After a year away I finally returned to Spain. Not much had changed, it still felt familiar, although my language skills must have evaporated in the heat. The trip - quiet, uneventful and long.
Being apart for a year I was apprehensive about this visit not knowing what was expected or how to be - so I decided to just be myself, warts and all. It took Ari sometime to come round to looking at me, talking to me or being near me, this was much harder that I thought - I was hoping for open arms and cuddles so tight they would turn me blue :/
Finally she warmed up and started being herself and let me hold her again - how I missed that. Ariadna is much bigger now and a little chatterbox to boot - although I have little idea what she was talking about most of the time, as she rambled away in Spanish.
We spent a few days in Madrid and visited the zoo, which pitu loved - seeing all the animals and learning about them. Last time she was there with me she was a baby, now she is an amazing little person. While I had the chance over these 2 weeks, I took the opportunity to photograph Ari, some posed, some relaxed - she had her moments when she was a willing subject and not. It's funny seeing the 'me' in her. I managed to get some great shots of her which will be treasured. What will I miss the most? her growing up? her making friends? her first day at school? Of course, but more than that, it's her cheeky smile, her laughter, her energy, her touch, her unconditional, unjudging and unrelenting love.
Sandra and I spent the first 2 days not knowing how to be with each other, which is sad when you consider we spent 3 years in a relationship. We finally decided that just being friends was at least a base to work from and moved us away from the awkwardness. Sandra did her best to ensure I was as comfortable as possible and has done a great job looking after Ari, and I know she will continue to do so - just speak more English with her! We took some time to discuss our own situations and we appear to want different things, although we still want what's best for Ari - a sad story I'm all to familiar with. So we will be going our separate ways, that at least answers that lingering question. I hope you find what you need to make your life complete.
While in Madrid I witnessed the beginning of the Spanish revolution in Puerta del Sol. The people of Spain are demanding democracy, economic change and jobs as the government prepares for another election. The protests soon spread across the country in 60 cities and around 130,000 protesters took to the streets. Sadly I didn't have my camera on me, and the protest at that point was not to the scale it later became, and to be honest, I wasn't fully aware of the size of the issues. My chance to catch history in the making dashed!
Yet again a volcanic eruption threatened my leaving Spain, you couldn't make this up, really - luckily it passed without much disruption.
Ari cracked me up the other day, when asked "how do you say goodbye in English?" she replied by waving her hand, simples!!!
I realised I have far less patience than I thought and I'm not as good a person I thought I was, I can also add this the fact I am quite selfish - a quite sobering realisation. The question is, what do I do about this? My experiences have made me quite bitter and angry and although I keep trying to shake this off it comes over me like a wave sometimes and I feel myself drowning under the pressure. I've being listening to positive motivational podcasts and reading books etc in order to help pull me out of my darkness and find a better place to be, this works to a degree, but I fear I need more permanent professional help.
So until I'm fixed, life's sorted and I have a successful business I'm off the market, sorry ladies it's devastating news I'm sure!
To see the latest images and to see how Ari has grown, click the link below