It was 2013. I had just quit my hospitality job, and I didn’t have a plan. So I did what many of us do: decided to escape the burden of not knowing what to do with my life by going traveling. I booked an inter-rail ticket which would last for one month. Once it was over I’d see what I’d do. I had never travelled alone in my entire life, at least not more than five days in a row, and to places where I’d always visited friends. Right now I was travelling alone-alone, to countries where I didn’t know a single soul. I had worked enough to maintain myself for a few months without a job so there I went. I started in Italy.
My number one priority once I landed in Amsterdam was: FRIENDS. My fellow Portuguese countrymen kept asking: “What about the cold?”, “What if you can’t find a job?”, “What if the Dutch are nasty?”. Their worries were trifling to me. Weather conditions didn’t matter much, and as for work difficulties or complicated people, I mean, when you’ve survived Portugal during economic scarcity, you’re ready for everything. By then I knew that I could do without my family, without a job for a while, even without a home. The one thing that could make the enterprise of moving countries come to grief was NO FRIENDS.
It was January 2014. From the beginning of that month, I would have to commit to a Dutch language course, every Tuesday and Thursday evening, at a building called De Potgieter, located at a pretty square in Amsterdam West. I had finished a beginner’s course around one year before that. The municipality of Amsterdam, who was paying for my studies, had stated I could not postpone the attendance of the second level anymore. Otherwise, they would stop financing me. Sounded fair. It was a now or never situation, thus. I was hoping it’d work.
“Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so you apologize for the truth” // Benjamin Disraeli
“I am afraid I can’t fall in love anymore”, my friend tells me, with a smartphone in hand, his Tinder account left open. The shiny screen he holds so tightly is a promise of happiness in the form of endless beautiful faces smiling at you, stating availability, opening a passage to something greater than the dullness of everyday life, the loneliness most of us know all too well.
One of the people that have impacted me the most during my yoga teacher training at Tula Amsterdam is Carolina. She’s kind and soft, warm and witty; one of those people one immediately likes. Now that the training has passed I must admit that it wasn’t an easy period for me. It was a time of big changes and uncertainties in my life and I felt disconnected and anxious more often than not. Moreover, a yoga teacher training can be a very confronting experience in which your shortcomings get so exposed in your eyes, and any emotion present may feel like it’s double its size. Carolina’s presence was soothing. We got together to practice, she met my mother, and we even got the chance to do a yoga photoshoot together. When she announced she had to take the final exam earlier because she was going back to Spain, I felt pained at first. Continue reading “Carolina and her yoga retreat in Menorca”