Coffee & Rant

Always the Foreigner

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If you know me, then you know my story, or at least bits and pieces of it that I have allowed you to see. The other day something popped up on one of my many social media news feeds that inspired this post. I thought to myself, no matter where I go these days, I am a foreigner. It’s not really troublesome to me, but it’s unique and a bit interesting to say the least. Let me take you back.

486530_10150971845899142_1684528778_nI was born in Portugal in 1986. I lived there for the first four years of my life. The picture was taken in Portugal with my older brother, who looks like he’s sporting a semi-mullet in this. (Business in the FRONT, Party in the BACK!) When people ask me, I have to be honest and say that at this point in my life I don’t have that many recollections of my early childhood spent in that beautiful country. When I am actually physically there, I can sometimes sense something that I could never explain properly in words. All I know is that, this place where I have only spent a handful of days in, feels like home. The thing is that I also feel like a foreigner when I am there. I will come back to that soon.

So we moved to the USA, to New Jersey to be exact when I was four. We lived on a street that had tons of other Portuguese families and I very quickly made friends with the neighborhood kids. When I entered school, that was a different story. Halloween came around in Kindergarten, and my mom wasn’t all that sure what the hell Halloween was. I am sure someone gave her a half assed explanation, “It’s like carnival, but not.” Our neighbor kindly let me and my mom pick one of her kid’s old costumes, and what did we pick? A GOAT. goatWe thought it was funny, to be honest, I STILL think it’s funny. It just made me stand out like the little weirdo. Another little foreign kid whose family misunderstood what an American tradition was about. Didn’t we know that I was supposed to be a little princess, or a fairy, or a combination of the two? Or a Ghost Fairy Princess!!  Nah, I was a goat. weirdThis is just an example of how I always felt a little out of place in New Jersey. In NJ, I was the Portuguese girl. The one who’s family had a BBQ and there were sardines on the grill not burgers and hot dogs.  When I went to Portugal I was the American girl because well I had an accent, now that I am living in Germany…I just confuse the shit out of people.

“Can I see your Passport?”  Hands Portuguese Passport to them.

“I thought you were American.” I stare at them blinking slowly.

“Do you have an American Passport?” Sigh.

“NO. I am Portuguese. I Have a Portuguese Passport. I only had a green card in the USA but I handed that back. ” I explain.

“OH. It’s just that you sound American.” INSERT EYE ROLL

“Yes I spent most of my life there, but for all intents and purposes, I am Portuguese.”

I’ve had this conversation a few times, or some similar type of conversation about this here. Also there are those people who love to ask me this: “So how long are you here for?” ………… “I’ve been living here for five years.” ….”Are you staying?”…. I don’t know, CAN WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING OTHER THAN WHERE I AM FROM AND WHERE THE FUCK I AM GOING?!

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For most of my life I have been a foreigner. I was a foreigner in the USA, in Portugal I was the American,but now I am the German, in Germany I am the American…no the Portuguese…no wait where Am I from again?

It’s not that I am having some kind of Identity crisis, all my experiences are making me who I am. A Passport doesn’t define much of anything in my eyes other than who’s most likely to get frisked at immigration when traveling to the USA. Still sometimes I do have to sit and wonder who I am, or where am I from? I never really know how to answer that question anymore, and really wish people could ask me something else.

whoamI

Always the foreigner.

and that’s okay.

 

Geek Stuff, life, Uncategorized

Goals for 2017

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Most people have been busy making new years resolutions, but this isn’t about that. There are things I have been working on in the past few months that I want to continue. There are things I want to better and things I just want to move past. I think as humans we can choose to make a change at any point during the year, but there’s something about a new year that feels like life is handing us a clean slate.

Reading Goals

In 2016 I read a total of 102 books. It’s a nice number. My goal was to read 100 and I surpassed it by 2. It’s fine for me. This year I have a similar goal, and while I marked my goodreads reading challenge at 100 books once again, I am aiming towards 80-100. I keep the goodreads goal because it keeps track of other statistics, not because I want to read more than someone else. Reading has always been a passion for me, and I am not here to compete with anyone. Also I want to read different genres than what I typically read–my main love is fantasy novels. I also want to read more diversely. Two of my favorite books of 2016 The Hate U Give and American Street(which will release next month) are diverse and wonderful reads, so I want to continue on that path. I also want to read more history and nonfiction novels this year.

Writing Goals

I am still revising and adding to my first manuscript. I am okay with that. I don’t want to write crap into my second draft just to say I am writing. I am constantly making notes of what I want to add, and this year I want to officially finish it, and begin to seriously shop it around. I also have a short story contest I am entering, and I am prepared to do some wonderful research for my second book. Writing for me is a long term goal, something I want to spend my life doing, and as such I want to put in a lot more hours into it. I want my stories out there, not for fame, but because I think there are plenty of others who may actually connect with them.

Life Goals

There is a lesson I have learned through the years that not everyone is going to like you. You can be as sweet as a summer’s peach and someone will still try to find some kind of flaw within you. As such, I will continue to speak my mind whether people find it endearing or find that I am a massive bitch makes no difference to me. I was raised to speak up when I find that something is wrong, and how people take it and react to it says more about them than it does about me. I don’t need to be loved by all. I know very well who matters in my life.

2016 marked the year I broke down and got the real help I needed for my mental health. It has been making a world of difference in my life, and I will continue on this journey to bettering myself. Mental Illness is not a joke, a punch line, or something to be ashamed about. If you are struggling, take care of yourself properly. As frustrating as it may seem at times, good mental health requires medication many times, and THAT IS OKAY! It also requires a push from within, and sometimes that’s the hardest part to find. Just do it for yourself, and you will see a world of difference.

Work wise, I want to find a place that respects me and gives me a real chance to prove myself. The most frustrating thing in the world is knowing you can work well at something and not being given a chance to show it. I have plans…and I will see them through this year.

I hope 2017 brings all of you love, health, and some hope. I feel like we all need a little dose of hope after 2016. Put family and friends first. One day you will regret it if you push everyone aside. Life is short and should be spent giving love an comfort, Not Hate.

Hugs and Peace for all.

Books, writing

Why I Write

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I don’t think I need to tell you that books mean the world to me. This is an obvious fact about me, and doesn’t need much of an explanation.

My love for reading very quickly bred a love of writing. I always enjoyed writing. I wrote ridiculous amounts of poetry as a teen and young adult that should never be published unless it’s going to be done in a comedic sense. Writing though, is not about perfection. Books on every level are a very subjective form of art. There are so many popular titles out in the world that I just did not enjoy. Just like there are many that I love, that others dislike as well. To be a writer you must first realize that not everyone is going to love your work, and the second thing to realize is that there will always be someone better than you. Seems daunting doesn’t it? It’s okay. We are all in this together. While these things may turn many people off from ever writing a single word of a story, it makes me want to tell my stories even more. So Why do I write?

To be a writer you must only do ONE thing, and that is to write. YOU HAVE TO WRITE. I consider myself a writer. I have spent countless hours writing thousands upon thousands of words. I am in the process of editing one book, while also throwing myself head first into research for another one. I have ideas written on notecards, notebooks, iPhone notes, and even a sandwich bag because my mind is constantly telling me stories. No this is not my way of admitting that I am crazy, although, I think to be a writer you need to have at least some dose of insanity somewhere within you.

What Inspires me?

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I get asked this sometimes by friends or family. I think what originally inspired me was stories like Harry Potter. That series specifically burst open my imagination. The detailing, and just unique story made me realize I had characters and stories of my own running around in my head. Characters with loud personalities matching those of the people who I have crossed paths with. Characters with personalities matching my own. Quiet, shy, and ready to kick ass if necessary.

I have always had notebooks scattered about the house. Piles of them telling different stories of my own reality. It was only in the past 5-6 years that I realized that I wanted to write about the other characters my imagination decided to introduce into my daily life.

Possibly the biggest inspiration behind my writing, really the biggest of them all is Portugal. I was born there you see. In a beautiful city called Viseu, where at the age of 30 I have only set foot on its streets a handful of times. rua-direitaI was raised so far away from it, far from it’s cobble stoned sidewalks, it’s gorgeous parks, and beautiful architecture, that for most of my adult life I’ve had a hunger–no, an unstoppable desire to become better acquainted with a land that I barely know, and yet love unconditionally.

A place where family has grown, aged, and lived without me within their immediate bubble. I am inspired to create worlds around that longing, and the history of Portugal. I can’t explain it any further here. One day, with a little bit of luck and a whole lot of hard work, I will be able to share the stories this feeling has inspired.

Till then, I leave you with these words:

Telling a story isn’t about perfection. It’s about expression, emotion, and that feeling that you’re making something bigger than yourself.
I write almost every day. None of it perfect. Never let that stop you because it will never stop me.