As you probably already know (do you?) I dropped out of university two years ago. During that time I launched a couple of products and then I decided to move to Valencia, Spain. So this is a story of my yolo adventure in a nutshell. It’s been a year since I’m here so it’s high time I wrote how this experience helped me to make my life better!
Living abroad is a wonderful, strengthening, enlightening, and life-changing experience — but it’s also full of difficulties. A year ago a friend of mine told me: “Oh Angie, you are so lucky, you are living a perfect life.” Maybe on Instagram lol. But in fact I usually talk openly about things which do not go as planned. It’s because life is not just about breathtaking experiences, and successful business matters.
Palms and constant presence of sun didn’t help me become happy. Even though I thought they would.
And you, how do you think? Is it possible to have a mental breakdown in a paradise? It may sound ridiculous, but CLARO QUE SI, DE PUTA YOLO! Let’s take last January as an example. I spent over a month lying in bed. Crying. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t happy. I worked so hard to be able to come to Valencia. And even when I managed to do it, it didn’t change the fact that I had many (too many!) problems with myself. WTF? I promised myself that I will be happy here. I wasn’t. And neither will you if you are planning to move to a paradise somewhere on the other end of the globe that you have only imagined that exists. Reality will strike you because things always turn out to be different than they seem.
Happiness starts with you. As Piotr D. told me when I had to come back to Poland for over 2 months: “You don’t need Valencia. You can have Valencia in your home city. This place is in you. Not the other way round”. Happiness does not mean having an elegant apartment or living in a beautiful place. It can be a part of it, but it’s not the core. Many people confuse the concepts. Firstly: learn how to treat yourself well. Try to understand your life and emotions. Then you will find your inner endless happiness. Simple.
Because of Spanish people, I became aware of how important my family and my friends are for me.
I used to hate my parents (as all teens I suppose, lol). That was the main reason why I actually run away from home after my 18th birthday. Our relations are much more mature and valuable now (thank God!). I’m a type of a person who analyzes everything. In fact, maybe I’m a bit of a stalker (please don’t tell anyone)… Since Spanish life is un poco loco I got into the habit of observing people… I analyze the way they eat in a cafeteria, the way they talk, the way they smile to each other, the way they drink coffee with family members, friends… And that made me realize how I miss my beloved and how important they are for me. In everyday life you don’t think about it that much. All in all, there is little time to ponder on your family when you have to deal with so many daily struggles.
Spain helps me to become better daughter, better friend and a confident business woman.
I don’t need to own a lot of stuff. Minimalistic life is more comfy.
I took with me so many things when I came in here. When I moved from my last apartment I had 5 boxes of belongings. Maybe even more. I didn’t have a place to stay for a while and all those things made me feel overwhelmed. Next time when I move somewhere I’ll take with me only a suitcase with Maciek (yes, my MacBook has a name), Kindle, a charger, a notebook, a disk and my favorite pillow. That’s all.
Career isn’t everything.
I have been working for many years now. I also have done many different things in my life (majority of them weren’t related with marketing at all). Then I achieved “great things” as I used to think they were. I launched few pretty successful products. Thanks to that I made some money, I started to travel, I met some influential people bleh bleh bleh… And after some time I became a permanently unsatisfied workaholic. I wanted more and MORE. I achieved such a level that I preferred to eat shitty food just to be able to keep working on my projects 24/7.
And here? Spanish mentality is just as it should be. Job is of course important, but no matter what FAMILY and PEOPLE COME FIRST. It’s unquestionable principle for la gente (it means people, yes I’m going teach you some Spanish words!) here. It was a friendly reminder that in fact I’m GREAT and other things are just a result of that. Everyone wants to talk about success they achieved in their lives, but nobody is so eager to talk about constant struggles. Your achievements and goals sometimes might become a trap so, BEWARE! Instead of concentrating only on that, maybe you should try to spend more time with the people you love… Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, said:
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
Experiences, stories and people. This is what life is about.
I used to think that life is all about having a good social status, making a lot of money. I thought it will help me reach my goals and change my life for the better. But I suppose that the more money you have, the more problems it brings into your life. This is a result of an analysis I made of some successful people that I know personally. Since that time life means for me enjoying every single moment. Bad and good ones. With people I love in a city that I’ve fallen in love. It took me a while to understand that. Spanish people are modest and genuine. They helped me redefine the meaning of life.
Eating means celebration. Eating means sharing.
I used to be a really offish person, especially in the case of food. I just couldn’t fully enjoy Spanish cuisine because “NO”. That was my explanation for everything. Then some shitty things happened in my life and I decided: “OK it’s high time to TRY and EXPERIENCE everything like a real chica valenciana”. My Spanish friends and Jordi’s parents taught me how to celebrate eating and how to share this moment with others. And since that time eating is my favourite part of the day.
Spain could be a game changer for introverts.
I’m a home bird type of person. I like to spend an evening in my bed reading books. But my friends and Spanish life forced me to go out more frequently. So if you make some new connections in Spain, no te preocupes your Spanish friend will come up with 2 million of ideas on what you can do that particular evening. They are LIFE ORGANIZATORS! You will never get bored. And remember (just in case you don’t know it yet):
Weekdays are to be enjoyed just as much as weekends.
To sum up, I’ve never met as warm, happy, and caring people as Spaniards.
Things seem perfect when they are unreachable. Living here isn’t perfect. Everything has its dark sides. I miss polish food and products. Polish ham and bread. And of course I miss my family and friends. Sometimes I wish more people spoke English here. I think that when you achieve the things you always wanted after some time they become ordinary… This is how it works I guess. But, I’m still in a position of “OMG THIS IS SO GREAT”, “OMG I LOVE THIS STREET, DOOR, PLACE, PLAYA.” Everything. But I’m sure that a real “mature love” with Valencia will come soon. And it will be totally different.