Tuesday, October 16, 2018

4 Reasons Why Paddington Is The Best Movie Ever!

OMG, so adorable! 
Yesterday, my life changed. After years and years of never wanting to rewatch a movie I saw, I discovered my new favorite movie: Paddington. Or Paddington 2 - I don't even care which one, what a movie. My criteria for movies has always been the same: if it makes me feel like I am jealous of those who were involved in making it, it's really good. Beforehand, I wish I had written A Beautiful Mind, and now I also wish I wrote, directed, produced and stared in Paddington. Literally, the perfect film. It has everything. Let me break it down for you: Here are four reasons why I love Paddington.

Damn, Paddington is so cute!
Paddington is sooo cute, it makes my heart go all happy inside. He looks like a real bear, and I love bears. They even gave him that blue jacket and the hat because he is trying to fit in. What this cuteness achieves is a lot of "Aww"-moments in which I just really want to squeeze him. Loneliness has always made me so sad and I tear up when I think about people being lonely. So that cute, adorable little bear having watery eyes because he is looking for a home or because he thinks the Browns have forgotten about him is too much. It's too much!!! I'm done...

Paddington has such good manners and is always polite
"Paddington is the essence of being English", I once read. I agree: he is a polite little bear, trying his best to make everyone happy. But of course, not everyone is like that. He isn't polite because he's hiding something or because he wants anything in return, he's just a thoroughly nice bear. Other people's fortune makes him smile, not jealous. Christ, he draws happiness from Aunt Lucy getting her 500-pound pop-up book. Who's like that? He's a great example of altruism and should prompt us to actually question our own behavior. What do we do for others? We should all be more like Paddington. Funnily enough, if we were we'd all be happier.

The movie teaches acceptance - of everything
The original author of Paddington wrote the story inspired by children in the Second World War, arriving in the country with only a suitcase and no possessions, merely looking for a place to call home. Sound familiar??? Oh, how times have NOT changed. We live in a world where people use the city depicted in the movie as a haven of hope; they, too, hope that London will open its heart to them and allow them to "fit in". Of course, nobody does - and nobody else is actually a bear. But people are afraid of the unknown, we reject it and we think ill of it. Now if you think about real life examples, those the people in this country have rejected (in, let's say, some sort of referendum) could be a treasure like Paddington. At the end of the movie, nobody rejects Paddington, for good reason. Every other "anormaly" is the same; unique and worth loving. Like, you guessed it, Paddington.

London: a city, a promise
Last but not least, watching this movie right now, two weeks into my own move to London, is a huge factor why I spent all day googling "Paddington 3": it is the perfect depiction of arriving in the greatest city in the world. I have been many places and I never felt the acceptance, diversity, and willingness to be different as much as in London. It has been a dream of mine since I was Paddington's age to call this city home, and my fears about it are similar to those of his. I am promised opportunity, a colorful body of people and wonder at every corner but sometimes, it can appear that the city is too harsh and we sit in our attic rooms feeling we do not "fit". That is nonsense of course; everyone fits in here, even a fucking adorable bear. Damn, I wish he was real. At least I can walk down the road and across Portobello Road in Notting Hill where most of this movie was shot. Thankfully, that part is real, including the weird old shop that is, today, a popular #InstaAttraction. And thankfully, that is now my home.

Fuck, I love Paddington!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Happy Birthday, Papa: What My Father Taught Me About Mental Health

Today, for the 72nd time, it's my fathers birthday. 12 of them, he wasn't alive to celebrate. All the other 59, he wasn't happy enough to celebrate. My father always said he didn't want any presents, he had everything he needed; one of his biggest lies. My father did not close his eyes at 59 to die because he was fulfilled and happy with what he did in his 59 years of life. Quite the contrary: although I was only 17 when he died, I got to know my father as an adult. He was a thoroughly unhappy man, stricken by the mistakes he made early and later in life and he had absolutely no emotional capabilities to ensure these feelings were not going to kill him at a young age. I know all that could have been prevented. It is time the world acknowledges that, too.

This week it was World Mental Health Day and a lot of my friends reached out to an invisible somebody on their news feeds to express support for whatever is going on "inside of them". Companies underlined their support for employees struggling with something. While all these efforts are a great step in the right direction, making people, like my father, hear over and over again that "being strong" should not be the number one priority in life does little in practice. I am not going to talk about stigmas because we will never see anyone consciously admitting that they perceive mental health issues as a proper weakness; talking about it, therefore, does nothing. You cannot change a person's mind, thoughts or attitude on someone else's mind, thoughts and attitude without them acknowledging they have subconscious bias first.

I am not one of these people. I have, in my time on this Earth, met a lot of people struggling with depression and other issues, mostly men. At the same time, I feel that support usually comes from those who have been affected themselves. While I do not consider myself depressed, I do know depression. I watched my father, my mother, numerous friends and loved ones struggle to extents hardly imaginable; some of them lost the fight, culminating their experience in suicide. This all sounds very sad but it really is not sad; it's unnecessary, entirely pointless and unfair. It should not be an issue for someone to speak their mind, keeping up a front and pretending they do not want presents because they have everything they need. Of course, that is a trivial example. But the question remains: Why is it so hard to admit we are not feeling so great?

The answer is: Because of us. The world, all its people, everything is completely different from what a mind can see. People with a mental health issue are, like every other person, only used to their own thoughts and feelings. Their individual brains cannot differentiate between what is their personality, what is their feeling, what will change one day and what won't. If the brain was capable of regulating love, care, appreciation and gratitude, wouldn't we just all be the same, with no feelings? When you put a device in someone's head that can make people happy, that device will inevitably also enable unhappiness. And devices sometimes work in different ways. The problem arises when a specific brand of brain is labeled the Samsung brand, while its owner feels like everyone else has a new Apple-brand brain and only theirs isn't working. But everyone knows, the new Samsung phone can do exactly the same as the iPhone. People still pay double for the iPhone.

This lame analogy is truth though. There is nothing wrong with any brain, it is just a brain. I can't work an iPhone, nevermind my own brain. When my father and I were alive at the same time, I didn't know his brain was different from what he let me see. He was not well, and yet it was harder for him to show that than it was to express his love for us although both emotions have the same origin. Nothing was wrong with him, he just - had a brain. And that brain generated things he did not welcome. Why do we judge one emotion but celebrate the other? It all sounds like nature to me. Without knowing, my father taught me to accept the brain: my own, those of others, "healthy" or "nuts". Feelings are feelings, only concealing them makes them worse because you are not supposed to do that. I will forever be an advocate for people being exactly who they want to be to me, even if they think it is wrong. If my father had done that, we would maybe be celebrating today. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

"This Is Us" or "This is Me"? We Cannot Be Sure Anymore

I've described why I love "This Is Us". In fact, I don't love it, I deeply hate it. It makes me feel like I am not doing the right thing with the pain and joy I have inside of me. It makes me want to create a show, a movie, or if all else fails, a blog post. It makes me relive parts of my past that I am clearly not revisiting often. No episode finishes without me thinking: "is this them or is it me?" Surely, writer Dan Fogelman did a good job because I know I'm not the only one thinking that. Yet, "This Is Us" hits so close to home, it's almost too close.

My dad didn't inhale smoke from a fire but just like Jack Pearson, he died completely out of the blue when I was 17, at the same age as the Pearson kids when Jack passed. My mother was not like Rebecca: she could not contain her grieve. Within weeks, she was barely there in terms of body weight. I did not leave my room for six weeks, never eating more than a dry slice of bread every day. My mother tried to make us do things we used to enjoy, like going to the beach, but it was physically impossible to feel happiness or joy. I can't be sure how much weight I lost altogether but I am assuming about 25 pounds in three months, the same amount Kate gained after her father's death. "Everyone grieves differently", they said. And I know that to be true.

At the end of the summer he died, I had plans to go back to the States and go to college. Like Randall. Instead, I went back to school in Germany to stay close to home. I had to do 12th grade over just in order to stay close. With the condition my family was in, leaving would have been a goodbye forever. And of course, I couldn't do that. I put my dreams on hold to be with those who needed me. Of course, I was 17, I didn't know what I know today: that sooner or later, everything will be alright. "This Is Us" helps to see that. Yes, it is fiction, but it is also true. Randall did go to college in the end. He got more than he probably ever imagined to have. Just like me. This person unwilling to stop crying eventually went to college, for free, traveled the world, and would have made her father, if he was alive, pretty proud.

The Pearson children struggle with the relationship with their parents. I cannot understand the desire to make a parent proud that is dead but I understand all too well what pressure comes with wanting to do the right thing. I am hard on myself because I want to be understood. Like Kevin. A person like me, bubbly and blonde, knows what it's like to be discarded. In uni, I wore fake glasses for my first month at Glasgow just so I wouldn't be "the pretty girl" again. I was one of the best in my class in my undergrad, yet, because I was also into sports, went out to party a lot and got a decent amount of male attention, my professional success was something people did not accept easily. I believe that nobody, except my mother maybe, ever truly believed in me; they certainly did not support me. And that's why getting a job at Amazon felt as good as it felt for Kevin to get a job with Ron Howard: Because it proved everyone wrong.

Somewhere out there, you will find a black blogger who wrote this same piece, describing how this show made them feel understood about the day they entered a white school or being the "first black person" to do anything. I wouldn't know anything about that. I also have no emotional connection to loving someone the way Jack and Rebecca loved each other, or how Rebecca was able to find new love. However, there are many people that do. And they feel like me when they watch this show, too. In the end, it makes me change nothing about myself, it just corroborates my desire to turn feelings into pictures and words like the makers of this show do. I want to work for this show or dedicate my free time to making something this beautiful. In this relatively short life, I have felt so much it is sometimes too much. But then I watch the show and I see that everyone has. Maybe not around me but this struggle is simply called "life". It isn't meant to be easy and we are increasingly getting better at it. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Cambridge: The Last Goodbye

It is done: the boxes are packed and in a new apartment. Cambridge is history. And with it most things that have made that experience. The job I came there for is no longer reality, the friends that became family in my house have also left and I said a final goodbye to some people who couldn't move on with me. Everything is changing. And once again, it couldn't happen fast enough. I am on a plane to Spain to celebrate the wedding of two of my best friends. The whole week, everyone that means anything to me in Cambridge will share a villa with me in honor of our friends' marriage, and then all of them embark on a new journey. Mine goes to London. And away from the person Cambridge made me.

My first day in Cambridge, I was filled to the brink with confidence, pride and fulfillment. Without indulging again in how these reserves were depleted by the beginning of this year I knew my time in Cambridge was limited. Today, I know that the feeling I had that day initiated the path that now leads me to leave the Shire. "This is a lovely place but I don't really see myself staying here", I said. I abandoned my plan to buy a flat there within three weeks. I did not see myself stay any longer than "two summers". As I sit on this plane to enjoy the last sun rays of summer 2018, the second one since moving to England, I cannot believe how accurate I was. I ended up leaving, on the dot, at the end of my second summer - as if I had always known.

By the end of this experience, I was no longer the person that arrived. The bright sky that was the first few weeks in Cambridge was overshadowed with thick clouds and at some points, the rain became so strong it felt like it was washing away everything that I loved and cared about there. The single best thing that happened to me at this time was 220 Victoria Road, my home. The luck I experienced living there exceeds the one necessary to win the lottery. I won the human lottery that brought individuals into my life that saved it. Maybe I would never have realized the significance of friendship if those clouds hadn't tried to drown me. There I was, in a hospital, having my friends throw out a life vest for me. Simply because they wanted to. My years of genuinely throwing my friendship, care and love at people who didn't appreciate it were done. Care for people who didn't care about me at all started feeling bad, yes, but it had to so that today I can see how much of a blessing it is to give love to those who love you back and how much of a ridiculous waste of time it is to wait for everyone else.

Out of that family that formed in the walls of my house, we are all facing change. This is our last hoorah before we acknowledge that the amazing time we had together is now coming to an end. This is Friends, season 10, episode 22, "The Last One". Two of us moved to opposite ends of London, one is departing to Miami the day after the wedding, two people will now be married to each other and Antonio is moving into my room because his girlfriend from the States moved in. Each and every one of us is facing a monumental change and I refuse to believe that it's a coincidence that it's happening for all of us within the same week. It's fucking serendipity. This wedding is our finale. And then, for the tenth time, there is nothing but a fresh start left after.

Leaving the good is harder than the bad but old habits die hard. There are goodbyes in Cambridge I didn't want to say. Others took a while to muster up the courage to utter. I have no interest in continuing to invest another second of my time into some people who used to dominate my everyday life. Cambridge was full of those who I should have never invested in. So while it introduced me to possibly some of the best friends I'll ever have, it taught me the most valuable lesson that I have to be more selective in who I allow into my life. There's been a colossal amount of disappointment in this one and a half year chapter and the fact there was also tremendous gain does not compensate that. Cambridge truly was the best and worst chapter of my life. Now that I am looking at it from the distance I see even more clearly how destructive it was. But since it's history, I am now free to only remember what I see worthy. And hopefully in time that will be the love I felt, the lessons I learned and the transformation it allowed in my career. And not the clouds.

Bye, bye, Cambridge!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Soundtrack Of My Life, Volume One

“Where words fail, music speaks.” 
― Hans Christian Andersen

I know, I know, I'm a writer and not a musician. I can't write music and my sophomoric writing on a blog or a journal does not equal the raw emotion that is coming from a song. I am not that artist. I am a talker, an expressionist, a storyteller. But I seldom make art. Yet, it is art that speaks to me most these days. The majority of the things that have affected my life in the last year, I am not free to talk about. And I struggle with that. So hearing songs that speak to me is like a horoscope: it gives you the feeling of there being someone on this huge planet that would, maybe, understand. You might hear a different thing than me right now but these songs are playing in my mind while I am abiding by the bar of metal in front of my mouth. It makes my relatively challenging emotions these days easier to bear and I am confident that is why these artists chose to make this music.

After the Storm - Mumford & Sons
This song has accompanied me through a lot of bad times. Right now is such a time. Not in a conventional way because everything that's happening is exciting and positive. But the year played host to some pretty traumatic experiences. Its fine, it happens, and I know there will be a time where I wear "flowers in my hair" to look back to it but, right now, I am scared of what's coming because of what happened. This song finds the perfect combination of words and tunes to teach the only life lesson worth learning in bad times: nothing is infinite! Not this, not the love that cannot be replaced, not happiness and, fortunately, not despair.

A Change Is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke
Oh, Sam Cooke. Even his songs about being a black man in the 60s strike a chord with me, even though I can obviously not relate. But I can to this one. I was on a lovely date about a month ago and the guy played this for me. WINNER! It's a reassuring feeling that there is music that expresses what I want to say but never would. I am not one to complain about how much running I had to do in my life. I am aware of my miseries and challenges so far but I like to look forward. With this song, I can. Because it doesn't matter how much I've run, change is and always has come. The essence of this song is preventing my freak out these days. Of course, I speak about my current challenges a lot, acknowledge this isn't the easiest time of my life but the prevalent feeling is that of hope. For change. And mine is only eight days away.

Wisely & Slow - The Staves
What I currently feel will last for a long time. It's easy to assume my feelings will last since nothing has changed about how I feel about the person I think of in this song in the last year or so, except my life. I already know that the day I stop mourning that loss will never come. I accept it and don't regret what I have done for this person. But "the song" and the question at the end of this one will never change: why is it you whispered when you needed to yell? I am thinking of a person that I know is not themselves and watching that has been hard. At the same time, I have also pretended and refrained from yelling when I probably should have. But the person on my mind needs to yell and stop whispering, express what is really going on. I guess I just want to know why they don't. Sucks to know I'll never know.

New Slang - The Shins
Another one of my all-time favorite songs has given me a new meaning these past few months. In relation to Cambridge, where I live, I have come to see how it is the manifestation of all of my feelings: super pretty and appearing to be a paradise but a trap, a curse, and my personal hell. I love this place but it has destroyed many things in me, first and foremost my self-esteem. Places can become tainted by what happened there and while it introduced me to the best friends I ever had it also truly turned me away from lots of good things inside of me. I need to leave it and look forward to severing the ties I have to this place in hopes it will sever the power the events still have over me.

Better - Regina Spektor
When dealing with "whatever", it is important to be true to oneself. I am trying to make myself do that by meditation and, of course, writing. But there are people around me that are not in touch with what they feel. In some cases I get it: they're, like me, scared to feel what they're feeling because it comes with consequences. I can relate to Regina Spektor when she wonders if any action I take can actually make someone feel better. Not if they're not ready to really face feelings, right? At least that's what I believe. I understand why it's easier to run away from feelings but this song at least makes me realize there's nothing I can do to wake people up. I can only stop running myself and I guess I'm not ready to do that either. 

Chicago - Sufjan Stevens
So, Sufjan Stevens has said this song is about running away. Sooo, does it work? I am living proof it does. Yo, Sufjan and I should have a beer sometime. I changed cities so many times, went on some crazy adventure like him, and usually fell in love immediately. All of my places have one man associated to them and it is fortunate that my move is coming up at a time when I am continuing to let Cambridge love pass. I made a lot of mistakes here. There are situations I can't move on from continuously walking past the venues of them happening. Maybe it's not the most efficient way to get over someone or something. Then again, I don't think I would have ever been able to move on from my Cairo love if I hadn't left Cairo. Moving on from people and cities have been the same experience for me. And I hope it works again next week.

Meditation: Do I NEED To Control the Mind?

When I started meditation, I didn't really know why. It was a principle I heard and read about mucho, and I was keen to learn how to be mindful. The idea of understanding feelings and moods better was appealing to me. In the end, thoughts are what have made and broke my life in the past; control over them could only be a good thing. I believe in what they call the Law of Attraction in which it is possible to make things happen in your life by thinking about them. That is how I landed my last job, how I fell in love with the last person and, frankly, why I sit here, in England, today. I wanted to get better at making good thoughts become the good life. But just by sitting down and meditating, that stuff did not manifest.

Meditating in Macedonia in 2015 without knowing it. 
I first started meditating in February after I was experiencing the repercussions of a traumatic event, a sort of a break-up and very unhealthy relationships with some people I saw every day. January had seen three very significant departures from my life, all heavily represented in my work and social life. My best friend at work left the office (and the Northern hemisphere), my best friend left London (and the continent) and the man associated with some rough times left my life but not my vision. It was a hard time. It was very hard. Overall, I still had my job, my purpose and all the other things that made my life full so the emotional implications of these departures were drowned out by overall happiness. Until I meditated. 

One day, when I was focusing on my breath, I experienced my first panic attack. It arose as my mind wandered to one of these people and the thought of them being gone from my life, me no longer seeing or hearing or feeling them, and I simply panicked. This reality was not a new thought; they already had been "gone". However, it obviously hadn't sunk in. I couldn't focus and I couldn't catch my breath. I experienced fear that they were gone. It was the first time in my life I experienced fear altogether. "Anxiety" was a term I never understood before. Until that day. Needless to say, it was a negative experience. I realized only weeks later, that it was a necessary one.

What had happened was a reaction in the brain; the same brain I had been trying to trick for months. Since almost exactly when I arrived in Cambridge, I had gotten addicted to a feeling of happiness and control which was an illusion. The absence of happiness and control is not necessarily unhappiness and chaos - a lesson I only learned now. Throughout my traumatic experiences of the last year, I had not allowed my brain to touch on the feelings that came with them: sadness, disappointment, the feeling of failure and, most importantly, shame. Until meditation actively tried to explore my brain and found those feelings. The meditation actively encouraged me to notice them. More so than just noting, I actually started feeling them. 

What followed was the awareness that I had failed one more thing: my thoughts. I hadn't been honest with myself and now I had gone on a quest to "really explore myself" - such foolishness. When you're trying to hide some bad experiences in your brain, or in other words, attempt to be English about your emotional qualities, meditation is not the right thing. It will surface that stuff. Because all it is is an awareness of what is present AND hidden, in the mind, in the body. That is the reason guided meditations remind us of why other people could be affected by this voluntary blindfold. They certainly were in my case. After initially having an easy time shutting my mind off (because I had been doing it non-stop since July), I realized it was this exact motion that would bring about the change.

Now I am actively seeking change in my meditation. I am trying to learn about emotions before they arise - and consequently, how to direct them into a narrative I actually share. My thoughts have taken over in the last few months which I am not surprised about. Analyzing what feelings are present is not a pleasant experience when those feelings are part of recovering from shock and trauma. I have been making the same mistakes in my life over and over again so I fear that my thoughts not changing will have the same effect as my actions not changing. With more fear comes more of a challenge. In fact, I only realized now that I am in fact scared: not of heights, failure or loss (wellll, but ya know) but of failing to find my potential. I know it is there but knowledge is useless to the mind. The mind needs strength, not facts.

In the end, I still feel powerless because I still do not know how to control my emotions and thoughts. I have to rely on other people to point out the right decisions for me because I am not able to make an informed calculation between prudence and emotions. The struggle is to differentiate between when to listen to the mind and when to shut it up. And that, I have not learned. I have a 29-year-old habit of living in my head which has been a good home for me until this summer when my reluctance to acknowledge that I am traumatized manifested in the physical life. I, by no means, have to control the mind, both my head and my life are in no danger, but I owe it to myself to stop lying and confront what is happening which I have watched many people deny themselves. I cannot guarantee that my behavior will never become a problem for me so I want to fix it now before it becomes one. So no, we don't HAVE TO change, work on ourselves and improve our conditions but we cannot guarantee that life won't do it for us. At least I think I am now better prepared if it does. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

"Life's A Journey!": Why My Life's The Train From Cambridge To London

Train times are my favorite. There is the spot in the train to London with a table right by the window. Behind a closed door that doesn't open very often, you'll find the bathroom so refreshment is always close. While you are tenderly rocked in the moving train, the English countryside passes by. Summer or winter, that's a sight for lovers although East Anglia has three hills, if that. To top it all off, the table has a plug so you can literally bring your laptop along to do essential work - all while casually checking out the weirdest little places in the suburbs. In other words, this time on the trains is the perfect time to actually watch the journey, not just be on one. And when I say journey, I mean realizing the purpose, the tasks at hand, and possibly act upon them.

For me, that's writing time. I wrote my last letter to the guy who broke my heart from here and drafted my book outline on this very table. Sometimes, when the train isn't full, it's the perfect spot for meditation. Most people on this train to Liverpool Street are quite quiet. They're not going to the City because they want to. They come from places such as Bishop's Shortford and Cheshunt (yes, those are names of English places). They likely made their money in London and then sought a more simple life in the English countryside. That was my plan, too. Passing these villages reminds me of my exchange program in eighth grade when I spent time in Royal Tunbridge Wells, again a name of a British "city", and a few days in London. I marveled at the beauty, size, and excitement of the City. I knew then one day it'd be home. But what I wanted, in the long run, was the villages. The green. The quiet. So all I ever really wanted was the life of the people on this train.

This journey takes me along a lot of memories. I only got off at the first stop, Whittlesford Parkway, once. That night Richard and I went to a very fancy pub in the middle of nowhere. Considering the size of Whittlesford, this is the only memory to be made there. I had a very nice time that day and enjoyed a dose of Richard's terrible English chat before he would leave a couple of weeks after. And although I saw him every day for a year, I usually think of this pub when I think of Richard. It's nice to have that kind of memory. I would probably have enjoyed that fancy pub with another friend as well but I live well with passing Whittlesford on this train and remembering that fool. He was a big part of my Cambridge time anyways so it only makes sense...

Next stop is Audley End which I also remember well. On February 25, 2017, I passed it the first time. I had just landed at Stansted Airport with one suitcase containing everything I owned. The Stansted Express stopped at Audley End on its way to Cambridge, my new home. I took a picture of the sign, hoping I would never forget that the first town in England I ever saw had a name that could be taken straight out of a Harry Potter book. Audley End... Really? The greenery around it is amazing and not too far along the journey, there is a golf course. That, of course, is an entirely different memory. On my very first days in Cambridge, I developed the desire to go play golf. Not too long after, someone actually took me. Not too long after that, the dream of playing golf had become the dream of playing golf with him. An unattainable dream but something an above-average amount of time was spent thinking about. And just like the previous memory, going past it on this train journey and reflecting is maybe a little bit painful but also the ink in my pen.

After much more green, dozens more villages and a changing scenery from rural to urban, the train slowly runs into London Liverpool Street. I used to work five minutes away from there and was always excited to get off of the train to walk into that office. As a result, the surrounding area has become a place of excitement. Work, yes, but other than one individual I liked everything about my job. It was a life I never imagined but it filled me with pride to see the Gherkin and the Shard come closer from the train like I had in many a music video as a teenager. Only, now it was not a music video anymore; now that was my life. The Liverpool Street area this train now directs to is what my final destination is right now: a place of work, a new career, a comfortable place to make big things happen. Big things are easier made when surrounded by grandeur.

Maybe in the future, it won't be Liverpool Street but that feeling is still there: Getting closer to the city that has been my constant for over a decade. I have seen London come closer to me on trains, buses and planes. Only a month ago my plane was flying so low over Hyde Park I could see the art installations in it. The view never gets old as I look at my favorite city in the world. To call this train approaching the Skyline a dream come true is cheesy but it is true; this train materializes my current dream: taking me out of Cambridge, away from these memories, to realize what the English countryside cannot. I'm not bitter about the past; it brought me here and that's a good thing. But my positivity will have an end if I continue passing the places in which attempts were made to destroy this dream for me. One day soon I'm getting off this train without a ticket back. And then that's my life. Right now, it's this train.