So, this will be a bit different from what you are used to...
I played a very bad football match yesterday (training match against a boys' team so I was allowed to play for a bit). This happens, so it would not be worth reporting. Had it not had a rather big effect on me. So I went home all frustrated, as I do when I play a bad game. But, well, I am not the youngest any more and I started to wonder if I am maybe just not good any more. And if I should either stop or just lower my expectations of myself. It took me until this morning to (1) find the mistake I made in the game yesterday, so I will no make it again in the future. This certainly helped to (2) mentally face me in the mirror (I was taking a walk outside so there was no actual mirror present) and tell myself off for thinking that I should lower my expectations. Of course, lower expectations mean fewer disappointments. But they also mean less success. Sure, when you live an average life then you will also have few reasons to lie in bed crying or walk around for days in a constant fear that it will all go wrong, that your plan will just not work out. But, as you can clearly tell, I am not interested in an average life. I want to live a unique life and I want to be as successful as I possibly can (not in the terms that society uses to define successful, of course, but in my own terms). And this can only be achieved if I am ready to take risks, accept defeats and do not act to avoid disappointments. The road to success is full of defeat, of course. So lying in bed crying - as stupid as this sounds - is just a step on the road to success.
Why do I tell you this at this moment? Well, I have developed a habit to only post positive things in this blog (as I do on Facebook). The goal was not to deceive you and make you think that my life is all great and I never have any bad days. Rather, the blog was never written for you. I used to write it for me. To write down the good things to remind me of how much I have achieved in my life and how good it is. Like a private psychotherapy, so to say. So, actually I was going to wait to write this post, until all was good again. Because, one thing is true for sure: "In the end, all will be good". And what's more: "If it's not good, it's not the end" (Quote unknown, to me). This means that, when writing a blog without fixed days for each post, it's easy to just wait with the next blog post until all is good again and then write a perfectly happy post. This is what I always did, so I know it works. This also means, of course, that I am not too worried, because I know that in the end it will all work out somehow. But I thought it is the time for some honest truth here: currently, it is not good. I have made a big mistake (again). I've certainly learned my lesson, but yet again, it is too late: I only found out now that I cannot actually renew my tourist visa here after three months. I had checked this before, of course, but the information I had found was not all that clear. I had reliable information (from the information page of the Austrian foreign ministry) that I could renew the visa. I thought that the only thing I needed to find out when I was here, was whether or not I would have to leave the country for this. Now, Greece is basically 2 hours away by public transport, so leaving the country would be easily done, so I never thought I needed to worry. Now that I finally sat down to check again, however, I find that things are very different: a tourist visa cannot be renewed. You can get a new one for 3 months after you left the country for 3 months. You can apply for a residence permit if you want to stay longer, but that is a rather different thing. Technically there should be no problem with it, and I admit that, were I in Mexico or really any other country that I know better and where I speak the language, I wouldn't even think about it. However here, I find it very hard to understand the culture, I am very aware that the prime minister does not, at the moment, very much like the EU, and I can communicate in the language but not well enough to discuss visa issues. And I find that you cannot expect there to be someone around who knows English, when you need it. Of course, had things here worked out differently (like would I be allowed to play in the competition and had I liked the children that I am working with), I would still apply for a residence permit and hope that it just works out. But that's not the case, so I decided to leave the country for three months. I am not sure at this moment, if I will go back after these three months because the communication with the bird ringing project I should be working at later turns out to be a lot more difficult than it should be (i.e. I write an email with five questions and after two weeks I get a reply with one answer. So after more than two months now I am still waiting for some confirmations). For my planning I assume that I will go back, meaning that I am trying to stay as close to here as possible in order to reduce travel time and cost. But it turns out to be more difficult than I had hoped. I am using the website workaway.info which has tens of thousands of hosts all over the world and which I also used to get here. But it is winter in Europe and that makes it harder to find work, as most work is either in gardening or farming or in tourism and both seem to be not needed in the winter. To make things even worse, I have written to about 10 hosts and only three of them replied within a couple days. Two declined. The rest haven't even replied, so you don't know if they still might reply or not. Of course, the first hosts I have written to, are the ones I would prefer to work at, so I hope they will still reply. Especially, considering that I almost only wrote to ones that had last minute requests for volunteers out. I think it is fair to assume that they would then also reply within a short period of time. Well, I was clearly wrong assuming that.
I have one maybe positive answer now, so hoping to hear more from there (also because I would really like to go there), but at the same time I understand that I need to start looking for alternatives. So, yes, there is always ways to make everything work out, but life is not always easy, for sure. Even not for me. Of course, I am not writing this to complain, I also do not need you to worry, again, I know it will work out somehow. But I am writing this, because I thought it would be helpful to be honest. Life is not perfect right now. I know it will be very soon, but right now it is not. I still have the amazing sunsets and sunrises, the walks by the sea, the shorebirds and the flamingos to make me happy, so it's not al bad either. I just wanted to let you know that, yes, overall my life is perfect, but everything that I achieve also takes hard work and I also have to deal with disappointments often. I dare say, I have to deal with disappointments more often than most people, because, well, the higher you fly, the deeper you fall.
I hope you appreciate my openness about this. I strongly believe that I would not be the person I am, had I not learned from mistakes and grown from defeats, so they are just as much part of my life as are my successes. I think it is time to be honest about this.
Wish you all the best, and don't forget: It's okay to fail, and it's okay to cry. But it is not okay to give up and stop being true to yourself!