I arrived in Spain on November 12th, 2005 with too much luggage and a mess in my head.
I was going to meet my father for the first time in a long time and I would have to live with him (and talk to him). That was something I wasn’t entirely comfortable with, and by not entirely comfortable I mean that it scared the s**t out of me. But I knew I had to do it because it was the only option I had if I wanted to live abroad.
Notice that “abroad” at that time for me meant anywhere but Argentina. Because i wasn’t happy there, and I thought if I just go somewhere else, all my problems would disappear.
They didn’t of course, because there wasn’t a problem with the country I was at, the problem was in my head and it was gonna stay there until I find a way of dealing with it.
What was the problem? Insecurities, paranoia, low self-esteem, social awkwardness, difficulty to communicate with others, inability to give and receive love or affection, depression, fear, anger, tons of hard feelings towards many people, hate towards society, the government, the institutions, towards myself and a few more, which were probably caused by poverty, an abusive mother, being bullied at school, and growing up in a society based on competition, scarcity, survival of the fittest, peer pressure and inequality.
Only after I understood how this system works, I was able to forgive my parents, forgive myself and everyone who “messed me up” and try to change the system so that people in the future won’t struggle the way my mother did to bring food to the table and won’t have to go through things I went through, for not having enough food. I was able to change when I learned to see beyond my selfish need to put the blame on an individual and realized we are actually all connected, for better or for worse. And once you stop looking for someone to blame, you will start finding solutions (and answers (and peace (hopefully (or at least try to)))).
I was going to talk about Spain though, my dad was working at some company so he hooked me up with some work there. That was the first time in my life that I had to suit up for work, and I kind of let my ego take over for a few months before finding out I was heading in the wrong direction.
Did some odd jobs after that, security guard, sales rep, newspaper delivery, and one awesome job polling people, it was great because every week they sent me to a different city so I had the chance of getting to know many places and talk a dozen different people every day. Sometimes I got into 10 different houses a day, seeing all of them had different lives and problems, helped me understand the diversity of the place i was living in and that my problems were just a spec compared to what some of them were going through. Like a single mother who just came from work at 8 pm and had to cook, feed, clean and look after 4 children, or some African immigrants who lived 6 of them in a tiny filthy room, and once I went to look for the person I had been told to find, when I arrive at his place their family told me he had died a few days ago, I didn’t know what to say.
I was almost 21 then, and that was the moment in my life when I found out, after having 5 different jobs in 6 months, that the story my elders had told me about having a career, a profession, going to uni or a job for life, were pure lies, not intentional lies of course, they just wanted the best for me. But they weren’t aware that somewhere along the time when they were young and the time when I was young, things had changed.
And the understanding that if I had wanted I could have easily make a career and work forever at any of those jobs made me understand, that it was MY life and I had the power to do whatever I want with it. And that one (I realize this 7 years later), was the first step to understanding that if I wanted to, I could do nothing at all as well.
At that time I was still somehow trusting the system, believing that capitalism and the current monetary system were somehow acceptable, wouldn’t have ran for politician but wasn’t yet so annoyed by having to wake up at 6 am to help maintain the status quo while getting myself some monetary gain plus the thought of being a somehow productive, therefore respected member of society.
That year I also confirmed what I had learned while working in Buenos Aires, that (for me) any job, no matter how fun it was, it will always get boring after 2 or 3 months, that repetition and routine were my enemies, they made me depressed and took away the joy of living, so I needed to avoid them at all costs.
Was still quite greedy though, so found myself a new job at a logistics company and decided to save up some money. Signed up for it because the pay was super high and, didn’t know it would be also the best working experience I would ever have.
Till then i had only worked with Spaniards, and this was my first time working in an international environment, my workmates were all from different countries, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Spain, Morocco, Poland, Rumania, Cameroon, Congo, etc.
Every person I met was a whole new experience for me, before working there I had never met people from Ecuador or Poland, and I don’t think I could have even found congo on a map. We were working long hours every day, so after a few months, they were like my family.
That gave me a global perspective and I understood that even though I was working in a tiny warehouse in a little Spanish city, I was actually a global citizen, not an Argentinian citizen, not an Italian citizen or a Spanish one, I belonged to something bigger because my brothers were from Bolivia, Romania, and Cameroon.
After 6 months on probation, my boss offered me to work directly for the company, sign a 2 years contract, paid holidays and tons of benefits. That was one of those moments where there’s something you should do and something you want to do. And you have to choose one of them.
There were some tears while saying goodbye to my colleagues. But after spending a full year in Spain, I knew it was time to move on. Its usually easy to fool others into thinking you are happy there and everything’s ok, but I can’t fool myself, when it’s time to move on, it’s time to move on. And after some weeks relaxing in England, I was ready to settle down again, this time in Germany, but that’s another story.