The self-inflicted, unpredictable yet rewarding, academical adventure

Well hello there my fellow readers. It has been quite a fucking while hasn’t it? Just about 1.5 years ago I think it was the last time I spent recapitulating and sharing some adventures or stupidities with all of you.

Bbboi but so many things have happened. Sooo many things. Getting to the age of 30 years old is definitely one of them. Will maybe post some of that later buuut…as weird as it is, I am now sitting in the bike section of a train, on my way to Bonn, the former capital city of Germany, where I shall be part of a saturday Archaeology party, from one of the besties of H, my now official seemingly very much significant other (This will be shared at some point too, it has been amazingly ameisin). Anyways, the inspiration came to me just now to write about the rolling coaster I hopped in some years ago and honestly after the last time I wrote, I finally felt I really wanted or better said, found a way to get my shit together for some minutes and share something cool with you again. Call it the writer inspiration or lack of time or stupidity or simply eternal laziness. It is how it is.

After completing this crazy engineering masters program and traveling 1.5 years ago, life put me in a position where I am now surviving a PhD position in Stuttgart, Germany. This absurdly fluttering partially damped experience is what I want to talk to you about. But hey I gotta start from the beginning.

It was October, a very nice autumn afternoon in Rome, me sitting with H, (which back then, was my craziest true love encounter, but not my official partner in crime), right by the Tiber river, by the San Angelo Castle, discussing what the fuck were we doing meeting in Rome, trying to figure out what to do with so much love and stupidity, knowing that the chance of being 12,000km apart was quite impossible to survive. Suddenly, my phone ringed with the sound of a new e-mail, the sender was the director of the turbomachinery institute where I had an internship the summer before. The message, directed to thrusters graduates, was an offer to apply for PhD position on experimental research focused on double-phase flow phenomena. Sounded pretty insane and cool (at the time) and it was in Germany, which I liked, where I could drink nice beers, which I liked, and very close to H, which I also liked, a lot; so my main engine to apply there was my own nerdy and adventurer spirit, and the fact that H was in Germany too of course.

Magically, I got the chance for an interview. So I went back to Mx, enjoyed some months at home and boarded a plane in December to attend with my family to the graduation of the master program, travel around a bit, visit some friends and go to this interview. And obviously to visit H. And meet her family. Fucking panic.

Summarizing, the interview was grand, I had to basically re-do my entire master thesis, because it was written like a piece of shit, but in the end, it was grand! I was surprised, but very very very thankful with life, the universe and all that bullshit. -Here we fucking go again world!-. Those were the words I said to myself, happy for a new adventure and exciting to get out of the plane and drink all of the Weiß bierchen.

What I want to transmit with this blog is basically what does it mean, for me at least, to do a PhD in engineering, in one of the countries that has a seat at the pinnacle of engineering and science. Aka, quite the high level shit, and the daily struggles that come with such ridiculous levels of masochism.

The first year I did everything, and at the same time, absolutely fucking nothing. I spent months reading literature and trying to understand a bit of the science and physics behind steam turbine technologies, condensation effects in low-pressure turbines and optical methods to measure such effects. It had 13% to do with what I studied for a masters degree. 3 months after I arrived, I assisted my now ex-supervisor, to run the first experiment in this +250k€ steam nozzle test-rig, with steam entering the line at 15bars and 280°C and entering the nozzle at “controlled” 780mbar, 120°C and “decent” expansion rates. The only thing I remember from that day was running up and down, opening and closing valves, shitting my pants because of a thermal choke which resulted in a boom that moved a 5ton pressurized tank as if was about to explode and…that’s about it. So much shit happens, in such an ephemeral amount of time, no matter how hard I tried, my brain was simply not able to adjust to the required level of permanent attention and concentration. I remember being entirely exhausted by the end of the experiment, as if I had played a Rugby match at the playoffs. I’ve never played Rugby in my life haha, but I feel like that’s what it should feel like. Fucking drained.

Things did not get easier, as I just had to keep learning by doing about instrumentation, measuring techniques, acquisition data softwares and all sort of things I’ve never ever touched before in my life, and the worse is that you want to learn it, but you just don’t have the time to sit down, study passionately, get a bit the feeling and then check if it works. You always say to yourself: – ah ye, I need to study this, I’ll check it up later- but you never have the time or the energy to do it. You are (or need to be) always either 100% in the zone, or 100% absent minded, looking at the sunlight and checking the reflection and refraction of light in your beer.

In my country, some people say that doing a PhD means you cannot do a “real” job. Boi, they have no fucking clue of what they are talking about haha. In 2 years working in the industry I did not learn as much as I did the first 6 months in this ludicrous science adventure.

I also keep reading if doing a PhD is worth it or not. I guess there is no really an absolute answer to that, it is completely relative to what you do, what you want to do, how you want it and where. In my case, a PhD in Germany opens the doors to get a permanent and fucking high level job in Europe. It also gives me an insane amount of knowledge that I can apply in many branches on engineering, if this is what I decide in the future. It equally can prove one day, that I am a crazy mother fucker which is insane enough to challenge himself intellectually and follow through all adversities. It also says that I’m not as dumb as I thought. Or in any case, that the people who evaluated me, believed all my bullshit.

Please don’t get me wrong, sometimes (or many times)…(daily)… I ask myself, why the fuck did I choose to do this?. Was it really my nerdy adventurous spirit? Was it because of love for H? Was it because I “just” wanted something else to do? Was it because of my love to do crazy challenges? Or was it because I really wanted to do, or at least try to do something meaningful, that could actually help the planet with awesome cool science? Or maybe, it was because I pictured myself in a situation where I am in a plane, and then someone asks for a doctor among the people and I say firmly: -Ehm yes, I am a Dr, what is the problem?- glimpse at the person who is choking with a fucking pretzel and say: -oh…no, I am not that “kind” of Dr-. I like to think it is indeed a mixture of all of this.

In any case, what is definitely true, and what I believe many PhD students realize, is that in my last 1.5 years here, I have truly got to know my own academical capabilities, desires, dreams. It was really really hard to accept that whatever I end up researching about for the last 3.5 years, will most likely NOT be meaningful at all, in terms of making our planet cleaner, greener, better, or us as people more conscious, sharper, better. NOT. AT. ALL. To understand, that doing this, is because you are crazy and you somehow like it. Despite earning decently, I am not even able to travel around as much as I would. There is either no time, or no chance or no desired companion. You might have your nice plan laid-out for the 4 or 5 years of your PhD, but most of those things will not be as you initially thought, not even as you wanted them to be. And I guess that’s what is sometimes cool about it.

I want to think and to believe I have learned plenty of stuff and that one day, I will be able to use some of it. I cannot avoid to feel like I have no fucking clue of what I am doing, or exactly why. But I am an optimist and enjoy a good laugh and a good victory beer after breaking my head during a rough measuring day, I enjoy the “intellectual” discussions I can have at this job, I am grateful for the friends I have done until now and it is the overall picture of this what makes me smile. It is the family and the love that has embraced me here, what keeps moving my engine. In my heart, I think this is exactly what a PhD is about. Adapt, improvise and overcome.

And of course, to prove that science rules over all, bitches.

Science 1 – 0 Bearded guy in a cross fan club

The 28th Anniversary of the International Malted Wild Tiger

28 years ago an 8 months Mexican baby was struggling between life and death as an abnormal heart beating manifested and required an urgent and immediate extraction procedure to live. A soul that wanted to get out right away, that couldn’t take it anymore and just wanted freedom without giving a fuck about any consequences. A bold and unbeatable essence that remains up today. Causing high levels of stress and breaking the ladies heart with a charming smile since 1989.

28 years. Fuck mate. Where has all this time gone?! 2 years ago I was in Mexico celebrating getting accepted into the program I’m about to finish now and having a relationship proposal of the ex-significant other (miss you “J”), last year I was enjoying my favorite whisky with a bastard who has become one of my best comrades in lovely Sweden. Cheers bro “M”. Today I am in Greece writing code for my thesis, drinking wine and eating cake and looking at my bracelet present from the current and lovely flat mates. You bloody rock “K” and “D”! 10 years ago I was completely excited to obtain my officially grown up ID known as IFE in the home land. That magical piece of plastic that would open the gates to every adult entertainment media and liquids. The evidence of being a young adult, with 17 facial hairs ready to conquer the world, study a career and think that 10 years later I would be the manager in a nice job, have a family, a lovely wife, a Porsche, the pets, the money, be part of the system and say a happy good bye. Mate it sounded so good back then LOL.

Isn’t it just bizarre and amazing how the years can just blow your mind and take you to paths you literally never thought you would be walking in? Thinking: – how the fuck did I think of that?- And smile about it!?

Well chiquillas y chiquillos, for those of you who know me you could tell how cocky egocentric piece of jerk scumbag I am or can be. But when it comes to my birthday, for me it is a day where I actually sit down and evaluate everything that has happened during this year. How?. Why?. Why not?. A day where I judge, assess and analyze in a cold way the overall performance of myself with no excuses. So…to be fair? there are not enough words to fucking thank life for everything that I received during this year. I had very very BLOODY FUCKING terrible and dark moments yes. Instants where I literally thought I was entirely broken, sunk in darkness and thought I was not going to be able to stand up and keep walking. Several winks where shit, they felt like a K.O. just one after another and another and another. A year well I truly put myself to test, where I just had to force myself to go beyond any limit I though I had, academically, physically, mentally, internally.

This is where the cocky part plays the game because to be honest? karma paid off to this lucky bastard and among some stuff, I was able to be present in my brother’s wedding, I passed the most difficult and annoying test I’ve ever written, I managed to stay in this program until the end, I’ve learned so much engineering shit, I’ve eaten incredible and exotic food, traveled with my another brother, received the unique chance of traveling around the world and seen the most incredible stars of the planet, walked through ancient wanders of the world, met absolutely amazing people from all over the world…but to be honest? I’ve learned…to truly connect with my planet and with my people. One day someone from Moldavia (“O”) told me just after 20 minutes of knowing each other: -I think success is not how much money you have, how many girls you’ve slept with, not even how many countries you’ve visited…yes, self love is vital but I also think it is about how people feel when they’re around you…if they’re happy and smiling because of you? Maybe you’re doing a good job! :)- I was speechless, I just couldn’t say any word. And no, it is not that I’m saying that everybody around me feels aroused by all the stupid funny random bullshit I use to say everyday or that I’m trying to achieve that; it is not that I know plenty of people or anything stupid like it; it is the fact that life is giving me the chance of truly connecting with people, of truly leaving a mark and make an actual difference, and that maybe just maybe it might be working.

But is it then always happiness and optimism and positive mentality and fucking fat cats and fat unicorns with cute pandas flying in my mind? Unfortunately or fortunately not.

Academically speaking? This last year I’ve been in a situation where after being either number 1 or at least top 3? I was just not even close to be in first half. Studying things I first saw as glyphs, dealing with engineering shit I literally thought I would never deal with. I felt like a piece of useless junk unable to solve anything. Failed tests. Incapable of finding the correct or even the enough motivation to study and advance as I thought I knew surrounded by totally brilliant people who knew (or seemed like) how to deal with this shit. People who became close to me and told me at certain points: -you can quit if you want, but you’d be a complete stupid if you do that because you have the brain and the guts to complete this. No excuses- A summer internship where I learned so much and got so frustrated with no significant results because of stupid reasons and thought again it was my lack of competence. A change to an entirely new country, new system, new rules, new people. A year full of changes, of challenges, of obstacles, of fire rings. And hell a year where I was lucky enough to have the correct people around me, to open my eyes in vital moments and was able to overcome most of those intense instants. But thesis is here, so this has just started.

Emotionally speaking? What a fucking roller coaster. My biggest dream of traveling around the world achieved? Come on, I sometimes still find it difficult to believe it until I see the pictures of the countries I’ve been to already. I’m lucky to have met complete strangers that changed completely my way of thinking and my way of living my life in a matter of minutes. People who I think made me a better human being. 21 new countries in my list. Probably around 100 cities if I put all my life together. Festivals including Foo Fighters and Tomorrowland. Wanders of the world and many many many flying hours. No complains at all on the adventurous and wild side.

But what about love? It still really amazes me how this chemical reaction in the brain can cause such powerful belief and make you go crazy. But it seems like a curse you know? Every single time I seem to find some peace ka-FUCKING-boom, something ridiculous and unfortunate happens that it just ends it. Sex is not the issue, I’m someone who stopped counting after 15. But love love like actual love is still something quite not well understood for me or at least either I’m too stupid and naive or it seems I still haven’t managed to know how to react to love these days. I’ve been the bad boy, the good boy, the rockstar, the nerd. Today I’m just fucking myself and I don’t give a shit on anything else, I’m authentic, smart and smiley as it can gets. But it is still apparently not enough. From not being capable to go for the ones who like me and appreciate me because I’m simply too stupid, to falling for exactly those who have a sign on their foreheads that say: “trouble”, “I don’t like short men”, “I’m in a relationship”, “I really like you but I won’t do it cuz I don’t know why”. And shit like that. A year where I got my ego somewhat fissured when a significant-crush denied to travel around the world because #fucklogics.

A year where love knocked the door. I’ve had the chance of hanging out and finish up in mutual amusement with incredibly attractive and very interesting girls. Specially one with whom I madly and unexpectedly fell in love with in fucking matter of some weeks because #yolo. I guess what they say about “when it happens, happens” is true. In my naive and obnoxious defense my core felt as I finally found someone with whom I could talk and laugh with random shit until 4 am, talk about smart engineering; someone who expressed her wishes of conquering the world, of going out, of accomplishing dreams and who seemed as crazy and ambitious as myself in similar ways. Someone with whom at the beginning everything looked just like a bad timing situation but in the end it was as real as my lack of beard, but apparently not as strong as I thought, and finished up sunk with me rejected in alcohol and tears for several days without being able to understand the universe. I should have read the signs like the ones aforementioned, but life is like that. Somedays you’re flying and some others you’re crawling. But no failure, no regret at all, it’s another stripe to the tiger. Only a big lesson learned, a drawer for the good moments lived and a new procedure for heart healing preparing it for the next, hopefully not, catastrophe. And to you who wished happiness and success? No need, but I’m truly grateful with you for making me feel such strong and marvelous thing. I keep my position of yourself being as one of the most incredible aspects of my life. I truly hope one day you let yourself understand that no matter how, or why, even when life is entirely weird? My eyes were real, your eyes were real.

For disclosure, this has probably been the most fluctuating year of my entire life, with emotional stuff being the Oscar award winner. And I bloody love it’s like that. It’s intense, it’s unpredictable, it’s crazy. During the last month I have met an insane amount of people from all over the globe. Interesting, insane and some might even as bold as me or more. These 28 years start and promise to be even a greater year than the previous one and I can’t just bloody wait for it.

I am more grateful than ever with my life, literally there are no words to thank enough, other than waking up everyday, look up to the sky, no matter if it’s a sad day, a happy day, an angry day, a bright day, a dark day. It’s for something good and it will always get better; it’s a matter of wanting freedom, of living the present, of wanting to live and not giving a fuck about consequences (sometimes at least) just like 28 years ago. I might be an annoying complainer of emotional things who forgives but who never forgets. Working on that. I could also be an eternal dreamer, a wanderer, a crazy mother fucker living it up. I wish life give me more years to continue living that way.

So to all the magical and far away places that welcomed me with arms wide open, to every fucking equation, simulation, exam and project and specially to literally all the people who went through my life this year who support me and who stand my annoying and obnoxious being. To the new friends, new family members and to the yet to be discovered corners of the world; to the amazing momondo team!; to life and to the universe:

Gracias, gracias por todo, gracias por tanto, gracias por esto.

Wanna conquer the world? Follow me, let’s do it together.

The impetuous, unbreakable and stupid fellow.

December. Christmas. What a bloody cool time of the year this is. My favorite part is the food. And also when people magically unite, eat dinner in peace, laugh, share. Unfortunately it is not like this for all the people of the world, joy comes with suffering, sadness, loneliness, it is a matter of equilibrium of the equation. Fucked up I must say, but real. It is also a month where there are a lot of confessions, of opening emotions, of revelations. Which is why I prefer the food.

Last year I was lucky enough to have an amazing trip around United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany. I saw friends from old times, I saw friends from current times, I saw amazing places and landscapes, I lived and rushed through flights, delicious food, white beer, the best whisky of the world, medieval castles and highland cows. The funny and weird part is that I did it alone.

You see, I am indeed a travel addict, a person who wants to conquer the world, a simple man who would love to save the planet through technology and engineering development, and as very close friends described some hours ago, I do know how to treat with people and do whatever it takes to make my friends happy, to make them smile. Having said that, through all my travels (which have been so far to around 15 countries and counting) I have been very lucky to meet nice people, good people; to those who know me, it is not difficult for me to approach a total stranger and ask  how is the day going, what do they do, what is their favorite thing in the world, what do they recommend about the place I am in. As the same friends aforementioned also said, I always love, I always give, I am so brutally honest and authentic that it is not easy to tell if I am indeed fake or not, because people is simply not used to be treated with the truth, to be actually listened to, to be in fact treated as they deserve. This egocentric prick I am sometimes, is actually just a solid effort of being a good man, of being a decent person, of being happy and provide happiness.

But where the fuck am I going with all this rubbish? Well, I was just remembering that after the astounding xmas travel of last year, I felt just miserable as soon as I returned home. Because I was alone. Maybe I’m just being ridiculous and silly and over-thinking this stuff, you might even say “but mate, you can be happy by yourself, when you love yourself, nothing else matters”, to what I would nod and agree. Maybe I’m just another selfish soul that just wants company sometimes because specially traveling by yourself could be a bloody staggering experience provided you know how to deal with entire loneliness. Maybe, just maybe, today is a weird day where I open myself, that I am being 100% emotional and would actually like to experience being at the top of the mountain with someone holding my hand and kissing my ugly face. As a matter of fact, after that travel I said to myself I would not travel alone again because…#samba, to what life responded with a huge “LOL” and made my biggest dream come true.

 

So as xmas approaches again, I will find myself wandering at the Sahara desert and some other remarkable african destinations and I just cannot wait. Happy. In peace. And ironically alone. (Not complaining at all! you’re the best #momondo)

I am a true believer that things always have a reason to be, that life provides and that it is up to us to get perspective and to do stuff. I have learned that there are just no excuses. At. All. (Cheers you Kiwi!) We should not stay behind the line, we should just stand up, take that leap, DO, SPEAK, KISS, DANCE. No excuses. I might be an annoying, too optimistic, absolutely intense and unstable lucky human being that will indeed travel around almost the entire globe trying to transmit my happiness. I might be a too radical individual that thinks we humans can become better if we just would stop finding stupid reasons to not do what we truly feel we need to do. I might think this way because I feel I am unbreakable, invincible. Of course I am not, but I am simply not afraid of trying. I am a stupid and impetuous fellow unafraid to take the fall.

So perhaps today was just one of those days where the year is finishing and the mind just loves to mess around and creates an effect of thinking “what the hell am I doing with my life, where am I going, why not even pigeons love me”. Perhaps one day, I will actually be able to share what I see, what I feel, what I hear and smell and hopefully it will be with a big eyes and cute smile lovely woman. Perhaps not and it will be with a cat. But alone or not, today, I will be delighted if you decide to join me, to smile and infect the world with happiness.

Coffee just kicked in. Are you in?

dance-like-nobody-is-worried-youre-about-to-injure-yourself-T4I.gif

 

 

The histrionic chronicles: Bergamo

This section is purely devoted to those awkward, emotional and strange moments of my life, that gave me a nervous laugh while feeling head over heels for someone. Some come from life, some others are extracts of my travel journal. Hope you enjoy.

Bergamo, Italy. 29.10.16 at around 12:00 pm

I just found a lovely bench to sit down on the eastern side of the city, and take out my journal to keep documenting the first days of my “all around the world” trip. As I was enjoying the sun and watching and old lady feeding some cats, it happened.

A blonde, tall and blue eye enchanting girl sits on the bench in front of me. She has a black and white stripe dress, black tights and black nike sneakers and she is eating an ice cream. I am flabbergasted.

On the other side of the bench, there is a metal fence and then a cliff, consequence of the upper city architecture. Out of the blue, a black donkey emerges from the hill and approaches to her, seeking to be petted. She smiles, she takes a picture and indeed pets him. Her smile denotes tenderness towards the cute donkey and this is the first time she looks at my stupid face, fascinated by her and her smile. I drop my pen and become clumsy. -What is her favorite band? What is her biggest dream?-. I think to myself. I don’t want to look like a stalker and a perv, but I cannot stop looking at her and I bet my face is the one of a total fool. Very discretely, basically undetectable, she moves her eyebrows and her eyes as if she is having a tremendous internal debate with her, as if she is talking with herself. It just looks as crazy as when I do it with myself.

She looks at me another second and yet again, I cannot maintain her eye-sight and I look down. It is fucking embarrassing, and the only thing I do is to drink water while my legs are just not responding. I don’t even know how to approach her and she knows, I know she knows. She finishes her ice cream and leaves. I managed to stand up 3 min. after but of course, she is not anywhere close. I said to myself that if I ever see her again I will talk to her.

I sigh.

Around 4:00 pm

I find myself right in the heart of the “Piazza Vecchia”, eating an orgasmic salmon kind of pizza, an amazing “merengue” candy and singing “Stairway to heaven” of my favorite band as a street musician goes crazy with the solo. I close my eyes, look up, take a deep breathe and smile as the song finishes.

And is if it was part of a bizarre high school theatre play, there she was, walking a couple of meters towards the “Duomo”. I freeze and think that it is one of those moments when life smiles, like when your mom agrees to take you to SixFlags after 3 months of trying everyday. Hence, my brain gave me an electrical chill and said “go and talk to her”. She was standing right in the middle of the piazza and as I approached, she looked at me and laughed discreetly. Again, I knew she knew.

Ciao! Parla italiano? Or english?- I said. -Hi, english yes, a little bit!- she responds smiling as my brain just got literally electroshocked and there is a “Technical fault, please stand by” message in my head as her blue eyes point towards me. Her name is Tiana (or maybe Tjana?) and is from Austria, I start talking very fast and asking many questions, one of them is that she looks like a very interesting person and if I could interview her as part of my travel, to what (obviously normal) her reaction was to laugh and an expression of “what the fuck?”. She responds kindly that she would definitely like to go and talk somewhere else but that unfortunately her train is leaving within the next minutes and she was already on her way to the station, (which takes a while if you’re walking or if you wait for the bus). -Well that’s a pity but no worries! I do wish you a lovely trip- I said, while my internal systems were still struggling to keep it together. -I’m so sorry! Really I would stay but I need to go – she says. I grab her hand, tell her that it was a pleasure to meet her and we both leave.

As she walks down towards the exit of the square, I turned to see her again. She turns too. I smile and she smiles back as she keeps walking.

I did not ask for her number, or fb or anything, because I wanted it to remain it that way. I will definitely never know if she was indeed attracted/interested towards me, if this was just another typical episode of saying “not interested/fuck off” politely or if this was indeed a corresponded emotional moment. A pure and authentic moment that I will never forget.

Un amor de esos que duran sólo un instante, pero que te hacen sonreír por siempre.