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    Middelkerke and a lil’ annoyance during summer break

    It’s 3am in Middelkerke and had you told me a month ago that I’d be in this place, at this moment, writing a blog post, I’d have said, “Middel-what, now?”.

    I’ve had one too many cups of tea and coffee today and, yes, I know these sentences usually have ‘whisky’ rather than tea/coffee, but, hey, it’s a caffeine rush like I haven’t had in forever… And, well, alcohol has never been my drug of choice.

    While talking to a friend earlier today, I realised I’ve created a pattern with regards to how I deal with relationships in general, which is:

    1. Meet human
    2. Open up and share a great deal through sarcastic remarks
    3. Become close friends with said human
    4. Friendship is well established, can slowly reduce the amount of sarcasm and start sharing ‘with my walls down’.

    Now, I don’t see anything wrong with that, because, well, look at my friends. Look at how amazing they are. I love them with all my heart and am ever so grateful for having them in my life. But, then, I realised this is also how I’ve been avoiding romantic/intimate relationships for over a year now. Hehe. Befriend everyone and that’s it, that’s the closest you’re gonna get. It hurt too much the last time I went through a breakup, and, honestly, who needs that heartache/headache, amirite.

    Anyway, suddenly, there’s a New Human.

    One that sees right through my sarcastic remarks, and, after a short period of time, I found myself sharing ‘with my walls down’ because Human was there. It went from step #1 straight to #4, howdoidealwiththat. Human is still there and hasn’t shown a sign of being shocked or scared by my weird little self. The toughest stuff to talk about comes out and, hey, Human isn’t running away yet, whattheheck.

    It’s a “I’ll be caught me if I fall” situation and I find myself allowing to feel things I hadn’t felt in a long time. I never gave much thought about it, simply decided to go for it and not care about what happened next. After all, isn’t it the best feeling in the world, when you know people care as much about you as you care about them?

    Except people are people and they change their minds. In my case, it was because Human ‘thought things through’ and realised that because I’m not staying in the same country forever, why even bother.

    Or maybe this was just an excuse. How would I know, I can’t read minds.

    It doesn’t really matter, now that I think of it. There was a lot of wonderingwhy in my mind the past few days, but I’ve concluded that my need for an explanation was rooted in the belief that if I understood why, it’d hurt less. As if, haha. I needed to feel the hurting, though. Because I’m human and I shouldn’t shove negative feelings to the back of mind to let it all pile up ’til it exploded in my face one day.

    There was hurting, yes, but I couldn’t even bring myself to get mad. People are people and they are allowed to change their minds. There is no point (or energy in me) to get mad at such ordinary part of reality. Moreover – my expectations were mine to deal with, and not to impose/force them onto someone else.

    Reminder: it’s okay to feel hurt. If I hadn’t allowed myself to let it all sink in, I wouldn’t have understood my feelings in order to deal with them. Then, I went from feeling hurt to slightly annoyed that I wasted time and energy dealing with someone who didn’t show me much consideration, to okay, it happened, things are fine now, the end. It’s not that I wasn’t good enough, or anything like that, it’s just that people are different and want different things. C’est la vie.

    It’s taken me a few nights for me to process all this, but I’m okay now.

    Staying true to myself and always being honest about everything has helped me through all this. (Actually, I think it has helped me through everything ever.) There’s nothing I said that I regret saying, and in the end I had said all I wanted to say.

    As for how I go about my relationships in general, I think keeping a good level of sarcastic remarks around me has been a great way to filter who gets close to me and who doesn’t, hah. I only have amazing people in my life, so I’ll keep it that way… But, well, note to future self: stop adding more sarcastic remarks around you whenever a New Human wants to get closer. Let Human in, even though Human might walk away.

    It’s all gonna be okay, regardless of what happens. 

    Ps.: how do you deal with situations like this? Do you wish you could rub the person’s face against the road? Is it easy for you to let it go? Let’s chat – you can either leave a comment here or tweet me @sofiachangx.

    Pps.: thank you, @alvaro_bernart and @itspatriciasn for proofreading this post before it went live.

    tour eiffel paris france sofia chang

    A weekend in Paris

    “I don’t feel like going to Paris, am not curious about it, idk, would only go if someone paid for me, lol”, I said every time someone asked me if I’d been to Paris yet, since I’m in Europe and all. But there I was, on the 20th of May, getting off a bus at Porte Maillot, 8am, resembling a zombie after a sleepless night spent travelling.

    Suddenly, this human jumps out of nowhere and hugs me. One of my best friends from high school, Leroy, to whom I owe so much. I knew that I needed to be around familiar and friendly faces, but, dammit, I had no idea of how much I needed that until I hugged him.

    So, I was in Paris. But not exactly because it was Paris, but more so because of the friend I wanted to see so badly. Leroy left Brazil last year to go study in Germany and suddenly I was without my weekly coffee-and-pleasant conversation session, which I so dearly missed.

    “You’re in Paris now, where do you wanna go?”, he asked. What a question to ask a somewhat zombie and starving Sofia. “Anywhere that has food”, duh.

    We walked. Soon enough, we’d reached the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile. OMG, THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE, something I never ever thought about seeing irl!

    – Do you want to take a selfie?

    – Nah, I’m good, I just wanna eat. It is a beautiful thing to look at, though.

    – OF COURSE, it is a majestic monument commissioned by Napoleon after his victory at Austerlitz. How dare you talk about it like that, it represents so much, *insert History related babbling here*.

    Ok, so, the thing about Leroy is that he’s not just a major History and Geopolitics nerd, but he’s also obsessed with France. The language, the culture, the food, the History, everything. He had a bunch of random facts about every place we went to in Paris. Oh, this person was stabbed here, this politician spent a week at that hotel, this other thing happened in 1985, the current mayor is doing that… 

    We crossed the Arc and started walking down le Champs-Élysées Avenue. ALL. THE. LITTLE. CAFÉS. OFFERING. YUMMY. PETITS. DÉJEUNERS. AAAAAAAAAAAAA. That’s when it hit me – OMG, I’m in Paris!!!! YUMMY FOOD AND CUTE CAFÉS AND LEROY, WHAT EVEN. 

    I don’t even know how we picked a café to eat at, as I was so overwhelmed by all the choices, haha. All I know is that we sat down, ordered breakfast for two, ate yummy bread and yummy croissant, had fresh orange juice and decent coffee…  And we talked. For more than three hours. And the waiter didn’t do anything to try to kick us out of there!! In fact, he was so nice! I was already prepared to get le ~rude French treatment~ I’ve always heard SO MUCH about, but, nah, he was super nice, wanted to know where we were from, what we were doing in Paris, what we were studying, blahblahblah.

    Leroy and I spent Saturday and Sunday walking through cute Parisian streets, took the metro a gazillion times to explore other places, but what we did the most was just sit on the grass to have a picnic, talk, listen to music, take naps and read. I guess that’s the kind of stuff you can do anywhere, except we did it by the Eiffel Tower, and at the Luxembourg Garden, and by the Trocadéro… etc. We also hugged a gigantic Golden Retriever that was walking around us at a park, and, boy, did I need doggo hugs ♡.

    On Saturday evening, I met a twitter friend irl, Seb (@Far0s). He’s been living in Paris for a couple of years now, so he knew where to find good food, which is always Top Priority. We ended up eating at a restaurant near the Saint-Michel station, as there are endless little streets with restaurants nearby. Thanks for taking time off your weekend to meet me and show me where to find good food in Paris, Seb 🙂

    On Monday, another pleasant encounter – lunch with my favourite Literature teacher from Brazil. A few days before going to Paris, I had seen her post on Facebook that she was studying in Paris, so I messaged her and we managed to meet up. YayShe was (is!!!) a brilliant Literature teacher, responsible for my love for several novels and the Portuguese language. Anyways.

    The three of us had lunch at a restaurant near the Jardin du Luxembourg, and from there we went to Montmartre, to see the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur. We talked about our school, politics, studying, life… There is something rather marvellous about talking to someone you’ve always admired and respected after years without seeing each other. I’ll always be grateful for having the opportunity to be her student.

    On Monday night, I was on my way back to The Hague.

    If I were to describe my trip to Paris with one word, I would say that it was marvellous.

    All the anxious thoughts that were eating me up alive were gone. All the stress giving me insane migraines was gone. Seeing people who I love, people who mean home to me, put my little anxious heart back to its normal pace. Nobody was rude to us. We could sit at cafés and restaurants for hours, talking and enjoying the food, without feeling like hey is this waiter trying to kick us out? Everyone was très sympathiqueMaybe it’s because we didn’t go flaunting around in English, so they treated us with the utmost respect? I don’t know.

    All I know is that I crave more days like the ones I had in Paris. And that I’m forever grateful for all the people I have in my life, for the amazing conversations, for all they teach me, for being there for me, for being home in this weird continent. Also – thank you, Leroy. Paris would not have been so memorable if it weren’t for you. ♡

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    paris france streets sofia changExploring Parisleroy sofia chang jardin du luxembourg paris franceTried taking a selfie with Leroy but he wouldn’t let me 🙁

    Have you ever been to Paris? If yes, what was your favourite thing about the city? If not – do you want to go there? Lemme know by leaving a comment here or by tweeting me @sofiachangx.