Comme tu veux*
While talking to my mother on a video call, I asked her a question: have you gotten used to the fact that there are now only three people living at home?
Zero hour arrived and tears were inevitable. I remember that moment when I said goodbye to them at the airport. I didn't want to look back but at the same time, it wasn't easy to separate from my family. From a distance I saw my mom's face with a smile, with wet cheeks, waving her hand to say, "See you soon."
“I'll see them again someday,” I told myself.
A long journey awaited me.
The landscape I see through my window has changed and that's because, if you don’t know yet, I've moved to France to fulfill one of my biggest goals: an international double degree. I've already lived here for more than a month and a half, and yes, I have things to tell you.
I crossed the Atlantic Ocean with great expectation and the lights of Madrid welcomed me to the Old World. One that was new to me.
"I'm here," I thought. I can not believe it. It's real, I've made it.
I looked around me.
Europe welcomed me with a dawn that meant the beginning of a great phase. Did I say Europe? Oh my goodness, so much history, so much meaning behind that word! I stopped to recognize myself in a mirror. My pieces of clothing, those that I had worn on so many adventures through Colombia, now hugged me while reminding me of where I came from. Because if there was something I couldn't forget, it was that: who I was, my life story.
The new world
The ecstasy was amazing. The smile wouldn't go away. After having overcome obstacles, passed tests, and completed the process, I was finally experiencing what I had dreamt for years.
At Bordeaux’s airport, after collecting the suitcases, it was time to go out into the street. Monsieur Christian and Madame Renée were already outside. With my hands full and not knowing French (more than basic sentences), I saw myself in the middle of a challenging experience. Their smiles relieved me; a while later we were heading to La Rochelle. The chosen city within the divine plan to become my temporary home.
The first walk through the city of the three towers was with none other than Guilhem. My first friend in the country of boulangeries, the boy with whom I spoke a couple of times by video call from my room in Barranquilla and now met in person. I bombarded him with questions: How old is that building? What is this called? Why this, why that? And he always answered me. Guilhem extended his hand to me and showed himself as the door to begin to understand French youth. The conversations with him in the car while I observed every detail of my new reality were a gift to me, my brain continued processing what was happening to me.
I felt like I was surfing through the new pages of my life as I lived every second. Those days, still summer, were immortalized in my memory. I felt really happy, but many things were still hidden, waiting for their turn to come out on stage. It was just the beginning of a new hill. An even higher mountain than those I had climbed in the past with the help of many people. However, I soon realized that the sacrifices made so I could be where I am now were at risk. Labyrinth
Shortly after arriving, it was inevitable to begin to notice what I already imagined. Naturally, the number of interactions and keeping up with what was happening in the lives of my family and friends became more complicated. The interpersonal relationships I had in Colombia seemed to enter a cryogenic or “rest” period. I had the challenge of creating new links from scratch, probably making myself known in a language other than Spanish. Something that, although I speak other languages, seems to me to imply a certain barrier in the process of knowing the complexity of another human being. On the other hand, no one knew me in depth, so the dynamics of interaction that I was used to with my friends for years were no longer present in my daily face-to-face life. I had not yet built an image of myself in France, so I had to be very careful, especially because I was alone.
-Who I am? —I thought many times. What do I believe in? What am I doing here? Where am I going?
As I saw more sunsets in La Rochelle, what I was experiencing seemed more normal to me. I was no longer feeling the same emotion as the first day, and that worried me. I was beginning to wonder if I wasn't appreciating my reality, the privilege I had, and the opportunity I had been granted. I felt bad for not feeling enough dopamine to put my feet back in the clouds, just as I had experienced when I got off the plane on the last day of August, or those nights of my last week in Barranquilla. I didn't feel like myself, it was difficult for me to be far away, I was frustrated by not being able to communicate fluently with the French. I kept thinking about everything I would have to go through to get the diploma, that maybe it would be more complicated, and I could fail. Maybe I would get it but I would have to return to Colombia and I would never return to Europe or I would go somewhere else in the world. Overthinking was getting to me, again. I was forgetting what I had learned when I wrote "The Center of My Life."
What will become of my life now that my destiny is the beginning of an even greater challenge? I was far and alone in a world that easily devours those who do not know their purpose, in a place where it is easy to get lost and not realize it.
I was facing a dilemma, two paths which it was difficult for me to see clearly until after a couple of weeks. I was between 1. Little by little I gave up my purpose as a consequence of neglecting my relationship with God and falling more easily into the temptation of living based on emotions and not on convictions, deconstructing my identity, becoming a less influential human being, and spoiling a unique opportunity; 2. Respect and honor the efforts of myself and everyone who has supported me, strive to achieve success in this challenging stage, grow integrally, and continue moving forward to fulfill my life mission.
Just like that. Without grays or exaggerations. I was facing a transcendent inflection point. A decision with mental, spiritual, and physical consequences in the short, medium, and long term. Either I would settle for a superficial and half-hearted “success,” not very stable over time, or I would become much stronger and face this exceptional challenge with my chin held high.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:9 (NKJV)
I have come here for a great purpose. One that exceeds a university degree, a large business, or extensive assets. A plan that I cannot conceive of in its entirety, but that I believe and accept as my reason for being on this earth. That is the real objective. Europe is not my end, just a stage of the work that was started in me and will continue until the end of time. I am here to study and enjoy the fruit of my effort, not to celebrate things I have not earned or give myself a life for which I was not destined.
Who are you, Samuel? Who are you? Do not forget. Remember.
My weaknesses have repeatedly led me to decline emotionally. As you level up, the difficulty increases. What if I don't make it? It would be embarrassing to collapse and have to return as a loser to Colombia. Where was all that potential then? I don't want to be a failure. On the other hand, how much can I endure in this world before I fall, before I become confused? That is a question with which we must be very careful in youth. Many times, we believe we have things under control when in reality they are in decline. Your projects, health, and relationships are fragile. What is considered the most stable can be in danger if you do not pay enough attention to it, if it is not properly maintained. Not to mention that it becomes more difficult to notice the decline in quality of life if our surroundings sell us the idea that everything is fine, or worse still, that there is no problem.
Far from home, I would have to fend for myself. What I was made of was at stake. But I was not alone.
―Remember who is the center of your life! You remember? ―Once again that voice in my thoughts alerted me and tried to rescue me. The Holy Spirit.
-Yeah. I remember. It is Jesus Christ. “Strive and be brave.” The Lord is with me, I told myself.
When my heart was beginning to deceive me and my old nature was pulling hard to pull me away from my purpose, once again God spoke to me not to slide and fall down the hill of the New World. In the past, I have already realized that playing this game called life is very difficult if you don't have a team, if it’s only you against the world. We need an example, someone to help us rise again and again and remind us of the mission for which we are here.
The motivation to have a life driven by purpose and endowed with potential, which I certainly believe everyone possesses, was what brought me back to the mindset that brought me here. It is a mix of responsibility, ambition to achieve great things, and inspiring others. That is my true self, it is in that state where I give my best and head towards the right destination. When I remembered my mission, everything that I am, then all my qualities, which I had thought lost in moments of confusion and uncertainty, reawakened. I recognized myself again and the memories of my life story recharged my battery. I was finally beginning to familiarize myself, understand, and playfully interact with my surroundings. I began to deepen some of the bonds I had created and noticed my progress in the process of navigating myself in a multicultural setting. I was getting to know and letting myself be known, little by little. Trying to remain patient and living one day at a time. The latter is something that tends to cost me a lot honestly. I'm not going to lie to you, sometimes melancholy comes to me, or I get disappointed in myself because of some mistake, but my mission as a man and son of God in society is much greater than any emotion, just as I also believe that with wisdom problems are solved.
Finally, I want to finish by saying that my life in La Rochelle is very nice, just as it was in Barranquilla. I believe that my happiness is not based on where I am in the world, unlike what I would have thought before. In life we experience changes, and our challenge is to adapt to them without getting lost in the attempt. However, I have learned that navigating an ocean full of currents that pull in many directions is very difficult for the little boat that each person represents. Every little boat needs a firm guide to serve as an example and lighthouse. Today I speak to you directly about a person who saved me and fills me with love every day, even when I feel that I least deserve it, and reminds me that there is always a new opportunity, He is Jesus Christ. My strength and happiness. More than thinking about not losing myself, the one I must not forget is Him.
Memories in France and intercontinental connections
You are the strangers that I have waited for so long,
the fantastic ones of the new season.
+ After waiting in a standing line for about 2 and a half hours, my day rewards me with an evening full of laughter and warmth. Daniela, Beatriz, and Guilhem are the stars of the night. I look tenderly at their distracted and happy faces. My new friends, people who when this year started I didn't know existed, today I am Forever Young.
Suddenly, I am struck by the memory of the picnic that last Sunday before the trip. María Camila, Joshua, Adriana and me. Two boys and two girls: the scenarios become similar. I hear the laughter in my mind as we paint the paintings I brought in my suitcase, pieces of art that I look at every morning. I go back to that last conversation and handshake that Joshua gave me in the Ford Fiesta when my reality was still a promising dream.
+ We were listening, resting our feet on some rocks, to Carlitos' songs watching the sunset in Santa Marta.
—Do you want to go to Los Cocos Beach? ―. Laura, my cousin, told me.
-Wasn't that where they recorded the Carlos Vives video clips? ―I asked excitedly.
-Yeah. -She laughed.
When we arrived the view was amazing. I blinked trying to focus on the sailboats that seemed static in that restless and shiny sea. I closed my eyes and when I opened them I was no longer in Santa Marta, I was now exhausted and lying on the sand of a beach on Île d'Oléron.
*Comme tu veux= In English "as you want" is an expression that Madame Renée tells me a lot to emphasize the free will that I have. Life is decisions that have consequences. If you are free, use your freedom responsibly and intelligently. Irresponsibility leads to deprivation of liberty.
Finally, if you liked the message, I invite you to share it and leave me a like or a comment. I wish you a good week, see you!