During this year I have not traveled so much. It has been somewhat a chaotic year in terms of time and money; and although in recent months I have taken root in Berlin; I am finding my place, and I start calling this place home; Sometimes I have that need to get out of here. And why Ukraine? During the last years, I have met many friends who were born there, and after so many conversations about their country, and their traditions, I really wanted to go. I felt a certain curiosity and a special attraction for the country that I still don’t know how to explain. I have always been quite attracted to the Soviet society, and I am not generally interested in very touristy places. The first idea of the trip was to travel several cities and take several trains, but again the lack of time made us decide to stay for four days in Kyiv. And it was definitely worth it.
The first thing the pilot told us when landing in Kyiv was that the temperature was -9 ° C and he wished us good luck.
It was like a time travel. A trip to a chaotic city, cold, and full of charm at the same time. I have a fascination for contrasts, and it was full of them. Beautiful buildings and abandoned buildings, the cold in the streets and hot food in traditional Ukrainian restaurants , the surly character of the people, and their charming kindness; the music on the subway, the hipsters bars and the underground techno scene…I felt in love with the capital, and I may soon return. Probably not during the winter time.
Two days after International Women’s Day, I still tremble and I get excited when I see images of the demonstrations, and I listen to the testimonies of the women who lead the strike in Spain. I saw the streets full of women who fought, who shouted, who have taken out the anger and transformed it into movement. I believe, and I am proud, that Spain is very aware of what feminism means and the importance of taking to the streets to claim. That on women’s day there is little to celebrate, and much to do. And it hurts to me to see that while in my hometown 350,000 people filled the streets, in Berlin we did not reach just 10,000. And honestly, I do not believe that Germany, with a salary difference of 21%, has no reason to fight.
Here, in Berlin, I joined the demonstration called by several international feminist groups and participated along with the Hispanic / Latino / Portuguese block in the chants and the march that took us from Lichtenberg to Warschauer (almost 5 km of walk). And I shouted, and I shared, and I celebrated the sorority.
This same week, I published in Berlin Amateurs (web page with which I collaborate, in Spanish), an article about the Spanish-speaking feminist groups in Berlin, in which I wrote the following: “It is important to point out that when someone is a migrant, they feel that they have the support of people in whom recognition is equal, is essential. When we talk about sorority we talk about creating a network of support, of being united, growing and learning together. (…) We have to make visible for all the years of struggle and for those that still remain. For creating bonds and getting to know our sisters. We make visible because even the media do not give voice to minorities, who raise their voices more. We make it visible so that on March 8, 2019 we fill the streets, to make it a festive and feminist day.”
After one year and a half living here, I can say that Berlin has two faces; the sunny-one and the grey-one. I remember, one year ago, some friends flew here to spend my birthday with me, and they almost die frozen. We were -6ºC and a thermal sensation of -12ºC. Well, this year, at the same dates, the thermometer reached 16ºC. But we are not going to talk about climate change. Well, sunny days are basically to spend time in any park, near the canal, and walk (or with the bike instead) around. And when it gets dark, definitely, to take refuge in beautiful places and eat.
I’m in love with disposables cameras. Above all, because I always forget about them, and I end up developing the reel many months later. It happened to me again. I bought one in the summer, just before escaping a couple of days to the Baltic Sea. And recently, in the middle of winter, I picked them up from the store. Well, it’s not California, and it also rained when we went to the beach, but what a silly joy to have this with this cold.
2019 began between borders, fireworks, lots of hugs, and some wodka (with orange and water, it will be my favorite drink of the year). During the last years I have been living between Germany, Poland, and Spain, my country of origin, and the first day of this 2019 I decided to tread all of them. After a taxi, practicing my little Polish, a bus, and an airplane, I landed in Barajas on January 1 with a bar of extra chocolate (perks of flying on a special day), a little jetlag, and eager to enjoy my city, relax a little, and load my batteries.
When you leave, and I’ve been going back and forth for more than three years; There is always a part of nostalgia and fear that invade one whenever you land. And I understand how lucky I am to be able to come back once every little while. But the feeling becomes stronger as the days go by. It’s like one of my favorite songs, which says in Spanish: “Now everything is the same but nothing is the same”.
And although the nostalgia is strong, how beautiful is Madrid. With its light, its breakfasts, its narrow streets, its beautiful people, my friends -who will always be despite the distance- the views from the Círculo de Bellas Artes, its roscón de Reyes, its crowded streets at Christmas… Or maybe that was too much. I really love Madrid, and I hope to come back soon.