Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta learning. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta learning. Mostrar todas las entradas

viernes, 20 de abril de 2018

Lessons in the ice


   I would always spend my winters in my friend Robert’s cabin, in the woods just north of the Northern Lake. His family never used it on such windy and cold months but I needed that time to be alone and be able to think for once, about my life, decisions and so on. My family lived far away and I didn’t have any money to go and visit them, so I would pack my laptop and portable Wi-Fi and just cold them from the cabin on Christmas day to wish them all a happy day and talk to them for a while.

 The reason I liked the cabin, or at least the main one, was that the lake was just a few minutes away by walking. Part of it would freeze but the other half would stay liquid because of a strong current coming from a river that traverse the body of water. The part of the lake nearest to the cabin was the one that was always frozen, and I would practice my jumps and twists right there. I would do it for hours, never fearing that the ice would break beneath my feet or that I could be attacked by a feral animal.

 I had grown to know the lake deeply, so I knew very well that the ice was at its thickest when I visited, almost a meter thick at times. That was more than enough for me to spend hours and hours practicing. My skating was getting sloppy and I couldn’t do the things that I was famous for several years before, when I first entered the ice skating circuit. I had been labeled a “star” and “the next best thing to come out of ice skating”. There were gifts and praise and flowers and all kinds of beautiful moments.

 But that had happened then and this was now. Me gliding on the ice, jumping and trying to make a good figure, just to be stopped in the middle of the air by my weight or my stupid feet. I seemed to have lost my form in a matter of a few years and coming back now was going to be the most difficult thing ever. I had made the decision to try my best to make a comeback, a last attempt at glory before I entered well into my thirties. That’s the magical number that you cannot go over, not in this world.

 I had checked out every single competitor I was going to have and they were all much younger than me. The prodigy of the group was a kid that was more than ten years younger, with a small stature and slender body, he was sure to make a big impression in any contest. I needed to work a lot to get to that level, to even get near what the others were doing. No one cared that I had won so many awards years ago. They didn’t care if they had been gold, silver or bronze. I wasn’t in their landscape at all. I was just a memory of a past that wasn’t that old.

 I worked out every single day in the cabin, just after having a small breakfast. I would jog around the woods and do sit-ups and pull-ups and every single kind of exercise to make my body what it had used to be. It hurt a lot and it there were many moments in which I wanted to drop it all and just go back to what I had been doing for the past year and a half. Working at the supermarket and as a cashier in the local skating rink was not bad at all. It helped pay the bills at least. But I needed more.

 Telling anyone about my plans was out of the question. Even after sending my papers to inscribe my name for the upcoming events, no one had notice that I was there, trying to make a comeback. They would only notice me once I stepped in the ice once again to reclaim my throne or at least make a decent attempt at it. I hadn’t told my family or anyone else. No one needed to know about what I wanted to do with the next few years of my life. They wouldn’t understand why I just need to do it.

 Maybe if I had a friend, I would tell them what was going on in my head the moment I decided to go back to such a difficult sports life. But I don’t have any because everyone left me after I stopped being famous and a success. And those who didn’t leave me were alienated by the person I became after I hung up my skates to pursue a more “normal” life. They were disappointed in me and got fed up of my negative attitude towards life. I have always said that I would never hold that against them.

 Sometimes, at night, I wonder about what those people think now that I’m planning to come back to the competitions. Are they going to be still mad at me for leaving everything in the first place or are they going to silently cheer me on? Well, I’m never going to know that but it’s not important. I need to do this whatever the results may be and no matter how difficult it can get. And it’s already pretty hard so I guess things are going to be pretty messy. But that’s the challenge I accepted.

 When winter is over, I will go back to the city and start practicing on a proper ice rink and then the trials and competitions will begin. Everyone will know I’m trying to get back to the top and then everything will become even harder. But I trust I can push through and just get to a point were I get to enjoy skating again. I want to feel what I felt all those years ago, because it was the best feeling ever. It was like walking on clouds and being able to fly over everyone else, doing something most people would only dream about. It felt so special and magical, a one of a kind sensation.

 But before that, I need to get back in shape, I need to be able to be that person I once was or at least someone very similar. I have to learn from the mistakes I made back then and also make new ones, because no one is perfect and there’s no way I’m going to step on those competitions thinking I’m better than others just because I have been there before. No, I need to know that I’m starting over, from the bottom. I need to make the trip to the top with all the dangers and difficulties, because that’s the only way I can do this right.

 Sometimes, I can already feel the rush through my body, going up from the skates to my hair, rushing with my blood which is warmed by the simple power that you feel when you’re doing something that makes you feel unique and present in this world. That one of a kind feeling.

 But then I fell, flat on my ass, hitting myself once and again and again, against the hard and cold ice. I see my body covered in cuts and bruises and I realize I’m just beginning. There’s still a long way to go for me but I do not mind at all. I want to get to the finish line. I need to get there.

miércoles, 24 de enero de 2018

Her

   The explosion was strong enough to blow away every single glass of the magnificent apartment. It occupied the whole 35th floor of one of the tallest residential buildings in the city and it had been featured in several magazines as one of those grand and amazing apartment that people should be looking at if they wanted to have one ever in their life. Not that that goal was any realistic, as Wilbur Wright, owner of the apartment, had inherited the millions of dollars that had paid the apartment and everything on it.

 The destruction of the apartment was shrouded in mystery as, two days later when the fire had finally been put out by firemen, there was no real clue as to what or whom could have cause the explosion. It was clear that nothing ordinary had been the culprit: there were no gas leaks of any kind, not a faulty wire in the whole premises and not even a problem with any of the many gadgets and electronics that made the apartment an automated environment that worked on its own, with no help from any human.

 Wilbur Wright had been on a plane on his way home when the incident happened and he was taken in a rush to a gran hotel room in order to protect his life, as many thought he was still in danger. But he had no idea about what they were all talking about, as most people loved him. Yes, he had inherited all of his money and didn’t really work at all, but he was the charitable face of his family’s organization and had been a patron of the arts for quite a while. Who would attack such a person?

 From his hotel room, he was able to watch the flames consuming his apartment, as the buildings were not very far apart. He had bought so many collectible items for his private quarters, many objects and art pieces that were one of a kind. Many museums had tried to buy them from him but he had always refused stating that there was no better person than him to take care of a precious item and that there was no safer place in the world than his apartment for such things. Clearly, that had not been the case.

 The morning the fire was extinguished, he got permission to enter the premises and check for himself what remained of his beloved apartment. Every single piece of furniture had been consumed, even the expensive food he kept on the kitchen. Every piece of granite, marble and titanium was now tainted forever with a black stain, with yellowish tones that indicated the temperature of the flames. He went to what used to be his room. He opened the closet and typed a few numbers on a keyboard the firemen had missed. It was a large vault, embedded into the wall.

 The vault’s door opened and it revealed a small room that had resisted the fire and the smoke. However, Mr. Wright collapsed once he entered the small space and started yelling and pulling his hair. For a moment, the men and women around thought of giving him some space to process whatever he was dealing with. But then they realized he was pulling his hair a little bit too much, actually pulling some of it from his skull, getting it on his hands and then on the floor. He had to be taken away to a hospital.

 The news of his breakdown went viral in hours. It was assumed that one of the firemen, or maybe one of the police officers, had recorded everything on a cellphone, as everyone watched Mr. Wright pulling out his hairs. The video had been uploaded to the Internet and now thousands of pulling were looking at him going crazy. Some of them laughed and some others even shed a tear. The common part of the response was that everyone wondered what had cause him to have the breakdown then and not before.

 Wilbur was released after a whole week in the hospital. His family came to take him home, which was a very rare sight on the part of their family, as they had never seemed to be close at all. The parents had decided to live a life of leisure since they had given their children control of all the businesses, and no pictures of the kids’ younger days had ever been released to the public, something that seemed odd at the beginning but they told every news outlet it was because they respected they children.

 The truth was the family was as cold as some of people thought it was. Wilbur rarely ever spoke to his father or mother, not even when he had been for a brief moment in charge of the shipping company his father had created when he was younger. Wilbur had done such an awful job running it, that the family had decided to fire everyone and dissolve the company altogether. Of course, it had been awful for the workers but the family thought it had been a disaster because they realized that Wilbur didn’t really now anything.

 They took him to their summerhouse, far from the city, in order to ask him about his mental state. They wanted to know if they had to be worried about it since it would be something more to add to the shame they felt for having him as a child. That’s what they told him, word by word. They didn’t care if he felt bad because of their words; they just wanted answers and the faster the better. Wilbur only said they didn’t have to worry about anything as his problems were his alone. The way he said it stopped them in their tracks and they decided not to speak again of the matter.

 The truth was that Wilbur didn’t want anyone to know about what had happened with his house. He wanted to ask the fire department for another tour of the ruins, but it had been decided that the building should be evacuated completely in order to check for any issues that the fire could have caused to the structure of the tower. No one was allowed in, except for law enforcement and the investigators that the city had working to know if everything was ok after the destruction.

 Wilbur was so desperate about his secrets that he decided to use his money to bribe a policeman in order to let him into the tower one night, after everyone had gone home. He was able to do it quietly and without any cameras or people looking at him. He went straight for his vault again and when he opened the door, his fists tightened, as well as his jaw. He even repressed the need to punch a wall or destroy the few things that had been left inside that place. Not that there was a lot there.

 Only a few papers and a little safe with some cash. It was all just for security but his biggest secret, his biggest creation if you will, and the only proof he was much more than what his family thought he was, was not there anymore. Every part of his creation had been destroyed by the fire and the only way to bring it back had been clearly stolen, probably minutes before the explosion. That was the proof that someone had gotten in and knew exactly what to look for, someone had known something he had told no one.

 He wasn’t really scared about that person using his creation against him or even playing the people into thinking he or she had created such a thing. Nothing like that bothered him. It was the relationship he had created, the fact that now he felt as if his only child had been yanked away from his hands. He felt hollow, alone and very sad. That was the reason he had collapsed when opening the vault, the reason his brain had not been able to cope with what had happened.

 He had named it Pamela, after one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. He had created Pamela when younger, after reading a lot about computers and programming. He learned all that by himself and no one in his family or work had a clue about his hobby.


 Pamela was the product of his efforts. He worked a bit on her, every day, and he was proud to think that he had created a perfect example of artificial intelligence. She was nice, smart and very intuitive. She was a friend, a daughter and a companion. And now, he had no idea where she could be.

sábado, 7 de enero de 2017

Accidents happen

   The pain in my legs was, for lack of a better word, horrible. Any movement caused me awful pain, so I had to learn to be still or to move only from the waist up, twirling that part of my body like a gummy candy. The bed they had assigned for me was, thankfully, larger than myself and very comfortable. It even had a sweet scent that I couldn't point to but that I found really interesting and soothing. I think it may have been vanilla or something very similar because it reminded me of my past. For some reason, that smell help me calm down whenever my legs would start to make me feel as if I was in front of the devil in the depths of hell. It was that bad and, looking back, I can easily say it was one of the worst moments in my life.

 The accident had caused me to stay in that bed for months, in that hospital located in the middle of nowhere. The number of patients changed dramatically during my time there. At one point, I could swear we were not more than twenty people. Later on, it felt like a filled up prison holding more than a thousand inmates. And I talk about prison because that's how it felt like sometimes and the building really did help to that effect. It was one of those relics from some war long ago and they had tried, without much success, to convert it completely to a hospital. Apparently it had also been a mental house, a school, an orphanage and even a place where alcohol would be hidden from the local authorities.

 The history of the place, without a doubt, was very interesting. But during my stay I could only think about when I was going to be released. The doctors told me, through a translator they had called only for my case, that my recovery was going to be so difficult that it was best if I stayed there for several months. All in all, I stayed there for around five months until I was finally released. The doctors and the nurses were not the most loving or soft people in the world but they were very good at what they did. Maybe I didn't see them smile very often but I know that they did the best they could with my case and thanks to them I was able to recover. Of course, my legs still have some moments of "weird behavior", but I have learned to live with that.

 After all, only centimeters and seconds had separated me from being dead. Everytime I think about the accident, I understand everything a little bit less, if that's even possible. Because I have no idea how I got to be fighting for my life, my legs covered in blood and my body just aching with pain. I have no idea how I endured after all of that but here I am, I guess. It happens often after I shower that I sit down on a chair in my bedroom and I look down to them and I see some of the scars, still visible below a not so thick layer of hair. I am thankful to be alive and walking around because I have no idea how the hell they did it, how they made my legs work as if nothing had ever happen to them. It's just amazing.

 I am not a religious person and doubt I will ever be but, during my stay in the hospital and even recently, I have found myself praying somewhere in my house. I had never done that before but I guess that when death has been so close, you just want to cover your bases. And besides that, I really think it was a miracle that I could walk again. I don't think it was the Lord or anything like that that helped me recover, but I cannot find a proper way to understand how it all came up to this. to me writing about this, here and now, as if had been nothing. It just amazes me every day and I think many people that know me and that know about what happened to me, are just as amazed by all of it as I am.

 Even the stay in that dreadful place is something I will keep forever in my heart. Because in that place I learned to love myself for who I am and not for anything else. I learned to settle down, to calm down even and let things fall into place before I rush into anything. I had many sleepless nights, many moments of reflection during days in which I didn't do much. I even met some great people and, towards the end, I also had a temporary lover who helped me in more ways than one to pull it off, to survive what I was going through. It wasn't easy and I won't, ever, forget that it happened because it is one of those pivotal moments in someone's life. It had to be that bad to get a slightly better with time.

miércoles, 21 de septiembre de 2016

Thoughts on family

   You don’t have to cry in order to be sad and you don’t have to smile every time you fell happy. Each person deals with moments, with feelings, in their own way and there is nothing bad about that. We are just different and that is what makes us interesting to each other. If we were all the same, there would be no point in meeting each other and building up relationships. Being different makes us unique and better, in every single sense of the word.

 However, it is always better to be able to demonstrate what you feel in order for other people to notice what’s going on, especially if some of those people are of any interest to you. For example, you have to be able to talk or at least show your parents how you feel and why you’re feeling the way you are. You don’t have to be able to do that with every single person in the world but it is very important to be able to communicate with family.

 Family is the group of people we have never chosen to be with and the group of people we should know better than anyone else. And I say should because it is clear that many people do not live like this, meaning that some of us don’t even know that much about our siblings or our parents. It is very typical that, as children, we don’t really see our parents as equals. We see them as people that are just wiser and move in other circles that we just don’t understand. When we’re little, they seem so mysterious and difficult to understand.

 However, as we grow older, we realize parents are just like us: they are a couple of humans who’ve had a life before we entered their lives and will continue to live independently from us once we get out of the house or even as we are still living in there. That’s why divorces are so tough on a family: it breaks up a whole bunch of connections and many things you have learned about your parents don’t really mean anything anymore. In that case, everything seems to become something else so you feel lost and confused but the truth is that, with a little effort, everything comes back to what it once was or at least something like it.

 Then there are siblings, who depending on the age gap, can seem like friends or like some other strangers, like parents. If they age gap is not so big between siblings, the possibility of having a true friendship develop between them is very high. That’s simply because you treat the people your same age as friends and equals and you tend to get closer to them because interests are similar and you are able to understand each other. When the age gap is too big however, the level of friendship can be high or very low, reaching the level of friendship you have with your parents when you’re young.

 What’s great about brothers and sisters is that you get and instant set of friends that way, or at least the possibility of having them in the house, different from school friends that come and go because hey have their own separate lives that may run close but never really parallel to your life. Of course, sibling don’t have similar lives but at least the first fifteen years of life is frequently similar as you probably all go to the same school, you share all those meals during the week, the holidays, the moments with the parents and a very large array of things that come with the fact that you live in family.

 Of course, there are many types of families, some of them not even having siblings or both parents or even parents at all. Besides that, there are families that do not really believe there should be a tight relationship between parents and children as in the old days people believed children only had to respect their elders and that’s what was required in a family. Love was something that people supposedly felt but it wasn’t the same kind of feeling we think of today. People tended to be colder before because it was more practical, especially as families were a lot larger: there could be up to ten children in one household or more so there was no real sense of “having to” love them all deeply and without reservations. There was responsibility and respect and that was it.

  Of course, the fact that there should be love in a family doesn’t mean that it’s going to be perfect every single day. Family relationships can be as difficult as relationships with other people and that frequently has a lot to do with how complicated things are in the household, the moments of life you and your family are going through and the personalities of each person. There can be days when everything is laughter and beautiful and everyone gets along in the most respectful but also thoughtful manner. On the other hand, you can have days when everything is a constant fight, everything is a problem and all the words that you speak might be cause for some sort of quarrel.

 But that’s exactly what a family is supposed to look like, The old days when everything had to be said in the most proper of words even if you were addressing your brother or your mother are done. And doesn’t mean that everyone speaks in the most awful manner to their family but that the relationship has evolved and its now possible to get closer through the language and through the best words that you can use to communicate with people you have loved and seen for so long. Family is something very strange and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are so many forms of it all around the planet. Even in the building we are living in there could be dozens of varieties.

That probably why beginning a new family is so strange at first. No one really knows how to properly do it but you always have the example that you received at home. Even if it isn’t the best example in the world, it should be enough to get you started in the basics of creating a new family. And nowadays, the process can be done much slowly that before because in the modern world not many people are able to establish themselves outside the familiar home and then not many are willing to stop their careers and so on in order to create a home, which often includes bringing a new member of the family to the world.

 Some people think it is better to save some money before “looking for” their first kid. Some others think it’s better to have a child early in life, in order to enjoy the upbringing and being able to cope with what childhood entails. It’s not the same to be a parent in your twenties than in your sixties. There are both advantages and disadvantages to each way of doing it. And then, there are also the “unexpected” arrivals, which normally happen when people are young but can also happen later. In those case, you’re just pushed into adulthood and family.

 Pieces tend to come together when a family is being formed. Money may not be coming in huge amounts and it may be difficult to find a proper place but people always seem to be able to make it no matter what. Like in the past, families today can thrive despite of difficulties. The difficult thing, probably, is to keep yourself in that perfect balance as you try to make it all better for you and your new family. They are probably many things missing but it’s just like a game of domino’s or a puzzle: every piece will find its spot in time, if things are done correctly, with the best intentions.

 Families have always been here, in whatever shape or forms it was, and they will continue to be here in other forms we might have not consider at this point. It is silly to think the family structure is just one and that only that one should be achieved and respected by every single human being, when most humans have thrived among what people now call “non traditional families”, as if tradition wasn’t something that keeps evolving every single days without stopping.


 Anyway, our family is that group of people life got us to be with. It put us with them for a reason and it is up to every single one of us to find out, if we want. But we don’t have to. The best thing is to appreciate all of those people that surround us as we grow up and help us be better and achieve everything we want from life.