A Test


I hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday so far – well of course you all are because you are wonderful people!

I just wanted to spread the love today. I am encouraging everyone out there to trust in themselves and to believe they can achieve. Life is a gift and connecting to others is part of that gift.

Spread the love people, and share your support and goodwill to those who need it. Do something for someone else and make their day fabulous too!

Life is wonderful and deserves to be embraced by you wonderful people out there!

You are fabulous and strong and life is good!

 

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A Very Spanish Christmas and New Year


This Christmas, my boyfriend and I chose to remain in Madrid. We had considered returning to the UK but the prospect of confronting; the packing of many suitcases, the crazy airports and masses of people, delayed flights, bad weather, the hustle and bustle of the usual Christmas shopping frenzy (in ALL stores, but especially supermarkets, where food hoarders fight over the last Turkey!), the lack of personal transport and general malaise of UK Christmas cheer – in short, this bedlam really didn’t hold its usual appeal! So, we decided, sensibly, to stay put and experience a Spanish Christmas.

I admit, I was pleased and relieved to be staying in Madrid for Christmas, so too was my boyfriend. It saved us a lot of angst and hassle, plus, it has been great just having time to ourselves. We don’t seem to have enough quality ‘us’ time, and being here meant not having the usual obligations to please anyone, but ourselves!!! Selfish, it might be, but true!

In all, Christmas here hasn’t been such a culture shock. We have managed to buy the food we needed without hassle, without pushing and shoving and fighting in the aisles for the Brussel Sprouts or pigs in blankets! I did feel slightly peeved; I couldn’t buy any Mince Pies, Cranberry Sauce or my beloved Bread Sauce (the Spanish don’t know quite what they are missing out on!), and my home made gravy lacked its usual pizazz due to me forgetting to buy in extra stock cubes. Yet, regardless of this and the fact Spanish Christmas cakes and sweets just aren’t all that, we managed to survive!!!

We listened to Christmas songs and carols from King’s College Cambridge (the best Christmas carol choir service). We opened our presents, even though the Spanish wait until the Three Kings (6th January). We didn’t have a tree or any decorations, but then I knew we wouldn’t be buying those this year. We celebrated Boxing Day (26th December) by going out for a fabulous dinner and indulging in some lovely cocktails, although the Spanish don’t celebrate Boxing Day.

So, we didn’t miss out on anything really. However, I did think that it would be a quiet Christmas, as it was going to be just the two of us, but I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Nearly every night we have been out and about, far more actually than we would have been in the UK. On our doorstep are cafes, bars, clubs and restaurants. It has been easier to have fun and celebrate the holidays just because we are in the heart of the city. We can, on a whim, just go where we want, when we want and don’t need to rely on anyone else or fit into anyone else’s schedule. It has been great!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and friends to bits!! I also enjoy spending time with them, and miss them dearly!!! Yet, Christmas in the UK can sometimes become, well, a little bit claustrophobic. Let me explain; I think people get stuck in a Christmas rut, a routine whereby every Christmas ends up becoming the same, without any real changes. Most importantly, the fun factor is often left out of the equation for one reason or another. This Christmas though, hasn’t been in anyway ‘rutified’ (Definition: to be put into the mould of a rut – I know it isn’t a genuine word!).

This Christmas has been a change of scene, it has been something different, we have come and gone as we pleased and we’ve had fun. This is why for me, in many ways, this Christmas has been one of the best. I always wanted to go away for Christmas, but hadn’t felt I could before, because of not wanting to upset my family and make them think I didn’t want to be with them. It is considered to be somewhat selfish, doing your own thing at Christmas; it is after all fundamentally about being with family and friends.

Yet, by living in Madrid we had a legitimate reason for not being there with them at Christmas time, even though for the previous two Christmases we returned to the UK to be with them. This time, we wanted a change though, we wanted to make the most being in Madrid. We haven’t got that long a time remaining here, this time next year we will in fact have already moved back to the UK. So, understandably we wanted to maximise every opportunity that being here affords us, which includes, a Spanish Christmas.

Hopefully then, we haven’t been deemed too selfish, as I do know our family and friends have enjoyed their Christmases too (even without us there with them)!

So, now Christmas time is over (very nearly over), I have, as most people do, been remembering all that has happened in 2013. More specifically, the life I have lived here in Madrid during this time. Although being out here for these few years hasn’t been all plain sailing, I feel that this year has been a year for positive changes. I feel quite good about things. I am also feeling quite saddened by the prospect of not being here in Madrid for next Christmas. It does seem as though this chapter of my life will soon enough come to an abrupt close, and without any fanfare I will be back where I was, as though these few years in Madrid never happened. How weird!

So, for my boyfriend and I it is even more important than ever before to enjoy the time we have left living in Spain!!! This Christmas sort of encapsulates that momentum we feel, the fact that we want to have fun and experience life to the fullest without feeling bad about about doing so!!

Anyway, before I become maudlin, and I don’t even have New Years Eve as an excuse, let me say I have thoroughly enjoyed the ups and downs of my time in Madrid (and hopefully will enjoy the year to come)! When the time comes and we depart for the UK, I can take back with me a whole new perspective and life experiences. As someone, at sometime once said; “nothing good can last forever”; maybe not, but I can of course treasure the memories forever!

So, here’s to a fabulous New Year – for me, you and everyone out there in the world!!!

I shall be celebrating my New Years Eve in Puerta del Sol, drinking some alcohol and some eating grapes (not as strange as it might sound – it is a Spanish tradition to eat grapes as the clock strikes to signal the new year).

Where-ever YOU are and what-ever YOU do, have fun and enjoy every last minute of 2013!!!!!!

The Golden Child


I recently had a conversation with a good friend of mine who complained that her Brother was her Mother’s favourite.  For me this conversation echoed my own families experiences; it was too close for comfort.

My own Mother had issues with her Mother, as she favoured my Mother’s Brother to the point of isolating my own Mother. This ongoing nepotism caused vast rifts in our family, the repercussions of which are still visible today.

My friend, like my Mother has experienced Motherly spite, withheld love and trust and also head games. Whatever was done or said it has never been good enough; never feeling like they belong to the family they were born into because their Mother won’t accept them. Both my friend and my Mother have been left feeling like the underdog or the black sheep in their family for no good reason, other than they are not the favourite.

A result of this unwarranted treatment, years of continual stress, strain, upset, turmoil and anger. Years of wondering in vain, why?? My Mother always felt inadequate somehow, and this was the result of that faulty Mother / Daughter relationship, which my friend is now suffering at the hands of now.

I have heard similar stories related to me time and time again; the golden child scenario and the ensuing faulty parental and child relationship of the one left in the shadows.

The golden child; how much destruction does this effigy of shinning ‘perfection’ in human form cause to families all over the world?? To what extent has this parental favourtism ruined the lives of the siblings not in favour? The fractured self esteem, dampened confidence and even altered functionality of the child who then becomes an adult, feeling somehow as though they have missed out on a necessary piece of their childhood – unconditional love. How can the adult ever then gain any of this missed time, missed life back to become whole??

Why would a parent deny a child unconditional love? Why would they hold onto their favourite child to the detriment of another? Why would they want to hurt their own child in such a profound way?

Do parents do this consciously? It seems to me that often they do. Is it because the parents themselves have witnessed or been the brunt of such behaviour themselves growing up? Does something innate compel them to do this to their own child, something they can’t even understand??

What can any parent gain from ripping the world out from under their own flesh and blood? For me it is a self defeating prospect, that only creates and stores up trouble for the future. It seems to me that once these golden child sides have been drawn up, they cannot be changed or undone; it remains this way, a private family war, forever. The ripple of bad feeling surrounds that golden child, and alienates the child outside of this ‘halo’. It has a massive impact, and effects consequent generations – I know as I have grown up with such things surrounding my own life. The effect on my own Mother from her childhood impacted even when she no longer lived with her parents, and still does.

I empathise with my friend and what she is going through. I hope for her and her families sake (her own children and partner), that she can find a resolution to gain peace of mind, and sooner rather than later.

I hope she doesn’t allow the golden child rot to infiltrate, and mar her life as my own Mother did (to some extent). I hope my friend realises life is too short to measure herself against what her Mother thinks or doesn’t think about her; as she will never gain her approval with whatever she does or says. It is a losing game trying to please someone who cannot be pleased, because you are not their favourite.

 

 

Trading Places


I was simply outraged when my boyfriend related to me how one of his Spanish colleagues had suggested that he ought to ‘trade me in’ for a Spanish girlfriend or bed partner!!

What am I exactly?? A possession, a piece of meat??

What is the reasoning for this colleague even suggesting such a thing; well, apparently my boyfriend would learn Spanish much better without me in tow!!

Oh, it was meant as a ‘joke’ – hahahaha  – can you all hear me laughing?!

I don’t find it funny, not one iota. Not for me as I am the brunt of the said joke, the object of jest.

It makes the situation more precarious, as currently we are not in the same country as one another. I am in the UK (STILL), and my boyfriend is in Madrid. So, even knowing that someone would say something so off the cuff about me, and our relationship, to my boyfriend of umpteen years, hurts me.

They don’t know me – they have never met me or even spoken to me. They know nothing of substance about my boyfriend really, or about our relationship and all the time we have been together through thick and thin.

This to me speaks volumes for the person who made that comment or suggestion. It is callous and superficial.
Oh she no longer suits your purpose as she isn’t Spanish, so as you can’t get what you want from her any longer, dump her and get someone else who you can use for your current needs‘.

Why is it these ‘men’ think women are disposable objects?? Why is it that I can’t trip the light fandango with a Spanish man, why is it always assumed the bloke will do a runner???

I know my fella doesn’t want to do a runner, if he did, well, he would, same for me too. I trust him and he trusts me – so my fury lies with the colleague and not my fella.

Would this colleague decide to do something as nasty and calculating to his own partner or wife? Perhaps so.  Throw over someone he had spent a lifetime with to fulfill his own selfish ends, yes, and that is what we call love folks – errrr, NOT!!!

As for me not being good enough, well, I’m not the one suggesting someone has an affair or breaks another persons heart just for the sheer fun of it. What a plonker!

Two Pairs Of Eyes


Walking around often I will catch the eye of a stranger. It is completely normal, an everyday occurrence. The eyes are our first real sense of ourselves, others and our environment or situation. Yet, it always makes me think, ponder these everyday slight, but not quite interactions; perhaps they could even be precious ‘on the brink’ connections.

Sometimes eye contact, and then a smile can spark a conversation from nowhere. You get to have a few moments of connection, and gain a smidgen of trust from people you may never ordinarily converse with.

Travelling back to Madrid this happened to me. I begun talking to one lady in the airport waiting lounge, and another lady 10 minutes before boarding the plane. It is strange, but often this eye contact, that leads to a friendly discourse can be the most enlightening or nicest interaction of your whole day.

WHY??

What is it about our eyes, that can draw another in and spark a connection of friendship or even love??

Just two pairs of eyes can meet across a room, a street or a wide open space.

What does the silent glance mean to each person, who, in one moment have become caught up in each other’s gazes?

Does it signify the owners of those eyes are sharing the same emotion, at the same moment, with the aid of some unseen force guiding them to one another for whatever reason?

Does it even involve emotion, or is this something more deep seated and innate? A strange unspoken connection perhaps or is it merely an empty, and cold stare meant for lust or as a passing ‘who is that’ glance.

Why do we emphasise and connect to the eyes; to make friends, to be friendly, for desire, to covet? Is it more than merely some ancient mechanism of evolution and survival?

What is it about the eyes that tells us so much, and yet doesn’t even speak a word?

In one glance sometimes there is a host of wonder to behold, and yet unless you look up, you will never see what is there to be seen within a strangers eyes.

Trust Yourself


images

“Those who claim to enlighten

often have the largest egos”

“We all have our own ideas on life (et al) – no one person possesses all the answers”! 

 

The Savvy Senorita (AKA: Bex Houghagen) 2013

7 Things I believe In


I have seen this type of post attached to blogs who have been nominated for or won blog awards, and I felt inspired by them! I wondered why wait for such an accolade to impart to one and all the things I believe in?! Well, I am not waiting! Although I am in no way being facetious or mocking such awards. In fact, I want to take the time to say congratulations to all of those who do receive blog awards!!! You will get no queries from me as to why or how they have, because some of those nominated and winning blogs I myself read and LOVE!!!!! Any award gained is deserved in my eyes! However, I myself am not expecting any-time soon, or ever in fact, to receive such an award; but I think that doesn’t mean MY beliefs or YOURS for that matter, are any less consequential.

So, let us CELEBRATE our beliefs, whatever they may be!!!!! I would like to begin by asking anyone who reads this to do the same; post a post about your beliefs on your blog! If I can do it, and I am so cagey about giving myself away online, then you can do it!

 

1)      The true believers:

Now this is a broad ‘statement’, but I refer to those who are there for you in your life regardless of the situation or circumstances. These people who give of themselves tirelessly, and don’t expect a thing in return are the true stars in the world. Somewhere, at sometime they appear and for as long as they remain with you cherish them and their presence; as they are part of a rare breed worth celebrating.

 

2)      Value yourself:

I am the worst critic of myself, and do the most damage to myself. I can be my own worst enemy. I think this is quite normal for most people though. Regardless of this, I still believe in valuing who I am and what I stand for. If I am against myself then how can I expect others to be on my side? There is only me, I can be no-one else, and really and truly I don’t want to be anyone but me; for all my flaws and quirks!

 

3)      Come what may:

I am a firm believer in ‘right place, right time’, or fate. Elusive as the terms seems to be I believe that somewhere there is a guiding force leading us on; and I don’t mean religion either (though each to their own). No doubt we make choices in our life, but somehow I always find that old saying ‘whatever is meant to be never passes us by’ holds true. Getting hung up on things never makes things any better or easier, so I try to always believe in ‘come what may’; usually then the most unexpected, but good things seem to flourish! Being in the moment and accepting things for what they are, for me is a better option than working my mind up into overdrive, whilst I try to fathom out all the details!

 

4)      Be kind not cruel:

I don’t understand people who are nasty for the sake of it. I believe in being kind to people until provoked otherwise. What is the point in wasting time being wrapped up in hatred? Where does that get anyone? I believe in accepting people for who they are, enjoying people’s diversity, and being happy for people’s good fortune. Life is after all too short and too precious!

 

5)      Live life:

I believe in living my life, or at least trying to! Regardless of how frightened, anxious, down or diverted I have been, I believe in living! Being receptive to positive experiences, opportunities and the possibility to develop makes life worthwhile. I think regardless of how out of my depth I have felt I have taken those things as a challenge to grow. Nothing comes easy, things are stressing and confusing, trying can seem impossible; but giving up = gaining nothing.

 

6)      Be content:

I believe in contentment, but admit it is hard to obtain all of the time! Contentment for me is more than happiness; it is fully immersing myself in a moment, and embracing the time and place I am in without wanting anything more. Whenever I feel this all things just click into place, and I am at peace with myself. I think we are so used to trying to attain goals and so on, busy rushing from one thing to next that we don’t take the time to evaluate what we have. We should realise more often just how lucky we actually are, and stop wishing our lives away.

 

7)      Love:

This is not last on my list because it means less to me, it is THE most important. I believe in love, and feel lucky to love and be loved J Love for me can be demonstrated in many different ways, but it is always; unconditional, will weather any storm, lift me from the darkest depths and flood my life with something no words can really express. You have to love, love!

 

So there are my 7 things, now, what are yours?!  

 

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