Finding your stable feet

There have been quite a few posts on my blog, in which I shared about my feelings towards different places I have lived in or have been to. Jyväskylä is probably the most mentioned city. You see, I came there before I even turned 18 officially, and the place was very much a representation of my big life milestone. I also lived in London – UK, in Breda – the Netherlands, Mandelieu La Napoule – France, and now, I find myself in a coast city: Vaasa – Finland. In addition to these cities, I have been to other few places for short to medium length travelling.

If you have read some of those posts, it may not come as a surprise that I usually develop connections with the places I stepped my feet in.

London was where I found a fresh young girl falling in love madly. London taught me the very first real but crooked definition of “love”.

Breda kept within it my Erasmus exchange memories, the laughter, the drunk parties, the friendship, the companies, the partners in crime and the one that got away. The Netherlands was how I brought myself back to excitement of being in a new place, making new friends and having a new purpose to dip myself in experiences.

Then, in Mandelieu La Napoule, I hid. I got defeated in these last 1,5 years. I was blinded with my own failures, I came back to my oldest passion – travelling/ moving to a new city, or perhaps, come back to also my most common excuse for escapism. Southern France gave me the peace behind every single wave rolling on the beach surfaces, behind the winds floating through trees while I pushed myself to hike towards higher and further point; but of course, to trade for such peace, I lived with lonesomeness.

Finland. Well, Finland became my second home town years ago, and has always been. In a way, I feel I am re-born here. Certainly, my relationship with this country has began to face obstacles and plenty of wonders. Even so, I doubt I would ever change my way of looking at it the way I am looking at it now – after every each time I return here after being in a different place – as if I am looking at the most familiar place to me ever.

I take pride in telling others the places I have been to, and lived in. Even though I take joy in dazzling others’ eyes when I tell them those places as my life achievements, they are also more than that. They have become parts of my identity. To tell people about my different types of crushes for these places, I am reminding myself of how I am living closely to my ‘coreness‘. Sure, it sounds romanticized, but sometimes, the things which sound most cliché, are unfortunately deniably true.

It is easy to forget the dream you had when you were kids. And I am not even talking about all the silly dreams we had, like being a superman or cat-woman, or a princess/prince/ king/ queen (despite the fact that the idea of having a castle is still very tempting now and then), etc.

But I mean, THE DREAM. The one and only one dream, speaks to you the most, and stay with you the longest.

For me, it is travelling, even before I am aware of what the term “travelling” would mean. This very special kind of dream seems the most challenging to keep. Because it is not unrealistic, you know you might be able to make the dream come true one way or another. But it is also unrealistic, years of growing up and attempting to be an adult at least has taught you much.

I have not lived enough to out-say other more experienced people about how to achieve your dream eventually. This post is not about that.

This post is for me to share the other side of my dream: the breaking-up phase with my places. As I know how lucky I still am, I don’t normally say out loud to myself the holes made inside me sometimes, after I leave a place.

Being on the move is great. Being on the move also equals not settling down, either physically, geographically or mentally, sometimes all. The excitement for exploration I depend on is short-lived. After certain time living in a place, you may fall back into a life with usual pattern plus repetitive daily activities. I myself find me in boredom. I see myself being curious about what may be different in some other places. I see me starting to look at tickets, jobs, paper work process and day-dream about being able to just pack and go.

So, people usually say, being on the move sounds exciting but one cannot always be on the move, and do that forever. And I usually laugh away their sayings. I laugh away even more if people add the ideas of starting a family and living permanently in one place. But there is nothing wrong with those ideas. In fact, I secretly agree with those people in parts. Being on the move requires you to be emotionally adjusted. Being on the move makes you realise you have never had a particular place where you call home, and you can just buy tons of housing decorations without wondering what to do with them when you move again, at least for the next many years. Being on the move requires financial support, if you are to hold a limited passport. Being on the move means you cannot promise to make a work contract for years. Let’s not talk much about what being on the move might affect to your relationships, I guess, we are all somehow aware of that price.

I laugh away, because still, being on the move is my very important dream. To imagine me forgetting it, is scary. To think about the things I cannot have in exchange for what I am passionate about, is challenging, (hell, many times, really challenging); but yet satisfying. It reminds me of my ‘coreness‘. All the places construct the very present me. I know that my future me will be even more evolving with new places I will be in.

I guess, my very main message is that even if I am seen as living my dream, I may not have every ingredients to make a perfect life; the same for everyone else and every other situations. Food for thought (?): nothing in life can be in total perfection.

I don’t know if I will ever have stable feet. But I know I have no desire to find out anytime soon.

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Shooting stars

What do you think about when you lie under a sky filled with stars, waiting for the magical sight of shooting stars? 

What parts of your life flashes through your head when you are on top of a mountain which is nearly 1000 meters and you can see a whole wide view of Provence Alps and a bit of Italy?

What does your mind and your heart tell you? 

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I would never get bored of looking up at the sky and seeing all the stars shining up. I recalled in “The Shadow Years” of Hannah Richell, it said:

The lightsglimmering up there in the sky are probablt nothing more than the residual flare out of stars burned out of many millions of years before, beamed at them from light years away. She gazes up at them and wonders how something so lovely can be nothing but a lie–an illusion–a dark deceit.

That is true. But it is still hard to remember about such illusion when all one can see is the sparkling beauty. I and B went up to the mountaines again, searching for shooting stars. It was windy, and colder after staying there long enough. We did not carry tents or sleeping bags with us, except for one cover to lie down on. So, basically, we were partly lying on rocks. But everything was worth it.

Everything else was worth those moments, for you totally forgot about how scary the space out there could be, how stars could actually be just dark deceit; for the only thing you might have was your sense of romance, of poet, of silence and of wonders in being alive.

So, what do I think about during moments like those?

First, I really did not think about anything. I think too much normally sometimes. When these priceless moments come, I simply stared. I kept trying to keep my eyes opening and staring at that vast beauty of the sky.  All I had was me and the stars up there.

But the desert is so huge, and the horizons so distant, that they make a person feel small, and as if he should remain silent. – Alchemist, Paulo Coelho.

Slowly later, I was brought back to what happened to me recently. I thought about another adventurous place I was in couple of days ago, and a week ago. I thoughts about me on the frozen lake in Finland months ago too. I always thought about those days, as if I tried to examine myself whenever I was brought back to that past chapters & how I would or would think. How I coped with those memories this time, I would question.

Moments after, I was brought back even further to the past, to the points where I could not get accustomed to the fact they were my memories. They all felt like they belonged to someone else. But maybe, they did belong to another girl.

I sat up, and walked further to the city view in front me, as I knew this could be my very last moment for now to be there, at that exact spot.

Who would one hope to be with in these moments? Who have I lost in life to exchange for these moments?


More than a week ago, I returned to Jyväskylä. It was a returning trip similar to any other trips I had done before. This time, it was a big thing for me. To return to my past and face it.

Being here, my mind wandered back to a life I built in France. 4 months being there appeared as an illusion that I just doze off into in a very long nap. Everything here is the same, yet very different. Walking past the streets here which I took almost a thousand times, I imagined myself as someone with special power, jumping back and forth between here in Finland and there in France. That was what actually happened in my head. The transitional moments are always the weirdest. I always feel like I don’t belong to any particular places when my soul is split.

But before my Finnish soul within the lakes & forests rushes back, I want to be high still with the shooting stars and my crush for France. Just some warming up steps. 

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Gourdon Village
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Auribeau Villahe
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Port de la Rague beach
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Along the coast to Cannes
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St. Raphael

 That is what I do, and that is what almost every of us does at least once.

Present is what you are told to focus on, but without past and future, your present is not wholly. There are ghosts from the past you avoid, there are uncertainty in the future you cannot handle. My present will not be real if I refuse to wander back or plan ahead.

I know it sounds cliche. But I have done that, I have done my part of avoidance. And I am telling you, no matter how far you run, it will catch you eventually. There is one thing to do is facing it. You might be more prepared than you think. 

The things I hold onto

-Written in May 2016, in France. 

Surface of water was sparkling. But not that kind of sparking, in which glitters are combined and reflected shining effect of colors. And maybe not that kind of sparkling like “little twinkle stars” on the sky at nights. How I saw it, and would try to express them in non-physical way: was thousands, millions and billions of moves on the surface. Because of the wind, beaches here were not having still surface as lakes in JKL. They always moved. Big waves made those thousand small moves lasting endlessly. One wave after another. One wave touched stones, then bounced back and collided with another wave coming up. Waves came from movements of people on the left. Waves come from me throwing a stone onto it. If one looks further away enough, that’s how the sparkling outlook starts to show. 

Water is transparent, but to me, it doesn’t mean you cannot notice its color. Its color comes from beneath, like where I am sitting now, its reddish followed by the stones’ colours. A bit further from me to the right, it looked greenish. On my left, it became brownish as hills standing right up on water are brown. Some other more sun-shining days, water will wear a green-blue jacket. Flexibility, I say. Water does not need to have its own colour identity. The flexibility or such adaptation is its identity. 

I started to think about the poem “Small Boy” I posted many posts ago, while throwing one stone after another…”if his hand can just be unclenched and let go“. 

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Le Trayas
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Le Trayas

I was wearing that dress, the dress on that fourth official date we had. I wore it then, and got compliments by him. He liked it. And I was never getting bored of his adore. I wore the dress when we were standing in center of JKL city. I wore it when he closely placed his hands on my face, pulled me closer. Around us, the sound of church bell ringing echoed. Those moments. I thought they were too good for me to receive. I have never stopped being afraid the moments as such will be stolen from me soon, eventually. I forgot about the dress when I had to think of what to wear today. I opened my drawer to see it lying there. “Well, maybe you need some fresh sea smell as I do“. 

I got to run to the sea, or go somewhere new at some point. I mean I was already in France, moving to a new place, I know. But I had figured out new place doesn’t erase my past. They only distract it. If the problem is your head, there is no permanent way to hide from it

The distraction though, is already good enough. People don’t understand what’s in my head. It’s okay sometimes, because I don’t either. But when people look at me as if this is my choice, I got angry. Maybe I got angry for wrong reasons. But I am anyway. And I give up trying to lean on someone for support. It’s getting more cruel, each individual just have to deal with our own problems for so long, we forget how to become compassionate for others when they need.

We kept thinking to ourselves “I’ve gone through it, you will too. Now i have other problems of my own. I cannot do anymore for you. It’s your choice. Gotta do it on your own.”

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Anyway, so going to some new places, even just a new area, give me this tiny bit of excitement, wonderfulness and willingness to win my battles. Such feeling is my drug. Whether it is an addiction, or a wooden piece I hold onto for not returning to bad feelings, I don’t know. I do know I don’t want to feel bad always anymore. 

Good moments into my pocket

I have not been able to update much here lately. I know I posted earlier a new blog post but in fact, I wrote that piece a while ago. I started the idea on a quiet evening like tonight (if you have read my post about Silence & Quietness, you might have already known my thing for those words). I completed that on another quiet evening after taking a quick dip into the sear at midnight.

Many things have changed during the last couple weeks. In where I currently work, there have just been 2 new interns. More specifically, I have new roommates and work mates entering into my space. It is actually not a bad thing. It is simply a change, a turn into new page. With them around, I am urged to do things with company – things I couldn’t do being alone. With them around, I am faced with the fact there will always be people around me, and I am not sure how to react to. Not so much to dramatize it, but you know, when you have been with yourself for long, it became harder to slide back to socializing activities, not to mention: to living with more than one people at the same time. So, indeed a lot of changes, but I see them as a price to pay for other things. One of the things I have learned from life is that, a perfect package does not exist.

But, they are great people, seriously. I only knew them couple of months ago. We all came to know each other through a common project, which we still carry on. Even so, I loved my time being with them in and outside classes. Recently, since they moved here, I even loved the fact that each of us all had baggage. Don’t get me wrong, I always know people have their own story. As one of the new interns, Emma said, “there is a reason for everything“. The special thing about our bond is we don’t only have our own story, we have our own past baggage.

When I think of the word “baggage”, I sense of negativity. Before I moved to France, I appeared to them as a happy person, the same as how they appear to me. In reality, well, I do have a lot of reasons to be a happy person but that is not the whole truth. Listening to their baggages, I realise we all have our own battle to fight. Some might tell us these battles are not worth enough to fight against whilst many lives in the world fight much more severe battles. But we tell each other our battles matter enough to screw our days, mess up with our heads and aches our hearts. These battles are the reasons we still seek for compasses to direct us where to go next.

Because of their baggage, we connect with each other somehow in a positive way.

It is not all pretty and pinky to live so close with people. For me, it is a real challenge and a learning experience. The last time I lived this close with so many people was in Vietnam with my family, and there was another reason I always strived for leaving that place. Knowing each other’s baggage, we allow others to act the way they might act. We might not understand, but we remember the baggages and remind ourselves.

Three of us, we are now in a shared journey. We came together in this point from different directions.

Being in Provence Alps, Cote-de-Azur, France is definitely not the worst journey to share with. But even with the things which look amazingly glamorous from the outside, it is not the whole scene (I need to keep remind myself about this, although it is not applicable to every single situations). I just cannot imagine to share this journey with anyone else. I don’t think I would trade for someone else if I were given the chance.

Here, time passes by so quickly. Time is short. Days are flown with the wind. Maybe because it’s the summer, and summer is meant to end before one even knows it.

We have done many things together though. We walked to Cannes, got drunk, took many stupid photos together, talked to strangers and being hung over the next day (really typical student life). Wait, before you jump into any conclusions, that is not the only thing we did. We hiked together, we ate together, we talked about all sorts of things, we made jokes, we walked together, we worked side by side, we swam together, we fell asleep on the beach, we discussed working plans, we moved from being silly to being serious. Sure, those all sound little small things, but that is how life should be. Life cannot always be those big moments, just too unrealistic.

A week ago, we even got to have an adventurous day together, thanks to B (remember the guy saving me from spending a homeless night in Grasse?). We were taken to Saint- Cezaire-sur-Siagne, where we blended into its greenness. Emma and Lily got to jump into the lake, off the bridge. It was raining, but we did not need the rain to get us all wet.

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Then, we were driven to explore a cave. It was my first time to be inside a cave as well. The narrow ways to pass through just to be inside a bigger space. I have never been a person having phobia of narrow spaces (I think so). Even so, it was such a changing atmosphere. The coldness and the darkness inside the cave, either turned you onto excited or creepy mode.

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The “infamous” two partners in crime with me here

 

Speaking of B before, I figured it only suitable to write a bit more about my shared journey with him. I mentioned in another post how I got to meet him. Turned out it was all thanks to his friendliness. He spoke to almost everyone he passed by, and his way of connecting is indeed much different from mine. I usually keep silence because: a) I don’t want to socialize, b) I appreciate their own space. B intrigues in me a different perspective. I haven’t decided yet whether I like his way better, but seeing how he freely talks to other people is truly a thing to learn about, and a cultural thing to know about French people.

Isn’t life too short not to notice about other lives around you? Isn’t the world turning to be cold enough to ignore these small warm gestures between people, to ensure yourself that there are still great things happening in life? Isn’t life too alone sometimes not to start a random conversation with a new person, just to learn something new and maybe, maybe, you have just made that person’s day, let that person know they have people around them? I don’t know yet. I have valued my space so much to let it go, I have valued my own peace so much to change it back to where I was over-excited to start any conversations with a new person. So, I don’t have the answers. Maybe you do.

Also because of my love of space and silence, I have never asked much deeper into B’s life. I know what he does for a living, I know what he is passionate about, I know what plan he might think about and I know he is friendly. But I have never asked for more. There are more about me I am not willing to share, and I only take that as a sign not to invade his story if I have nothing to give back. Despite that, we have shared many great journeys together. All thanks to his planning, of course. We drove up to high mountains, where we lied next to each others and stared at the sky, wished we never had to get back to civilisation. We drove down to the beaches, where we ate pizza and looked at people dressing real nice for parties. We stayed along the coasts, where he (again) talked to fishermen and I looked around of what surrounded me, sky, sea & waves. We drove to one village after another one, walked around and looked at those local lives, or sometimes, the tourists’ lives of people enjoying their summer. Southern France can be very luxurious if you choose to only look at how it appears to the world.

The point is, contrastively, I did not need to know about his background to be his company for adventures. We are certainly different but yet so similar in what we like to see. Without B, my journey in Southern France would not be so magical. Maybe after all, he is the thing life gives me as a reminder to keep walking through.

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St Paul Village
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Tourette Village, from the outside
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Along the way going to Gourdon, through a canyon
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Gourdon
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That high mountainous spot near Gourdon, where there is a big Antenna (if I only could remember the name..)
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Gourdon Village

 

Recently, I finished for the second time watching How I Met Your Mother (again, I have issues with movies/series addiction). In the last season, Ted said:

“The friends, neighbours, drinking buddies, partners in crimes you love so much where you were young, as the years go by, you just lose touch…That’s why when you found someone you do want to keep around, you do something about it.”

I am never sure if these people will stay in my life. I just figured that the least I could do, is trying to record part of these shared journeys into my writings, as a way of putting “good moments into my pockets” to always remember, those good old days.

 

 

My Silence & Quietness

Life is a theater. No, to me, living is like acting in a theater. I used to wrap blankets around me, pretending to be queens or princesses. Intelligent queen, I would call myself. 

I did my makeup when my mom went to market buying food. I quickly removed all when I heard her coming home. 

I watched movies, and sometimes fantasizing about how it felt to be the main female character. 

I don’t recall exactly when, but I felt even more as a “main character” on that one night I started to notice, why my head only wrapped my own thoughts and why I only saw from my own eyes, instead of others. 

I believed in happy endings. I dreamed of prince charming. I imagined to be rescued by a person loving me, despite all odds. I wanted all eyes on me. 

Nowadays, life is still a theater sometimes but a more quiet theater. Life becomes more cruel, and nothing like those movies you used to or still watch. Life is a joke, maybe more as a comedy series, because at some points, you know nothing else to do but laughing and carrying on. Life gives you two obvious and simple choices: will you stop or will you continue to walk? 

I was told every single one of us has thought about stopping. There are many definitions of that word “stop”. I won’t tell you how you should interpret it as, but I, too, did think about stopping, not once. Some times, I got closer to the stopping point. But, I backed down at those silent moments. 

Okay, so then let me tell you about what silence is to me. 

There is something about the quietness of days falling into nights, and I got to listen to it even more these days when I moved to France, to this quiet area, small town. 

I remembered about the evenings I stayed up doing homework in high school, and got to listen to the city version of quietness. Those silent moments away from my family chaos. And from me trying to compete with whatever I am still unsure. 

In Finland, the winter wears the darkness too often, I can’t recall of such same quietness. It was another kind of silence. Summer days are contrastively too bright, some days are even lasting near midnight. At that moment when brief night vanishes turning to a new day, you can still see those purple sweeps over blue sky. Close your eyes and imagine it, I don’t need to use my imperfect words to make it more romantic than it can ever be. That view. 

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This quietness, is not entirely quiet. The sky is getting darker, slowly. And I love that part the most. One moment ago, it was still dark deep blue. Few moments later, there are stars blinking. It is partly quiet when I just stand there, look at those windows to others’ houses, not in a creepy way. It made me feel cozy, those shed of yellow lights boil inside me the warmth of a family I do not even belong to. I recently met someone who is also keen on looking through windows. But I have never told him I had slightly the same interests. 

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A Mons Village, Southern France
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Auribeau Village, Southern France

It is also partly quiet when the sounds of traffic are echoing until a point when they totally disappear. Then another car or motorbike passes by, all things happen again. When all those traffic sounds vanish briefly, I can hear the insects, or maybe frogs making noises. It’s a song they are singing, maybe. 

This quietness reminded of my love for city views at nights, my crush for lights laying over the whole cities. It brought me back to those days where I stood also in a small balcony, outside the apartment I lived in Breda, aching about the good gone days. 

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St Raphael city, Southern France
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Along the coast walking from Mandelieu to Cannes
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Mont Vinaigre, Esterel, Southern France

Quietness of France includes tonight, when I just came up from a midnight dip into the sea. Above me, the sky had its own lamp, brighter than street lights even. The waves are too soft and shy to touch the shores. I was planning to listen to music, but Southern France’s quietness sounds so beautifully, I always put aside my habit. Silence in Provence Alps is within the lights of villages and cities I am looking at, whilst sitting above them all, really high. My crush for city views at evenings have never been stronger. 

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Those silent moments seduce me, as much as the nights. Nobody tries to do anything. It is already the end of a day, or the very beginning of a new day. But people are sleep, or partying, or just lying on bed relaxing. I love nights because I don’t have to catch up anyone. I can be slow. I am slow. Nights give me the belief I am cheating, by being given extra times of the day while others are sleeping. 

Silence and night is a perfect combination.

They are amazing to me. All I have with silence at nights is me and my thoughts. And that is why sometimes it is really scary. All I have with silence at nights is me and my thoughts. 

I have realized though, whatever forms my silence at nights (or even not at nights) is in, whatever surrounding me, is breath-taking. Yes, even on those coldest days standing on that frozen lake in Jyväskylä, Finland. In each view, I think I would never find better moments, but mostly I have found. Nothing lasts forever. It sucks. And it slips off your mind all the times. Nothing really lasts forever, good old days, bad old days, time all washes parts of them away. 

 So, when I am asked do I want to continue to walk. I gotta say yes, right? 

The moments of BEING

Yesterday, I was taken to the top of this hiking point, where one could look over Cannes one one side and St Raphael & Frejus on another side. It has been the second time in this week I was taken to witness the great touches of Mother Nature. And I wouldn’t be able to be in any of these places, if not for the guy who also saved me from spending a night “home-less” in Grasse. His name is B. As much of a genuine nice guy B is, B is also generous to accompany me and bring me to the places he loves. All of them, so far, have done a great job in reminding me to feel grateful of BEING alive.

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Cannes from uphill
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Cannes from uphill, minutes after the sun goes down.
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Cannes from uphill, when the sun is still around.

Those pictures were taken from an observation tower, which did not look as if it had been in service any recent time but still appealing enough as a spot to any people who are into good views and good moments away from civil lives. I suppose we sort of fell into the group as well. It was a little tricky to finally get on top but nothing was worth more than these. B kept praising me for still wanting to climb onto the top, and not backing down like he would imagine. The truth is, without B, I would never be able to make it.

Just like, I would never be able to see the sky transforming from day time to night time, from the sweepings of yellow lights to the sparkling dots of stars, without B. But B kept praising me, for nothing that I particular did actually. You might tell me B is trying to impress me, sure, I think you might be right. But B will always be a friend and my savior, and my company for future trips like these. I did not use his real name, not because I wanted to make him a special character (even though he is actually, a special stranger that I luckily meet to share such experiences with), but I’d like to call him B. It sounds sort of mysterious and private.

I included B in this post, as he told me something yesterday, while we were staring at the far view of Cannes lit up with lights at night.

The thing about good moments is, you cannot keep them. They will go away. You cannot even put into a bag and bring them home. Sure, you can take pictures and be reminded of, but this moment, this very moment, will pass away.

B put into words, my fear of every days for the last couple of months.

Yesterday, I graduated officially. And I was lying on top of the hill, looking at the sky full of stars (yup, like the title of music). On the left, I heard an echoed music from a party which I assumed the mid summer celebration. On the right, it was the sound of waves bouncing against the rocks, or could be the wind flowing through trees & shaking them. IN that moment, I was happy. I haven’t felt like this for a while. Or no, actually not true. I am happy this much sometimes, but it is so unreal and too overwhelming, I have to always tell myself to calm down and breath. Because as my excitement is spiced up with adrenalin, my fear for those moments to come and crash is unavoidable. I hate it. I cannot stand it. I cannot bear it—the feeling of flying so high, just to fall so deep. 

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So, at the very least to do is me writing here. Writing, again, is my only way, my only attempt to place the good and bad moments into pockets, put them in different corners of memory inventory; so that one day I have something to look back.

Nothing lasts forever, they say. There will be more coming good moments to experience and so don’t let yourself caught up in the feeling of losing this one good moment, she says. 

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This is the damp, where a historical sad catastrophe happened in 1959 in France. It was broken, leading to an unfortunate killing of 600 people and severe damage left by water pressure.

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Spontaneous, one charming word

Do you remember, when you were a little kid, you kept being told how much you needed to be careful around strangers? For example, not talking to anyone you do not know or receive any gifts without knowing the causes? Plus all sort of myth your parents whisper to you what might happen if you do not follow their advices.

Then we grow up a little more, their advices turn to be “non-sense” sometimes. We thought we knew everything.

Okay, then we grow up a little more, the myth we were told, are shockingly turning to be true. We read all the news, and we hear all the horrible crimes being done in this world. We shout to ourselves, “What is up with that?”. Our voice got weaken while our brain continuously question why, and how human can do such thing to another  human, what sort of hatred or strong reasons leading to that end?

I remember all of that. I even remember, during my first week in London, I was so excited of a new environment & a new me which I began to re-shape after months living in Finland, that I spontaneously talked to a strange woman sitting on the bench with me. I was sitting there, inhaling (rather creepily) London’s vibe, and exhaling my fresh youth breath, I was so ready for that new adventure. On the same day, I went to Mc Donald, and after nearly one hour being hesitant, I started a conversation with another woman. She comes from Taiwan. I met her another time after that for coffee, kept in touch still during first weeks there but never met her again later when life both carried us away. I don’t know how she is now, but I will never forget that spontaneous buddy I found. She could have ignored me and walked away with a weird look. At least, that is what I imagine people normally do every time I want to approach a new person.

Boy, how much I loved that word “spontaneous“, a lot back then and still averagely these days. It rises something in me. It makes me becoming alive thinking I can possibly do anything. I was raised in a big urban city, and maybe it is just me, but such environment has not given me the benefit of not suspecting people. I was raised by my parents like that, which is not to say they are wrong, or the news you watch are reporting wrongly. But I hate to see myself like that, don’t you?

I hate my own behaviours when strangers approach me sometimes. Most of the time, I link with the negative purposes as the first thing. I cannot tell you exactly why, as I wonder it myself. It can be the Finnish culture influence onto me, or my own childhood of being taught to avoid contacts with strangers, or those heart-brokenly world news I hear every day. But I am suspicious at people. And I am superficial sometimes too, despite how much I would like not to admit. I silently misjudge people if they dress strangely. I walked away from a group of people standing and talking loudly. I avoided asking help from men, if I can find another women. I possess in me this “unconscious bias” (a term used by my boss), in spite of me studying and working in the intercultural field. You can think of me as a shallow person, I cannot say you are entirely wrong. Even so, I am certain if you dig a little deeper into your own behaviour, maybe you also have such unconscious bias.

And so, I have this special adrenalin boiling up to live when I do something spontaneous—anything I normally won’t do. Don’t get me wrong, I love my own bubble too. I enjoy comfort in something I find familiar with, even if it is only a brand I am pleased with. I don’t jump to the “change” bus whenever every opportunity comes. But I’d like to push myself to jump when the pan to heat up the adrenalin is crying out for being used. I need something new, I need to know I am not wasting my time not doing something, just to reach a point when I wish I could have done so. 

These days, that needs of mine has become something even bigger—a force demanding me. The moment I fail to please my own demand, I feel guilty. I share with you this because I don’t want to make my post saying out loud that you should also not sit at home and repeat doing the same thing everyday. Maybe too much of a need is not good, it turns to be a greed. And the thing with being greedy is, it is never enough.

I am doing this again, I wander to other areas too long…

Okay, back to spontaneous topic, the reason for me writing this is because of an amazing night I had yesterday. I got stuck (again) late (yup, again too) in a new, strange city, knowing no one and the worst moment of yesterday incident was knowing there would be no train taking me back to Cannes, from Grasse.

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Processed with VSCO with m3 preset

I thought, I was doomed.

I tried to stay calm, I was not sure how much I managed to do so as I walked up and down the hill, looked desperately at anyone I should have approached to ask for their phones to call taxis (but I didn’t). It took me more than 15 minutes to finally speak to a guy, asking for help with the taxi calling. His phone was out of money, so he walked back to the train station with me to talk with the security guy there. Another funny thing was, I noticed the security guy before, but he was talking with two of his friends. Together, they gave me uncomfortable vibe (or I just felt that on my horrible sixth sense); so I didn’t ask in the beginning. When I approached them with another person, the security guy’s  friends walked away, they were completely harmless and the security guy turned out to be so kind.

The taxi was booked. While waiting for it (and laughing at myself inside my head), I met another new person. He came to buy candy from the vending machine, and he did not have changes but the 5 euro paper. He asked me if I had any changes, I said no and told him to speak to the security guy. The guy did not have. I only had one coin at that moment and suggested I could give him that if the thing he wanted to buy did not cost more. He laughed, he said it was okay and he would pay for himself.

Then, the conversation started.

And I got an offer for a lift back to Cannes.

You might think how reckless I was to say yes, to a person I absolutely had no idea who, in a place I had no much ideas about except the perfume museums (and hey, I will share some pictures with you later). I was indeed thinking the same at myself after saying “yes” too. It was a risk (someone might say it still is), he seemed nice but one never knows. The moment I sat in his car, I thought, “well okay, so now all my balls are in his court really…“. My phone could not even make a call.

In such situations when you decide to be spontaneous, there are two scenarios to happen (ok maybe three), a good one, a bad one and eh, maybe medium one (in which nothing too good or too bad happen). I was lucky, another time of me wanting to be spontaneous, its result was good (I sort of already gave you a spoiler alert above though…).

He was genuinely nice. We talked during driving to Cannes, and knowing I had never seen the city at night before, we both wanted a trip going around, stopping at the beach, looking at how the darkness of the sea is lightened up with all the sparkling lights from those luxurious hotels and the rich life this city is conveying. We passed by popular bars, where people all dress extremely nice and I heard rarely French. I used to think Cannes was only in such vibe during film festival, but I was wrong. Cannes’ film festival can be any Saturday nights in the city: nice expensive cars, nice expensive dresses, nice expensive shirts, nice expensive dinner tables and drunk rich adults who want to relax for holidays or weekends. I much wanted such life when I was a teenager. I think some days now, I even want it more because money has turned to be a thing spoiling your happiness even if it cannot bring you one. But, yesterday, when I was looking at all those people, only for moments, my brain whispered out its dream to my ears. Moments later, I started to wonder, how one feels after those glorious moments? What comes after a good-looking party? Another good-looking party?

I think I enjoyed more being in the car, or sit anywhere looking at them passing by, in all of their costumes. No, I did enjoy it more.

After Cannes, he drove me to Peninsula, where the light house was. I got to stand in a point, where you can see Mandelieu on the left, Cannes, then Grasse, then Nice to the right. The light house is lied in the middle point. I felt like I was high on drugs. I needed that sort of new thing more than I imagined. I needed to be reminded there was a reason.

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I would not have had such experience if I decided to say no and go with the taxi. I would probably pay even much more and not be able to make a new friend. Of course, I do know things could have been in a whole opposite way. But it didn’t. Many months ago, someone told me: running away is not the option. It is a big “what if” to take, but you will hate yourself for the rest your life if you did not find out what could happen. I know he is right. The screenshot of that message is still on my phone even though looking at it made me bitter to my bones. After all the things going wrong when I took that “what if”, I don’t know who to thank for about yesterday event—one of the rare “what if” going right.

And the spontaneous word? Still charming as ever.

 

Memory Traits

Have you realised how much we have become impatient with everything? 

A sculpture designed by a Spanish artist. Taken by me.
In Antibes, France

Think about those moments when you sit in front of a computer, ah no, maybe moments holding your phones, and 3-5 seconds of page loading or the length of texts might already push you to do something else. At least, I am sure speaking from myself.

Some days were so much packed, I did not have enough time to even finish a catch-up conversation with a friend. What I have realised about being busy is that, such satisfied feeling of having purposes is addicted. There are goals to look forward to, there are projects to be done, there are meetings to go to, there are posters to be created and there are social media posts to be updated, for example. You don’t get to wonder why you do this, you just do it because time is limited, and deadlines are waiting. You don’t replay your life in your head like playing a video recorder file on computer, because when there is free time, you spend for sleeping, or hanging out with friends you haven’t had time to do with. At least, that was my life before I got burnt out.

Then, there was that moment when I was forced to stop, and started wondering. This wondering has lasted longer than I expected it to be, unfortunately.

But, this wondering transformed my head into a movie player of my memories. If you are fan of Grey Anatomy like I am, you might remember this sentence someone said in there, “how amazing memory works”.

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In Jyvaskyla, Finland

Memory flashes back, not fully, we mix things up and we filter certain things. When only good parts come out, some will call it a result of nostalgia, or grief. To me, it is like a path full of traits. One step you take, you might stumble onto a trait, which will soon either turn to be a picture or even a whole book’s chapter containing parts of my life within. Some moments, memories are so vivid that they became strangers to me. My self-consciousness kick in and I wonder if I am acquainted with the girl in my memory movie.

Today, I sat quite long under the rain, in the middle of forest. I walked long under the rain too, but I am not sure why this detail matters to you. So, I was there, staring in that empty areas of the air, tried to unburden myself with every single rain drop touching and sliding on my face. My memory went back to those days when I was this little kid running around with other kids under the rain, naked. It was our excitement act when we knew it was going to rain. I recalled myself being all hyper about the rain back then. We would run around, made these big laughs when we stood under any big water pipes that poured a huge amount of water on us. We would feel dirty and fresh at the same time. We would not bother screaming a bit more because the rain’s sound had blocked other people’s ears. Then, our parents would call us all in since the longer we stayed, the higher chance we would lie on beds next days. We were like those growing flowers needed fresh touch of water, besides the harsh sun shining. Then, I thought about me being a teenager and began to look at rain in more sad ways. Rain then became a symbol of hiding tears that cannot be shown in public. Rain then became a mysterious, romantic but sad ending for any kinds of broken childish relationships.

I even recalled me not liking the rain for a period of time. Reason for it, I cannot remember. It might have been I have had enough of grey colour and gloominess living in Finland, London and the Netherlands. But the rain was the first difference I noticed after moving to Finland for a month, because it was different there even though it was also so much the same. My life was taking a turn.

The rain was there too when I had to bike home fast from school in the Netherlands, while the wind kept slowing me down. Some days or weeks later, the rain remained but I was not alone.

I got soaked wet in the rain also biking home fast from a morning shift at work in Finland, during last autumn. When I reached home, my tiredness took over all my body. I quickly took out my clothes, changed to dry home clothes and crawled into the bed, under warm blankets, preparing for a good sleep. Those moments were extremely good, because my sleep was not bothered by disturbing images.

Today, the rain was there, slowly filling into my emptiness.

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In Mandelieu, France

I thought about “memory movie player” because I was amazed how much I got to rewind back to my lives now, while there was time everything just got slipped by so fast that I did not even think twice. I opened one of my journals, and I saw this small paragraphs I wrote about this same thing, but not with rain; it was with a part of road I took to go home. It was on one of last nights in Finland, months ago. That road brought me back to the time while I was still working for AIESEC and biking through the path for like 1000 times. Few steps further, I was brought back to the night of LAS seminar—an event of AIESEC—the night I first started to talk to Jo. Many more steps further up, I turned to look at the lake view in my city, allowed its extravagant beauty to hug me. I recalled me thinking to myself “You only start to appreciate things in a positive way when you have to say goodbye“.

 

“Every good party has to end”. But it sucks.

I am unsure how to start this blog, honestly. As I shared with you all before in one of responding to daily prompt of Daily Post WordPress, I used writing for containing my thoughts. That is one reason for me to start this blog post, but somehow my thoughts and feelings are going out all over a glass, I am still unsure how to wrap them all into words here.

Two of my best friends were here for the last week. I knew about this trip already when I left Finland, moving to France. And I think I am passing through the phase of adrenalin drying out.

It has also been more than a month I have been living in France. But everything passed by as if days have not been counted. I had my ups and downs, which is normal to each of us but amazingly good for me, because there are ups moments. Even so, the downs tick-tock still has its weights. I could sense myself withdrawing into my own sensitive shell. I could see myself being afraid to be against a big world out there, including my own family and friends, who do not understand me. Maybe there is no “being against” after all, you know. Then again, even knowing so does not prevent from failing in those battles, I fail to be in control of my thoughts. At the end of the day, it was just me being bitter at my own feelings and me sitting at the corner of the room dried out from exhaustion.

So, I was glad they came. I just didn’t think I would be so sad when they left, as something were taken away from me again. Over the past month, I suppose my accustom or effort of being on my own somehow works out well. I grew slowly another forgetfulness. I forgot how much I also enjoy being around my friends, all the laughter and joy besides the sorrow they might remind of, even though they have nothing to do with the cause, they were just there. Their presence here first felt awkward, the same tone of emotion when I started this post. I had stuff to say, but not sure where to address and how or if they would like to hear. Such awkwardness lasted for more than an hour, I would say, in Nice.

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The big main square in Nice, which I can only assume placed at the center of this city. Nice was nice, my trip was too short for me to describe just yet about it. Maybe another time…

Then, we had a dinner, and things took off. Dirty version of conversations and common thoughts, all the things you can only feel most comfortable to talk with people you love. A tune of excitement started to rise up inside me, as my friend said “There is a reason why we became closed friends“. Yes, we have been closed friends, we have been through ups and downs, they have witnessed me changing from one person to another person whom they might not even realise, and yet they still stay even though wall of distance appear naturally (or healthily?). I forgot, you know.

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Those are the two. I thought of keeping them anonymous, but well, why?

You look good. You look tanned. But this Mediterranean looks suits you“, she told me over the dinner. I smiled because I think so, too. I was glad that somebody also saw it, my improvement from my ability of holding onto the “ups” moments. It could be little desperation of approval, but at least the comment made me be certain of my decision to drop everything, drop friends and flee to a place, in which I hope to find my certainty (?). A question mark is there since I yet figured out what exactly I was looking for. Or it could be as my friend said, “you do know, you are just afraid to admit yet“.

Dinner led to a spontaneous going-out night. It was fun, and if this can make it more clear or whatsoever, it was literally fun. So fun that I woke up next day, in the same hostel room with them, opening my hangover eyes on a strange bed and couldn’t help wondering why I did what I did. The following hours, and the journey turning back to Mandelieu (they would come there later) were weird. I felt ashamed.

But what for, really?

I woke up next to people I see almost to my family, it could have been worse. I did not do anything reckless, as some other times. I simply loosened up, and allowed the joy bubble sucking me in. But I felt ashamed. I had not been socialising that much for the last month. Maybe, it was the alien feeling then. I hoped so.

When they arrived at Mandelieu, my thoughts were forced to stop. I needed to be a host. I lied on the bed that night with my friends, and the awkward vibe was lying in between us again. I kept wondering why, when I was brought back to many times before when we were so closed, and talked so deeply into lives we would never be control of. Next days passed by more easily. I was opening up again, if those were right words to describe. I talked, shared a bit, laughed, sometimes stayed quiet for resting my head from the unnecessary thinkings. Most importantly, I let myself being driven back to my life I flee from, my Jyvaskyla. In the last night they were here, I and my friend took an evening walk, towards those deep convos we used to have. There were moments we opposed to each other. I couldn’t understand why she said what she said, and most importantly, I couldn’t understand why I could not see what she saw. I was not furious, but I did think of withdrawing again. I was glad she didn’t let me. The ending note was reached by our agreement of “not trying to make sense of everything“.

I agreed of “not being so hard on myself, and not running, and that I have done more than I can see“. And she agreed of “being so judgmental sometimes, she couldn’t embrace the differences, and that she was not perfect herself either, but she wanted to help“. So maybe I have indeed changed, or I have not yet let go of 1000 layers of emotions, or we are reaching a point where two closed friends start to drift apart in their world’s perspectives; I still felt wholly being there next to her. I forgot, you know, that everyone needs people.

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Our last time on Mandalieu beach

 

They left yesterday. Hearing their steps echoing in the wind, I wanted to cry. I know I would miss them for the next few days. I know I would tend to clean, to busy my mind out of such emptiness. Most of all, I know that I was a bit scared of loneliness, and my inability to fight inner battles alone again.

Starting of this post is difficult, as well as the reason to have it here instead of my personal journal. I got interrupted in this point here to go seeing a concert. I became a thinker again flowing within the music of Edith Piaf. I kept wondering why. It might have been that time was not enough. One week sounded enough for a holiday but it was not enough for me to share with them. I had trucks carrying loads of things and if I have to unload somewhere, there should only be while with them. It also might have been I like hanging around with people and not good being alone or strong as I wish I am.

So, when I came home an hour ago, watched Friends (as usual), the episode of “The one with George Stephanapoulos“, a bell was ringing in my head. These friends are my Magic Beans (if you are Friends’ fan, you will know what I mean; if you are not a fan, I am sure you might know the show and the episode anyway). And I would be so damned one day if I let them pass away now. At least, I would like to believe they would still be there.

I guess, behind all those imperfect words and long expressions, I just hope your reading this helps you see, it is okay to need people. I have been told, taught and reminded continuously, human beings are created for connections—a connection we should embrace, instead of blurring it. It does taste bad, the flavour of being misunderstood or being judged on; but I can see now it does not taste much better, the flavour of loneliness when you need [magic beans] the most.

Some Friday nights are more quiet

Having been living in a small city for long, then moving to a similar calm & small city,  in a residence locating at a quiet area, I have forgotten how to live in big cities.

I used the word “forgotten” because I was born in one, in a city which has much much more people, traffic and activities. 18 years living there, my life is attached with the presence and close gaps of human around. Air is polluted even. I later spent 6 months living in London, for which I grew love. I formed attraction to those crowded stations and to the people the world might assume being cold. Nights in my city and nights in London are one of my favourite memories. The laughters from people sitting at restaurants or pubs, the breezy wind touching your face, the lights being on the whole night, all those combined make those nights alive in an urban way. I have never compared much London or Ho Chi Minh City with Jyvaskyla in Finland; as I’d like to think deep down I am still a city girl—born with noise and lights and dinner nights surrounded by friends. 

Today was my fourth time being in Cannes. Mandalieu La Napoule is not far from Cannes, so my chance of being there is in fact the highest. But today was my only second time actually walking further outside of the train station. Original plan was me being offered a company and a ticket to see Cannes Film Festival (you know what I’m talking about, it is probably all around your social media pages). Plan was changed at last minute, partly because of me. It was okay, I felt a bit relieved. I was in no mood for having a company, not to mention a company who might not communicate the same language. So, I was alone in Cannes. I wanted to see what the fuss was all about this film festival.

Cannes today was different and surely much more chaotic. I didn’t feel the French touch in the atmosphere as in other cities I went to. Cannes wore a glamorous but serious outlook today. Getting off the train station, people will be faced first with polices everywhere. Then, cars and stop signs. Following the crowd, you might walk towards where the film festival and red carpet is placed. Along the way, you might see all people dressing in suits and dresses with amazing makeups, filling in almost every restaurants or pubs. You might pump into few people with professional cameras or filming equipments. You will see many people wearing tickets over their necks, some look rather relaxing but some look focused and busy, carrying many things at the same time, speaking to the phones or holding salad boxes for dinner and walking urgently. You won’t distinguish between locals and tourists, because even the locals wear different outlooks. However, you cannot help but noticing the contrast corners, where there are workers cleaning public toilets, picking up trashes or simply sitting patiently inside a shop with their eyes staring at the crowd outside. You cannot also help but thinking there would be many other people who did not even bother about being inside the festival as they have to work, and festival time seems to be most profitable. Well, at least these experiences were what I had.

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Along the way to Cannes
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Random but beautiful port I caught
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The harbour near Film Festival Venue in Cannes

But really, I forgot how to live in a city as such. I kept everything into myself. I could sense my face appearing grumpy to others around but I couldn’t help it either. There were so many people backwards, besides and behinds. They all dress so nice, it makes me feel smaller. They all have groups to be in with, it makes me scared of going into a restaurant alone and sitting there to look at the streets. I have been puzzled of what caused this forgetfulness.

Back when I was a little kid, I always had this fear of doing something in front of a lot of people. I got nervous imagining myself behaving embarrassingly and getting “the look”—a glance people give you for being different or doing something not considered common. I grew up and tried and learnt to also grow out of that fear. Days like today, I realised seed of that fear is still under the soil and plant of that fear is never really dead. Maybe it was my needs of blending in. Maybe it was the fright of people’s eyes following me even though I know those looks don’t mean anything, just a meaningless act people do sometimes looking at the streets. Maybe it was both, but I felt overwhelmed and walked towards a beach side, which was much calmer.

I spent years living in Finland. I probably have talked about these many many times in previous posts of how I found the country’s silence rather shocking at first but then growing affection for it later on. Maybe it was too much of affection for that private space and quietness. Maybe it was me struggling determining my own identity. I used to be more extravert. I have never liked taking a personality test though, but I used that term as I did it once together with my group of best friends back then, it was just for trying. Anyhow, I used to be more outgoing. There were periods me being more quiet, but I did jump back to being outgoing, talkative and enjoying companies. Nowadays, I do not know who that girl is anymore and where to find. Socialising requires much effort these days, or even just being surrounded by socialised people. Maybe it was the frustration of being unsure what to do next: walking towards the crowd to see Film Festival and proving to myself I do not need any company to survive, or allowing my fear of attention to blossom a little; but I walked towards the beach.

I sat there for a while.

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Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

This forgetfulness tires me out, and leads me doing things I don’t wish to. People’s eye contacts towards me, I found irritated. People’s waving or talking towards me, I just walk away ignoring. What is up with my will for human contacts? The moment I walk away, I feel bad for treating other humans in such way. What if they need help? I have always blamed ignorant people, now I might become one. The city life, chaotic and unpredictable, leads me to be so doubtful.

So, I craved for books. So, I took a bus and went home. Along the way, I thought of an Austrian proverb I pumped into earlier this week (sorry, I did neither remember who wrote it nor could ensure every words here would be exact):

He who does not know who he is, can say anything.