them and what they stand for. Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter etc. etc. are sites where people put on fronts and it makes those that don’t have the ability to flaunt objects as expensive or post pictures of their perfect bodies and faces that they are of a lower status and it feeds into the insecurities that young boys and girls do not need to have. At this point it seems as though I am just rambling on but I really am starting to understand and feel stronger about this day by day. I do want to change the way I use social media and share what I think and feel instead of what I do and possess.

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I’ve done a lot of thinking and I’ve had way too much time to myself – this is a simplified compilation of my thoughts and I hope to do one every month.

x Andrea

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