Tomorrow marks the day I arrived in Warsaw, exactly one year ago. I've been picturing this day in my head for the past weeks. I imagined I'd take some time for myself tonight, sit in front of the laptop with a couple of beers near me and start going through the past 12 months. The problem is that there's so much to talk about the past year, so many emotions, so many moments that I really don't feel like going through all of that. Tomorrow I need to wake up at 6am to go give a tennis lesson before work so I really can't spend all night reminiscing. I also don't think I could create some kind of order in my thoughts and transform them into words. Still, I have my beers, my music and life feels beautiful right now, so I will mark the occasion with some thoughts and hopefully make some sense of it all for future recollection.
One year in Waw. Wow! I just came back home from a tennis lesson. Despite the cold, I took a Veturillo from my place to Legia Tennis Club and once more felt like Pedro, the 12 year old kid riding the bike in his village, 20 years ago. Warsaw is now my village, which I like to explore on a bike, often in the night when the city it's quiet and people are hiding from the cold. What a great feeling it is to put my headphones and ride along the empty streets as fast as I can, feeling the fresh wind in my face and experience greatness.
One year here. I love Warsaw and I fell madly in love in Warsaw during this first year. That kind of love that makes you superhuman. That kind of love that floods you with endless energy and turns every day, every little moment with your loved one in something unforgettable. That kind of love that makes you want to do the craziest things. That kind of love that remains in every corner of the city, in every little detail of your life. That kind of love that is so intense that will inevitably and unbearably consume itself in a heartbeat. That kind of love I live for (yes I still love you hopelessly, "Emm"!)
One year away from the beach, from my Maceda. People ask me how could I switch the ocean for this? Well, I love the ocean and I love my beach, but I also love the fact that here I built a life where I have time and mental energy to learn new things. I'm trying to learn polish and also electric guitar. I suck in both so far, but both actually make me happy and every little improvement is a source of great joy. Also, recently I started practicing and playing tennis tournaments again! The amount of great sensations and feelings I have when on a tennis court is hard to put into words. Let's just say that a tennis court is like home to me and every time I play I feel like the kid that wanted to be Word Number One in tennis. The older I get, the more important is for me to keep the child inside me. I believe that the more life fucks you up and shows how hard it can be, the more you need to fight back by keeping the dreamer inside you instead of becoming bitter and cynical about life.
One year in Poland. I have to confess I didn't expect society here to be so close to the portuguese one. People often disagree with me, but no matter what, religion and family are two key pillars of polish society, in my humble opinion. I don't want to talk much about the nationalist vibe that perspires a bit all over the country, especially in smaller towns, because I haven't felt it directly. I rather focus on how much people seem to be dependent on friends and family here. In that sense, and although in Portugal is quite similar, I seem to share a more Nordic approach to life, typically less dependent from religion and generally more individualistic. I think Polish society is still quite conservative and not that innovative. Hope I'm not being too controversial
One year has passed. I feel like i've done a million things but ended somehow in the starting point. I wonder where I will be one year from now. Can't really tell. I know what I want but I guess sometimes things are really not under our control. Actually nothing is really under our control. We basically just need to get by during the hard times as best as we can and enjoy the good times when they happen.
One year and TEAM ETCAF still lives! Sometimes I wonder if some people look at me and think that, at 33, I should be in a "better" situation regarding my "career". You know what I mean. I have to confess that I think more and more in that, but I always end up reaching the same conclusion: no matter what society thinks, I feel accomplished enough after building a tennis school from scratch and turning into the beautiful thing that TEAM ETCAF was/is. And I never regret leaving it behind as I did. I sticked to my beliefs and there's nothing more liberating than follow your heart and mind. Oh, and seeing TEAM ETCAF alive and well in Poland is all I could ask for. Great conditions to practice, great students, the same spirit as always! That's rewarding enough! But I surely miss the great people (kids and their parents) that supported my project in Portugal. They're all in my heart, forever.
It's getting late. One year ago, shortly before moving here I wrote a post and mentioned something I had discovered during a concert back then (thank you, Caspian!). A poem from Bukowski. Tonight I will copy it again, because it says it all:
Roll the Dice
"if you're going to try, go all the
otherwise, don't even start.
if you're going to try, go all the
this could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs and
maybe your mind.
go all the way.
it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.
it could mean freezing on a
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
isolation is the gift,
all the others are a test of your
how much you really want to
and you'll do it
despite rejection and the worst odds
and it will be better than
you can imagine.
if you're going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like
you will be alone with the gods
and the nights will flame with
do it, do it, do it.
all the way
all the way.
you will ride life straight to
perfect laughter, it's
the only good fight
I'll never stop trying and I will keep going all the way.
Much love to all.