Do Not Help Others

Dear reader,

It is one of the most rewarding gestures and sensations when you can help another living being in need of help. More often than not, I meet people who share with me that they would like to contribute, to make a positive difference and help others. It has also been scientifically proven that getting presents for others gives you a much more rewarding feeling, than getting yourself one.

So all in all, helping each other is nice. It is also socially encouraged. Noble. Virtuous.

But in the long run, it has one downside. It is simply wrong.

Helping others makes the other one recipient. Sometimes even a helpless subject. Hence the power isn’t equal. This has been one of the main concerns of ethics of care. The care-giver and care-receiver relationship should be equal if you truly TRULY want to make a difference. They both should aim for caring for and caring about each other. Otherwise helping others has one huge disadvantage. It diminishes the brilliance and potential of the one receiving help.

I am not saying helping is wrong. It is still much better than not caring. But before helping you should make sure, that your help is wanted and the way how you want to help is indeed being helpful to the other. If you cannot confirm this, you are on the slippery road. Empathy is very wrong. It leaves you unbalanced, because people’s stories touch you too deeply if you are a sensitive soul. Compassion is much much better. And to be compassionate, you don’t have to help, but simply to be there for the other human or animal being. It is enough.

People have the potential to help themselves. If you are getting in the way by doing that for them, you are stealing their brilliance. With the purest and most honest intentions, yet you are still doing it.

If on the other hand you can inspire others so they can help themselvesyou have done enough and most you can do.

So think about it. Instead of looking after others and looking for ways how you can be helpful, turn inwards and do your best to help yourself. To take care of yourself, so that you can be your best version. It will create a vibration around you that people will find attractive, fascinating, and will because of it get inspired. And from there, they will take it their own ways, in the directions you would never have imagined. But this is none of your business. The one and only thing that is your business is taking care of your own wellbeing. And then the rest is a piece of cake. Abundance. Creating more abundance. I know that I do the best job as a therapist if I make sure, I am being my best version. What the client does after the session and whether it has been helpful for them, is entirely in their hands and none of my business. Also none of my interest.

So get out of people’s way and mind your own business. You might be surprised by its effect.

With love and no intention to be helpful at all,

Biba

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How did my butt get so big??

Dear reader,

funny story, this will make you laugh. Easter holidays and people are having days off, meaning shopping malls to be crowded, heavy traffic and loads of food. Perfect. I managed to break my husbands teapot and a big water jug, but hey, I’ve always been quite clumsy. Promised him to get him a new one and so there we were, today in the morning, putting our rain-boots on and getting ready to conquer the mall.

As I was putting my coat on, I looked at myself in the mirror. I was wearing pants not very flattering for my body shape, and as I looked at myself from behind, I went:

Omg since when’s my butt become so big?

My husband replied with: “No wonder it’s been big, you’re sitting 24/7, that’s what you’ve been doing.”

Now every woman ever will know that he screwed up big time. So there I was, my turn to react (or not). I could think of at least 246 choices. Here are a few:

  • I could have been devastated and could have spent another 2 hours examining my look from behind from every angle and trying to figure out whether he was right.
  • I could have bursted into tears for him being so rude and for telling the truth.
  • I could have felt really really bad, humiliated, ugly and unattractive and might have started thinking about dieting or exercising (but that’s not possible at the moment, because I can’t even walk).
  • I could have fallen into despair.
  • I could have tried to defend myself by shouting at him.
  • Or pretend to be an ostrich and not deal with the whole thing at all.
  • I could have killed my husband for being an idiot.
  • Or send someone to do that for me.

Now, before you send someone round to shoot my husband, please note that he’s never been very good with verbal expressions. Not that I am defending him or anything.

I know so many women to whom an event like that would spoil their entire day or week. And in a millisecond before starting to shout at him, I played several scenarios and how that might impact my day, I decided to do some assessment and pick the most useful response. Not for him, but for me.

  • My husband made a rude remark, which I will ignore and will not let it impact any of my thoughts or actions, except for writing this blog.
  • He is well aware it was rude. I’ll leave it up to him to deal with it. His laundry is none of my business.
  • It’s true that I’m sitting a lot lately. But it’s not because I would chose to do so, it’s because I am currently in too much pain to do any exercise or walk.
  • It’s the time of the month when my body’s doing its best to hold a possible baby. So consequently I might be a bit bloated. My breasts are bigger (and welcomed), so why would my butt not be allowed to be as well?
  • If my butt indeed has become bigger, so what. It is still my butt, I love it, it is serving me very well and I’ll keep loving it.
  • Big butts are very sexy.
  • If it will indeed bother me or will become uncomfortable, I will do something about it. But at the moment I am totally okay with it.
  • I am actually looking forward to having a big butt. In the upcoming months I will be sitting a lot and it is better to sit on a soft cushion than sit on a bony footstool.

See the difference? The trick is you can always, ALWAYS chose how certain events might affect you. Today I was in a good vibration, so I managed to do it elegantly and in only a second. And you got a witty story 🙂

Here’s to our butts,

Biba

Happy National Kissing Day!

Eating disorders are wasting your time

Dear reader,

This is a very personal post and I have never written about this subject so openly.

For some reason, I remembered some of my teen idols. I was so in love with a French dancing figure skating pair, Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat, especially with their performance of “Esmeralda” and “Time to Say Goodbye” in the early 2000’s. Watching them skate again today, brought many memories of my early, young, fragile age, so I decided to go on with my orange-reddish hairstyle 🙂

Another recent idol has been Yulia Lipnitskaya, a young Russian figure skater, who, at the age of only 15 won the gold medal (well deserved!). I was wondering what she might be up to today, 4 years later, and found out that she’s retired from sport, due to severe anorexia.

I couldn’t believe it. It made me so so sad. She is far from lonely case. I dedicated my whole life to classical ballet, up to the age of 21. For years I was suffering from eating disorders. It started as I was getting ready for Ballet Nationals and my teacher made some crude remarks about my weight. At the age of 16, I wanted to do my best to “fit in”, succeed, meet the standards, regardless of how inhumane or devastating they were. I forced my body to do things most people couldn’t even imagine was possible. I pushed it beyond every limit and won the second place, dancing with a torn calf muscle. I could go on not eating for days, or bring every single meal out whenever I wanted. Still, no signs of fatigue or lost strength or physical ability. I had complete control over it. It was my absolute slave.

I made my best friend my slave. And as most things I was up to, I succeeded 100%.

It all got worse at about the same time, when I was almost expelled from school for anonymously publishing an article about certain practices and behaviours at our school. What I’d written was nothing but truth, but the reaction I got from my teacher was awful. I was excluded, humiliated, yelled at so that the entire school could hear and after that I learned to keep quiet, swallow all the injustices and simply pretend everything was fine. Pretend I was okay. Suppress all the emotions, desires, hopes. Just work, work, work. At the age of 16 my wings were broken. Crushed. I thought it was my fault. Everybody was pointing at me, confirming it was my fault. People watching me go down the road of slowly getting more and more exhausted, bystanders not knowing what to do, friends disappearing.

Eating disorders are lethal. They are one of the most damaging addictions. Vicious things, lurking in the back, taking over your life slowly, while you are fooling yourself believing you are in control.

I was so sad to read about Yulia. Such talents, such beautiful souls carried away by this disease. Many professionals are claiming, one cannot escape this circle. That the victim will always stay trapped in the cold hands of anorexia or bulimia. I say they are wrong.

I managed to recover myself. It happened as everyone else gave up. Doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, all sort of professionals. They gave up because they failed to ask me one single question:

What are your best hopes?

All of them were focused on ways how the disease was messing up with my life, or worse, how it’s become my life. None of them bothered to ask me about my other sides, my passions or hopes, probably because they assumed I had none. I believed that too. But it was not true. It was only that my wings were broken, but that doesn’t have to mean that I would not be able to grow new ones. Being kept in an environment where everybody was constantly reminding me that I have “screwed up”, “will not make it again” and “can’t do it myself” has been more damaging than the wounds I cut myself.

So at one point, after years of suffering, I decided that I won’t let my 16-year old down. I’ll never hide again and will never bow, even if and when my mouth will get me in trouble. I’ll never stand people for having the wrong energy, because I learned to be protective of myself and of people around me. People who are affected by eating disorders have several wonderful traits – they take it all on them, which makes them very pleasant company. They are incredibly talented, intelligent and resilient. But they simply don’t know that yet or don’t believe it. Eating disorders are a way of withdrawing, distracting from pain, focusing the punishment onto yourself, even when someone else is guilty. But in the cold light of dawn, eating disorders are a waste of your time. And a terrible waste of your potential.

Again, I was so sad to read the news about Yulia. And I know many girls like her, even some boys. I used to be one. And I can also show you that you, YOU ALONE, can manage to spread your wings again, fly, or grow whatever you need in order to lead the life you want. Yes, you can, without medication, painful questions and all sort of experts, who will pretend they care and will pretend they know better than you. No-one knows better than you.

Connect with me, if this sounds appealing and you might benefit from my experience. I was extremely lucky, that a couple of years after recovering, I accidentally bumped into Solution Focused Brief Therapy, which was exactly how I managed to restore my best version. The version that will never shut up and will never ever bend again. So naturally, I became a SFBT therapist and am now trying to make a difference with the approach and care, I needed, but was simply not there. With all my love and all my passion, both of which at some point I thought will never be on the menu of my feelings again. So I got lucky, but not because faith had it, but because I looked out for it.

With so much love to all the Yulias,

Biba

 

Almost Birthday – one of the worst days of my life

Dear reader,

This post contains some adult inappropriate language. Not suitable for children’s bedtime story.

At the end of 2017, I heard someone say 2018 is going to be a »year of a mad dog« according to some Chinese whatever. That it would bring loads of health problems as well as some rude cuts and endings, some of which should be made/done ages ago. She also said that those who would refuse to be genuine, will have a very hard time. I don’t believe any of this stuff, be it horoscope, destiny, card reading, whatever. Which means I am probably too stupid to understand and too limited to give it a go. However, sometimes I wonder whether there’s something to it …

My past few months have been quite turbulent. Or better to say, the past 6 months. I told you my body’s been protesting for quite some time. My immune system’s been very poor. I accepted it and tried various things to fix it. Somewhat successful, but every few weeks I got another dose, and apparently this is a sign I am not doing the right thing. Those of you who have seen me also know, I have had quite some problems with my leg. Since last summer I can’t run anymore. I’m in constant pain and it got worse in the past 3 months to the extent that I couldn’t sleep without painkillers.

It all got to a point where I needed to see a doctor, which I never ever do, because I don’t trust them. It all went very quickly – from an “innocent” knee pain to the fact that my hip is very damaged. A few days ago I found out that in 3 weeks I’ll have a quite big operation of my right hip, called periacetabular osteotomy. The rehabilitation process after the surgery will take up to 6 months and after 8 months I’ll need to have another operation. At about the same time I got some other news, which upset me much more than my own. My friends and colleagues have been diagnosed with terminal diseases. One colleague with pancreatic cancer, so he’s got his months counted. Other friends are getting divorced. I don’t know what to think of all of this except that it is a clear sign and an invitation for something for me to learn, but I don’t seem to figure out what, because it keeps getting worse and worse.

I got into London today to do some teaching, which I am very much looking forward to. I don’t know when I might come back again. It might even be my last time, definitely last time walking like this. I don’t know, I can’t know. We don’t know. Tomorrow might not be. Thinking these thoughts, I messed up my travels. I got on the wrong bus, got off the wrong station, took the second bus into the wrong direction, lost my Oyster card … which brought me somewhere in the middle of nowhere, as if I was in London for the very first time. So, there I was, with my heavy backpack, in a light coat, as I haven’t checked the weather forecast. Freezing, not being able to walk. My leg hurt like hell, the battery on my phone went off so I didn’t even know where I was. I thought: “Okay, I’ll accept this, embrace this and try to figure out what to do with cool head”. The same way I’ve been somehow coping in the past 6 months because I thought this is the way to go about – quite unusual for me, but perhaps suitable, moderate and mature. I started walking, made 5 steps and couldn’t go on, because my pain was prohibiting it. Then someone came by, hit me with their bag and poured their drink on me, accidentally. And then I lost it.

Fuck this, fuck trying to accept things, bend my head and adjust. Screw being polite, attentive, caring, putting everyone else first and trying to do the right thing. Damn it the polite language and manners. It’s obviously not working for me. I am just simply not a kind person, nor am I well-behaved, calm, with good manners, caring or easy to get on with. I am fucking brilliant, temperamental, rude, passionate, fast, but with an amazing capacity to connect people and make them feel good about themselves. I’ve got my negatives and positives, but they are not moderate – they are extreme! No wonder I have many people who adore me, and also many who hate me. But not many who would be neutral. So what’s all the fuss with stoical “accepting”, “embracing”, “being all spiritual” and “zen-like”. This is obviously not my thing, no matter how useful it might be. For some. Not for me. I told the person off big time and he attacked me, verbally (not without reason). He was twice my size so he’d easily kill me if he wanted to, there, somewhere in a dodgy London suburbia. I started laughing in the middle of his verbal diarrhoea. And so did he after his surprised look. We then together called an Uber and got where we both had to be and it turned out to be close to where I needed to be.

Tomorrow is my birthday. Since my last one, I was very much looking forward to it, as it is a very nice number and the one I thought will be somehow memorable. Was hoping to celebrate it with some of my favourite people here in London, like the last year. But in only one year, everything’s changed. I am very likely to end up being alone tomorrow. So on one hand I am quite fed up with everything, but on the other hand, I suspect that I hit the bottom today at this damned bus station and tomorrow I’ll be me again. Being ahead of some tough times. My closest people are ahead of tough times too. Now we’ll see what’s real. What’s authentic. All the rosy glasses will break and what will remain is us being naked. I think I am ready by not being ready. My operation and rehab will be long and very painful. I’ll be receiving morphine and will have to learn how to walk again. I might lose some of my closest people. I’m definitely not ready for that. But I am not scared to love them and I will not fake it through the journey, even if it means upsetting many people, risking things or starting brand new. But I realised that I should be so protective of me and people closest to me, that I’ll simply dismiss everything and everyone for simply having the wrong energy. Fuck this, life is too short and there are too many things I don’t want to miss. Like loving a lot. Laughing a lot. Telling the rest to F*** off. Sorry for my language in this post, but your problem if you have a problem with it 🙂 and it’s my bday soon, right?

I don’t know how able I’ll be to write in the upcoming months. I’m also cutting down nearly all my work. But I’ll try to keep you updated in hope that you might get something in this journey for you in case you are facing some of your own tough situations, called life. We won’t get out alive anyway. So let’s go baby, full speed!

Biba

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No makeup. No masks. No filter. No plans. Many hopes?

Everybody Lies

Dear reader,

pink glasses broken – in this world everybody lies, steals, cheats, hides, pretends. Everybody. Not with everybody and not to the same extent, but let’s be honest, we are human beings. Fragile. Vulnerable. Sometimes feeling small. Sometimes feeling big. Scared. Confused. Hurt. Lonely. Weak. Changing.

Everybody has reasons for doing things society would label as vicious, wrong, evil, unwanted. And most of us will try to hide the mistakes we’ve made, pain we’ve caused or injuries we have generated in other beings or other subjects.

I’ve been trying to be a good, honest, decent, hardworking person. Those values were poured on me since I was little. Though there is nothing wrong with these values and efforts, I can’t understand the lack of open discussion when we do not live up to the standards. Not only lack of open discussion, but lack of discussion whatsoever. I mean who is willing to admit that they had lied in the past? Have done things that were wrong? We’d rather hide it, swipe it under the table and pretend it didn’t happen or that it was someone else’s fault.

In this regard, I think there are two kinds of people: those who are willing to admit that they have their dark sides and are being genuine towards themselves about it and those who are not willing to be true to themselves. Of course there is also the third kind, which would never admit they’ve done anything wrong whatsoever. And to me that goes under the second type. The types of course change as you are a different person every day. However I think it might be useful to ask ourselves this question:

Regarding of what I have done/am doing. Can I still be genuine? To me? To someone whom I consider closest to me? To my best friend?

I’ve done a couple of wrong things, of course. Some of them very wrong. I had for that time good reasons for doing it or it was an act of defence. But I hope to achieve that whatever I’ll do, which might be morally inappropriate from the society’s point of view, will still be acceptable to me. I’ve done things that were “wrong”, but felt really right to me. In such moments it’s good to make up your mind and be brave enough to follow your own “right” even if it’s “wrong”. Once you were able to do that, you won’t feel guilty. Perhaps guilty for not fulfilling the demands of our moral system, however you’ll still be able to look at yourself in the mirror and be content with who is greeting you back.

Some people bring out the best in you. Some people the worst. Some people make you do good things, other people not. And I’ve heard it said you are the average of 5 people you spend most of your time with.

So who do you wanna be in this fake society? I’d for surely rather f*** up than try to be perfect. On paper as well as in practice. What about you?

Biba

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Picture from the internet. Flushing your dreams is causing more moral problems than living it, I believe.

Pessimism & Negativity

Dear reader,

I was born in Slovenia. This country, beautiful as it is, is prone to negativity. I am very sad to say, that its people are very capable, well educated, talented, hard working … but essentially negative and overly pessimistic.

You won’t recognise it at first. But if you are living abroad and/or have had contacts with other nations and other cultures, you would spot this dangerous mindset instantly.

I used to be just alike – being born and raised there. And I’m not writing this to point fingers to anyone – everyone involved in my upbringing was doing the best they could, in their given circumstances and with given means.

I am writing this to show, that there are things that can be done to change this mindset. That things CAN be different.

First things first, some disclaimers. I do think pessimism is better than optimism. This is my internal belief. Why? Because research shows that pessimists are more right. That they see the truth and holistic picture as it is, not as they want it to be. However, and especially because of this, I had to LEARN optimism. Not to embrace it fully and look at the world through pink glasses (not my thing), but instead view it through pragmatical approach and recover fast from whatever challenges life brings me.

When I first left Slovenia in 2014, my self confidence and professional identity was quite low, I was quite shy and here’s why:

I was taught that “it can’t be done“. That “it’s a waste of time, because my idea won’t work out anyway“.

And if I managed to do it anyway, people were jealous, telling things behind my back or were in best case, cool towards my successes. Very few people were genuinely happy and those people today are all thriving somewhere, either in Slovenia, but many have moved abroad.

In 2014, when I first proposed one humble idea to my hosting organisation in the UK, I was expecting a response with arguments of why this idea might not work out. And list of things how it might not work out. So I was already prepared to give up. Instead, I got a helping hand, telling me it was a fabulous idea and they would like to develop and discuss it further with me. It blew away my mind, because it was a response I would expect the least.

It showed me, there IS a different way. There IS another approach. So I started learning Solution Focused Approach. It changed my life. And I had no idea how much, until I had my mother over for a visit the past weekend. She and my husband were engaged in a conversation, quite passionately sharing some of the views or arguing when not. Their whole conversation was imbued with negativity and moaning about and towards pretty much everything – the politics, weather, habits, news, neighbours, etc. Their suggestions were so negative. And I felt a huge weight on my chest, even though I was not engaged in the conversation and did not want to do so either. I felt 13 again. It felt like home, a known feeling, but not a good fit.

So they drew a picture in front of me, showing me not how they are, but how much I have changed. I have cultivated a whole new and different mindset, which got me to be an international trainer. And now I want to share some of that knowledge and skills I had to learn (sometimes the hard way), but for you, you can simply get it from me.

It doesn’t have to be all bad. We don’t have to live in such a negative world. You CAN learn to do it differently. And change your whole world.

If you are tired of this negativity too and if you are a Slovenian, I am organising a free online workshop for you to have a taster of the Solution Focused (SF) Approach. Sign up here and perhaps make a step towards the best part of your life. It was definitely the best one for me.

See you there,

Biba

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World Citizen: Cuba

Dear reader,

we just got back from Cuba. After submitting my PhD theory I needed a break, a proper one, somewhere far away where I’d pick myself up and recharge. My husband and I collectively voted for Cuba, as we wanted to see it in its original form before the consumerism and capitalism ruin it.

Cuba is an island which can be described in two words: ever changing. What we read on blogs and websites only a few months old, was no longer true when we arrived there. Our trip was not organised. We had only first two nights booked and the rest was spontaneous. As I was so busy, I did not bother looking at any travel guide or read anything about Cuba. I thought I’d do it on the plane, but there I was learning Spanish (successfully!), so speaking for myself, I had only a rough idea that I am going to visit a Caribbean island where it’ll be summer and dry season and which regime is socialism (but coming from a post-socialistic country I kinda knew what this meant).

Our arrival and travel went smoothly. We reached Havana by evening and had someone picking us up and taking us to our casa. The next day we were served breakfast. I was absolutely astonished by tropical fruit, but seeing the bread on our table I thought: “Na-a, I’m not going to eat that”. See the picture.

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Day one of our breakfast. I only had papayas and bananas. By the end of our travel I ate everything.

I’m not going to eat artificial burger-like bread made of white flour and loads of sugar. Nor am I going to eat butter substitute. Cheese and eggs tasted like soap, my husband said, while me being a vegan, refused to even try it. And here comes the hard truth of socialism: one cannot buy anything. The shops literally had nothing but some huge tins of beans (sugar added of course), loads of tomato sauce, some rice and at least five kinds of rum. I couldn’t find any fruit, nor bread. I thought fine, I’ll live on our fruit bars brought from Europe. Havana was dirty and smelly. The houses were adorable perhaps 50 years ago, but today it was all falling apart. We had not yet discovered Havana Vieja, which is better and truly beautiful, but the rest looks like as if it is going to collapse within the next five years because nobody cares to rebuild or repair what is broken.

We headed off to Viñales, a national park on the west with tobacco and coffee plantation. Our first taxi collectivo ride. Stopped on the way and I thought “nice, stretch my legs a bit” and as I took some pictures, the driver started shouting at me and prohibited to take some more. We were at a place where black petrol was being sold. The average petrol price compares to prices in Europe, which is about 1eur/l but on a black market one can get one liter for 10 cents.

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Cuban black petrol market. You’d recognise one immediately, wouldn’t you?

Vinales was beautiful. The mogotes all around the valley looked friendly and inviting. Cuba is very green, clean and the nature is untouched (which is what I like!). But the city and our tourist experience was insulting for a Slovenian. Slovenians are so spoiled, because we live in a country with such beautiful nature, environment and such high living standard that it is literally impossible to impress us (for me only New Zealand exceeded my expectations, and I’ve seen quite some bits of this planet already). We took a horse ride to the natural park. Stopped by a farmer where I smoked my first cigar. Then off to a coffee plantation where one old man was explaining us the process of making coffee in three minutes and used the rest of his 20-minute tour selling us coffee, honey and rum. We were then taken to a “lago natural” which was an artificial water tank with muddy water. And the Mural de la Prehistoria was someone painting the rocks with modern colours. I understand that tourism is the main cuban industry but I do not understand the tourists who were actually impressed (or perhaps acting so). Anyhow, we thought the show was ridiculous and decided to leave Viñales asap so booked our Viazul bus to Trinidad where I was hoping to see my longing for beach. Unfortunately we both got very sick and spent the night interchangeably vomiting or sitting on the toilet. I got high fever and was freezing and trembling on my side of bed. After such an ordeal, we had to do the “check in” for the bus at 6.10 am. The bus was supposed to leave at 6.45 but left at 7.30. First we had to walk up a small hill for our check in for about 20 mins and then again down where our bus was waiting. It would make it too complicated to pick us up I suppose and the station was only used to drop people off. I swallowed a painkiller and slept throughout the whole ride which took a bit more than 9 hours.

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I can’t tell you what a dear friend that street dog was!

Arriving at Trinidad sometime pm, we went looking for a casa recommended by some people we met in Viñales. Unfortunately it was full, but the lady was kind and recommended us another one. Which was for the same amount of money (25 cuc/room) a box with no water in the shower, synthetic linens and squeaking bed, straight next to a huge refrigerator so we were exposed to a constant light and noise. We didn’t mind and went straight to bed at 6pm and slept until the next morning. I thought to myself

“Shit, what a spoiled cookie you are, girl. You better adjust your standards or you are likely to have the worst holiday of your life!”

Woken up the next day feeling much better. Trinidad was adorable. Went off looking for another casa, as this one was clearly too expensive for the un-comfort it offered, we explored the streets of Trinidad. Then found our place which has been our home for the next 9 days. Our casa of Jachima and Ariel close to Park Cespedes was gorgeous. Having had so much misfortune so far, we decided to give up traveling around and just settle in for a while. And this is when real holidays started.

Not without challenges though. As soon as we got better, we gained our appetite back. Especially mine is quite huge, I eat huge amounts of food but am very picky in what I eat. Since Trinidad shops were even more modest than the Havana ones, I had to adjust. By the end of our stay I’ve probably eaten about 100 buns of that “awful bread that I am not going to eat” and about 50 eggs. Both without any taste, but I stopped complaining, because there was nothing else to eat except some baby food with condensed milk (forget about fresh milk in Cuba, though last day of our trip I saw a soy milk carton which was a huge surprise, but massively expensive).

It is amazing how flexible we are, humans. Being in a country which has very different culture and habits to your own forces you to adjust and think faster. I was very pleased with myself to discover that I’ve been super spoiled. You would not believe the joy I felt when finding a man on the street selling tomatoes. Even managed to get some Swiss chard and it made me the happiest person.

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Behind me is a Skoda. Probably made in 1950’s!

Now about the sea and the beaches. It was so worth it. Playa Ancon was my heaven on Earth. Crystal clear turquoise warm sea with the temperature around 26-27 or even more, not a single rubbish on the floor, a beach where you could easily find a spot to be completely alone or among others, but not plenty. We went there almost every day. I got a nice suntan and a close encounter with a ray fish which was very nice as none of us was scared, so we spent quite some time together in slightly deeper water, curious about each other.

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No filter. The water really was that colour.

Every time you travel, travel changes you. I think there is a proverb saying that every travelling is travelling to yourself. And I agree. I discovered Europe through Cuba, a different perspective. It made me so sad thinking about our excessive consumerism and loads of plastic we produce every hour. Amounts of food, clothes and other things we are throwing away. When we left, our car (my lovely Peugeot 206) broke down and we were thinking of getting a new one. Such a car in Cuba would cost around 8,000 cuc and was considered highly valuable and fashionable! I left with my famous suitcase full of clothes I was gonna throw away in Europe, but in Cuba they all of a sudden seemed fine to me and I almost changed my mind by thinking of bringing it back home again (which I then did not – I came back with only what I had on, no extra luggage :).

Then about people. Cubans are very special. The conditions they live in are rough. The money they earn is scarce, the government salaries are ridiculous so no wonder nobody wants to work. But they are smiling all the time. They stick together. Families are one of the most important networks. They help each other. They are not craving for material things – when we wanted to sell our iPad (because we thought they might be interested and for us was getting rather old) they carelessly raised their eyebrows saying we do like it, but we do not need it. It made me thing how many things I own or am craving for, but actually do not need.

In Cuba I survived with minimum, even less than in India. And I did not feel much deprivation (only food-wise, but again, I am very picky when it comes to that, but thought that okay, this is not forever, so I’ll survive). So being back home now into 30cm of snow and 0 degrees makes me want to take some lessons from Cuba into my western lifestyle. Some you can view below in a short video.

And some other “resolutions” or discoveries are connected to realisation that most people on this planet survive with less than 5 Euro/day. Because they have to. Why don’t I try to survive with the same, but not because I have to, but because I can? So here it goes:

  • I do not have to consume all kinds of superfoods coming from far away. We have superfood in Slovenia, but it is not marketed as much and totally inexpensive.
  • I do not have to eat avocado etc. here, where it does not grow. I simply do not want to contribute to the pollution its production and transportation takes.
  • I do not have to own 369276 different outfits for every other occasion. A few classic pieces would do.
  • I do not have to throw something away just because it is broken or torn. Perhaps I could remember how to sew again. And so what if that coffee cup is broken. If it still holds water, it can still be my favourite.
  • Zero waste. Dear reader, we are going to suffocate if we don’t act now. I’ll do my best to try and go zero waste. Went shopping today. It is very challenging, but I’ll keep going!
  • No plastic. Very challenging again! But I’ve given up on shampoo and shower gels, I will eventually give up on toothpaste and other beauty products and will learn how to make my own.
  • Ancient wisdom. In Slovenia, we have so many herbs and spices, not to mention flowers. My grandmother knew what to pick when. I have no clue. Perhaps time to start asking her for some advice and learn the art of tea and other homemade remedies.

I guess that should do. For all of you who are considering visiting Cuba, do it fast, because it is changing. The prices were similar to European, but for much lower quality or service. Capitalism is definitely going to kick in, especially if the embargo from the USA finishes sometime in the future. So if you are after a romantic Cuba, now is the time to discover it. I enjoyed my experience a lot – pleasant and unpleasant bits. The only question for me now is how am I gonna survive my next trip, which is going to Canada work-wise in a week – from +30 degrees into -10? But hey – what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, right?

Much love to you,

Biba

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Check the time. We waited for two hours to have our luggage checked in and then our plane was delayed by over an hour. Oh well, the European one as well 😀