Jan 16, 2014

Let go, be kind, be hopeful

As the title says, this is my purpose for 2014 and beyond...
Posted by: Jose Antonio

It has been a long time since my first post and this time will write something more personal...

Without going into many details and to make it shorter, I found myself in a very difficult situation in the last quarter of 2013. I went to Venezuela with my son for Christmas, to see my family that I had not seen for 7 years. The holiday was already booked long ago and decided to go anyway, and I think it was the best decision I made.

There I decided that I was going to let go of the past and focus on what it is to come an embrace my uncertainty; no more questions, no more trying to seek revenge or even justice, simply letting go.

My last view of Venezuela from Caracas Airport

I had an amazing time and talked to friends and family. Among many things, we discussed about different projects that maybe will work, maybe not; I am doing my part and taking calculated risks to make at least one of them become more than words.

The thing is that when you let go, you have your senses open and are more aware of the opportunities rather than the failures from the past.

Now I will come to the second point: Be kind. And I will tell a little story about something that happened to me on my flight back to the UK, my second home.

I took a flight from Maracaibo to Caracas; there I had to wait for about 7 hours for a flight to Madrid and then take my flight back to London.

In Caracas airport, I had to get all my luggage and take a long walk to the international terminal. I waited a while for my luggage and started walking. After a while, I took a lift and there was a young lady with her trolley with some heavy luggage stacked on it.

When leaving the lift, I could see that she was struggling to push her trolley and I offered if I could help. I said to her that maybe we swapped trolleys as mine was easier to push. Not a good idea, I tried to push it and it was almost impossible to move, so I offered to put all her luggage on my trolley and I would take them wherever she needed to as I had plenty of time.

We started talking, it turned out she is from Maracaibo as well and lives in Stockholm, I saw that she had a musical instrument case that for me looked like a violin and I asked her about what instrument she plays, she said to me this was a "cuatro" that she started learning but she plays the piano.

Right at that moment, I remembered about my Venezuelan friend who lives in Cheltenham and asked me if I could bring him strings for his cuatro. My time in Maracaibo was very limited and for one reason or the other, I could not buy him the strings and was feeling very bad about it. So I decided to ask her, maybe you do have a spare set of strings? 

She said she did, but said that it will be difficult to find them later. That is where I decided to use my Venezuelan convincing skills and said come on! You could ask your family to send you some later, and this is a brand new cuatro; it will be a long time before you will need them, I will pay you for them ;-)

She agreed, as she said a friend of hers was coming to visit soon, so she will ask her friend to bring her the strings.

So we arrived to the terminal, and took her luggage where she had to check in with Lufthansa which was a fair walk from where I had to check in with Iberia. We exchanged emails, and said good bye with a kiss on the cheek as we all Venezuelans do after talking to someone even for 10 min. And of course she gave me the set of cuatro strings. When I asked her for how much should I pay her, she said in her best Venezuelan fashion "nothing, just the friendship". And we of course offered each other if we ever happen to be either in the UK or Sweden, to contact each other.

I just left to check in my luggage and thought, wow! what a coincidence, if I never helped that young lady I would have never talked to her and have never got the cuatro strings for my friend.

Here is where the most amazing part begins: after a while queeing at the check in, I saw the lady I just left with her luggage and asked, what are you doing here!? she said "I NEED YOUR HELP!".

Her luggage weighted more than it was allowed and she had to pay a penalty fee, she did not have enough cash on her to pay for the difference and she asked me if I could give her the money to pay it. Guess what my answer was? She was so kind in giving me the cuatro strings for no money, I know I was kind to her in the first place. But why break this circle of kindness?

I gave her the money, this time we exchanged numbers, and as we had to wait about the same time for our planes we said we will WhatsApp each other after we check in and pass immigration.

So we did, we saw each other, had some drinks while we waited for our planes and talked for hours. You never know what kindness will bring, but if you are not kind be sure even if you get your way, you create resentment around you.

And about hope: well, be kind and hope for the best. One day it will pay off. Sometimes even sooner than you think...

2014 is my year of letting go.

Let go, be kind, be hopeful.