Inspiration. Motivation. Love?

These are the things I struggled most to find during the year that I’ve been here. It’s been one hell of a ride and the journey and memories that we all faced will be ones that we can never forget.

Yet if there’s one thing I’ve learned this amazing, terrifying, and awe-some experience is that self-reflection and patience are some of the most important things to master. Meditation, forgiveness, and self-forgiveness are some of the key elements in surviving this critical time in our lives where we finally discover who we are, and why do what we do.

All of us will struggle in our own way, some will fail, and others will achieve the highest of honours, but as I’ve come to understand it’s not about the downfalls or the expectations that we fail to meet. It’s about the ability to learn, to grow, the never-ending journey that defines who we are.

I still learn every day, or try anyway. One of the most useful lessons is simply this; take one day at a time. Life will hit you like a bitch but finding happiness in the simplest things will change your entire perspective on the phenomenon we live each day. A smile from a passing stranger, the friends we can rely on, and the fleeting moment…. Of knowing there’s help when we need it.

I wish I could say that things would get easier once we graduate this semester but it’s the absolute opposite. Life is about to get much more complicated in every single factor but that’s why we came here isn’t it? To equip ourselves with the necessary tools to deal with those difficulties that will eventually find our ways.

In part self-discovery is one of the most difficult challenges that may come our way. It’s still the most important… and once we find it? The rest comes naturally.

Peace, love, and respect to you all.

Ty.

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Aime Toi Toi-Même

I figured I’d save this piece for the day after the international celebrated day of love, Valentine’s Day. Everyday should be a day to show love.

Sometime last year, a music artiste dropped an album that was a hit. One of the most played songs from that album was titled ‘love yourself’.

It basically bordered around a guy reminiscing, soliloquizing or leaving a message for a certain girl after the end of a relationship…

It ends up with the singer telling the girl that he has moved on and he has no regrets because she was a really hard person to love (or she just made it horribly difficult).

I read somewhere (and I’m not just saying that! I really did) that you cannot accept the love that you think you don’t deserve…and that is the truth (speaking from experience here people!)

Simply put: Love starts from within.  To accept love, you have to believe you deserve it (or make an attempt at least) and to believe you deserve it, you have to practice on yourself. SO!

Aime Toi Toi-Même. That means, “Love yourself” in Spanish. HOWEVER, there is a dental floss-thin line between self-love and self-obsession. Self-love comes from loving yourself (if the name didn’t give that away). It is about loving who you are, seeing and accepting your flaws and working towards growth. Self-love doesn’t mean flawless. It doesn’t mean ‘perfect’ or ‘all figured out’. Self-love means: “I’ll commit to being the best version of myself, and even when I don’t feel like there is progress, I will still be consistent in trying”.

Self-obsession, on the other hand, is a bit more but ironically involves fewer people.

It is more ”until I am perfect in my own eyes and I make everyone believe I am perfect, no one matters” (see how many ‘I’s’ one sentence carries?) “or maybe they do, but I just need to be perfect so, at the moment I cannot help you, or show up to your event to support you, or even check in on you at the end of your day, or ask you about work or how you fared on your test, but if you give me some time to continually brood over my imperfect life, then I could one day focus on you (hopefully, before you’re dead!)”.

The only one who is all round perfect created you perfectly. So yeah, maybe there is a possibility of attaining perfection (you are allowed to contend with that) but, alas: It does not happen overnight. Perfection is a process, almost infinite. It needs commitment and consistency, and the perfect creator is ever willing to help you on that journey, but you need to be willing to accept it. Even He cannot force that on you. To accept it, you have to understand that He thinks you ARE worth dying for (literally, He actually died for you).

Summarily, above this sentence are a couple hundred words, and if words are easier said than done, you need more than a couple hundred attempts at an action. It really is not a piece of cake or a smooth journey. It’ll have some bumps in it and may even spill over. However, keep the two C’s in mind: Consistency and Commitment and it’ll all be worth it in the end. Love yourself, because you really are beautiful (scars and all) and pleasssssse accept love because you really are worth it.

Happy Love Day,

M.

Not TOO MUCH!!

Being away from home means no one to tell you what time you should be home by or how you should be studying instead of partying. So, studying abroad gives you a lot of freedom and it is all about being independently making decisions and growing to be an independent person. However, as a student, you might face so many temptations around you, your friends’ undeniable invitations for parties and drinking, or procrastinating to study until deadlines because your mom is not there to push you. As much as it is very free, you also have the duty to take responsibility for the consequences of your choices. Surely you don’t want to fail at the end of the academic year, and pay one more thousand pounds and study one more year.

It is normal that students are to not only study, but also have fun with friends and enjoy life. At this age, we all want to try new things and take risks for everything we do. However, we should always be aware of taking control and stop ourselves not to have TOO MUCH in everything. Too much study can limit you to have a good social life and at the same time, too many social events cannot be good for your results and goals. So, why not having a good balance between study and fun so that we can enjoy our student life and still achieve our goals?

Work Hard and Play Hard because you are being a responsible person and at the same time, enjoying the life to the maximum!!!

 

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Photo: Google

 

Romeo + Juliet

I have always had a curiosity about Romeo and Juliet, as I was never able to fully understand how so many things could go wrong at once. When I went to the opera of the play, I had decided to go with an open mind to see if I would be able to finally catch a missing piece of the story.

The opera was part of the Metropolitan Opera 2016/17 season in the Cineworld cinema in Cheltenham. I was fascinated by how passionate the couple, Diana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo, chosen to play the protagonists seem to be. In the middle of that tragic story, I started to question myself that same frustrated question about how that all happened.

I then realised that maybe the question is so simple that not everyone thought of asking it. What if Shakespeare intended, not only to demonstrate how love can burn our souls but, to criticise the power of the church? With that said, allow me to create a theory:

Romeo and Juliet was written in the year of 1595-6 in Verona, Italy. At the time, the church was the most powerful institution, although the families Montague and Capulet are shown to be more influential.

As a Friar, it does not seem right to lie to the families to help a juvenile love, especially when Juliet is promised to marry another. It could easily start a war between the two families, or create a distress between the Capulets and the church.

However, he does that anyways. He tells Juliet that he and Romeo will be waiting for her to wake up so they can be together. He never did, although he could have told Romeo easily.

Romeo and Juliet were the only main heirs of the two richest families, and after Juliet’s cousin death, there was no other person to have access to the popular surname or their inheritance. As a matter of fact, the church could take the families’ possessions when they pass away.

If Romeo and Juliet had achieved permission to love each other, their son would become a powerful man, and eventually a possible threat to the religious institution.

At first, when I came with this theory, I did not want to believe it was a possibility as It is difficult to find a villain when all characters’ intentions seem so clear, and the only question is why life is unfair. However, Shakespeare has a subtle way to create questions and give us the illusion of understanding his stories. It may be one of the reasons why his writings are still fascinating.

A special visit and Christmas’ break.

Missing my family has been my biggest challenge since I arrived here. But I was lucky that while I go to university in England, my boyfriend goes to university in Portugal, which has been very positive for us since we are both going through the same experiences as international students and we get to see each other more often than if he was in Brazil for his studies.

Two weeks ago, he surprised me by coming to Cheltenham without telling me anything about it, it was a shock for me and I couldn’t be happier. He stayed here for 5 days and he was amused at Cheltenham’s beauty.

This is us enjoying the coldest day here in Cheltenham:

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On the other hand, it is almost Christmas, and not everyone is going home to stay with their family, just like me. If that’s the case for you too, then I suggest you to keep yourself entertained with your friends or classmates so you don’t feel alone. There are a lot of international students going through the same situation as you, that’s why you can always find someone to be friends with.

A good option to have fun with your friends in the Christmas’ break is to cook together. I’ve always loved baking and I decided to bake some cookies with my friend Camila, from Colombia.

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I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a happy new year!