That 2023 mini-spring-BREAK

What the hell is this about?

I'm going through *things*. And I kind of had it, so I'm taking a 10 day spring break, with an escapade in Valencia. This is my story. *dramatic logo intro*

Latest update: Monday, March 20th, 2023

T: Minus 3 days, and counting?

It is tuesday. What a tuesday. 

I just got my heart broken. No: obliterated. And left radioactive, because it's one of those situations that is going to hurt and bring awful situations in the upcoming months.

I'm crawling my way out of a horrible flu, which was either B-type flu or COVID. It hit me HARD. I haven't gone out of my flat since around 8 days ago. 

At work we've been bouncing concepts and research for months on how to improve the game we're working on. And I'm so burned out that ash could seem flamable besides me.

It's tuesday. What a tuesday.

My mind is torn between crumbling down (again?) and... something new.

Breaking the rules? and *not being sad*? and taking care of myself and heal?

For me (and others too) Q1 2023 (you know you've been asimilated by big corp when you start dividing up your personal life using product nomenclature) has been a ridiculously aggressive barrage of painful emotional situations, non-stop. 

So this is me actively trying to close that shit off, and perhaps be happy, even thrive, once again.


T: Minus 2 days, I really cannot wait. Literally.

It's not even the eagerness of jumping into vacations from work and an exciting trip out of town. I mean I, as a person, just cannot wait.

When a situation has gone south, everybody prouds themselves so much saying "give it some time", "others need to process what's been going on", or the most infuriating: "why don't you think about something else?".

I cannot.

Last nigh I had a very dramatic dissociative panic attack. Because I really cannot wait, and because I deal really badly with loss. Specially when I feel it could've been averted. Or worse: it could still be reverted.

Aside from that, I had a lovely time with Sergio BB, my dear friend with whom I can fly together to a galaxy far, far away (yes, we're die hard Star Wars fans). We watched the latest episode of The Mandalorian, season 3. It was a very dark episode. Felt even darker being in this situation that I am.

As for work, I'm pushing myself hard to have this *very critical* stage of the new project closed before I leave for Valencia a whole week. But it's being difficult close a feature list that has been reopened and changed over and over again for 8 months now. It's frustrating, and discouraging. But I keep doing my best. I have to. Somehow I want to.


T: Minus 1 day! I will (?) survive

After yesterday's breakdown I seriously wondered about my survival. At least in terms of sanity and minimal happiness! 

So about the breakup situation, and the work situation, I decided I need to make an effort to let go off these matters at least temporarily, because I desperately need to heal. I'm at my reserve HP.

It's wonderful that I have the friends and family that I do though. They've helped me so much. I wouldn't be here without them. Today I spend lovely time sleeping and working with Auny, then some shopping and sushi dinner with my beloved "Clotenças" friends (Markus, Joel and Edu).

And now we're finishing the night on a *secret* business meeting:

I'm kind of excited for tomorrow, as we won't actually work, since the studio decided to throw some sort of spring party. A big one. 

Hey, be kind to yourselves. Because the world definitely won't be, at least all of the time.


D-DAY: Take it to the rooftop!

This is it! Spring break starts NOW! Today was a very short day of "work", since the company had planned a super cool and trendy rooftop party! So after a couple of meetings we all headed to Hotel Pulitzer in downtown Barcelona to have some fun! (like a YouTube commercial of some european language/business school for priviledged white young people looking "for adventure, omg"). No, but for real, it was so much fun. For some reason my outfit was praised over and over again at the party. With one girl grabbing me into the dancefloor saying "How come the coolest boy at the party ain't dancing?" Man, did I blush. Then told her I'd dance when they played Dua Lipa. Which I did, as I danced my way down to the point my ass was touching the floor. Got a bit carried away in front of half the company! After that, Auny and I went for some nasty burgers, then a beautiful cold spring walk around Barcelona. And got ourselves japanese matcha carquinyols. And with that, I don't have to even think about work for around 10 days. And with that, my escapade begins. Tomorrow I'll be taking the train.
  • Body status: around 80% healed I'd say!
  • Heart status: shattered, but the broken pieces reflect the light like a disco ball.


Day 01: My Hero's Journey... I hope

Barcelona woke up on saturday to a very cloudy day. It was gray and "empty". It felt like the city was telling me "there's currently nothing else for you to do here, so pack your backs and get going. For adventure."
And so I did. Did laundry, packed two suitcases full of outfits for a whole week. Then I had a lovely take-away sushi with Auny, along with another "lovely" breakdown. Had to have another one, before I left. To say goodbye to the feeling. To let everything go.
And with a hug and an elevator farewell, I left. Straight to Sants Estació.
I must say it's amusing how much I've been to that train station in the past 2 years. And there I was, yet again. Emotional stamina depleted.
I really hoped for being happier and energized for this trip. But I was not. I've been broken over and over again in the past few months.
So it's better to be honest and just acknowledge that I'm leaving so I can heal, even if just a bit.
I'm going after my "hero's journey"
I am now happily in Valencia, with Matt, Arcadi and Jorge. And a ton of fireworks and explosions (it's Fallas time)
I'm gone. I needed to.

Day 02: Let's just rest and heal ok?

First full day in Valencia. Chill, relax, to heal.

The guys here were also afected by the same virus as I was. So we mostly stayed home, kind of sleeping all day. I had no idea how much I needed that.
We, however, made the effort to go out late at night to see at least one Falla nearby get burnt to the ground.
It was a cake. A lovely wacky purple cake.
And it creatively lit up its candles when it was set on fire...
And then the flames grew so potent that us and the whole crowd had to step back around 10 meters, because the heat was starting to burn our faces.
I liked that heat. It felt like it was helping me burn all the horrible thoughts and emotions that have been plaging me for the bast few weeks.
After that we went back home to sleep.
Again, it was a slow day. A lovely one. To lay down and admit that sometimes we're hurt. Sometimes we really need to just... rest.

Day 03: First day of Spring!

Today was a brighter "healing day".

Not that slow. But still all about relax. And taking it easy.

During the afternoon we went out for a big walk.

First we got ourselves some delicious frozen yogurt!

And then we welcomed spring! With a long walk along the "parc del río".

It was gray and gold. Melancholic. Several times I said that it really didn't feel like spring was starting. It felt more like it was autumn.

I took this picture from some reeds growing in a lagoon at the park. They reminded me of Disco Elysium. 

An absolute masterpiece of a videogame. I was reminded of its sad atmosphere, of people and a world for whom everything had gone horribly wrong. But they were still somehow there, somehow trying to live and keep on going. Even though the worst had happened.

Finally, for the night, we cooked some colorful poke!

Because if life was being just gray and gold, we better bring in the rest of the colors!


Day 04: Let's take a walk

Today we started the the off by going to the gym!

It was great going back to it. I had a two week pause after I got crippled by the B type flu infection.

But I'm alright now, slowly regaining energy.

I did have a dark moment yesterday, when I was alone during a couple of hours while the guys took one of their cats to the vet.

I had a full blown panic attack thinking about the whole broken heart issue. About how I brought this upon myself for not being wise enough, for letting my traumas and anxious attachment issues take control of my actions. 

Questions plaged me: "did I destroy a relationship that was broken, instead of working hard to repair it?" and "am I doomed to suffer from these fears, insecurities and pain, and always exploding in anger and rash decisions because of them? am I fundamentally toxic?"

The "good" part is that I managed to handle the intense negative emotions that overcame me. In this case, by starting a document writting all that I want to admit and say to the person I had a break-up with. It really helps put things in perspective, and take thoughts out of your head. And, to be honest, I'll probably won't end up telling these things to that person, but to my therapist.


After we had lunch, I had the pleasure of taking long, long walks.

Along with Arcadi, we went to Valencia city center.

We decidely went "lost", getting into the narrow streets of El Carmen, taking turns randomly, marveling in the unusual quietness in the middle of the city.

It was a lovely walk.

We talked about work, career, relationships, friends, boyfriends, sex, politics, and life in general.

We could really walk for hours and hours.

You can't really overestimate the healing power of walking n' talking. 100% recommended.


Day 05: We have a future, for better or worse. Point is we have one.

Legs! "Legs for days!" they say.

That's how the day started: hitting the gym for a full blown 2 hour leg training session. It was amazing, and Arcadi taught me how to use a particular machine that had always intimidated me! Here's the pic for celebrating today's session:

After the gym we were insanely tired. So after preparing and eating a massive potato and tuna salad, we took a long, multi-hour very spanish siesta.

Afterwards we went for another long walk.

A couple of fancy coffees were enjoyed first.

Then the conversation seemed to delighfuly flow endlessly. Again, all over the different areas of life. We talked and walked. Enjoying the "river" (meaning "the park", go see Valencia on Google Maps).

Nevermind, here it is for you:

After today's conversations we took a hard look back and realized we've been through emotional rollercoasters, depression valleys, and most importantly: 180º changes in who we are as individuals.

I guess that realizing this was good, because I got to see that even if things currently "kinda suck", somehow I'll move forward. There are some battles and wars ahead I can foresee. But that's not even entirely bad, because beyond not loosing, I also have the chance to "win", big.

Even more of a chance now that I want to make the emotional effort to take my pride out of the equation. To steal the wheel back from my emotions, fears and trauma.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that I'm hopeful. But I'm starting to feel that I want this depression to be over. That I want to feel good and alive again. That this doesn't mean there won't be any battles or wars, but that I'll be willing to fight them, with energy. And... yes, why not: with a new hope.

The day ended with gourmet burgers I cooked for the guys: thick beef patties, with ruccula, dijon mustard, goat cheese, plum jam, on bagel bread!


Day 06: Of parks and recreation

Thursday. The sun was shining bright. Not a cloud in the sky. And we were finally completely free of any lingering weakening effects of the B type flu.

So we went out for a long walk through Valencia's lovely park again. 

On the way we went under this bridge, which reminded me of The Water Temple in Zelda games:

First, we hunted some specialty coffe. We found this delightful place called "Mayan Coffees". They claimed the coffee they made was from their own crops and roasting. And that they did! It was so fresh, it felt like drinking a tropical rainforest, I swear.

We ordered it along with some alfajores.

After that we went to the "Jardins dels Vivers". This is a park which used to be the royal gardens.

It was full of many different trees, plants, roses, sculptures and animals. Like ducks, swans and many, many black cats, for some reason.

We also came across a huge cage with "exotic" birds (which to be honest for me were just the domestic birds that grandmas had in Venezuela). Waves of nostalgia engulfed me watching the birds.

To get back home, we Walked & Talked along the river park again. 

I had a mini panic attack again, I must confess. This time thinking about the seemingly insurmountable emotional and communicational work ahead of me to try to solve scary, complex and difficult situations with my relationships. But this was good, because it meant I was willing to go through it, I was willing to put in the work. 

I recommend you do that too. Relationships aren't really supposed to be "perfect" and "good" all the time.

Pretty much like the place we visited, relationships are like a garden. They take a lot of maintenance, care, and love. And patience. But the results are a beautiful place to thrive, grow, live and love.


Day 07: Friday! Shop n' Party

So being friday don't mean much when you're on vacations! But it definitely makes you feel oddly energized. It's custom I guess.

During the day we went shopping! First, an awesome walk around the trendy Ruzafa neighborhood. We visited vintage clothing stores and snatched some pretty cool finds!

Then we dropped by an indian-nepali cuisine restaurant. It was absolutely deli. We were craving so hard for it.

Afterwards we visited some more shops at the mall. At which BTW they had a showing of traditional "Semana Santa" robes that the "cofradías" use when walking around the streets in processions. 

With all due respect, they're insanely creepy.

And this extremely funny thing happened in which Google maps asked me to post that picture as if it was Bershka, the clothing store.

Now for the night, we decided to finally go out a bit.

This is us, on a late bus, a bit drunk, "hunting for the night":

We met with a bunch of Valencian acquaintances of mine (and Arcadi's) at a bar. Drinking what? of course: "agua de Valencia"!

We had an amazing time laughing, drinking, telling stories and just catching up. It felt so good to have good, loving, amazing people around me in another city. I'm forever grateful. And I hope I can be the same for them in Barcelona.

In conclussion: a very fun, active and "consumerist" day. 

As for my emotional state, I'm still scared of the challenges ahead. But I'm starting to "let go". Because I can definitely do the work to avoid doing the wrong thing, putting in the effort to do the right thing. But there's things completely out of my control. And no one should suffer too much because of that. Life should be as nice as possible.


Day 08: This is it. Last full day in Valencia.

And I'm trying not to think to much about it.

Because, yeah: we know some hard times are coming (like saying farewell again, in this case), we know bad things might happen. But what's the point of hyperfixating on these things? A lighting bolt could hit any of us at any given time, but we'd go crazy if we were worrying about that every day of our lives.

During the morning something happened.

Very deep, and somewhat difficult conversations we had pending came up. 

And it was rough, but also beautiful. 

We talked about our deepest fears, insecurities. About boundaries, about expectations, about relationships. We said everything. No stone left unturned.

It was so liberating. It was so empowering. Letting those you love know about your weaknesses. About your desires. 

We live in a world in which we're bombarded with the idea of being PROUD. Of not letting our "soft" side out. Of not giving in, being stubborn, being the victim. Of fighting for ourselves, but not along with those we love and who love us back. 

Relationships are HARD. The world is cruel. And it's so easy to let fear take the wheel and steer. 

And like Master Yoda said: "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate. And hate... leads to suffering".

So don't be proud. Don't be the victim. Don't give in to anger. Fight that fear. And communicate.

As for the day...

We had delicious pizza, which was a total cheese overload. I said, in spanish: "vamos a morir de quesosis múltiple!"

Then we traversed all of Valencia, went to a neighboring town, and visited the legendary "Horchata Daniel".

For those of you who don't know, horchata is a typical valencian/spanish sweet drink made out of "chufa", a "nut" that is crushed to get its milky content.

We had it with "fartons", another typical valencian specialty. They're very soft and fluffy glazed bread "sticks", which you're supposed to dip in the horchata.

Afterwards, we returned home to have a lovely, chill, relaxing last night together!

I must say I feel ready to go back to Barcelona. To take control back from fear. I'm sad I let my life there fall so deep into depression, discomfort, anxiety, fear and suffering. I don't deserve that, the people who surround me don't deserve that. I want to go back and make that life flourish into something new and beautiful.

It pains me to leave Valencia, of course. At least I'm going back with "the magical sword" in my hand.

Tonight is my last night here. And I'll put all my senses to overdrive, I don't want to even fall asleep. Because I want to sip and feel every second, before that farewell that comes again.


Day 08: Ending and Credits Roll

This is it.

Last day I open up my eyes and find myself at the guys lovely flat.

Last day during this mini-adventure waking up in Valencia.

The morning went by quickly. But peacefully. We laughed, talked, went by as we had the past few days. And of course, we were feeling the pain. Of having to go back to our routines soon, after what had been a trully magical week.

Regarding routine though... If all days were special, none would really be. It's important to recognize how special routine really is in our lives. A whatever tuesday completely devoid of anything different doesn't really feel appealing. But it has a beauty. It's the "baseline" of our lives. And we need to make the resolution of learning to appreciate those days. Even when the situation isn't an ideal one. If we learn to be happy and thriving during those "very normal" days, then the special ones will be even better.

So. Did I get my "magic sword"?

I think I did.

And it's about being vulnerable.

About communicating (and being brave to be able to do so!).

About not giving control to fear, trauma, insecurities, anger and hate.

About taking care of oneself. Asking for help.

About understanding that we're all individuals, with unique fears and desires.

About managing expectations and boundaries, while being humble, caring and empathic.

About putting in the work and effort on all relationships in our lives, because they only thrive if we do so. That they don't have to be "perfect" or "our way" only.

...and about learning when to let go. When our paths diverge, for as painful as it may be.

The thing with finding the magic sword is that we still have a long way in learning how to wield it properly. And that the temptation of dropping it will always be there.

There's no way to overstate how strong and willful you have to be to do the right thing, to do the best thing possible in the darkest, most emotionally complex situations.

But at least we can say out loud: "I will do it!". And that makes a world of a difference.

This is it.

I snapped a couple of pics on the train back to Barcelona... One of them looking at a gas refinery center near Tarragona (it looked way more epic IRL)

And one of me, actually smiling. Because even though I'm in emotional pain, I know that this is a life in which I can still thrive, even with complex problems in it. That I'm excited to run up that hill to resolve situations as best as I can. That I'm excited because I know I can be crying, but happy at the same time. 

Oh, and this is Arcadi and me, saying "see you soon"


Adox J. Roig Oviedo
Adox J. Roig Oviedo
An intense creative who cannot stop doing what he loves.

1 Comment

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