Visiting Belfast

When I arrived in Belfast yesterday morning, I wouldn’t have imagined any of what I saw during the day. I had heard a lot about the city, about how deceiving it was (in comparison to Dublin for example), and I had also learnt a few things about the historical religious conflict. However, I was not entirely prepared.

We first walked in the city centre where you can find nice buildings, wonderful street art and surprisingly, a few abandoned building right in the centre.

ImageOur next step was to visit the Titanic museum, which was worth the £10 student price is you are interested in the drawing of the boat, its construction, and the life of the workers on the boat. The experience is really good with a lot of objects presented, lots of pictures and videos, covering until the departure of the boat.

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We had decided to stay in Belfast only for one day. After the Titanic Museum, we decided to visit the west part of the city. And then, we knew why people had told us they disliked Belfast. We faced many abandoned buildings and some wastelands. I knew that there were lots of bushes and walls to separate the neighborhoods, and that a “Wall of Peace” had been erected, but I never imagined it so high. I felt bad walking in this area of Belfast and I was happy enough that we did not have much time left.

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Live…

This is a very complex and difficult subject I chose to discuss tonight. I mean, all my writings are part of this subject to a certain extend, and this article may seem a little too general. I am not planning to write a novel yet, so I will try to be as brief as I can, without forgetting the main ideas that made me want to write this.

Recently, I talked to a very good friend of mine, and I explained him that I was afraid of not living for real. Indeed, I am always waiting for something in the future to come. Let’s take the example of my year in Dublin. Since I am in university, for two years now, I have been waiting for this moment, this special time when I finally go abroad. As I expect this trip to be special, I feel like all the time which separates me from September is “a waste of time”. I know I could make some efforts and try to enjoy every moment, but I just can’t. This scares me a lot because I am afraid this could happen to me for my entire life.

Also, I wanted to discuss another point which distresses me. How can you be sure that you are enjoying your life if you are not exposing the real you. We all have our secrets, things we hide to protect ourselves or others, or just because we don’t want to deceive people. Of course, we could learn to live with these secrets and reach a certain degree of happiness. However, as far as I am concerned, I am often wondering what would my life be if I revealed some of my secrets. Would life be better? I still have no idea. The only way to know is to tell the truth, to get real, considering any situation it may lead to, good or bad. As we say in France : C’est plus facile à dire qu’à faire!

What’s funny now is that at the exact moment when I am discussing “life”, my brother announces me that I am going to be an uncle in few hours. Anyway.

I know that I could work on these subjects, for myself, and try to make more efforts in participating in life, in enjoying every moment, in getting real and eventually live the life corresponding to my expectations. I just hope that I will be courageous enough to achieve this life before death grabs me.

I thought it could be interesting to tell you which songs I have been listening to while I was writing this article :
Radiohead – Fake Plastic Trees
Sigur Rós – All Alright
Sigur Rós – Von

Baile Átha Cliath

I can finally, officially say : I am going to Dublin next year. I have been waiting for the official reply for a very long time and now, there is no doubt anymore.

I really wanted to write something about it because it represents an important change in my life. And so, I decided to seize this opportunity to make some decisions. In Dublin, I can be someone else. Of course, I don’t want to be anyone, I don’t want to change my entire personality, but there are some things I would like to do there.

Quit smoking : the most important one I guess. First, the price there is more expensive than in France, and if I want to travel or have a drink with friends, I need money. Also, I am really starting to worry about health. But the main point which makes me stop is that I don’t feel any need anymore. When I started, I wasn’t feeling as happy as I am now. Smoking was a kind of relaxing hobby. It helped me meet new people as well. But I don’t need that anymore : I am confident enough.

Anyway, I am really happy to go to DUBLIN !

Utopia #1 : What if there were no money?

Money can’t buy happiness. (But it helps)

A few weeks ago, I started thinking of a project concerning life in general. I tried to focus on several topics in order to organize the study : happiness, love and money. I have asked different questions to people around the world, concentrating first on the theme of money. The question was : “What would you do if there were no money?”.

The developments hereinafter are ideas of several people around the world, mixed up with my conception of what I have been able to see so far. I do not want to make hasty conclusion, everything below is to be seen as conditional.

A society moving back in the country?

During the past century, we had a rural exodus in developed countries. It seems that people moved from the country in order to find a job in factories and access to education. Already, we notice the place of money in the decision of finding a new job when poverty reigns in an overgrowing farming system.

Nowadays, I feel like there has been a change in the perception of what the country is. When at the beginning of the twentieth century it seemed to mean poverty, I have noticed that more and more people go there and build disproportionate houses. If this is real, there would be a move back to the country. It may be because of pollution but my view is that living in a city is more tiring and that thanks to the improvement of means of transport, people can work in cities when they live in the countryside.

Of course, building a house (or even buying one) in the countryside is expensive.

If there was no money, I would like to live in…

The countryside. Many of the replies I got were the same. People tend to aspire to live in the country, and in nature in general. For instance, some people dream about living in a forest (my idea of the perfect home is on a cliff).

Not many people have told me why they would choose a certain place rather than another one. As far as I am concerned, I love the peacefulness of nature, I love the sound of the waves crashing into the rocks. What I think is that people search in nature what they can’t find in cities anymore : tranquility…

But if there were no money, why should I settle somewhere?

I have thought about this question many times. My biggest dream is to travel all over the world and meet thousands of people. Of course, only one aspect (but which is not an insignificant one) prevent me from doing it : the lack of money.

Some people go along with my idea. I received some replies of people whose dreams were to travel over the world and discover. In these long descriptions of their fantasized travel  I have enjoyed reading, they never talked about settling anywhere.

“To live on the road”

“Whether money exists or not, I just want to love and to be loved…”

When I think of the theme of love, several definitions pop up in my mind. Of course, the first one being the existence of a lover. Many people included a “loved person” in their idealized life without money. I cannot myself imagine living in my perfect house in my perfect place without a perfect person to share it with. But many times, I have wondered whether this was necessary or not. I still remain without an answer and I am not sure I will find it. Time will tell.

Other people aspire to a life with their friends, settling somewhere or travelling with them. My opinion is that true love does not only exist with one person, but can be found in friendship, especially a very close one. That’s why I included friends in this section.

In fact, travelling is amazing. Living in the perfect house in the perfect place is too. But I think it is much more amazing when you have people to share your happiness with. I am sure many people would agree with that.

Observing the world

So far, the themes I have tackled are the places where people would settle (or not, for those who dream about travelling) and love.

Very often, people who have told me that they would travel, if money didn’t prevent them from doing it, have added that they would observe the world. Of course, in a world where money reigns, we have to work to survive and sometimes (well, very often) we don’t have time to observe the world around us. Or it may be that we don’t take the time to look what surrounds us. If money did not exist, we would have the time to look. Moreover, we would have another reason to observe the world : to stave off boredom.

Not only (I hope future) travelers have admitted wanting to admire the world. I also got this reply from artists, mostly people interested in photography. These people already do that but they would use the time won (if they didn’t have to work) to devote themselves to photography. Drawers have told me so too.

Reading and writing

It will be the last theme I will talk about for the moment. As other people who have answered the question, I dream about reading and writing in the perfect house in the perfect place, with the perfect people around me. I dream about reading other people’s traveling stories, I dream about writing mine.

There may be no perfect place for me. Just a perfect “home”, on the road.

Why should we wait for money to disappear?

Money may never disappear from our society. There are dreams more or less difficult to realize but as we say : when there’s a will, there’s a way!

Tomorrow, why not take the time to look around you. Look at nature, look at buildings, whatever makes you filled with joy. If you aspire to travel and you feel hold back because of money, why don’t you try to take a bag and walk? These are the things I love to say to myself before I go to bed and they give me hope.

I am not saying that it is easy, but it is not attempting the impossible either.

Sharing your books

Yesterday, a local newspapers from the north of France published an article on a movement that has existed for a long time : bookcrossing. 

The concept : if you want to sort out your bookcase, whether you throw the books away (which is not really useful) or you give them to libraries, friends or strangers. If you want to follow the “trip” of your books, the international website bookcrossing gives you the opportunity to see where your babies are, who’s reading them. Some people like to place the book in a public area, offering it to the first stranger curious enough. The website allows you to print a sticker you can put on the book, which explains that it is not a lost property and that it can be taken home. 

Unfortunately, in the north of France, the cold and humid climate prevents us from abandoning the books on a bench. Therefore, we have taken advantage of a café to keep the books (and this is why the article exists).

The article is in French and it explains the procedure you can find on the bookcrossing website. 

Facebook page I created for the movement (in French) : https://www.facebook.com/levoyagedeslivres

ImagePublished in La Voix du Nord on Feb. 26th 2013, written by Céline Rudz

Happiness is down the road

We have all wondered once in our life what real happiness is, what the word means to us. Sometimes, we have found an answer, sometimes we drifted off. As far as I am concerned, I think happiness is made of a multitude of joys, of all the little things that make you smile, that make you safe and more than anything, that make you be yourself.

To be yourself

I would be surprised to learn that each and everyone of the people I know is being himself or herself. Of course, I don’t wish to imply that they are lying. Some people hide the truth, in the best case scenario whereas others, having an ulterior motive or not, pretend to be someone they are not.

Over the years, I have found it difficult to reveal who you really are, what you really think. Facing discrimation or mockery, a kind of carapace grows, like a protection against ones’ harsh voices. When this carapace settles, it is hard nay impossible for people to get through it. At the same time, it is difficult for the protected one to reveal himself without being judged as a liar or even a coward.

This is why, thanks to this conclusion, I can say that I am not being myself. However, over the past few months, I have tried to reveal myself a bit, even though the worst is yet to come.

What happiness is to me, or the little things that make me get real

I love nature. I love the beach, I love the sunrising and the sunset, I love the ocean. I love to walk along the sea, lulled by the music of the waves dashing onto the sand. I love the forests, their trees towering above the lands, unsuccessfully trying to reach the blue sky. I love the sky, during the day, during the night. I love the sun, I love the stars.

I love poetry. I love Apollinaire’s Crépuscule. I love Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18.

I would love not to be alone at sunset and at sunrise. I would love to be loved for who I am and not for who I pretend to be. I would love to cuddle, on the beach, in a forest, under the sun, under the stars.

I love my coffee in the morning, my tea in the evening. I love reading, writing and dreaming.

These are what I love, what I would love, what I need to be pleased.I am a dreamer, a space traveller