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2018 bucket list

by M
  1. learn and practice patience
  2. go to a concert
  3. find a workout routine that works for me and stick to it
  4. read at least 10 books
  5. practice watercolouring + get real good
  6. finally become ambidextrous
  7. volunteer
  8. write even more
  9. get a healthy sleeping schedule 
  10. go to the beach as much as possible
  11. go to 3 different countries
  12. be more creative than ever
  13. save money
  14. get my first job
  15. not lose my equestrian self
  16. work hard on my friendships 
  17. get rid of trust issues and really give myself to others
  18. get serious with photography
  19. have good grades
  20. do more yoga and meditation

Recycled | Done | In progress | Failed

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2017 in hindsight

by M

Every year I try and reflect back on the past 12 months and write about it. In 2014 I wrote a paragraph or two about some of the highlights of the year, in 2015 I wrote a long text and in 2016 I didn't write at all, even though I meant to - I just realised I had nothing nice to say. But it was exactly* 4 years ago today I wrote a post called Dear 2013, and it was that post that I went back and read earlier today in order to find some inspiration for this. Because in many ways 2017 is the heir to 2013's legacy; and it was undoubtedly the happiest year since then.


The year was off to a different start: a month and a half of school break which I filled with different experiences - an impromptu trip to Paris, watercolours, learning how to sew and kicking off my driver's license lessons. The first half of the year saw me running back and forth between Lisbon and here. I found myself growing closer and closer to my uni friends back there, with that bittersweet feeling you have when you know you'll be leaving soon... But we enjoyed Spring in the capital to the fullest. Lunches and beer at the park, nights out, ice cream after class, beach days, sunsets by the river and that one time we literally ran away from a class which had barely just started to go sunbathe downtown. Through alleyways and cobblestone sidewalks, tube and train rides, mornings spent at Starbucks and nights that ended after the sun had risen, 2017 had me falling head over heels for that city and its light. But we were doomed from the start, Lisbon and me. So by June I packed all my stuff and left; my room and my tiny office stripped of all things me, the place which I called home for 9 months and knew I wouldn't be that ever again. So I came back home and got ready for a Summer filled with lasts and goodbyes. I tried to be with my friends as often as possible and that came with some disappointment and some good surprised alike. I couldn't have possibly known that Lara—the closest friend I had for the past 3 years—would let me go just like that and a 5 minute goodbye, nor that it would be Rachel, at last, that would hold me as I sobbed, just a few days before leaving. I made sure to go ride as much as I could, counting down the days I still had at the barn. The place where I usually felt the most at ease became laced with the anguish of farewell. Many tears were shed, but at least I know I was the best rider that I could've possibly been. Riding wasn't the hardest goodbye, it was the longest see you soon, because I still don't know when that soon is.


If there's one thing that 2017 brought me was growth, in its purest way. Growing is letting go of people and things that hold you back. It's making friends and meeting new people, and becoming more understanding and tolerant through that. It’s forming opinions and holding values and learning to stand up for those. Growing is doing laundry and cleaning the toilet, but it's also teaching your brain how to be alone with yourself. Growing is finding home 300 or 1600kms away from home, but first and foremost within yourself. It’s learning how to accept yourself and be proud of the things that make you, you, flaws and all. It is learning to honour my feelings instead of avoiding them. Growing is finding out that things aren't neither ephemeral nor everlasting, but somewhere in between. They come and they go and what is truly important is making the most while they're here—and not holding grudges if they end. Growing is learning to be grateful and forgiving, and finding out that those are the things that bring you ease. It’s understanding that things you love the most make for the hardest battles. They’ll leave you bruised and bleeding, but they’re worthwhile. This year, I had to make hard decisions and I made them regardless of the shake in my hands, the knot on my throat and the tears in my eyes. Through sleepless nights and constant, persistent worrying I didn't let myself be caught up in self-doubt and the fear of unknown. And through it all there was a smile on my face and a spring in my step, because no matter how hard or how many goodbyes, I saw dreams come true. In a sense, growing was also coming back to myself. Putting things into perspective, prioritising the things that make me so intrinsically me. Like the maniac creative and the too-excitable equestrian and the weirdo—I gathered up all the versions of myself and become who I am through who I already was. And that’s when I found peace of mind and utter yet simple happiness.


In many ways, this was a transitional year. Back in January, I knew that 2017 would be a special one. The one thing I saw looking forward was that by the end of the year I might be living in London, my life turned upside down. And now, looking forward, I see… nothing. A completely blank canvas, a year that is starting unlike any other before—and that’s both terrifying and exciting. There are so many and so ambitious things I want for 2018, and if I’ll take anything from this past year is that if you want it enough they might just come true. And if nothing else, I’m just grateful for another first class trip around the sun.


Buckle up.


Here we go.


*I started writing this post December 30th

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sundays used to be my least favourite days of the week - i used to dread them even more than monday. but london is changing that for me, i think.

not all sundays have been like this, sometimes i manage to spent the entire day on my 10sqm room. but today i woke up at 9.30 today, took the bus to greenwich, went to church, strolled through the park, sat down at the bookshop with a cappucino, did some planning for the week, some essay writing, went to the bakery to buy fancy expensive bread for the week, had a chunky soup for lunch, bought some freshly ground coffee... it's very domestic, somehow?? also, i love greenwich and today the weather was kinda mystic and there was christmas market and everything.

just felt like such a great beginning to the week.

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you're here, you made it. i never doubted one second of the way. don't you dare apologise ever again.




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by M

I sat down at my desk just a little over a year ago trying to write my personal statement. The first sentence is the most important, was the main advice I'd gathered from my extensive research. I am known for sucking at introductions, so a few attempts later with a bit of frustration I stopped to think about it. I said to myself: stop trying to impress them, just be honest and authentic. These were my first few sentences:


On August 6th 2015, a Facebook post raised 150.000£ and filled four warehouses with item donations almost overnight. That post changed thousands of lives at the Calais Refugee Camp. I stumbled upon this information earlier this year, when my worry about the ongoing refugee crises spiked. From that moment on, I realized how much of a powerful tool the media are in social awareness, and ultimately social change.


And just like that I had a catchy first sentence and an engaging introduction, because I was writing from my heart. It was no news for anyone when I chose media, but it might've been a little bit of news for myself. Because suddenly I had a reason, a purpose that was pulling me this way. And then I put on my tough coat and my resilience boots and packed my bags and came to London. But it's been almost a year and a very hectic one for sure. I've told you how it felt after all these years dreaming and hoping to be here, finally being able to take a deep breathe (although still panting), and you find youself asking now what? Eventually you've settled down and got used to it and somehow you feel a bit lost because you're not quite sure where to turn to.


When I saw Jack's post on instagram I reminded myself this is what it's like to be living in London - where things happen, where everything happens. It's about swaying on swingsets with Jane at Tate Modern, watching the sun set over the skyscrapers at Primrose Hill, walking around Camden Market with Katya, eating chips in Covent Garden with Vendy and somedays it's about doing it all by yourself. Like booking tickets to this exhibition, and it just so happens to be a photography (which I love) exhibition about the refugee crisis (which I'm so passionate about) by Jack Harries (one of the people who has inspired me the most growing up and that continues to inspire me everyday). 


So the whole day I was wondering about it, like a song playing at an annoying volume in the back of my mind. I kept asking myself what will you say when really what is there not to be said? What words to prioritise? And so I went and there were butterflies in my stomach the whole time. But then I saw those photos and I instantly felt the way it always makes me feel: a lump in my throat, tears in my eyes, and I just want to YELL at the world and PUNCH it in the face. Shake the West by the shoulders and scream THERE IS ALL THIS BLOOD IN YOUR HANDS WHEN WILL YOU NOTICE. But really you just stand there in awe. Looking at these pictures of these people that are people just like us and whom are paying the price of crimes they not only didn't commit, but were victim to. Hoping no one will notice your watery eyes and the shake in your hands. And you feel useless. And then it occurred to me that they must've felt it too. Alice and Jack spent months collecting these pictures from various spots across Europe, witnessing the suffering and despair first hand. Just then I knew what to say. I asked how do I take all this ANGER and RAGE and put into something effective and how to I find a way to make that voice be heard. And Jack told me (cannot believe my own words) that I need to let that passion take me to the places so that I can see and speak up and that the world is at the tip of my fingers with social media if only we have the guts. That I don't need anyone else but me to just go and start. Just like it only took Jaz one day trip to Calais and one Facebook post to change and save lives in the Jungle refugee camp. At this point I was ready to leave the building and sit on a bench crying because what is life and then I literally run into Jaz walking in and I was like WHAT IT IS LIFE HONESTLY.


Everything came full circle today. Like, 4 years ago I was trapped in a town that I hated, with dreams too big to be fulfiled there. 2 years ago I was utterly lost and had no idea what to do with my life. And now I'm here, following those dreams in a city that opens doors instead of shutting them, carving my own path in a direction that is still somewhat unknown but is definitely heading somewhere. I am here for all of these reasons: the kid who watched JacksGap on school breaks with friends, the kid who played with MovieMaker when she was bored, the kid who asked for a DSLR on her 15th birthday, the kid who decided to do media for social change. All of these brought me here. I brought me here. And if I keep listening to that kid, who knows where it'll take me.


I am so grateful.

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by M

i bought a bunch of books for my birthday and it's been hard not to fill this blog with beautiful rupi kaur poems, but i'll leave this one here: not my favourite, but perhaps the most relatable.

when i grow up i wanna be like her.


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2am thoughts

by M

i spent my whole entire albeit short life chasing after something. now i'm standing still, panting, and it feels like i'm holding the most precious thing on earth in my shaky hands. what if i lose it, or if it falls or if it breaks.


sometimes it's too much pressure to handle.

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it's been a while

by M

i'm back at that point in which life is happening so fast that it's hard to sit down and write about it, and the more i postpone it, the more i have to write about and then it's just seems like it's too much too put into words. but i'll try my best.


i went home for reading week which was just as amazing as it was overwhelming. it was so great to let go of adulting for a while, not having to worry about groceries and dishes and toilets to clean and laundry to do. but at the same time it felt weird sliding back into that role of being a daughter and living in a cohesive household. either way it felt normal to be home, which i didn't know i was expecting it not to. it was fun to run around town trying to catch up with friends and for once i actually did it. when you are away and only have a set amount of time to see people, things just work themselves out. which in a way is kind of sad, because it means if i were around i would probably not make as much effort to see them (nor would they). but i'm glad i did. monday i had hot chocolate with emma and carolina. tuesday i had pizza for lunch with alice, and then met q and crashed her class. we went for cocktails over sunset and sushi dinner with lara. on wednesday i went riding but idk if it were better or worse. i missed it more than i could put into words and in a sense being on the saddle felt no different at all. it was like it had been 2 days rather than 2 months, and i was so grateful for that, because i don't wanna lose it. but i hated being there feeling like it isn't my place anymore, like even if just a little a bit i don't belong there anymore. it broke my already broken heart. by the time i hopped on the car with mom that evening, i was overwhelmed and overthinking, i caught myself wondering i just wanna go back to london. there's a balance between london-life and home-life i haven't quite mastered yet, of course, and some moments back home they felt totally incompatible. i know that's not true and not fair, but i'm being honest here and that's what it felt like leaving the house on wednesday night.


back in lisbon things got better, naturally. the house has always had this specific smell and i wondered how that smell went from being someone else's house, to being home and now a new kind of category of being somewhere that used to be home. i went to see my friends at uni and even crashed their class and went to one of those lousy su parties and the whole time i was thinking how much easier life was in lisbon in a lot of ways, but how i wouldn't go back to it for anything in this world. living in lisbon was like i was living a borrowed life: one that fit me well but wasn't quite my style. and i've mentioned times and times over how much i love that city dearly, in ways i couldn't possibly love london because they're just too different. the same way i'm growing to love london in ways that lisbon couldn't possibly be loved. anyway. i had a great time. mags and i went for our usual breakfast at our usual spot, and there's like a million other breakfast spots in town that we haven't even tried but i like how it's our thing. and of course we ended up staying there chatting for two hours. then in the evening i went to patricia's birthday dinner which was pizza so yum and then we went to park for drinks and it was the best back-to-lisbon spot. the views, the atmosphere, how we sat outside in a november night, delicious cocktails that seem quite cheap now. everything was perfect. even staying home on friday finishing up my essays in pajamas practically all day felt perfect. and by the end of the afternoon we went to the mall and even though i didn't buy anything or had a starbucks drink it was nice to just walk around the neighbourhood for a while as the sun set.


on saturday i packed up and headed to the airport with the fam and a bonus of q who joined me for a few days in london. it was a hectic day, driving up north, the usual airplane delay, train ride back to central. although i still feel like a tourist wandering the city, getting lost in the maze of tfl, always with google maps in hand, although i live in a dirty road with nothing but fried chicken and kebab shops, although it's only been 2 months, i opened the door to my boxy room last saturday and i thought of it as home. or at least a tiny piece of london that belongs to me.

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I woke up an hour before my alarm with sunrays seeping beneath the curtains, casting a glow on these otherwide dull walls. Despite having gone to bed at 4am, I decided to get up and have a shower, get the day going. I had to clean the toilet (which I hate) and then the soap dispenser fell and broke. There was soap and glass all over my freshly cleaned bathroom. I don't have a mop so I had to cause a flood with the shower head in order to clean it all up properly. I was annoyed but I didn't let it ruin the day, so I took a deep breath and got it over with. Then I played some fall tunes and sang along for awhile while I tidied up the bedroom. I ran out of coffee but I told myself I deserved to indulge after the previous events, so I went downstairs to the café next door and spent 3.2£ on a soy cappuccino but oh boy was it worth it. It tastes like every fall morning should, foamy, bitter with a hint of sweetness. 

I need to get back to my reading now.


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by M

swinging on a swingset with jane at tate modern. movements coordinated, the short length of our hair swept by speed, the smiles on our faces and we tried to speak but kept being interrupted by laughs.

my fondest memory of london so far.

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