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.

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The moroccan sub-saharan abduction

Morocco, north Africa. I cannot even describe all the emotions I went through as I was landing for the first time at the African continent. Excitement rushing through my veins without having the minimum idea of how it was gonna be. The first thought I had when I went out the menara airport in Marrakesh was: -where the fuck are the taxis and the buses?-. There was only people picking up other people, no taxi signs, no bus coming soon. Plenty of luck I had when I found two lads that were going to the same hostel I booked, so off we went to the old city center of Marrakesh or Medina. The hostal called “Kif Kif” is located right in the heart of the city. The hostal crew received me with a delicious chi red tea and some biscuits, the place has a lovely and cozy lounge full of cushions, shishas and colours. Just brilliant, I highly recommend it. It was already late in the evening but I took a walk to get familiar with the area; all the locals of the main market were closed, and to be honest at first sight the area looks quite creepy and spooky, with wild cats hunting, but despite the looks, it’s fairly safe to walk anytime and for some reason I thought -I think like this place-.

With Redoian at kif kif.

The mission of day two was to go to the capital city Casablanca, go to the senegalese consulate and get a pre-visa to enter the country. Oh Internet what an epic fail you did this time. According to bloody Wikipedia and other websites, it was possible for Mexicans to process electronically a pre-form, arrive at the airport in Dakar and enter the country. This website was down for several weeks before and according to some Dakar airport information exchange, the instruction was to go to Casablanca to do such “fast and easy” process. Wrong. As I arrived to the consulate, a tall and fancy dressed senegalese guy in charge said to me that the only way to enter was by official confirmation directly from Senegal, and to do so, my passport and other stuff had to be sent to Senegal and I had to wait at least 3 months to maybe obtain an answer. -Do you have your yellow fever vaccine? Did you book your tickets already?- he asked. To what the answer was -yes, I’m flying in 3 days to Dakar-…-well I don’t think you are, I’m sorry, we cannot do anything-. I was a bit sad, yes, a bit pissed, yes, but I didn’t argue or anything, I’m a guy who likes to think that life always gives us signals, that sometimes it’s a “feck yeah go for it!” But sometimes it’s a “nope, sorry mate, knock on the next door!” And that’s exactly what I did. As I was telling my story with a totally rusty French to the taxi driver, he said in French-don’t worry Mexico! Morocco will make you smile- and he drove me around the main avenues of the city before going back to Marrakesh. Fairly cool city I must say. 

Casablanca, the Atlantic and the biggest mosque in Africa

With limited communication with the staff of momondo due to the Xmas break, I did have a tiny panic attack on the train back to Marrakesh, but my head cooled down and the worse that could happen was to book a flight to Spain (since it was cheap) and then find the way back home, but as said, life is wise and I found a 48 hrs flight to Tanzania with two 12 hrs lay overs (including Spain). The momondo team responded effectively to my Mexican S.O.S. call and my trip was on again, with some extra days to enjoy Morocco. Wise indeed. 

I spent the 3rd day wandering around the market, the main square Jemaa el-Fnaa, the mosques, parks and gardens of the city, like the famous Jardin Morelle, which by the way is infested of Mexican vegetation. And of course, discovering the local moroccan cuisine like the tagine, some brouchette and an orgasmical avocado + banana milkshake. I must add that there are zillions of tiny motorcycles used to move around the market and the center. I honestly felt the muppets so close that I thought once or twice my Sir William Wonka was gone for good. All good fortunately. 

Mosque

Snailsss
Jemaa el-Fnaa
Market
Jardin Morelle
Palace side

Tagine

I must add that as I was walking back to the hostel, I was on a big avenue, then thousands of police men blocked the street and were standing as if the president would cross by. Black BMWs and Mercedes-Benz and police cars driving on the street and people gathering on the sides. -what the hell is going on?- I thought. The king of Morocco, smiling and waving to the people as the people clap and smile. No pictures though cuz a police guy looked at me strangely when I wanted to take out my phone, better not to take the risk. 

At the hostal I met very cool people from all over the world that actually advised me a thing or two of how to spend my renaming days in Morocco. 

Romania, Germany, Italy and Australia

An excursion to the Sahara passing through the Atlas mountains and other spots of the desert was facilitated by the hostel and as an Australian lad showed me his photos of the stars while at the desert, I didn’t even hesitate. Three days of adventures through authentic Berber villages, Ait Ben Hadou, Ait Audinar, Tudra Gorges and Merzouga at the Sahara, including exotic mint tea, food, camels and a night at a beduine camp. And off I went, with a big smile and hoping I wouldn’t freeze my ass off at the desert. 

Imagine the Atlas mountains pass as all the curves your intestine has. Now picture a moroccan old guy with a kind of Gandalf the white cloth and a grumpy face driving a 16 people van with the same skills of bloody Fitipaldi. Fun indeed, provided you don’t get sick with such curvy adrenaline. Many houses of the villages in this area are built with a special clay mixture so they have the same colour of the desert, which is kind of red or terracotta. Even the ones made of concrete are painted with the same tone. Kasbahs and ancient villages, traditional turbans and people yelling “yala!” Which means “let’s go”. Even snow at the mountains and then red rocks that eventually turned into sand. Do you reckon desert movies and TV scenes of game of thrones, gladiator or Lawrence of Arabia? All in this area too. Plus, the good company of people in the van coming from Spain, Germany, la France, USA and the always present China. I will let the pictures do the job.

Atlas mountains

Berbere tea
Aladdin’s carpet
Tudra gorges

And then the magical Sahara. I honestly felt as if I just landed in bloody mars. Absolute magic. The colour of the sand, the dusk, the sunrise, the camels, the dunes, the wind, the silence, the fire, eight shooting stars. The bloody stars. Damn, it is the most beautiful sky I’ve ever seen in my entire life. All the constellations, the milky way and even other galaxies were possible to see. In such moment I was laying down at the top of a dune, totally thrilled by the effect of our amazing universe and a “special” beduine cigarette. Revelations and statements start running in my head. -I will bloody finish the aeromechanics master, I will live intensely every moment as if it was the last, I will smile and be kind everyday, I will learn, give and I will not let anyone stop me, woooh shooting star! oh shit that’s a big ass star- are just some of the thoughts wandering in my head and my heart. A moment that will remain forever. Thanks for that life. 

After exhausting 12 hrs way back to Marrakesh, I spent my last day walking around the city, drinking mint tea and enjoying the African sounds the main square offers. Exotic monkeys like Abu, dancing cobras, crazy dancers, spices for cooking, for health, for aphrodisiac purposes, and a trillion items to buy at the market. I must add that oh these bloody Moroccans know how to sell you things… and to bargain…and to take all your money…graciously. But even so, this city and the surroundings became an staggering and highly recommended experience. 

Despite my solitude moment at the desert I will finish this post saying yes, the colours, the sounds, the smells and the food granted an unforgettable amount of emotions. But it is the people of the city who made me actually embrace the identity of Morocco and understand a bit of what it means to be moroccan. I met incredible people in this trip, locals and internationals; and it is the people again the one responsible of me wanting to come back and of taking Morocco in my heart, and as I take off the Menara airport, I say to myself:-until the next time Morocco.

In the mean time…Tanzania, here I come.

Yala!

Traveling around and not knowing other people is not traveling; it’s just moving. 

 

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.

 

The italo-messicano bergamasca bloodline

Do you remember what it felt like when being a kid and entered to your favorite toy store? or a candy/ice cream/video games store? or going to the concert of your favorite band? or entering a selected whisky or wine store as the alcoholic I am? Most of the times, it becomes an unexpected and amazing surprise in those cases, and such feeling is what I got as soon as I landed in Bergamo.

Bergamo is a medieval city located at the northern part of Italy, 52.2 km from Milan, right in the middle of the mountains, and distributed with an old town at the upper part of a mountain, and the downtown all around the mountain. As any medieval place, there are huge fortress walls that used to protect the city from thieves and war. Specifically, from the Venetian army and the Cyprus war. A lot of gardens, vineyards, and mountains surround the city. The chilly fall mornings and afternoons, plus the red leafs, the stone roads, the huge stone arcs and the red roofs, make my arrival to the city, a magical and astonishing one.

“Oh mio dio!” said the taxi driver as he found out why I came to Bergamo in the first place. A fat, big, with a lot a beard and a fantastic laugh italian sir, that immediately started to ask me what I knew and gave me advices of where can I search/ask/go. “Ciao italo-messicano, benvenuto a Bergamo!” he says as he lefts me in the door of the hostel.

The next day, a chilly and cloudy, yet fresh and nice morning wakes me up, and I found myself walking to the “Archivio di Stato di Bergamo” to ask the whereabouts of my bergamasca ancestors.

A lovely ma’m is at the reception lobby and welcomes me with a cute smile and blushed make-up cheeks. Her name is “Maria Gracia” and as I remembered all my italian, courtesy of “L” and of “Enzo Gorlomi” I explained my story and she becomes very curious and interested in what I’m looking for. I ask her: what is your favorite thing of Bergamo? and she responds: “Everything!” She tells that she travelled a lot when she was young and wild, that she was very curious about traveling around the world, about meeting new people, but specially to have memories to share some day. I do ask her: “do you think if we all were optimistic, the world could be a better place?” to what she responds: “are you a Jehova witness or something? you’re just too optimistic to be normal, and they asked me the same question you just did. You won’t convince me to join you!” while laughing, to what I laughed very loud too, I said that “holy water” makes my skin burn instantaneously, more laughs, and in the end, she just stated that traveling indeed makes people better human beings, and that going back home in peace is the most important thing in this life.

It surprises me very much, that one of the managers explains that someone, at some point in the past, went already there to search the origin of “Maqueo”. The research is however unsuccessful and they actually said that “Maccheo” does NOT exist. (Imagine a scene of me screaming in my knees NOOO! dramatically). They explain that they have records only after 1822 and that anything before that is extremely difficult to find, or at least I would require way more info than what I had, which was not much. They also confirm that surnames like “Maceo”, “Macchio” and “Machio” might exist but are definitely NOT from Bergamo; however “Macchi” and “Maccali” pop up and gave me some hope. They advise me to go to the cathedral and ask for the “Archivio Diocesano” and search for these names. If they were born and baptized in Bergamo, they would have it there, so off I went to the “Citta’ Alta” or upper town, right in the heart of Bergamo, as I ate an insanely orgasmic tasty ice cream of strawberry and figues and something else.

After walking for about 30 min, taking the “funiculare” and being totally speechless by how beautiful this place is, I arrived to the clerical archives and ask the lady in charge. They make the search and find that indeed, they were not registered there, they say that there are “Maccali” records in Milano, but “Macchi” might be in any neighbor villages of Bergamo. Basically, impossible to know, at least just in a couple of days. So I feel dissapointed but somewhat excited, and decide to make another research on my own in the internet and also to ask my family. I needed more.

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Il duomo di Bergamo

Then, I found a mexican book that clearly says that two brothers called Julián and Esteban Maqueo, originally Giuliani and Stefano, from Italy, arrived to Mexico in 1830 to Oaxaca, both from the Garibaldi army, still wearing the uniform and the belt with the golden spread wings eagle and stay there to work as merchants. It also says that Stefano was known as “the traveler”. It was still before 3:00 pm, which is when the state archive office closed and off I went there, to ask for any military records of that time. As I arrived, the reception lady and the managers smile and say “how did it go??”. I explain everything, and they sadly state that they only have military records after 1870. However, they tell that the “Museo Storico di Bergamo” has a lot of information regarding participants, people, places, maps, of the garibaldini army and movement, so they might be able to help. A tiny beam of light is in my head again, to what I decide I’ll give it a shot saturday morning.

I am starving and aim for a local cuisine place, to what I ate the famous “Polenta” which is a typical bread of this area and “Casoncelli” which are similar to the ravioli but these are filled with chopped bacon and have butter. A lot of butter. Plus wine of the house and another delicious gelato. I keep walking and falling in love with the city, until I find a local bar at the eastern part of the town, in which I decide to sit down, drink a beer, and start writing in my journal. After an hour, the place becomes packed and I start wondering what is this place. And then, surrounded entirely by italians, I find myself talking with the guys beside me, absolutely nice and cool, they get surprised that I only came to Bergamo to discover my roots, they get happy by the fact that I’m a Bergamasco, they say that I speak very good italian and invite me a beer. Two beers. Three beers. Wine. More wine. Pizza. A lot of pizza. I met A BUNCH of people. All of them welcoming me as if I was another italian of the group.

One of them, called Edoardo Bovati, the typical handsome italian guy you would see in a magazine, both by looks and by personality. An absolutely nice and funny mate that speaks spanish too and I decide to ask him about his life, his experiences, his dreams, his expectations. Born in Milan but grew up in Bergamo, he says that he started traveling when he was 3 years old to the caribbean islands and he remembers so vague details. His first plane he took alone was by the age of 10, to visit relatives in England, and he stated that when being an adult, he first traveled because he felt just bored. Today he assures that he travels because you can learn something new every single day. After wandering around Asia and South America and North America, he says that xmas means Paris, New York or Bergamo, but no favorite city arises. Making the world a better place, means to make environmental consciousness and educate the people better in that way.

As the wine and beer ran off and the weather went down, I walked back to the hostel and pray that the hang over at the next day would allow me to wake up early-ish and to have a bearable headache.

And of course, the prays were useless, and I was struggling my way up by one of the stone stairs at the eastern side of the city and went directly to the Museo Storico. Sad was my reaction to know that indeed the museum was open, but the offices were closed (that’s why they gave me an appointment for monday) but the guy in charge said the Dr. was aware of my case. Again with my best “Antonio Margareteee” version I explained my story and the guy got quite excited and curious about it. It was very interesting to know that there was a group of the Garibaldi army that was sent to Mexico back to 1829-1830, to deal with some loose issues of the mexican independence, the exact date my ancestors claimed to arrive to aztec lands. My eyes got wide open, the headache disappeared and my heart started beating faster. He says that the research needs indeed to be done, and gives me the e-mail address of the doctor in charge and the website. E-mail that I will send tonight. “In bocca al lupo!” he says. “Crepi il lupo!” I respond (thanks again “L”) and he assents and smiles back.

And I spent the rest of the day wandering around the walls, the streets, the secret passages, the gardens, the stone roads. To be quite sincere with you, I have always had a difficult time to define a place as “home”. For me, home is where my parents and my memories are, it is where I have my family, as I would assume most of us do. But it is also a place where I can be totally in peace, and that is the difficult part to achieve, at least in a constant way. These almost 3 days, I honestly experienced quite a lot of deep emotions in this place. Happiness, excitement, anxiousness, frustration, re-happiness, the fact of being totally stunned by the culture, the people, the lovely italian ragazzi, the strawberry and ricotta gelato, the music, the language, even an unusual yet awesome instant crush/love moment that I will write in another time. As “Maria Gracia” said: Everything!.

So right now, being at the “Piazza Vecchia” or old square, right in the heart of Bergamo, I listen to the bells ringing and also to classical music played with loud speakers all over the place. I do dream and think if both my great great great great grandfather walked and wandered around these walls and I just smile. Despite being by myself, I am embedded by a magical italian atmosphere. I do not feel like a stranger. After a long long long time, I feel peace inside me. I feel very happy.

I feel in home.

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The DNA Journey: Day Zero

So it happened. It bloody happened my dear lectores. The majority of people of this planet spend their entire lives either waiting or trying to achieve their biggest dream (or dreams), struggling and fighting through life until at some point, life itself somehow responds and allows us human beings to final say “I did it”. I certainly did not have any words to express all the mixed emotions that hit my head as soon as I knew that the biggest dream of my life came true, the manual does not says anything of how to react nor what to do, so I did what I thought was the smartest and wisest idea: dance around and shout “A HUEVOOO” (fuck yeah!).

There are of course not enough words nor ways to thank life for granting me this unique and incredible experience. But let’s start from the beginning. So my ex-significant other “J” (which today is one of my very best friends) happened to know about a contest sponsored by the travel website “Momondo” in which you had the chance of first knowing where does your DNA comes from with a history of 2000 years back, which to be honest I found bloody amazing. So you had to write in 200 characters what is traveling for you and how do you think it can connect people around the world through traveling; so I remember typing stuff like, for me traveling is like eating tacos (yummy), it is spicy, it is exotic, it is just perfect, but there is nothing compared to share it with someone else, then it’s magical.

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Somehow, I managed to go through to the 2nd round with my taco analogy and win a DNA test to actually know where does my crazy mexican hot sangre comes from and this part of the contest consisted on making a video that included the reaction of the DNA results. To be fair, I honestly thought  that my 18 min. video was a normal and honest video, which was made by a no beard “baby face” mexican as a complete average video, but I thought I certainly had nothing to lose and I really had a good time while doing it, but anyway, these were my DNA results:

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I might have expressed this before but I am really a travel addict. I remember listening to my parents stories that when they were young they would just say something like: “Should we go? well fuck it, let’s just go!” at 11:30 pm and arrive like at 5:00 am just to go to the beach. I also remember being taken to exotic places all around the southern part of Mexico for family holidays, walk under waterfalls, in caves, rivers, exotic beaches, delicious seafood and fantastic landscapes. It just stayed coated all over my soul and for me, every single time I had to travel, it meant literally, adventure time.

So yes, I did my emotional and full of mexican love video, expressing some family background and the results of the test. I must confess that when I did this I was in the middle of fucking crazy studying for some annoying final exams and also dealing with non-sense results while doing some simulations in my summer internship, so having a previous beer and the excitement of knowing where the fuck do I came from, was actually the most exciting part of my summer. But anyway, I honestly did it for the sake of fun and of course because I have always been absolutely curious about my family origins. I swear I was authentically surprised by the amazing world soup that I am.

And thus, there was I in my room, with a totally numb face and fingers, dancing around and being recorded while the Momondo staff was telling me that my biggest dream just became real, that I was going to be able to literally travel around the world, to go to those far far faaar away and exotic places I never dreamed of going to, and not only to really find out and be able to check civil registers and search for old surnames, but also to discover how people live in those places today, to taste the food, to listen to the music there, to dance around the world.

But really, how the fuck do you actually react to that?

It did take more than a couple of days to process all the information in my head and realize that everything IS true.

So I shall immerse myself into this incredible endeavor of basically 21 new countries and cities around the globe. I actually thought I might would like to share this experience with someone else, but after some dramatically emotional declarations, life gave me a signal and I decided to follow it without hesitating, and to be fair, traveling by yourself means you really force yourself to go OUT and meet the world, the people of the world.

And to be honest with all of you, I am very VEEERY thrilled and excited to start and also to share this DNA global journey with you!!. My first destination is a northern italian town called “Bergamo”, supposedly to be the cradle (or at least the last known) of my father’s side surname. Let’s find out what the old “Maccheos” (or Macchio? or Macchia??!!) have to say about it.

Andiammo!!!

#LetsOpenOurWorld, #DNAJourney