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SURF AND SPANISH

Brazil - The other day while out surfing in the frigid water and pouring rain, waves thrashing me around like a rag doll, barely able to catch a wave, and then stung by a jelly fish - I started thinking about the things I had set out to focus on improving during my trip to South America. 

Surfing and Spanish. Two things I'd love to improve and simultaneously terrify me. 

Reflecting on whether there's been any improvement over the last month and a half, at that moment all I could think was how terrible I was and whatever excuse I could muster - the board is too small, the waves are too big, and I just basically stink at it. 

Spanish is a bit of the same thing - finding my way around best I can, stumbling along and when feeling defeated coming up with any excuse for not stepping out of my comfort zone and practicing. 

Ideally, the key is to spend as much time as you can with a non-native speaker who knows a few things in english, and then it’s a reciprocal experience. For over 2 weeks I traveled with a Spaniard, and found it was the best way to learn via a lot of practice and consistent laughter. And then at times it was extremely frustrating (so incredibly thankful for Google translate). 

Later on that day after my attempt to surf,  I mentioned this to a friend about how i set out to tackle these things and felt I hadn’t made much progress. "Yeah," she said, "but you're out there doing both of those things, and isn't that the point?" 

She’s right, I thought. At least I'm trying. Traveling is such a wonderful way to get out out of your comfort zone and focus on things that you may not be able to on a daily basis because of some excuse or life gets in the way. Maybe it’s to read a book a day for a month, master calligraphy, or find your true calling in life. 

But more importantly, now I'm trying not to be so hard on myself. Because while it’s good to have an idea of what you’d like to accomplish or have a goal to focus on - more often than not at first you’re going to fall down much more than you stand up. That’s all part of the process of becoming better at anything, so in the meantime I'll just keep paddling and rolling my r's. 

Insecure? Sure. Determined? Yes. 

Un dia a la vez! 

#LONDONLIFE

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Rainy, dreary, snooty, uptight, expensive – just some of the adjectives I’d think of when considering a visit to London. Always curious, but going on others' opinions and observations I moved it down the list accordingly. Then I had an opportunity to find out for myself. Yesterday I finished a month-long intensive at the London School of Journalism.  Let’s just say all said preconceived assumptions have been squashed (OK most of them), and honestly it’s been an incredible 30 days. Rented a room in a flat close to school, albeit government-housing aka the ghetto, but it’s been nice having a place to call ‘home’ and a routine in such an exciting city.

And did I mention the bloody heat wave?! One rainy day so far!

We worked really hard at LSJ and wrote like crazy, and the course definitely reinforced my strengths and weaknesses. News writing – not so much. TV stuff and features – yes.

First week in I said to my new school pal, ‘think I may be too lazy to be a journalist.’ All jokes aside, part of that is true. And most of us agreed, it’s highly demanding but a potentially rewarding and exciting job. Overall it was good to get the inside scoop and feedback from people in the biz, and I’d like to incorporate elements of journalism in my work.

Another highlight has been reconnecting with old friends, some really old friends. A childhood BF lives here and we hadn’t seen each other since at least 16! Love when it feels like no time has passed, and I can get a glimpse into people’s lives.

Now I have time to take part in being a full on tourist, but it’s been fun feeling like I live here. Commuting on the tube with the masses crammed like sheep heading to slaughter at rush hour - not super fun - but getting to know my ‘hood’ and local pub has been a plus.

Every experience is what you make of it (of course), and it does help to connect in with a community, learn and challenge yourself when trying out a new place.

So London, I adore you. And thanks for a fabulous time thus far to everyone who’s been a part of the journey.

What places or things are you making assumptions about and not getting out there?