Emotional Maturity?

I’ve been at this blog for two years now, and I’ve seen some personal milestones so far. I traveled alone for the first time, I learned to own up to my musical talents, and overall, writing publicly has helped me understand myself in a deeper way. But recent events have thrown my thoughts back to one of my earliest entries which I titled “I’m Not Emotionally Mature Enough To Work At A Hostel“.

Two years later, turns out I am.

It’s really, really funny how things change.  I AM emotionally mature enough to work at a hostel.

Here’s what I mean: back when I was traveling through Brazil in the fall of 2014, I was bouncing from hostel to hostel. I’d be sharing a room with 8 to 14 other people I’d never met before from all over the world. One relatively small common room. Shared breakfast. And a small, personable, fun staff to take care of everything.

For some, this sounds like a nightmare. For someone as sheltered and as eager to “get out there” as I was, it was the perfect situation to meet cool people and explore new cities together. And that’s exactly what I did. I connected with dorm-mates, hostel-mates, sometimes even staff workers. We’d gallivant about, learning about the city together, having crazy adventures, with deep conversations all the while…and at the end of all of it, there’d be a goodbye. And by the time that goodbye swings by, I’m already attached. This person (or this group of people) has become my person. My “best friend forever“, in preschool terms.

The goodbyes would be painful. Yes, I’ll try to make it to your country. Maybe you’ll make it to my country! Don’t forget to send me those photos! I’ll send you a postcard from my next destination. Don’t be a stranger now! Add me on Facebook/Instagram/…!

I wrote that initial blog post two years ago about not being emotionally mature enough because I didn’t know how to move forward after making a deep connection with someone who I’d probably never see again. I didn’t think I could live through a constantly revolving door of awesome people. At the point, my paradigm was that any great person who I had a phenomenal time with was meant to stay in my life forever.

But now, that’s not my worldview anymore and it’s jarring to realize this. I’ve traveled a lot since those days, mostly on solo adventures. Also, I’ve had to uproot my life several times since then. Point is, these past few years have been an intense season of meeting or having great people in my life, and having to let them go in significant ways.

I’ve learned that it’s very special to meet someone and connect with them right away, especially with the added bonding experience of traveling through a new place.

I’ve also learned to be okay saying goodbye and never see that person again. It doesn’t mean that our time together wasn’t special. I’ve grown to find satisfaction in the memories. We can meet again in the realm of memory. We have the experiences. And maybe we’ll actually meet again. That would be great. And maybe we won’t. That’s okay, too.

I don’t believe in forever anymore. I used to. But now I don’t. And I think that’s the lesson. Life is a constant revolving door of people. And…it is what it is, isn’t it?

~Feroza

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Last Stop: Maastricht, Netherlands

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Maastricht River

The coolest place ever, though I didn’t get to see much of it. I did do a quick walking tour with my Luxemburgan brother. The city has a really cool vibe, but my inner law school nerd kept chanting “Treaty of Maastricht, Treaty of Maastricht!” (The Treay is one of the foundation agreements of the European Union (I study EU law)).

The little I did see, though, was pretty cool, and the things I noticed were only because I had a guide who is madly in love with the place.

 

 

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Random street in old town

 

Increasingly, I find that I don’t quite like travelling just for the sake of travelling anymore. At least not by myself. These days, I much prefer having a companion and sharing the experience. And, if that means that I get to see less things and simply hang out, that’s completely fine by me.

It’s about the faces, not the places.

 

 

 

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Good company, and good hot chocolate! Guess which is which xD

 

 

I’m very grateful that I had an opportunity to rove around the world in the way I did during the Easter season. Shout out to my favorite bassist/music producer/brother who welcomed me with open arms and insisted we go places. I would have been just as happy drinking wine in his home the entire time 😉

 

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This is the last in a series of posts in which I share snippets of my Easter sojourn. Thank you for reading! It was my way on catching up on two months of silence. 🙂

Much love and respect,

~Feroza

Stop #6: Bastogne, Belgium

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Bastogne War Museum

Historically speaking, I have never visited a locale where Americans are so beloved. Having studied Caribbean and Latin American history in detail, I’m used to some amount of resentment toward the United States on account of all the damage done in the past two centuries. The US, it must be recalled, has acted as nothing short of a bully in the region.

However, in the context of two World Wars in which the Americans essentially saved their asses both times, I came to understand the reverence and praise here in Europe. The two wars, after all, were fought on their soil.

The monument contains the names of all fifty states, commemorating the Allies (led by the Americans) retaking the city of Bastogne from the Nazis. Not long after, the war was finished.

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Isn’t there always a war? Outside our doors, or inside our hearts…

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Note: This is part of a series of posts in which I share snippets of my Easter sojourn. Thank you for reading.

Stop #5: Luxembourg

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What struck me about this trip to Luxembourg were the skeleton trees. It was not quite spring yet, but so beautiful.

I think my fascination with Lux has to do with the fact that it is so different from where I come from. The Caribbean countries I have visited and resided in are jam packed with bright, vivid colors everywhere that sometimes get rather sickening. In contrast, the colors in Luxembourg city are far more subdued.

Of course, this is a classic syndrome of the grass being greener on the other side and all that. Exoticism, after all, is beauty that is different from the beholder’s norm.img_20160412_191704.jpg

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Note: This is part of a series of posts in which I share snippets of my Easter sojourn. Thank you for reading.

~Feroza

Stop #4: London…and Coffee shops

This will seem so asinine to some folks, but I gotta write about it.

I LOVE coffee shops. I do. I DO. Nothing makes me happier than whiling time away at a cafe with a steaming mug of chai latte and a notebook of some kind to pen my thoughts. It’s the ultimate form of meditation for me, right up there with sitting next to a fountain or a large body of water (river, pond, lake or better yet, the ocean) with a book in hand.

Coffee shops are where people fall in love, where people plan out their dreams, where two friends meet for a heart to heart chat, where business deals are closed…things happen at coffee shops.

My trip to London this time around was all academic business, so naturally, I spent most of my time at various cafés studying (do you see the trend here from my last post?). I’m a law student, so my life is essentially found in statute books and texts harkening on about legal principles. And I find refuge in coffee shops, better than a library because I get to people watch for a bit while being reminded that life goes on outside academia.

What was cool about my café hopping is that I was surrounded by like minded people (there is no such culture in Trinidad and it truly hurts my soul). Other people studying, working on their laptops, or having easygoing conversations. The smell of espresso in the air, lightly playing jazz in the background…yeah. Love it.

img_20160406_123110.jpgI took the above photo on one of my days in London, at this really cool, hipster vegan café. These guys sitting across the table from me found this note and, again, I was so encouraged. The guys started querying the philosophical truth of the note, but all I could focus on was that someone, hours before, probably left that note behind, written on a napkin, to encourage anyone passing through thereafter. As I’ve said, I love randomly finding notes.

You will do great things if you follow what calls your heart.”

Yeah, I can get behind that.

~Feroza

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Note: This is part of a series of posts in which I share snippets of my Easter sojourn. Thank you for reading.

Stop #3: Los Angeles, a Hidden Treasure

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Echo Park, Los Angeles

Los Angeles is so much more than Hollywood and vapid blonde women in big sunglasses and angry Black men in speed cars (the stereotype, I know). As much as I did get to explore places and spaces beneath the surface of LA during my college years, there are some really obvious areas that I neglected to ever see.

It would be unfair to liken it to New York City’s Central Park, or even São Paulo’s Parque Ibirapuera. Still, Echo Park gave me that feeling. The feeling of a nature-based hideaway smack dab in the middle of the city. With leaves rustling against the wind in the trees above, and the ducks pattering away, and the constant shower of the fountain, one can easily close her eyes and escape the city that is just a block away in every direction.

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That day was really special. I got to reconnect with my college bestie, which was just fantastic. It was a lovely reminder that no matter how far and how long we’re apart, we’re still part of each other’s lives. And that means everything to me.

~Feroza

 

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Note: This is part of a series of posts in which I share snippets of my Easter sojourn. Thank you for reading.

Stop #2: Rio Dulce, Guatemala

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Rio Dulce, Izabal, Guatemala

It is important to remember that there are people who live a very different way of life from you. No better, no less.

Do not condemn what you do not know or understand.

That is the beauty of travel. You learn to be slow to judge, and more open to the beliefs and stories of others.

~Feroza

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Note: This is part of a series of posts in which I share snippets of my Easter sojourn. Thank you for reading

Stop #1: Belize

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I hadn’t spent any real time in the city I grew up in since I left nearly 14 years ago. When we visit, we usually spend just one night and continue on to the southern part of the country where we have family and where we’ve built our new family home.

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Nothing about the city has changed, yet much has. I went to Belize for a sad occasion, but in return I received an opportunity to really experience living in my hometown again, giving me a more balanced view.

I can’t say Belize City is beautiful, but its home. There’s crime, distrust and extreme poverty. But there are also hidden treasures as well as kind, generous people, like the man who took this photo and proceeded to tell me his testimony.

~Feroza

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Note: This is part of a series of posts in which I share snippets of my Easter sojourn. Thank you for reading.

Pictures and Memories

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Dangriga Town, Belize

There is nothing as sobering as death. It makes you cling to life in a way that you didn’t before. It makes you reevaluate things. It’s crazy to think about how someone who has always, always been around…is suddenly not. And when they’ve left this world, all they leave behind are pictures and memories.

Pictures and memories.

In February two people that I knew died. One who was a member of my faith community back at USC, and the other was my near and dear grandaunt who served as my mother whenever I was in our hometown. With my aunt, it was expected. We’d been preparing ourselves as a family for months now. But with my friend, it was completely out of the blue. Despite the different circumstances of their deaths, it’s put me in a more reflective mood than usual.

I’m thinking about how uncertain life is. I’m thinking about how settled I was beginning to feel until life threw me a curveball. I’m thinking about whether there is anything I would change if I knew I’d die tomorrow or at some fixed date in the future. It makes me think, “Am I satisfied with my life?” And if not, “What can I do now to start changing that?”

When I first typed this, I was traveling to Belize to attend my Aunt’s funeral and to be there for my family. I’d had no plans to travel for a while, but it seemed that my homeland beckoned. And, despite my misgivings and my own plans, I’ll always respond to the call. Family is important.

Since then, I travelled to six other countries in the space of six weeks–A totally unplanned for sojourn that just ended up happening as I went along. The next series of posts will be tidbits of reflections of my time in those different places and spaces. 🙂

Thank you, readers, for hanging in there with me.

~Feroza