Day 365.

Today is the last day of 2018. Like that, 365 days went by. Some were easy, others way too difficult to relate back. I’ll store 2018 as a year of challenge, both personally and professionally. In some cases, it was shocking to realize how things are.

I always knew deep down that the day would come that everything that i had held up within, would come crashing down. This weightless burden would become too much and i would find myself underneath it all, striving for breath, for something to hold on to, something to breathe life into me. The realization that we are indeed vulnerable and hurt just the same breaks you. You are told you’re an anchor that many times that you start to believe it. You start to feel an obligation to be anything or everything anyone needs. It works till it doesn’t. You’re still stronger than most but not above hurt, pain or sadness. You need a break.

You realize there is no perfect scenario. Life is what it is. There is no defeat in life if you live it. But you have to live it. Do not concern yourself with regret or mistake.

And change may be inevitable. Perhaps you wake up one day and you realize that maybe your favorite color is no longer green but blue. Or your favorite animal is no longer a dog but a koala. And sometimes holding someone’s hand means a whole lot more than you thought. It is fine, things change with time. Adaptation may be required.

I’ll never be above error or regret. That is part of living. I can only decide how to fix my fuck-ups. And that is okay with me. It should be okay with you too.

I do as i preach. For the better and worse. It is the only way i know how to be me. Looking out from the outside, i may come across as a mildly arrogant, indifferent, yet charming and charismatic guy. I am indeed arrogant yet charming. I believe in balance so if you find me one day arrogant, i am sure the next day i’ll be twice as charming. It is what makes people like me, i suppose. And those that don’t, well, those can fuck off. That is also part of my charm, not really giving a fuck about others opinions most of the times.

For 2019, i only ask for the well being of the ones i love, the ones that make this hole in the chest smaller and smaller each day. For without them, i am less me and with them, i am much more.

See you around.

Love always,

Santiago Roque

The right gift.

Usually i don’t really ask for nothing for Christmas. I think that people, if they should give anything, they must choose as per their own accordance. I get asked frequently during this period or my birthday, which i don’t really care much for, what i need. I always say the same thing, which for the receiver is lame to hear but very true. I’ve got everything that i need. I really do. A gift, in my opinion, shouldn’t be something you need per se, it should be something that makes you a bit more happier, something unexpected, something that lets you know the giver cares enough to get it for you.

As always, i was asked what i needed/wanted this Christmas. As always, my answer was the same. But, not to be one to make it hard for someone else, i suggested that, if they must, i would appreciate books. I sent my wife an e-mail with the suggestions and asked her to tell my family that, instead of anything else, i would prefer books. And so, yeah, i got books for Christmas. I loved it, i am one step closer to have my own library.

I already mentioned that i hate to give generic gifts, i try to get something more meaningful but sometimes we have to accept that time limits our options and we must follow the trend and give the most generic of gifts: perfume. I did that this year but even so, i tried to be unique. Take my wife’s gift for example: i gave her a perfume but the one she wore during our wedding. Generic? Yes. Special? That too. I also gave her jewelry, which is so awful to give but i was running low on time. She loved it though. But kept the receipt just in case.

The importance of getting a gift to someone should reflect their importance to you. Unless you’re running low on time. Then, everything goes and fuck gift etiquette. But, given time and option, you should spoil those you gift with something that a) they don’t expect and b) they didn’t know they needed. The small things count as much as anything else if not more. It shows that you pay attention, that you care.

I never gift someone hoping to get something in return. I appreciate a gift as much as anyone else, i respect the gesture. But it isn’t critical, crucial to get. The worse thing is to feel obligated to gift someone in return. If you didn’t get it before, you shouldn’t give it in return. And that is okay. It is all about giving, to show people their importance. To show that you truly care.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Santiago Roque

Happy (drunk) Christmas.

It’s now 19:18 and I’m slightly hangover from the past days. I don’t know exactly what makes me feel like this, but this year, unlike all others, i don’t feel like Christmas is over. Technically it isn’t, i know but usually by this time, i get the feeling that is zero countdown till next Christmas. However this year, blame it on the excessive alcohol or not, i feel pretty chippy still. Is this a sign of maturity? I hope not. I enjoy my lack of maturity now and then. It excuses some behavior.

I have dinner in 30/35 minutes where, i am sure, i will get my booze on and perpetuate this feeling of Christmas for a little bit longer.

I used to dread the 26th. For me, it meant Christmas time was officially over and i kind of felt a bit depressed. People would be all planning New Years eve and i would be just like, meh. Don’t really care for it. Never did. This year is no different. But i still feel quite Christmas-y. Don’t know exactly why but i’ll take it.

I have this friend that feels the same or similar. We bonded over Christmas. Take all the alcohol away and we have exactly the same feelings towards Christmas. Thing is, she promises things and never delivers. Maybe that is not a fair thing to say but it is my POV. She writes so well yet doubts every time. “ill write this one segment about the plus side of being me but then i won’t post for anyone to read.” It is a waste. I kind of like her, though. In fact, if it wasn’t for her, i wouldn’t be writing this right now just to prove a point.

Whoever reads my blog knows that what i post is basically a non-sensical parade of ideas and thoughts. I have no ambition concerning writing therefore i have no limitation to what i write. Quality-wise though, it is average at best. But i am fine with it. I like to know that i can improve. All this just to say that, at any time, anywhere, i can write any shit that comes to mind. I do not care about blog etiquette. I should but i don’t. Which makes me inconsequent in what i write.

I do like to read when others post and feel exactly what they feel. However heartbreaking or funny or pleasant it might be, i do value the input given to a post. In that particular subject, i am a rebel. I value what i don’t get to do. But i feel inspired by others. I appreciate their writing, however candid or abstract it might be.

So maybe i am changing. Maybe I am growing as a person (AH!) or maybe i just found something to focus on when everything else doesn’t seem to provide comfort. Or maybe not. I don’t know. I like the inconsistency of my condition as a blogger. Should i use this word to describe what i do here? Hm.

Anyhow. Don’t limit yourself to the same standard others do. Rebel out, chaos is not a bad thing. Embrace the anarchy of the word. The miss-matched subjects maybe desirable for some that weren’t aware. You’ve just read that and still, you might look forward to what comes next.

Happy Christmas.

Santiago Roque.

Small gestures.

Everything i’ve posted this month was written beforehand. I knew i wouldn’t have much time to do it and also, i wouldn’t be too inclined to do it. It is especially tough on me to write happy shit during Christmas, not because i don’t love it, i do very much, but it will forever be a time where the past will come knocking. Hard. Since then, i can’t bear December because as soon as it arrives, all that comes back too. And i am too weak of a person to be able to carry through unscathed. But this year, i kind of let myself be inspired by others and went with the flow.

But i did write.

I wrote a small piece about being generous, about giving something, anything, to someone else. And i finished it with the words: “even the smallest of gestures can have the biggest of impacts”. I was feeling righteous because i had just done that, giving something to someone that was in need. And i was hoping that by stating it on a post, somehow, possibly, someone would be inspired to do the same. Like the Universe would pick my post apart and just filter that bit and send it through to whomever it might encounter.

However, i did not expect it to come back to me. Again. I’ve got this work-friend that has the most insane ideas but he pussies out each time. Well, not this time. He was coming up with idea after idea just to let it be known that we don’t fuck around concerning pranks but it all sounded a bit too meh. I came up with the idea of, not only let people know that, but also bring a little bit of color to their grey environment. And so we did.

It was a very simple, albeit balsy thing to do. But the laughs and cheers it got was worth it. People should laugh more and more. Especially during this period. It was satisfying to see all those people caught off guard and just genuinely being surprised by an act of spontaneous foolery. I live for such moments and i pity those that lack the sense of humor to enjoy it.

A small gesture can indeed have a big impact. I believe in it. Hopefully, more people will too because otherwise i might need to look for another job! But hey, it was funny shit!

Happy Christmas !

Santiago Roque

Christmas Traditions.

Christmas, for me, is all about traditions. I’ve always celebrated Christmas surrounded with a lot of people. Since i was a small boy, my Christmas memories involve dining rooms full with family or friends. I come from a large family, and as a small boy , this is what i thought was standard for most. I grew up to learn that not everyone was as lucky as i was to have a family so close to celebrate Christmas. As time went by, more and more people stopped coming and my parents just decided that they wouldn’t throw any more family gatherings. We would celebrate our way, just us and our grandmother. We would just have new traditions.

Nowadays, i don’t really care for the rest of my family besides those i spent Christmas with. We’ve grown apart and i don’t really miss any of them. In fact, i barely maintain any contact. It is a non-issue for me. But i digress.

And so it was. Just us and it was always nice, so unique. As we got older, me and my brother and sister began to be the only family my parents really enjoyed having around and we had the best of times. 

Now that things have change quite a bit, i truly miss having a night like we used to. It is inevitable, the change as times goes by, but the memories take me back to a time where things were much easier, simpler and joyful. I still enjoy Christmas but not in the same way. I tell you this not because it is sad but because it is true. I am the way i am because of what i lived through. It had a great impact with me.

But i want to tell you about how our Christmas came to be so special because of my sister. A small change in schedule led to a tradition that lasted years and made it all more special for us. See, my sister is a good person. In fact, my sister is a great person. Me and my brother had had a taste of life by then to be minimally cynical but she was as innocent as a small child. Come Christmas Eve and we’ve got everything ready to go. Except my sister is missing. Well, not missing but not at home. And this is what makes her who she is. She mades us wait till 23h to have dinner because she was volunteering over at a local association to serve supper to the less fortunate. Which in sequence, led us to start this tradition of having this talk about what the last 12 months had been while enjoying some food and drinks. Since then, every year, our Christmas dinner has been served at 22h30,23h because we had this tradition that began because my sister had (has) a heart bigger than you can ever imagine. Even when she stopped going to help serve supper, we kept the tradition going. Between cheese and wine and whatever else we would serve, we would just replay our year between us. I’m a clown for lack of a better word so i just want everyone to feel good around me. My mother used to tell me that i could talk about the simplest, less interesting subject and make people laugh through it. Maybe, i don’t know. There is an inherent stupidity to it.

It might seem something really simple to anyone else, but for me it was special. It made me realize that, at the end of the day, they were all i really needed. Being treated as an adult, having my voice heard, it really mattered and it all began with my sister being this innocent child that wanted to make the night a little bit better for someone else. 

There was a time i just wanted to skip Christmas. It was too painful to live through it without what made Christmas special too. Now, I’ve sort of recovered part of my Christmas jolliness. It will always be a time when the loved ones that are gone are missed the most. But it is also a time to remember that traditions allow them to be present in spirit. And that is what Christmas should be about. To me, at least.

And guess what?, i did grow up to enjoy giving more than receiving.

Santiago Roque

Christmas Shopping.

First of all, i must admit, i suck at shopping. If my wife asks me to get groceries, i get lost in all the options available. I’m not any good, i confess. It gets worse with Christmas. Holy shit, if it gets worse! There’s a saying that goes you should never shop on an empty stomach. I shouldn’t do any shopping while listening to Christmas songs and jingles. It makes my brain malfunction. And i buy shit that i shoudnt buy. Or get way too excited with quantities. Yeah, thats a problem.

Years ago, while i still lived with my parents, i decided on a whim that i would be responsible for the Christmas Eve dinner catering. That’s right, me with no knowledge of shopping at all, went all by himself while intoxicated on Christmas classics that supermarkets blast through their speakers. Oh, and when that awful, awful, Mariah Carey song comes on, i feel like buying all the shit in a 5 meter radius. It ain’t a funny sight to see, i tell you that much.

But here i am on a mission. Just so you see how unprepared i am, i didnt even make a list. I just thought i just walk around with the shopping cart putting christmas-y things that we enjoy in it. Not a good idea. To start things off, i don’t really know what to buy besides chocolates. That’s my knowledge of Christmas shopping. So i spend an unhealthy amount of money on chocolates. Which i get the price wrong because they come in different sizes and the price i checked was for the individual case. I thought it too cheap but then again, it’s Christmas. But then i have this idea, ill go online and see what most people get for Christmas Eve so that i can have this basic idea. That was a mistake.

I bought walnuts, i bought hazelnuts, i bought all kinds of nuts including pine nuts. Which in my defense, i wasnt aware that pine nut by the kilo is more expensive than gold! And i bought like 5 bags of it. It isnt even fair, you know. Pine nuts more expensive than gold?! Well, fuck me. That one was a shock. But that wasn’t even my item of shame. No, sir. I bought a pineapple! Some fuck online checked his Christmas list with a fucking pineapple! So i bought it. I don’t even fucking know why. But we had a pineapple for Christmas.

I get home, surprising everyone with my unique quality towards Christmas catering. My mom laughs while acknowlegding my effort. My brother checks the receipt and just goes “Hey, is the concept of prices new to you?”. Turn outs that i payed over 40€ in chocolates and i don’t even remember how much i ended up paying for pine nuts.

It became a Christmas tradition. But i wasn’t allowed to go alone. Fair enough.

But man, those fucking pine nuts and pineapple still haunt me today by way of my brother having a great memory!

Santiago Roque

One week to go.

There is exactly one week to go till Christmas Eve and i’ve bought absolutely zero presents. I had this plan all lined up for this weekend but it seems it flew right by me! How the … ? I need to get my shit together.

Friday i had this dinner with my colleagues and i was thinking that i wasn’t going to get my booze on because i had to wake up early the next day. I got sort of an introspective buzz, a very light drunk state. I didn’t get my booze on and i did get up early the next day to drive 2 and 1/2 hours to get to a place where i immediately got drunk-ish and bought a shameful amount of wine for an even more shameful amount of money. The gist of it all is, i have plenty of wine at home already and i really, really didn’t need it. Still, on the way back, i’m thinking that sunday will be more productive. Not really because i didn’t do shit to improve anything. 

Although, if i am being honest, i may have discovered i have a fetish concerning Christmas socks. Well, people wearing Christmas socks. Or maybe just specific people wearing  Christmas socks. Or just that one person wearing Christmas socks. But i digress.

I have no Christmas present list. I should do one. I want to, really but then i don’t. I start thinking about presents, what to get to this or that person but then i forget about it. I should starting writing things down, my memory fails me more and more nowadays. But i did get this one e-mail detailing preferences for Christmas gifts from my wife. That helps. We communicate through e-mail. She sends, i send. My preferences were only books which set her off a little bit but meh. She is used to it by now.

I must be productive this week concerning Christmas presents. Either that or just assume i won’t be getting anyone any presents this year. That would be more profitable money-wise but less rewarding personally. So, i need to get my shit together and just do it. I can’t go back to last minute Christmas shopping. It takes a toll on me. I just can’t. But, i was write this, i am taking mental notes and i am getting to the conclusion that this week is gonna be rough too. I have the following this week:

  • Monday night: Free (but can’t really go shopping on Mondays)
  • Tuesday night: work thing + club commitments (YAY!)
  • Wednesday night: Christmas dinner w/ friends
  • Thursday night: Free as i read this, i get notified of a doc’s appointment at 20:00
  • Friday night: Christmas dinner w/ bro 

Man, i need someone to plan my weeks. 

I will prevail eventually. I must. Christmas present shopping will be done. One way or another. 

Oh, how do i love Christmas rush!

Santiago Roque