I am feeling quite reflective today, on this random Monday. My life has been changing drastically, even from month to month this year. I haven’t been updating this blog because I am still trying to re-invent it and also because I am writing two others (http://www.surpaname.tumblr.com and http://www.80breakfasts.wordpress.com). I am now in Paris, studying for the semester here, and in my final year of university – finally. It’s been a very long and unorthodox path, and I still can’t believe that I’m so close to  graduating. I’m taking two classes at two local French universities, and the rest at NYU Paris, everything in French. It’s going quite well so far; I’m happy to maintain my fluency, deepen my understanding of this city and this country, and I’m especially happy to see my wonderful friends in Europe again. Between living in South America and South Asia, I haven’t been in Europe for a more stable amount of time for three years.

I was inspired to reflect upon where I have been and where I would like to go. I am trying to prepare for as many different opportunities as possible for after I graduate. There are endless conference, fellowship, scholarship, internship applications. But I approach everything with tireless optimism, and I try not to beat myself up if I can’t finish every single application. I learned after this summer that I can’t put everything that I want on my plate and expect myself to finish things properly or sometimes even at all. Luckily, it’s almost never too late in life. You live and you learn, and you work harder to be more prepared and knowledgeable about things that you want the next time around.

This was a very personal list for me to write, and some of the things are perfectly silly – and some of the things are very serious. I hope you will take this time to also reflect upon dreams that you have accomplished and dreams that you have for the future as well. Everything is possible with hard work, patience, and a bit of savvy, daring, and luck.

Dreams that I have accomplished:

  • Find a scholarship to study at Oxford when I was 13
  • Cultural exchange in Ecuador in high school and literally found my second family on the street
  • Transfer out of business school to study something more meaningful and interesting to me
  • Stop my studies altogether to travel and live in different countries
  • Support myself fully for 2 years (I was extremely poor during this time though, and working odd jobs while traveling)
  • Pay back a tiny bit of my student loans during that time
  • Intern for amazing nonprofits that I 150% admire like the Somaly Mam Foundation
  • Travel around the world to amazing conferences and forums about development issues where I created a network of brilliant, positive people working hard to change the world for the better
  • Quit a job that conflicted with my personal values and whose convenience was preventing me from looking for alternative sources of income
  • Find out what I want to do with my life: development work & gender equality
  • Go to world renowned literature and film festivals in India, Colombia
  • Intern at world class art fairs (artHK, arteBA)
  • Live at Shakespeare & Co., a bookstore in Paris
  • Fall in love
  • Live in Argentina
  • Go to Brasil
  • Live in Colombia
  • Live and work on an organic farm
  • Dress up and dance in a comparza in Carnaval in Colombia
  • Return to Ecuador to see my family (the most tear-filled, emotional homecoming I have ever experienced in my life)
  • Learn Portuguese
  • Learn Hindi
  • Learn French
  • Go back to China (had only been there once before 2011 when I was 10 years old)
  • Bake bread (the most delicious baguettes of my life and so simple to make apart from waiting for the yeast to rise)
  • Create my own blog (and now I have three!)
  • Go to Istanbul
  • Go to the Middle East
  • Live in India
  • Attend Festa da Gràcia in Barcelona
  • Live in little fishermens villages (Thailand, Colombia)
  • Celebrate New Years with a loved one
  • Stay focused on my dreams and passions, despite other peoples’ opinions or concerns. Have faith in myself and my future

Dreams that I have yet to accomplish:

  • Learn Arabic
  • Improve my Mandarin
  • Move to Brasil
  • Find a job or fellowship in the domain of gender equality in development policy
  • Open my own art gallery one day
  • Be able to host people (technically it is possible now, but only until December, and so far no one has visited me! (; )
  • Pay back my student loans
  • Negotiate my starting salary
  • Actually accrue frequent flyer miles from all the traveling I do
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Go to Senegal
  • Learn more about and travel around Africa in general
  • Do a masters in Development Economics or Development Policy
  • Keep up and improve my tennis (I’m still not too terrible – in Brasil I won a doubles tournament!!)
  • Abs
  • Go to Carnaval every year in Brasil or another country that celebrates it
  • Settle down in a place
  • Fall in love again
  • Find a supportive partner who believes in my dreams and my work
  • Have a family
  • Create a beautiful home (not necessarily a house or even to buy an apartment, but  be able to decorate with my taste and aesthetic preferences in mind)
  • Be as generous as I can and help strangers in need
  • Establish a scholarship fund for travel/studies for young girls all over the world
  • Go back to India (and now I have family there too)
  • Visit Vietnam
  • Go back to Hong Kong – perhaps work there
  • Create auditory art – I have had an idea for ages and was inspired by a very good friend/mentor/artist/professor
  • Write a book – I have also had an idea and been writing things for ages
  • Have a sketchbook from my travels
  • Collect all my journals and create a database like Anaïs Nin – I must have about 20 or so, have been writing regularly ever since I can remember
  • Be a role model
  • Learn how to swim properly
  • Scuba dive
  • Learn how to dive properly
  • Go properly hiking and trekking – for maybe up to a week with a partner or a best friend
  • Bike across a country or region for as long as I can physically stand
  • Walk the Santiago de Compostela
  • Visit Patagonia with Jocelyn (I’m waiting for you!)
  • Visit Bolivia
  • Travel to Iran, Afghanistan… these countries that are so masked by media distortion and of course internal conflict. I believe that there are beautiful stories and lives there, and I would like to learn about the history, culture, and the people.
  • Return to Peru to visit the nonprofit that I volunteered for – Colobrí
  • Maybe live in Ecuador for a bit. Or at least return. I miss my family and friends there.
  • Go to Italy with my godparents
  • Be able to support my parents when I’m older, especially my dad
  • Make my grandmother proud

Love always,

One thought on “Dreams

  1. So inspiring, keep on writing you are an amazing person. So much reached so far. I believe that you will be able to give life to all your goals. Missing… Hope one day you will visit Armenia too. I will warmly greet you here. Take care!

    Bests, Helen

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